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Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  58 ratings  ·  16 reviews
The nation’s most-cited legal scholar who for decades has been at the forefront of applied behavioral economics, and the bestselling author of Nudge and Simpler, Cass Sunstein is one of the world’s most innovative thinkers in the academy and the world of practical politics. In the years leading up to his confirmation as the administrator of the White House Office of Inform ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Simon & Schuster (first published March 1st 2014)
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Peter Mcloughlin
This book is a mixed bag. it gets four stars because most of the essays are pretty good but it has a few klunkers as well. The essays on the dangers of conspiracy thinking in politics are great. The essays on marriage same sex or otherwis are good as well. In fact the essays on social issues are good. My beef is with the essays on climate change and especially Sunstein's essay on "new progressivism". on climate change I don't think sunstein understands the dangers of climate change very well and ...more
**NOTE: All quotations are taken from an uncorrected digital galley and are therefore provisional. Quotes will be corrected when the book is released.**

When I first saw the book, I was definitely intrigued. Conspiracy theories are an interesting subject with a lot of very elegant theoretical constructs behind them. Despite the "other dangerous ideas" in the tagline, after reading the blurb, I expected a variant on the pop psychology and sociology books that I tend to devour like candy. Unfortuna
Paul Pessolano
“Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas” by Cass R. Sunstein, published by Simon and Schuster.

Category – Conspiracy Publication Date – March 18, 2014

Depending on whom you are and what kind of reading you do will largely determine the popularity of this book. The book will be of major interest to those interested in politics and the law. It is definitely not a book for the casual reader.

The book is a compilation of the writings of Cass R. Sunstein. They cover subjects that range from anima
Luke Goldstein
Before this book I had never read anything by Cass Sunstein, but I knew the name. Partially it came from his time as head of the Office of Management and Budget in President Obama’s first term, but more so from his frequent mentions by Glenn Beck as a living, breathing, pillar of evil. From the tone and volume of Beck’s cries against anything Sunstein has to say I imagined the book would be filled to the brim with radical, communist, socialist agenda-promoting fantasies from the far-left, but I ...more
Eustacia Tan
3.5 stars, rounding up to 3

This book is a series of essays by America's "most cited legal scholar" who has been at the "forefront of applied behavioural economics" for decades. Basically, I picked up this book because of the phrase "behavoural economics", which is a topic I'm interested in.

Basically, this book is about different issues and what the author thinks of them. These issues include:
- Animal rights
- Conspiracy theories and why people believe them
- The second bill of rights
- Climate Ch
Mark Lokensgard
Chapter One is the only chapter I read. I cannot understand the blurbs on the back or inside cover, or in the Preface in which he recounts, ostensibly ruefully, that he was targeted by critics as being an apologist for a supposed disinformation campaign to be set up by the Obama administration; he doesn’t come off as rueful, however, but seems more smug at having gained notoriety and therefore a larger audience for his writings. If we are to judge by Chapter One, politics will turn the brain of ...more
Robb Bridson
This is a good book in the same way Nudge was or in the same way Freakonomics was. You can't really swear by the ideas nor by all of the analysis, but it certainly does make you think.
Overall I agree with Sunstein more than I disagree. I guess I kind of fit into his "New Progressive" paradigm, though I'd probably consider myself more of a left-libertarian with a utilitarian streak. At times Substein is a bit too kind to the neoliberal worldview, and far from being the radical some people think h
The title is a bit misleading, as the first chapter is really the only one that deals with conspiracy theories. Sunstein studies and teaches human political and economic behavior, and he is good at explaining complex concepts in clear, understandable language. However, his writing style is not at all compelling or enthusiastic. When I was done, I understood his ideas, but I wasn't really that interested in them. Very dry and academic, not really aimed at the casual reader.
I received this ARC through Edelweiss.

Way way way more academic than I was expecting. Not a bad book--not at all--but I did not read the description closely enough. I thought this was a book about different conspiracy theories; it's actually a very well-researched book about how they spread. Not really great lunchtime reading. :) Would be valuable for people who are interested in the mechanics and research behind conspiracy theories.
2.5 stars ironically his essays with the exception of the title one on conspiracy theories were well written and intelligent however his opening conspiracy theories was a mess. Sunstein used circular logic and the whole point of the essay seemed a desperate attempt to debunk 9/11 theories. However IMO this goal failed as the more he decries 9/11 conspiracy theorists without offering evidence for the official account made me more, not less sympathetic to said conspiracy theorists
Christopher Myrick
I enjoy Cass Sunstein, and am largely in agreement with most of his arguments. Although this is a book of solid thought - and has a few provocative essays - it quickly becomes obvious that this is a collection of academic writing. Certainly accessible for a general audience, but for the most part not particularly thrilling. Still, is book has some of the best back-cover blurbs I have ever seen.
Matt Bennett
After a while, you get the idea with Sunstein. Cost-benefit analysis, applied writ-large. But his accounts of social science phenomena like conspiracy theories are interesting, relevant and relatable for lay-readers. Some of these essays left me a bit cold, but for the most part they are thought-provoking and smart.
Keith McGowan
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what law school is like.

The Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School shares his intellectual musings about a variety of topics without regard to actual human experience or the role that emotion plays in human affairs.
On the plus side, I thought the subject matter was very interesting, and informative. The author seemed very knowledgeable and gave differing perspectives while maintaining a certain level of neutrality.

On the negative side, I found the author to be repetitive at times in trying to explain a position on a certain topic, while at other times I felt he was speaking so far over my head I had to read certain parts multiple times. My enjoyment of the book would have been much higher if he had found
Oct 31, 2014 Brian rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Interesting takes on various issues of the day. I didn't always agree with the author, but he makes you think about things you take for granted.
Bryan Richard
What a strange book. Despite the title, Conspiracy Theories & Other Dangerous Theories, I found it really had nothing to do with either one. But it was a slightly interesting book nonetheless. However I am very much disinclined to recommend it to anybody.
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Cass R. Sunstein is an American legal scholar, particularly in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law, environmental law, and law and behavioral economics, who currently is the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. For 27 years, Sunstein taught at the University of Chicago Law School, where he continues to teach as ...more
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