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Traffic: Why We Drive The Way We Do (And What It Says About Us)
Ok guys, I know what you’re thinking: that a review about a book on traffic does not come off as the most exciting blog post you’ve read today. And I get it, I really do. I will admit, I tend to be a little on the nerdy side with my preferred reading material, and even I was like “come on, seriously?” when I saw the generic computer generated recommendation of “if you liked this book then, you might like this book Traffic.” But, having now read this book in its entirety, I have to say I believe that it really is a book that anyone who is a driver should read. Hear me out!
About the Author
Tom Vanderbilt is an American blogger, journalist and author. He writes about a variety of topics, including design, technology, science, and culture, among others. He is a contributing editor to award-winning publications, I.D. and Print, as well as a contributing writer for the popular blog, designobserver.com.
Traffic explores the nuances of driving and, of course with that, the traffic that it creates. Vanderbilt extensively studies the cultures of traffic, in America and internationally, and discusses the psychological, physical, and technical factors that make us drive the way that we do.
Traffic Book Review
This book is seriously informative. I mean, very, very informative. The story goes that author Tom Vanderbilt spent 3 years travelling the world and collecting information and interviews, and you can tell. With basically a third of the book devoted to the footnotes, you can trust that the content is backed by his exhaustive research.
Yet, the book doesn’t read like your dense, exhaustive but in a different way, college organic chemistry text. It reads very easily and is not at all overwhelming. It explains everything about driving that you’ve always wondered about, like when a lane ends should you merge into the other lane as soon as possible or merge later? (And many more things that you probably hadn’t ever even considered before like the difference in traffic accidents on tree lined streets vs those lined with bulky, ugly guardrails.)
And for me, it totally changed my driving. This is really why I am recommend this book so highly (not just because I appreciate heavily researched literature). Traffic really opened my eyes to the consequences of our increasingly mobile world.Traffic really opened my eyes to the consequences of our increasingly mobile world.Click To Tweet
Usually, I would not encourage every person out there to read the book I am reviewing. I think most books have a target audience in mind, and the further you get from that target individual, the less helpful the book usually becomes. This is really not the case with Traffic. I truly do not feel that there are any people who could not benefit from reading this. (I guess maybe if you have never driven in your life and never plan to, then maybe this book wouldn’t be that helpful? Even so, Vanderbilt addresses pedestrian traffic.)
So, seriously, for the safety of all of us driving out there today, read this book, and tell your teenage kids to read this book, and then really let it influence the way that you drive.
Check it out here: