CAREERS

BE SAVVY, BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND DON’T BE A MORON: TURN WORK INTO A HOBBY (VOLUME 1)

Minter compiles advice and reflections that he has told his children into a short, easy, entertaining read geared to young adults who appreciate a little sass in their reading material.

Each chapter of the book provides advice on a different theme, everything from knowing your strengths to making goals to networking. Despite these commonplace topics, Minter delivers content that feels different and new due to his writing style; whereas other books in the genre rely on a friendly tone, Minter goes a step further and injects snarky comments and stories into the text. The author walks the fine line of sarcasm, sounding like a cooler, older sibling and never coming off as a condescending adult. In places, the book becomes comical; his chapter on morons in the workplace and other anecdotes are entertaining and illustrate his points well. Snappy chapter titles such as “Don’t Race Cows” and “Do What Unsuccessful People Won’t” are screwy enough to allude to the chapters’ contents while also enticing the reader. The style could easily appeal to those who enjoy plucky horseplay, but may come off as tedious to a more serious reader looking for a handbook of professional advice. Although the author reads as a sibling, when he discusses college and international travel, he calls himself a bit of a dinosaur. Here, Minter deviates from popular sentiment that college should be an experience. Instead, he argues that college should be geared toward getting a career, and it seems, in Minter’s opinion, that career should be in the private sector. Whereas other books treat service and public sector jobs with a range of deference to acknowledgement, Minter completely ignores these types of positions. Although the omission is noticeable, it doesn’t distract from the other advice and messages that, together, make up a quick, amusing read. A useful blend of friendly and snarky advice from an older sibling.

 

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461095897

Page Count: 113

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

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

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

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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