I’ve been reading a truly excellent book by Joshua Angrist and Jorn-Steffen Pischke called Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion. It’s not written for a general audience, but if you pulled an A- or better on a college-level econometrics course (and if you love Freakonomics), then this is the book for you. It should be required reading for anyone who is trying to write an applied dissertation. It is the rare book that captures the feeling of how to go about trying to attack an empirical questio; and it does this by working through two or three dozen of the neatest empirical papers of the last decade (often coauthored by Angrist). It is also peppered with references to Douglas Adams‘s writing — so what’s not to like?