A solid overview of a nation much in world news and of economic trends that will have significant effects in the global...

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SAUDI, INC.

THE ARABIAN KINGDOM'S PURSUIT OF PROFIT AND POWER

Tracing the conjoined realms of dynastic politics and international commerce in the history of Saudi Arabia.

It was an Arab from the desert, Abdul Aziz, who led the struggle to unify the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into the kingdom of al Saud, but what gave him the wherewithal to link the settlements of his new country were petrodollars, brought to the kingdom by an American concern called Aramco. Indeed, writes energy consultant and historian Wald, it was the vision of what the company built for its own workers—schools and hospitals and apartment blocks—that set Abdul Aziz on his modernizing path, which was undertaken with some reluctance since the king “felt more than a little uneasy at the pace at which his people’s traditional lifestyle was changing.” Later, the Saudi government would nationalize Aramco; in recent years, there have been proposals for a public offering, though whether for Saudi investors exclusively or a broader clientele remains to be seen. Wald shows how the al Saud rulers entered into another uneasy alliance—with religious fundamentalists—in order to legitimate and solidify their rule and spread it throughout Arabia. She rejects the thought that, despite the overwhelming Saudi presence among the 9/11 hijackers, the Saudi royals have much involvement with terrorism, which is bent on upsetting their power as much as waging jihad against the West. The author closes by hinting at reforms that she notes at the outset are beyond the scope of her discussion, reforms not just in the structure of Aramco and the company’s approach to energy, but also in the larger Saudi society, evidenced by such things as greater investment in education and a diversified economy in which women fully participate.

A solid overview of a nation much in world news and of economic trends that will have significant effects in the global marketplace in years to come.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-660-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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