Extremely timely given growing fears about the possibility of another financial crash.
New York Times business correspondent Morgenson (The Capitalists’ Bible, 2009, etc.) and investment consultant Rosner combine their expertise in a fresh look at the causes of the 2008 mortgage meltdown.
“Will a debacle like the credit crisis of 2008 ever happen again?” ask the authors, answering, “most certainly.” They put a heavy blame on Congress, which failed to fix the problem when it could and now remains silent on how to resolve the insolvent mortgage agencies. They also set out to identify the “powerful people whose involvement in the debacle has not yet been chronicled” (many of whom are still active), and the “key incidents that have seemed heretofore unrelated.” Morgenson and Rosner focus on the ties between government and private finance through James A. Johnson, chief executive officer of Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998, and from 1999 to the present, a director at Goldman Sachs. Johnson transformed Fannie Mae into a political force and lobbying influencer, a strategy that “would be mimicked years later” by Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and others, and by Bill Clinton's Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Robert Rubin. The authors show how changes in law and regulation unnoticed at the time—Sen. Chris Dodd’s amendment to the 1991 FDICIA Act, Alan Greenspan’s 1992 ending of Federal Reserve oversight of primary dealers, further regulatory changes in 2001—paved the way for the multitrillion-dollar disaster. The final chapter retraces the crisis and shows how the New York Fed and Fed Reserve tried to downplay what was becoming evident to some of its own makers.Extremely timely given growing fears about the possibility of another financial crash.
Pub Date: May 24, 2011
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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by Erin Meyer ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2014
These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.
A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.
“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.
Pub Date: May 27, 2014
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014
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