Koch’s down-to-earth personality, business advice, and passion are good models for those interested in making their own ways.

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QUENCH YOUR OWN THIRST

BUSINESS LESSONS LEARNED OVER A BEER OR TWO

The founder and brewer of Samuel Adams shares the story of Boston Beer Company, his business philosophy, and entrepreneurial tips.

Today, craft beer is all the rage, but that wasn’t the case in 1984, when Koch decided to quit his successful job as a management consultant to start the Boston Beer Company, which would become famous for Samuel Adams Boston Lager. Inspired by upstart San Francisco–based brewery Anchor Brewing, Koch set out to brew a high-quality, premium beverage that was basically nonexistent in the beer market at the time. In doing so, he became a pioneer of the craft, home-brew, and small-batch movements. However, Koch’s desire to start a brewery was not a whim. He is a fifth-generation brewer, and the Samuel Adams recipe has been in the family since the 1860s. Invoking “the spirit of a tavern conversation,” Koch’s chatty prose is fun and jocular as he recounts the old days when he sold Samuel Adams by hand while touring Boston’s bars and restaurants, giving impromptu taste tests and letting the quality of the beer do most of the talking. Koch does more than tell old war stories (a bar manager once pulled a gun on him during a cold call). He also shares nuggets of common-sense business wisdom, such as investing in the product over marketing, pursuing organic growth over growth at all costs, and setting challenging but attainable goals. Koch’s wisdom is summed up in his koan: “No one climbs a mountain to get to the middle.” As the brewery landed more accounts and sales increased domestically and abroad, it experienced all the growing pains of a budding business as Koch’s once-ragtag organization quickly morphed into a more streamlined and professional operation. Always true to himself, the author’s belief in Samuel Adams and the people around him is what makes his story and philosophy so genuine and endearing.

Koch’s down-to-earth personality, business advice, and passion are good models for those interested in making their own ways.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07050-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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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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