Thane Rosenbaum, “Payback: The Case for Revenge” (Chicago UP, 2013)
All humans have an emotionally-driven sense of fairness. We get treated unfairly and we get mad. It’s no wonder, then, that our laws–and those of almost everyone else–are intended to assure that people are treated fairly. When those laws fail and we are treated unfairly, we encounter another human universal–the... Read More
Paul Barrett, “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” (Broadway, 2013)
History is in many respects the story of humanity’s quest for transcendence: to control life and death, time and space, loss and memory. When inventors or companies effectively tap into these needs products emerge that help define their times. The Kodak ‘Brownie’ allowed average consumers – without the knowledge of... Read More
Steven J. Harper, “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis” (Basic Books, 2013)
A friend of mine who had just graduated from law school said “Law school is great. The trouble is that when you are done you’re a lawyer.” Steven J. Harper would, after a fashion, agree (though he would probably add that law schools are not that great). Harper’s book, The... Read More
Jared Diamond, “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” (Viking, 2012)
It’s pretty common–and has long been–for people to think that the “way it used to be” is better than the way it is. This tendency to idealize an (imagined) past is particularly strong today among critics of modern civilization. Think of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents, but one example of... Read More
Andrew Koppelman, “The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform” (Oxford UP, 2013)
Every hundred years or so, the Supreme Court decides a question with truly vast economic implications. In 2012 such a decision was handed down, in a case that had the potential to affect the economy in the near term more than any court case ever had. The substance of the... Read More