An accessible primer on the capitalistic opportunities presented by this vice gone suddenly mainstream.




Business narrative of the halcyon dawn of marijuana legalization.

Hageseth is an old-school drug warrior’s worst nightmare: an affable, articulate venture capitalist who argues that correcting prohibition’s folly will benefit both investors and society at large. In witty and informed, if overly casual, prose, he narrates his immersion in the cannabis industry, alongside the broader narrative of social resistance to the substance’s government-engineered demonization. The author begins with his ambition to build the Green Man Cannabis ranch, a “$30 million tourist destination” where visitors could enjoy cannabis like fine wine. He still seems astonished by the speed of change, having entered the medical marijuana field in 2009. Before that, he had prospered via unorthodox investments before taking losses in the housing bubble collapse. A chance encounter with a high-end grower ignited his curiosity: “It took me all of ten minutes to go from a guy falling in love with what was getting him high to a business guy” looking for opportunity. Hageseth faced a steep learning curve, dealing with eccentric, shifty growers, burglaries, and law enforcement, who were simultaneously surly and curious about the new gray areas. His business acumen helps demystify the underground growers’ culture. “Because we were doing things cheap and small-minded,” he writes, “we had unwittingly introduced glaring inefficiencies into the system.” Though he initially seemed headed for failure, he saw “a critical element that weed had that no other industry had: opportunity.” Sure enough, his investments in high-end grow spaces and personnel paid dividends, as his improved product began flying out of dispensaries and winning industry awards. Green Man was thus ideally positioned for the surprise 2012 legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Hageseth closes his overview with a set of proposals for corporate oversight, law enforcement and public safety, given that widespread acceptance of cannabis seems increasingly inevitable.

An accessible primer on the capitalistic opportunities presented by this vice gone suddenly mainstream.

Pub Date: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-137-28000-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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


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 readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.


A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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