As is usual with Ariely, the dismal science is rendered anything but dismal with the use of provocative real-world examples...

AMAZING DECISIONS

THE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO IMPROVING BUSINESS DEALS AND FAMILY MEALS

Ariely (Psychology and Behavioral Economics/Duke Univ.; Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, 2016, etc.) and illustrator Trower break ranks to show that money isn’t everything.

There are social norms, and there are market norms. The two do not always coincide: People do things in the market for financial reasons, but they do things in the social sphere out of love, loyalty, desire, and other nonmonetary considerations. According to the author, deciding which norm to put to work is the basis of good decision-making. In an early example in this engagingly illustrated graphic tour, Ariely depicts a character who decides that it’s only right to reward his in-laws with cash in return for their having cooked him a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner. Such a person would rightly be thought a clod even though he would err in the other direction by leaving a restaurant without paying. Situational thinking, then, is in order, and as Ariely’s “social fairy” alerts the poor guy, “you completely missed the point of a social exchange.” Ariely provides a number of other examples, based on economic research, showing that people are not always motivated by money, even in the marketplace. A simple cash bonus often does not prompt better productivity, while a meaning-laden, human expression of appreciation goes a long way. Ariely counsels that thinking about where values and rewards align is the proper way to arrive at decisions about how to motivate workers, how to encourage charitable donations and voting, and other such things. As he writes, winningly, “we can strategically use social norms or market norms to encourage people to act in the best interests of themselves, those around them, and their world as a whole.”

As is usual with Ariely, the dismal science is rendered anything but dismal with the use of provocative real-world examples of how people actually do things outside of the textbooks.

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-10376-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

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CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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