Wednesday, July 12

We do have a fourth member

His name is Nick and he does not have a computer. Recently he has read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which I gather taught him a little something about the sad realities of America's overwhelming economic and political might, and Freakonomics, which I gather taught him something about sumo wrestling and real estate, among other things. He enjoyed both books and is well aware of the fact that they represent some of the final pleasure reading he will engage in for quite some time. In September he will become consumed by med school reading and will likely retreat to his hermitic undergraduate ways. Bless you for heading back to Colorado to appease your soul before shit hits the fan, Nick.

Nick Hornby on Freakonomics in the June/July issue of The Believer:

Freakonomics ocassionally hits you a little too hard over the head with a sense of its own ingenuity. "Now for another unlikely question: what did crack cocaine have in common with nylon stockings?" (One of the things they shared, apparently, is that they were both addictive, although stockings were only "practically" addictive, which might explain why there are comparatively few silk stocking-related drive-by shootings.) The answer to the question of whether mankind is innately and universally corrupt "may lie in... bagels." (The dots here do not represent an ellipsis, but a kind of trumpeting noise.) Schoolteachers are like sumo wrestlers, real estate agents are like Ku Klux Klan, and so on. I enjoyed the book, which is really a collection of statistical conjuring tricks, but I wasn't entirely sure of what it was about."

If Nick (not Hornby, our Nick) were here to speak for himself he would probably say that that last sentence summed up the telephone conversation between he and I regarding Freakonomics.

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