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Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads, by Joel Best
Sociologist Best dissects the dangerous hula hoops of business, medicine, science and education in this exposition on institutional fads. According to Best, American attitudes toward progress (colored by optimism, competitiveness, a belief in positive change and a fear of being seen as old-fashioned) serve as kindling to the fire of the next big cure, technological revolution, business management secret or teaching method. Best delineates stages of the fad life-cycle (“emerging,” “surging,” then finally “purging”) and identifies conditions and players essential to creating a successful fad (a problem needs a solution, which is then proposed by originators and pushed by promoters).
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