A fact-packed, easy-to-navigate resource for consumers concerned about debt.

ABCS OF GETTING OUT OF DEBT

TURN BAD DEBT INTO GOOD DEBT AND BAD CREDIT INTO GOOD CREDIT

In this guide, Sutton (Run Your Own Corporation, 2012, etc.) offers recommendations for avoiding and solving debt problems.

The author begins by asserting that “the credit industry actively entices all comers, especially the young and inexperienced.” In the first part of this book, he goes on to offer some overall guidelines for dealing with consumer debt. In Chapter 4, he explains a 10-step strategy, along with sample worksheets, used by one couple who “never seemed to make a dent” in the amount they owed. The author makes recommendations about debt consolidation and includes a lengthy chapter, “Getting Help,” that thoroughly explains the different kinds of bankruptcy and the process of borrowing against a 401(k). The second part of the book looks at specific kinds of debt, ranging from current mortgage troubles to tax debt. A section on student loans, for example, includes eight remedies for dealing with overwhelming loan payments. Sutton’s chapter on debt collectors asserts that negotiating with collection agencies is “one of the most important skills you can learn and hone.” The handbook’s third part deals primarily with credit reporting agencies, credit reports and how they’re compiled, and credit repair. Throughout, the author presents stories of real-life predicaments that enliven what might have otherwise been bone-dry material. For example, “Credit Reports” describes the yearslong misery of a failed entrepreneur: “Roberto...had taken some risks on a restaurant that didn’t work out.” Finally, a chapter on credit scams and good uses of credit is followed by three appendices, including a list of other helpful books and websites.

A fact-packed, easy-to-navigate resource for consumers concerned about debt.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1937832070

Page Count: 220

Publisher: BZK Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more