Likely to find its way onto the Republican platform but worthy of serious consideration on its own merits.

WHERE DOES IT HURT?

AN ENTREPRENEUR'S GUIDE TO FIXING HEALTH CARE

With the assistance of former BusinessWeek senior writer Baker (Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything, 2011, etc.), Bush, nephew of George H.W., offers an alternative to Obamacare based on his own experiences as CEO of athenahealth, Inc.

Despite the author’s family connections, this is by no means a vitriolic attack on the Affordable Care Act but rather an appraisal of why, in his opinion, it is not up to the necessary task of reforming the American health care system, since escalating costs (whether borne by individuals or government) are not sufficiently addressed. The author charges that the ACA has failed to address the “legions of powerful stakeholders” who profit from the system. At the top of his hit list are insurers and hospitals. He holds large hospitals accountable for providing many primary care services at inflated prices—“in hospitals we pay for a Ritz experience, but the service we get is below the YMCA.” Based on his experiences as a medic during the first Iraq war, he contends that the skills of highly trained specialists are being wasted on jobs that semiprofessionals could be trained to handle. After receiving a master’s degree from Harvard and serving as a consultant, Bush decided to launch a series of birthing clinics. In 1997, the venture failed, but he salvaged athenahealth, an online data-processing system for medical record-keeping that is now a $4 billion business. The author contends that the cost of medical treatment could be vastly reduced by the expansion of clinics staffed largely by semiprofessionals (perhaps attached to big-box stores such as Wal-Mart), which would treat minor injuries, colds and immunization. He advocates making medical records available to patients so that they can freely shop for affordable care from a pool of competing providers without the need of government intervention.

Likely to find its way onto the Republican platform but worthy of serious consideration on its own merits.

Pub Date: May 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59184-677-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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