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With enthusiasm and solid research, this book is an entertaining, informative look at cutting-edge technology.

Outer space is open for business according to this energetic account.

There was a time when the space race was controlled by superpower states vying for advantage and prestige with massive rockets. These days, private companies are looking at the lucrative opportunities of space travel. Bloomberg Businessweek feature writer Vance, the author of Elon Musk, believes that the pivotal year was 2008, when Musk’s SpaceX became the first private company to build a low-cost rocket and launch it into low orbit. Other billionaires poured money into similar projects, and within a few years, venture capitalists had jumped onboard. The unifying theme was a belief that government space agencies had become mired in suffocating bureaucracy and were unaware of the advances made in consumer electronics and off-the-shelf equipment. “Trying out an idea in space no longer required congressional approval or some wild-eyed dreamer willing to risk his personal fortunes,” writes Vance. “It just required a couple of people in a room agreeing that they’re willing to spend someone else’s money on a huge risk.” The author follows several companies that made advances with small rockets launching minisatellites for purposes ranging from weather forecasting to advanced communications. Vance was able to visit several launch sites and interview most of the key players. Several of them are alarmingly eccentric, but they all have the sense of being part of something historic. One of the most interesting ideas is for a space-based internet to connect people without access to fiber-optic cables, which would require a network of thousands of satellites. That’s a difficult proposition, but the use of the SpaceX Starlink system during the Ukraine war shows the potential. Although some of Vance’s stories go on for longer than needed, he ably captures “the spectacular madness of it all.”

With enthusiasm and solid research, this book is an entertaining, informative look at cutting-edge technology.

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 9780062998873

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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