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Read is a academic speaker, so its really hard to stay awake in the class and he talks so fast its impossible to write notes. Dont waste time writing any books, nor buying them since 95% of exams are on the lecture. You dont need to go to lecture since everything he says is on the notes online. The sample exam he gives is very misleading, it caused me to get a B in the class. The questions are very simplified and easy on the sample exam and on the real exam they are in depth. Memorize the notes online and understand the major concepts. the exams are about 10t/f, 25 mult choice, and 3 short answers. you miss one short answer and you get a B on the exam. Midterm = 1/3 grade, paper = 1/3 grade, final = 1/3 grade. For the paper, you can choose from a 10 pg research paper throughout the course, or wait till the 10th week for a question to answer in 5 pages. The question prompts he gives are very very confusing and it drove me insane for days. I totally BS'ed my way through it. I personally regret not doing the paper, its longer but you have the whole quarter to do it and you have more options.
Professor Read is a very nice man who truly cares about his students. However, I found his class rather boring. The midterm and 1/2 of the final were multiple choice, which I felt was an ineffective way to test knowledge about social systems. I didn't put too much effort into the class and pulled a B+... I think an A would have been completely feasable, had I been more interested in the topic.
Professor Read is a fine teacher, but those taking his courses should keep in mind a few facts. First, he is a mathematical anthropologist, so while you won't be expected to do differential equations, you will be expected to demonstrate a good grasp of complex kinship and social patterns. Secondly, his exams can be a bit tricky. Make sure you have *all* the lecture notes for this class, in addition to reading the finer points in the text on social exchanges. Overall, I learned a large amount of information in this class, and I consider it worthwhile, though it was by far my most difficult class to date. If you're interested in getting an easy A, don't take this course. If you're interested in applying yourself as an anthropologist, Professor Read is an excellent guide to that goal.