Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dalton Conley's Parentology Receives a Bad Review in the NY Times

Somebody named Rebecca Traister doesn't like Dalton Conley's new book about parenting.  Shouldn't a  University Professor at NYU and a former Dean of Social Sciences be treated with more respect?   In the review, Ms. Traister implies that Conley is out of touch with "real average parents" and also implies that Conley doesn't understand the Heckman Equation.    In producing a quality child, there is a deep question of what is the production function? How much of later life success is due to genes, parenting and their interaction?  This is what Jim Heckman's research team is trying to study.   Ms. Traister also believes that Dr. Conley talks too much about himself.   In any book, how much should the author reveal about himself versus the subject at hand?  Or is the subject at hand Dalton Conley?

As an author of one popular book, I find it quite interesting how the non-academic public thinks about popular books written by academics.  Does "the public" have fond memories of their University teachers? Do they believe that academics have special wisdom or simply believe that we are strange nerds who use our tenure to take leisure and sip tea?