A satisfying combination of serious gusto and sharp thinking.

STREET SMARTS

ADVENTURES ON THE ROAD AND IN THE MARKETS

International investor and worldwide roamer Rogers (A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing, 2009, etc.) recounts his vibrant life and provides significant insight into the financial system.

The author begins with his first significant voyage: from the Alabama Canebrake to Yale University and on to Oxford’s Balliol College, cutting a voracious intellectual swath. This leads to his first piece of advice on financial issues: At a lecture in 2010, “I explained how the study of philosophy and history were indispensable to me as an investor….It taught me to think around corners, to see what is missing…and in doing so it teaches you to doubt.” Rogers’ personal life gives considerable warmth to the story, but he is never far from investing. He explains how Wall Street requires judgment, research, curiosity and skepticism; emphasizes the importance of international investing; describes the rise of hedge funds; and examines why American universities are in precarious financial shape. Rogers started the Quantum Fund with George Soros, worked like a dog and retired when he was 37. He was disenchanted with Quantum and ready to ride his motorcycle around the world. There are numerous digressions in the narrative—boat racing at Oxford, hosting Mardi Gras parties at his New York City home, why tenure is a disaster—and an energetic survey of America on the brink, awash with overwhelming debt and no savings to fight it, the government continuing to buy “bonds on what have already proved to be losing ventures run by mediocre people.” He satisfyingly rips into Alan Greenspan, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, and he offers advice on commodities and currency investing overseas. The author now lives with his family in Singapore, and he includes a sensitive portrait of that city.

A satisfying combination of serious gusto and sharp thinking.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-98607-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Crown Business

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more