Flavor of the Month by Joel Best
Why Smart People Fall for Fads

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While fads such as hula hoops or streaking are usually dismissed as silly enthusiasms, trends in institutions such as education, business, medicine, science, and criminal justice are often taken seriously, even though their popularity and usefulness is sometimes short-lived. Institutional fads such as open classrooms, quality circles, and multiple personality disorder are constantly making the rounds, promising astonishing new developments—novel ways of teaching reading or arithmetic, better methods of managing businesses, or improved treatments for disease. Some of these trends prove to be lasting innovations, but others—after absorbing extraordinary amounts of time and money—are abandoned and forgotten, soon to be replaced by other new schemes. In this pithy, intriguing, and often humorous book, Joel Best—author of the acclaimed Damned Lies and Statistics—explores the range of institutional fads, analyzes the features of our culture that foster them, and identifies the major stages of the fad cycle—emerging, surging, and purging. Deconstructing the ways that this system plays into our notions of reinvention, progress, and perfectibility, Flavors of the Month examines the causes and consequences of fads and suggests ways of fad-proofing our institutions.

About Joel Best

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Joel Best is Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. Among his many books are More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues (2004), Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists (2001), and Random Violence: How We Talk about New Crimes and New Victims (1999), all from UC Press.
Published April 10, 2006 by University of California Press. 222 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The three are like spitting cats during production, and when Jahne lands a movie Lila wanted, things get worse, with Lila hiring a p.i.

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ForeWord Reviews

This demise leaves people shaking their heads, and wondering, “How on earth did I expect that to last?” One of the more interesting aspects of a fad is the way people are caught up in the popularity without recognizing the absurdity of the surging cycle of “I have to have this!” Consider, howev...

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Project MUSE

Best focuses on institutional fads in the areas of education (appraisal planning, whole language instruction) and medicine (diagnoses of multiple-personality disorder), in addition to business, and persuasively argues that unlike pop cultural fads (i.e.

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