Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience.




To succeed in the brave new worlds of self- and e-publishing, according to Kawasaki and Welch’s indispensable guide, one must be an author/publisher with an entrepreneurial bent.

It’s hard to believe in our advanced stage of Kindles and iPads, but in 2011, Kawasaki’s publisher, Penguin, encountered difficulties trying to electronically distribute his New York Times best-seller for a promotional effort. After reading a book called Be the Monkey, which explains the advantages of self publishing, Kawasaki and Welch developed “APE,” a concept they unveil as The Chicago Manual of Style for authors interested in controlling their own fate and getting their words to the reading public. The authors demonstrate how the days of “vanity publishing” are gone; from plotting and pricing to pitching and press releases, determined authors are now doing it for themselves. Before breaking down the self-publishing revolution, or “democratization,” the authors examine traditional publishing, including “fantasy” versus “reality” scenarios. By illustrating the archaic processes of the old model and revealing the precarious hierarchy of redundant players—such as agents, who should be very nervous about this book—the authors herald the paradigm shift that has led to the renaissance of entrepreneurial writers. The result is a clean, concise “model for the future” of publishing’s “new electronic realities.” The authors shatter the myth that e-books currently outsell printed ones, and their book has the foresight to provide information on numerous “tools,” computer programs, online author-service providers and reviewing websites, including a four-page list of “things nobody tells you.” With hundreds of hyperlinks accessible to print readers through the book’s website, the diligent duo covers how to avoid “looking self-published,” how to upload your work without glitches or “gaffes,” and the game-changing nature of print on demand, which will make being out of print “more of an oxymoron.” Encouraging writers to pitch their self-pubbed work to clout-carrying ventures, such as Amazon Encore and Kindle Direct, seems to play against the book’s buck-the-system attitude, but it does reflect the text’s inspiring tone.

Essential reading (and reference) for modern authors, regardless of experience.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988523104

Page Count: 386

Publisher: Nononina Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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

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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.


A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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