Regular readers know I’ve written a very large number of posts looking at how a number of series have evolved since 1953, in particular paying attention to how they moved by Presidential administration. Topics covered included economic growth, murders, abortions, national debt, and pretty much anything I thought the President might affect, or which might affect the Presidency in some way. All along, I’ve been using graphs to make the process as easy to follow and intuitive as possible. Some of the posts have generated a lot of discussion and generated a lot of e-mail, some not so much.
I have a few more topics to cover, but I’m close to what I think would be a good tour of US history. Ultimately, I think as a body, the posts have been extremely thought provoking and I want to write them up as a book. I would prefer a co-author for a few reasons:
1. I would like to keep my personal bias from creeping into the analysis of the data
2. I have never written a book before
3. I am rather busy and of course, time is of the essence. The ideal time for a book of this sort to come out, presumably, is early next year… some months before the election.
Anyway, I thought I had a co-author, but it seems the person I selected is too busy these days. So…. anyone want to be a co-author on this book? Do you know anyone who might? If so, drop me a line… (The address is my handle with a 4321, all as one word, at yahoo, or simply click on the address with my name at the left upper left side of the page.)
Here’s my thought about where the book needs to go:
1. I have a few more topics to write on… the blog post is always the first pass
2. The posts have to be organized in groups of similar topics (e.g., the macro-economy, how well off are people, social issues, etc.)
3. Each of the posts has to be rewritten at least in part so they work for this format
4. An intro has to be written. (I have a more or less first pass of one.)
5. A conclusion has to be written.
6. Concluding sections have to be written (e.g., who did best on issue X, rankings, etc.)
7. All the tables have to be redone… as has been pointed out by many, the tables don’t look so good, though the graphs do.
8. Some supporting material (quotes, anecdotes, etc. have to be added)
9. Data sources have to be checked to make sure they haven’t migrated and/or that the data hasn’t changed significantly with new revisions.
10. The book needs a section explaining how the reader can do the analysis him/herself… everything from gathering the data to organizing it and reaching his/her own conclusions. This has not been written.
My thoughts… I’m looking for help primarily in 2 – 6 and 8. Frankly, I expect that whoever the co-author is, he/she will essentially do 3 almost in entirety. I don’t mean that each post must be rewritten from scratch… I expect there’s a lot from the original posts that can be kept (though I’m open to being told otherwise), but basically, I’m hoping someone takes charge of that effort.
Ah… one other thing. I want the book to be a lot more, um, non-partisan. For instance, I’ve had a lot of fun mocking GW, who tends to do very poorly on just about every measure. But in the book, I want the tone to be more measured. All that said, at the end of the book, a measure of the effectiveness of each President will be produced. If the facts turn out to have a liberal bias, as Stephen Colbert pointed out (and as many of the series I’ve looked at so far seem to indicate), that’s where it will get reflected.
FWIW, I think a book like this can be marketed to two audiences. One is the group of people who buy political books. Perhaps not people who buy these political books – as I noted, the facts seem to have a liberal bias – but I would think a lot would want some sort of description of what the data actually shows. (In effect, this book could be a cross between a political book and reference books like the Statistical Abstract of the United States and the World Almanac, which seem to sell quite well.) Another potential market… I see no reason why this book might not be picked up for use in American history or political science classes.
So that’s roughly what I have in mind. Any interest, please drop me a line.