Owner of a research company and author of more than 30 books Plunkett discusses the factors that will influence the demands in the future economy.

Plunkett (Plunkett’s Telecommunications Industry Almanac 2011, 2010, etc.) takes an optimistic view of the near-future economy, which he defines as anytime from now to 2025. Between increasing worldwide populations and the needs of America’s own aging baby boomers, Plunkett sees markets expanding, demands shifting and the United States as the technology leader that will fill the needs of the changing landscape. Overall Plunkett’s style is polished and engaging for both business experts and lay audiences. Throughout the book, the author demonstrates his ability to easily and clearly present information, laying out arguments so logically that some otherwise surprising predictions, like an African “breadbasket,” seem plausible. Even explanations of scientific concepts, such as nanotechnology, are simplified and approachable. While having a wealth of knowledge and research behind him, the author seems particularly eager to inspire conversation among readers, offering lists of resources, discussion questions and links to an online discussion forum at the end of each chapter. For those who have a sincere interest in the world economy, Plunkett’s text contains the numbers and analysis that will strike a positive chord; however, for others, the book may come off as too data-heavy, with paragraphs full of facts, figures and sources, especially when compared with the watered-down counterparts of the genre. Despite the well-reasoned presentation and substantiating facts, readers will find that some of the author’s predictions feel incongruous with one another. For example, when it comes to technologies, Plunkett looks forward, visualizing acceptance and spread of sometimes controversial technologies, such as genetically modified foods; in other places, the viewpoint feels stagnant in our own time, such as the author’s confidence in fossil fuels. Yet these difficulties don’t harm the reading experience; instead they provide thought-provoking content for discussion with reading groups or even on the book’s LinkedIn group. Humble, honest and fact-filled, Plunkett’s book is a great option for those interested in learning more about and discussing the factors that will influence the world’s near-future economy.


Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2011

ISBN: 978-1608799992

Page Count: 274

Publisher: BizExecs Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2012

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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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Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

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A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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