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Timely, relevant counsel on how to avoid con artists.

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An attorney offers an all-encompassing exposé of financial scams.

This Rich Dad Advisor book departs from the primary focus of the series—business and investment advice. Instead, Sutton, a practicing attorney and the author of numerous other Rich Dad titles, focuses his attention on financial fraud schemes and how to prevent them. According to Sutton, “over 3.2 million Americans report incidents of fraud each year, and that’s only the people who actually said anything—a great many don’t.” Most chapters offer case studies of a particular type of scam followed by the author’s observations. Each study is engaging and often disturbing; clearly, it was Sutton’s intent to raise concern, if not fear, among his readers about the many ways in which people can be deceived. Some scammers, such as Charles Ponzi, whose name lives on in the term Ponzi scheme, and Bernard Madoff, who was convicted of perpetrating one such scheme that raked in billions of dollars, will be familiar to many readers while others are more obscure. However, these people are less important than the nature of their deceptions, about which Sutton goes into impressive detail. Particularly notable is the sheer breadth of his content; his examples include in-person, telephone-based, and online scams and address such crimes as identity theft (which affects more than 17 million victims annually, according to Sutton); phony sweepstakes; email solicitations; “vanity scams,” such as ineffective weight-loss products; and fraudulent real estate investments, among others.

Sutton cautions that anyone, regardless of age or class, is susceptible to con games, but he notes that “Seniors age seventy and up lose more money, by far, to scam artists and fraudsters than any other generation.” Indeed, some of the more heartbreaking cases here involve the elderly. One such example tells the story of an 85-year-old woman who was bilked by phone into believing that she’d won a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes in 2018. She lost close to $28,000 to the con artist for “taxes and fees” before the hoax was discovered by the victim’s daughter. Some readers may find these dramatic accounts of personal tragedies to be quite unsettling; for the most part, though, the case studies are instructive and cautionary in tone, showing exactly how several deceptions work in the real world. What’s more, Sutton provides both general and specific guidance on how to identify and protect oneself against such scams. For example, his “profile of your typical scammer” is an insightful list of 11 richly described attributes, such as “They like to tell you how the clock is ticking”; that list is followed by 13 equally insightful “things that make for a good mark,” which may give pause to any reader. The closing chapter’s excellent suggestions for developing “scam radar” supply a comprehensive checklist that’s as solid a resource as one could possibly find. Overall, Sutton’s prose is informative, easy to read, and authoritative without being stodgy. His detailed descriptions and expert advice will be valuable assets to consumers and business owners alike.

Timely, relevant counsel on how to avoid con artists.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947588-14-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: RDA Press, LLC.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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

“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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