Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 2016 in review: Books I read

Throughout the year - I read a fair number of books.  Here are some of the books that I found most enjoyable or informative.

1. New Money, Staying Rich.  (By Philip Buchanon)

Really interesting book about the financial pressures felt when relatively uneducated athletes (at least uneducated about how to handle wealth) come into huge sums of money.  The stories presented here are quite sad.  Many people seem to feel entitled to the wealth of those who earn it and it has caused serious problems for thousands of professional athletes.

2. So You've Been Publicly Shamed (By Jon Ronson)

Fantastic read about the history of shaming.  Best non-econ/non-fiction book I read in 2016.

3. Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway (By Michael Riedel)

If you like Broadway shows and history, you'll really enjoy this book.  Lots of nuggets of the economics behind shows as well - a very entertaining read.

4. Narco-Economics (Tom Wainwright)

Fantastic economic analysis of drug cartels, why they might collude, when they might fight, and the consequences.  This book applies economic analysis to illegal drug manufacturing - and naturally the results of what has happened makes total sense.  Highly recommend.

5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (J.K. Rowling)

Fantastic - if you're a Harry Potter fan.  I just wish I could get tickets to the show ...

6. Autobiography of Mike Sexton (Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson)
7. Biography of Stu Ungar (Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson)

--- #6 and #7 are great for poker afficiandos

8. Partners (John Grisham short)

It is short, but fun if you like Grisham.

9. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (J.K. Rowling)
10. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists (J.K. Rowling)
11. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (J.K. Rowling)

These three short stories are fun if you are a fan of the Harry Potter series.

11.  The New Trail of Tears (N.S. Riley)

This book, featuring how the US government's policies are dooming reservations is fantastic and horrifying at the same time.  I really recommend reading it, but it will depress you.

12. The War on Cops (Heather Mac Donald)

Great, but disturbing.

13. The Upside of Inequality (Edward Conard)

I discussed this book here

14. Liar's Poker (Michael Lewis)

An older book I just hadn't read before.  It was entertaining, but I found his disdain for the finance industry a bit off-putting and quite unlike the people I've met from the major financial companies.  I've never worked on Wall Street, but the graduates from Susquehanna we send to major financial companies are among the nicest and smartest I know.

15. The Whistler (John Grisham)

I enjoy Grisham's books - this one was entertaining.

16. Tradition!: The Highly Improbable, Ultimately Triumphant Broadway-to-Hollywood Story of Fiddler on the Roof, the World's Most Beloved Musical (Barbara Isenberg)

Great read for theatre fans.

17. Hamilton: The Revolution (Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter)

See comment for #16.

In the queue (or just started)
1. Verbal Poker Tells
2. Order to Kill (Vince Flynn)
3. Brain Rules
4. The iPhone Photographer

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Smokers’ BMI and Perceived Health: Does the Order of Questions Matter?

"Smokers’ BMI and Perceived Health: Does the Order of Questions Matter?" is the title of a paper I wrote that was just published at Preventive Medicine Reports.  The link is here.  This was coauthored with Richard O'Connor and Maansi Bansal-Travers.

Here is the abstract:
We surveyed 431 daily smokers between November 2014-March 2015 to examine the impact of the order of questions on the response to a self-reported health question as part of a larger experimental study. We randomized the question order, with some respondents providing their weight prior to self-reporting their health, while others did the opposite. We found that self-reported health outcomes are worse when smokers are first asked to report their weight. However, the order of questions only seems to impact those who are overweight as we did not find evidence that the order of questions affected responses for those with a BMI below 25. These findings suggest that the order of asking self-rated health and weight questions appears to matter, at least for overweight current smokers.