MONEY OF THE MIND

BORROWING AND LENDING IN AMERICA FROM THE CIVIL WAR TO MICHAEL MILKEN

To Grant, ``money of the mind'' is credit, and here he offers an entertaining as well as instructive chronicle of its near- ruinous emergence in the US. As the author of Bernard M. Baruch (1983) and publisher of a highly regarded newsletter on interest rates, Grant has the scholarly savvy to sift through the complex developments that have shaped American capitalism. He argues, for example, that the speculative excesses of the 1980's represented the culmination of a protracted cycle of increasingly easier credit, not spontaneous phenomena. According to Grant (a sound-money man by conviction), a pair of long-running trends—the democratization of credit and the socialization of risk—converged to create an unprecedented boom during the Reagan years. At the turn of the century, he points out, it was almost impossible for wage earners to borrow; during the past decade, they were invited, even implored, to do so. While US debt spiraled upward in the form of installment loans, junk bonds, mortgages, retail charge accounts, and allied obligations, the federal government accepted greater amounts of the risk (e.g., via deposit insurance) that used to be borne by creditors, an accommodation that Grant dates back to the Progressive Era. With both wit and perception, he lards his narrative with anecdotal accounts of yesteryear's seers and sinners, plus cautionary tales of their latter-day counterparts. In addition to such contemporary celebrities as Michael Milken, David Rockefeller, and Walter Wriston, he profiles less familiar figures from the past—Sewell Avery, George F. Baker, George Champion, James Stillman, et al. A substantive and accessible perspective on how the financial world really works, offering as its moral the unhappy reminder that all pipers eventually must be paid.

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-16979-9

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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