From The Guardian:
If you’d predicted that economics was going to be the big new thing in books five years ago you’d probably have been laughed out of the room. But thanks to the success of books like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics, Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail and Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist, a new genre has been spawned. And despite the collapse of western capitalism it’s still going strong, with football due the Freakonomics treatment in the new year.
But the question that’s being asked is why aren’t any of these books by women? Julia Cheiffetz, blogging at publishing website HarperStudio, dubs the genre “big think” books – making serious non-fiction subjects accessible and popular. “The point is, all of them promise access to a club whose sole activity is the exchange of ideas; all of them promise, however covertly, to make us feel smarter. And all of them are written by men,” she writes, also singling out The World is Flat by Thomas L Friedman, The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. “It is hard to know whether women are better at telling stories than propagating ideas (I’m thinking of Susan Orlean, Mary Roach, Karen Abbott), or whether the intellectual audacity required to sell our hypotheses about the world simply isn’t in our genetic makeup.”
Over at Galley Cat, they’re not quite convinced, and shoehorn Susan Faludi and Naomi Klein into the “explain-it-all” category. “But we did find Cheiffetz’s distinction between ‘storytellers’ and ‘big thinkers’, and the suggestion that these two types of writing might play out along gender lines at least as far as what sells, intriguing,” they add.