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Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads

Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads
Author: Joel Best
ISBN 13: 9780520246263
ISBN 10: 520246268
Edition: 1st
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2006-04-10
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 222
List Price: $31.95

"A literate, fast-moving, and engaging account of short-lived innovations in contemporary societies. Best is one of the few sociologists who actually has a sense of humor."—John Lofland, Professor Emeritus, sociology, University of California Davis

"A well-written, effective, and surely needed examination of institutional fads that should find a wide audience."—Gary Alan Fine, co-author of Whispers on the Color Line: Rumor and Race in America

"Flavors of the Month is a marvelous antidote to the infectious bite of the fad bug, and should be required reading for all optimists who believe we can move towards perfection by adopting the latest 'breakthrough paradigm.' If enthusiasm for transforming your organization persists after reading this engaging book, then read it again. Repeat as often as necessary, or until irrational exuberance has dissipated."—Robert Birnbaum, author of Management Fads in Higher Education: Where They Come From, What They Do, Why They Fail

Library Journal

Readers may be charmed by Best's (sociology & criminal justice, Univ. of Delaware; Damned Lies and Statistics) penchant for catchy titles; he has such chapters as "The Illusion of Diffusion" as well as "Emerging," "Surging," and "Purging." But while he provides an engaging read, Best is also a thoughtful academician whose purpose is quite serious. While short-lived fads like hula hoops and fashion preferences come and go, leaving people not much the worse for having embraced them, Best draws our attention to institutional fads, endorsed by serious professionals in government, medicine, education, and business. Seemingly full of promise, these innovations (e.g., "open classrooms," "multiple personality syndrome") are widely adopted only to fall far short of expectations; they may even cause considerable damage. Best does a fine job of delineating the life cycle of institutional fads, observing why we are susceptible to them and how we can strike a balance that will encourage innovation but make us less vulnerable to falling for the latest trends and management styles. This book will inevitably be compared to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, but in its thrust and seriousness of intent it more than holds its own. Recommended for all libraries.-Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.