THE NEXT BOOM

WHAT YOU ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORLD BETWEEN NOW AND 2025

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...

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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