Recommended reading

Here are some interesting pieces for you to check out this Sunday morning:

— In the New York Times, economist Robert H. Frank examines a fascinating experiment that sheds some light on a question that perennially divides those on the right and left: the role of luck vs. the role of skill when comes to achieving economic success.

— The Times also looks at another intriguing study that shows that managers’ attitudes, rather than employees’ qualifications, explain a significant chunk of the otherwise unexplained male/female pay gap.

— Michael Tomasky argues that, come November, we might see an Obama landslide (note: I absolutely do not endorse this view. We have a closely divided country ceteris paribus; that, plus our epically crap economy, all but guarantees a close election. Romney is an exceptionally weak candidate but the Republicans could nominate a ham sandwich and it would not change this dynamic. But I link to Tomasky’s piece because it’s provocative and it is getting some attention across the blogosphere).

— The Chicago Sun-Times reports on what’s been ailing Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. In an interview, his wife, Chicago alderperson Sandi Jackson, says he is being treated for severely debilitating depression. I wish him all the best and I think it’s wonderful that he is going public with this. Let’s hope that once he recovers, he can become a strong advocate for people with depression and other mental disorders.

— In the current London Review of Books, the great Perry Anderson has an essay about India after Nehru. I confess I haven’t read this one yet — just got this issue in the mail the other day. But part one in the last issue, on Gandhi, was so dazzling, and such a revelation, that I’m eager to dig into this one. This piece, like the previous one, is quite lengthy — perfect for a flight or an extended trip on public transportation.

— Finally, every ten years the British film magazine Sight and Sound releases its poll of the greatest films ever made. Their 2012 poll was just released; you can read about it here. There is also a separate directors’ poll (here), and one really fun thing related to that is that Sight and Sound has published the top ten lists of a number of prominent directors who voted in the poll. Here, for example, you can find the lists of five prominent American film directors. Which one of them thinks the 1976 movie The Bad News Bears is the third greatest film of all time? You’ll just have to click on the link to see!

Btw, I always get a huge kick out of it whenever someone makes a completely crazy-ass choice like that on these kinds of lists, a) because I love a person who is honest about her own pleasures, b) because taste is such a mysterious, deeply personal, and ultimately indefensible thing, and c) because it highlights the fact that these things should be taken with a grain of salt, anyway.

Anyway, have fun perusing the lists. They’ll be fodder for your Netflix queues, if nothing else.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee