by Louis Hyman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 17, 2012
From Model-Ts to TVs to McMansions, Hyman uncovers the credit story behind all the glittering prizes and offers a...
From an economic historian, a timely look at the evolution of consumer debt in the United States.
Staggering debt, specifically in the form of student loans, accounts for many of the numbers swelling today’s Occupy Wall Street movement. Having graduated into a market where there are no jobs, young Americans feel bitterly duped at having pointlessly incurred the sort of “good” debt traditionally assumed by previous generations, confident that dividends would be forthcoming. How did we reach this pass? Hyman (Industrial and Labor Relations/Cornell Univ.; Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink, 2011) takes us almost decade by decade through the history of consumer debt, beginning just prior to the 1920s when individual borrowing still carried a moral stigma. The advent of the automobile changed all that. Soon, buying cars and houses on credit—all OK according to sophisticated financial advisors as long as the purchases conformed to a “budget” easily calculated when incomes were rising and jobs rarely lost—became a mark, not of being unable to pay, but rather of trustworthiness and stalwart character. Properly understood, borrowing is neither good nor bad in itself. Rather, it’s a part of American capitalism, “more than numbers, it is a set of relationships between people and institutions” well within our power to regulate. From the time when lenders and borrowers stared at each other across a desk to today’s impersonal transactions where debt can be traded “like any other commodity,” Hyman fills his narrative with a variety of tales that help us put the current economic turmoil in perspective. Confirmed free-marketeers will balk at portions of his analysis, thinking he’s gone too easy, for example, on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and hold his big-picture solutions—new federal agencies to evaluate businesses the same way the FHA created standards for homes and to coordinate the secondary market for securitization of business loans—at arm’s length, even if they agree with his goal of stimulating business investment. For the most part, however, this is an evenhanded account aimed at the general reader baffled by today’s economic crisis.From Model-Ts to TVs to McMansions, Hyman uncovers the credit story behind all the glittering prizes and offers a prescription to prevent the American Dream from turning into the American Nightmare.
Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012
Page Count: 224
Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011
Share your opinion of this book
by David Grann ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2017
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Finalist
Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.
During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Pub Date: April 18, 2017
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017
Share your opinion of this book
by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!