A canny snapshot of a sprawling, kaleidoscopic and ever growing marketplace.

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THE RISE OF THE NEW EAST

BUSINESS STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS IN A WORLD OF INCREASING COMPLEXITY

A sharp tour d’horizon of the East’s significant market opportunities.

Business-strategy consultant and Financial Times columnist Simpfendorfer (The New Silk Road: How a Rising Arab World Is Turning Away from the West and Rediscovering China, 2009) writes with vibrancy and enthusiasm, yet neither disguises his closely argued, multipronged business advice to merchants and investors. Once primarily a manufacturer, the East—which Simpfendorfer considers to be the span from Beijing to Jakarta to Istanbul, with Cairo an important consideration—is now as much a market. The East is growing, and along with that growth comes complexity and the side effects of doing business abroad—e.g., cultural tastes, income variations, regulations and national currencies. The author, who has two decades of experience working in the region and brings a respectful sensitivity to doing business in the global marketplace, has witnessed this extraordinary transformation of the area, now comprising 50 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of its Muslim population. The scope of the region’s market is vast and varied, and it requires much more intimate knowledge than that gained managing from afar; there will be a critical need for country managers and local staff on the ground. Simpfendorfer is both persuasive and common-sensical as he counsels businesses to explore the halal market, the exhilarating film scene, and entertainment ranging from cricket to Korean pop music. He points to serious potential problems looming ahead—clean water, pollution, waste removal, energy conservation—and the various cultural and economic obstacles that have thwarted dealing with these issues. China, being central to this transformation, garners much of the author’s attention, and his recommendation is not to put all your eggs in one basket but to partner up with other emerging economies. In China, “the state sector grew more powerful as it squeezed out private firms and turned back the clock on market reforms,” though only the negligent would overlook China’s “143 mid- and large-sized cities with populations larger than 750,000.”

A canny snapshot of a sprawling, kaleidoscopic and ever growing marketplace.

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-137-37005-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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