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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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

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