Outstanding Academic Titles for 2019

The 5 most read OAT reviews on ChoiceReviews.org.

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Doepke, Matthias. Love, money & parenting: how economics explains the way we raise our kids, by Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti. Princeton, 2019. 367p index ISBN 9780691171517, $29.95; ISBN 9780691184210 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This volume examines parenting—a topic of great interest to many—in conjunction with a key economic issue today, income inequality. Economists Doepke (Northwestern) and Zilibotti (Yale) examine how economic factors affect parenting styles, arguing that with low inequality, parents can be permissive when raising children because the costs of not succeeding are low—their children have only slightly lower incomes as adults. However, when inequality is high and relative position is not determined by status at birth, there are more authoritative “helicopter parents” due to the greater costs of children not succeeding in school. The authors use a broad array of data sets to provide empirical support for their hypothesis, as well as to draw out policy implications of their analysis. Following the tradition of Gary Becker, this book covers uncharted territory and crosses disciplinary borders by bringing economic analysis to a topic not traditionally regarded as within the purview of economics. Well written, researched, and argued, this work should interest a broad range of social scientists and students. Because it introduces a new avenue of research—an economic analysis of parenting—this work is a must acquisition for college and university libraries. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. —S. Pressman, Colorado State University

Gregg, Melissa. Counterproductive: time management in the knowledge economy. Duke, 2018. 200p bibl index ISBN 9781478000716, $89.95; ISBN 9781478000907 pbk, $23.95; ISBN 9781478002390 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE June 2019

An Intel Corporation principal engineer, respected researcher, and prolific author, Gregg has written a book that will change the way people look at the notion of time management. Counterproductive examines the concept of time management from the perspectives of workforce productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Gregg presents the four chapters under three headings: “Theory,” “Practice,” and “Anthropotechnics.” The theory section includes the introduction and a substantive and extensively documented history of time management. The two chapters in the practice section highlight the significance of organization and productivity. The anthropotechnics section includes a chapter on mindfuless and a conclusion that addresses an array of issues in the contemporary workplace. The list of references is impressive, as is the bibliography, which includes both classic and contemporary books and articles. Useful as a primary, secondary, or supplementary text, this volume will benefit those interested in business, management, human resources, psychology, or sociology. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, faculty, and professionals. —M. J. Safferstone, formerly, University of Mary Washington

Lyrical liberators: the American antislavery movement in verse, 1831–1865, ed. by Monica Pelaez. Ohio University, 2018. 372p bibl indexes ISBN 9780821422793, $80.00; ISBN 9780821422809 pbk, $34.95; ISBN 9780821446089 ebook, contact publisher for price.
Reviewed in CHOICE January 2019

Drawing from eight prominent antislavery publications, Pelaez (English, St. Cloud State Univ.) has compiled a stirring anthology of antebellum and wartime verse—what she calls “agitator” verse. The volume distinguishes itself from kindred anthologies—The Poetry of Slavery: An Anglo-American Anthology, 1764–1865, ed. by Marcus Wood (CH, Sep’04, 42-0170); Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems about Slavery, 1660–1810, ed. by James Basker (CH, May’03, 40-5065)—by focusing solely on the recovery of poetry found in American abolitionist periodicals of the immediate pre-war and war periods. After broadly introducing the corpus and contexts, Pelaez presents 13 chronologically arranged thematic units of poetry, each with its own introduction, footnotes, and end notes. In the introduction the author claims that the selections offer a “quintessential overview of the various discourses” that captured the public’s attention and resonated within the moral, rhetorical, and political skirmishes fought in the press, but she offers only four sentences on the criteria for the inclusion or representativeness of the 161 poems beyond thematic affinity. However, this collection’s merit—the stunning and still-raw power of voices once lost or neglected speaking on the topics of fugitives, death, motherhood, equality, freedom, and war—and its usefulness in a broad range of disciplines make it indispensable. Summing Up: Essential, Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. —A.C. Jenkins, College of Central Florida

Sigwart, Julia. What species mean: a user’s guide to the units of biodiversity. CRC Press, 2018. 241p bibl index ISBN 9781498799379, $79.96; ISBN 9780429458972 ebook, $49.46.
Reviewed in CHOICE June 2019

The species has been an important concept in the life sciences since Linnaeus first laid the groundwork for the modern taxonomic system of living organisms in 1735. Sigwart (Queen’s Univ. Marine Laboratory, Ireland) has made an ambitious attempt to summarize the significance of this taxonomic unit using a pragmatic approach, shifting the universal ambiguous question of “What is a species?” to “What do species mean?” The book explores themes such as how species are practically distinguished, the administrative aspects of the Linnaean taxonomic system, how the taxonomic system reflects evolutionary relationships, and how species function as the primary units of evolution. This volume is one of the best practical primers on this challenging subject, and would serve well as a companion text in a number of undergraduate subjects in the life sciences, including genetics, organismal biology, taxonomy, evolution, the paleontological sciences, and environmental sciences. It would also make a useful resource for graduate students in any life science discipline. It offers a superb review for students and practitioners in molecular biology who do not work with the whole organism and need to broaden their understanding of whole organisms. Overall, this is an important resource for undergraduate and graduate students in the pure and applied life sciences. Summing Up: Essential. All academic levels and professionals. —M. S. Zavada, University of Texas Permian Basin

Vries, Robert de. Critical statistics: seeing beyond the headlines. Red Globe Press, 2018. 248p index ISBN 9781137609809, $75.99; ISBN 9781137609793 pbk, $27.99; ISBN 9781137609816 ebook, $27.99.
Reviewed in CHOICE April 2019

With Critical Statistics, de Vries (Univ. of Kent, UK) has given a significant gift to statistics literature. The book is not a first text in statistical computation and methods. Instead, it is a work in statistics numeracy: numbers in the news, numbers in life, numbers to explain the world. In ten chapters, the author discusses how newsworthy numbers are generated, how samples work, measurement methods, averages, inference, graphics, contexts for numeric statements, and the use of numbers to reach conclusions. The text is written as a straightforward and engaging narrative, but chapters helpfully conclude with summaries, terminology, key thoughts, and exercises. The graphics are intuitive and enhance understanding of the concepts discussed. The publisher maintains a website which provides supplementary information, new studies, more exercises, reader submissions, and links to data sets. This volume fills a void for a general education statistics numeracy textbook, and is a valuable addition to public and academic libraries. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. —W. R. Lee, formerly, Minnesota State University, Mankato