[this a repost of a comment that was too long to leave in another discussion]
First, this is one of the most compelling books I've read in a while... but I had to read it critically. I have to ask, how much of the world really exists in 'Extremistan?' And yes, I recognize the irony of finding a book on statistic 'compelling' and questioning whether life is really as 'exciting' as the stats book let's on. While the province's boundaries are clearly expanding (a la "The Long Tail' phenomenon in Information Economics) I think that the vast majority of things still live in 'Mediocrestan.'
I submit that people will agree or disagree with that statement based on how they are educated. If you're an Economist you are no doubt educated in 'Mediocrestan,' learning how to price ball-bearings, but then you find work in the province of 'Extremistan,' and your learned opinion can be completely undermined in an afternoon. But there's a whole class of people for whom the opposite is true; they are educated in 'Extremistan' but practice in 'Mediocrestan.' Think of an Elder Law Attorney working in wills, trusts & estates. He starts out learning about these events that have revolutionized the western world... But that was all settled 350 years ago and his job consists of changing the names of the same document over and over. Is he really doing his clients any favors by assuming property law might 'blow-up.' More people live in his mundane world than that of a venture capitalist.
I admit, this is a rather weak analogy, but the point remains. Based on my undergraduate experience, I can safely say, the real world is no where near the roller-coaster ride portrayed in a typical liberal arts education. I really wonder if other readers of this book share that experience.
Thank you for reading my poorly-written post