1997 Herrnstein and Murray—The Bell Curve

I know this book was the center of a firestorm of debate over its racist interpretation of the data, and Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man was probably more interesting to me in this aspect. But what I got out of The Bell Curve had nothing to do with that. When we think of what the average person is like we tend to average our personal acquaintances. But we tend to be attracted to and clustered with people like ourselves. I know I did. While I knew a large spectrum of people—different ages, ethnicity, background, levels of education and income. Yet I had no idea that the majority of my closest friends were not the center of the bell curve, but were extreme outliers on the edge of the curve.

~ by severalfourmany on June 24, 2011.

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