Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

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By Michael (Tulsa, OK) · ★★★★★ · May 02, 2008
Vanderbilt gets 5 stars for scaring the hell out of me every time I sit in the driver's seat. TRAFFIC is a compelling, curious read that makes you feel like you shouldn't be sitting in a car, much less driving one. You'll learn that there's such a thing as a "traffic archeologist," find out what... ...more
By Ken (Glendale, CA) · ★★★★☆ · March 09, 2009

I live in Los Angeles, and my daily commute subjects me to this city's infamous traffic. So why in the world would I want to read a book about traffic? After all, I live it every day. Well, whether you live in a crowded city or a small town off the interstate, Traffic turns out to be an interesti...

By Nicholas (Denver, CO) · ★★★★☆ · October 29, 2008
You suck at driving.

That's the message I walked away from with this book. And it was a message that made me sit up and pay attention. Non-fiction is something I read sparingly. Something about long spans of data makes my mind drift off, so I'll realize I've read an entire page without actually ab... ...more
By MRM (The United States) · ★★★★☆ · September 12, 2008
Well-written and entertaining look at the psychology of drivers (i.e. most of us). I would have preferred more about urban streets and cyclists (as I am a bike commuter), especially since Vanderbilt lives in my own borough of Brooklyn. But of course Traffic is wide-ranging, as it should be -- alw... ...more
By Derek (San Jose, CA) · ★★☆☆☆ · November 29, 2010
I expected to enjoy Traffic quite a bit - as a person with a psychology degree who loves to drive, I really looked forward to some interesting insights into human behavior behind the wheel. However, I only read about 60 pages into the book before I put it down.

One element I disliked was the narr... ...more
By Matt (Chicago, IL) · ★★★☆☆ · January 26, 2010
I read mostly nonfiction and tend to have a taste for the abstruse, so I was surprised to find myself getting annoyed at the length of this book. Upon further reflection, I realize that this feeling results from my perception that the author provides a lot of details and cites a lot of studies bu... ...more
By Nathaniel · ★★☆☆☆ · August 14, 2014
I had high hopes for this book after it sat unpurchased on my Amazon wishlist for three years...and once I finally got around to buying it, boy was I disappointed. To start with, Vanderbilt is the worst kind of modern nonfiction writer: the know-nothing cherrypicker who did some research on the i... ...more
By Jeff (Royal Oak, MI) · ★★★★☆ · February 25, 2015
This is the perfect example of 4.5 stars for me. I don't want to say it was AMAZING but it was significantly better than "really liked it." The writing's not especially wonderful, but the information is great. It's my kind of topic. It's delivered in a non-preachy tone though the author's "bias"... ...more
By Elizabeth (Bronx, NY) · ★★★★★ · August 20, 2013
Holy cow, this book was awesome. Pop science in which the author puts together a lot of studies about how driving actually works (like the physics and technology of how cars move) and ways this gets translated by people driving cars. It was the kind of book where every single paragraph contained... ...more
By Roger (Rio Rancho, NM) · ★★★★★ · October 01, 2008
I've complained in the past about how some full length books could have been accomplished in a single chapter. Some have one big idea that's introduced in the first chapter and then nothing. This is a great example of a book that used every page well. There was so much content that I had to stop... ...more