PEOPLE, POWER, AND PROFITS

PROGRESSIVE CAPITALISM FOR AN AGE OF DISCONTENT

A lucid book grounded in vast knowledge—and equally vast idealism.

The renowned economist builds on his already extensive writings in the hope that policymakers will see the wisdom of altering both political and financial practices to restore the middle class in the United States.

Though Nobel Prize–winning economist Stiglitz (International and Public Affairs/Columbia Univ.; The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe, 2016, etc.) has unquestionably earned the prestige to be heard on nearly any issue related to the economy, he concedes that the cataclysmic changes he proposes would probably never derive from the current Republican Party and might never occur if the Democratic Party controls the White House and Congress. Regardless, the author rarely wallows in pessimism as he presents his extensive platform in language that will be accessible to most general readers. Stiglitz sets the stage for his approachable narrative by recalling his childhood in a healthy industrial city (Gary, Indiana) and how, when he returned to Gary for his 55th high school reunion, the healthy economy had been tainted by a combination of political and economic policies benefitting the ultrawealthy. Those conditions led to massive income inequality, one of the most significant issues facing the country today. Stiglitz pinpoints the causes as a toxic stew of too-big-to-fail banks placing greed above economic growth, government initiatives favoring globalization without protecting American laborers, lack of recognition by both government and the private sector that shifts from a manufacturing economy to a service economy require a new paradigm, and the lack of effective responses to obviously increasing income inequality. In the second part of the book, the author offers a massive platform for change that must be preceded by voters choosing candidates for Congress and the White House who are willing to cast aside the hegemony of the ultrawealthy. As he writes, “achieving greater equality is not just a matter of morals or good economics; it is a matter of the survival of our democracy.”

A lucid book grounded in vast knowledge—and equally vast idealism.

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-324-00421-9

Page Count: 366

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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