Some Wisdom of Don Corleone
By Bryan Caplan
I just finished re-reading The Godfather. It’s full of grist for the social science mill. My personal favorite:
“There are men in this world,” he said, “who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know. I have seen a man, a fool, deliberately infuriate a group of dangerous men, and he himself without any resources. These are people who wander through the world shouting, ‘Kill me. Kill me.’ And there is always somebody ready to oblige them.”
Personality psychology, criminology, labor economics, game theory, international relations, sociology of poverty – these are just the start of the list of academic disciplines that could profitably pursue Don Corleone’s insight. And if you’re interested in what economists have awkwardly dubbed “non-cognitive ability,” read the whole book.