MONEY

WHO HAS HOW MUCH AND WHY

Anecdotal audits of American assets and incomes that (like Wall Street's jest about economists laid end-to-end) never reaches a conclusion. Drawing on scores of secondary sources, Hacker (Political Science/Queens College; Two Nations, 1992, etc.) offers a hit-or- miss canvas of what well-paid, or at least well-regarded, US citizens make for working at various trades and their net worths. Inter alia, he provides selective data on the earning power of doctors, lawyers, and corporate chiefs, plus a host of other high- profile callings, including coaches of big-time college teams, film stars, school teachers, sports professionals, university professors. Conspicuous by their absence, however, are dentists, entrepreneurs (who, the author breezily asserts, can pay themselves anything they want), fashion models, songwriters, and tax collectors. Not too surprisingly, given the temper of the times, the top officers of publicly held enterprises are singled out for special, somewhat snide attention, in which the link of handsome pay packages to a company's success is breezily dismissed. Courtesy of Forbes magazine, the author also includes a briefing on what it takes to qualify for a list of the wealthiest Americans. Covered as well in no great depth are such hot topics as: the widening gap between the incomes of those on the upper and lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder; the persistent disparity between the earnings of blacks and whites, men and women, and immigrants and native- born; and the author's calculations of what constitutes a living wage. All but ignored, by contrast, are the influences of credit, non-monetary motivations, and supply/demand forces on income. An academic's discontinuous and vaguely discontented survey of the way the money goes in latter-day America.

Pub Date: June 17, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-19646-8

Page Count: 246

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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