A well-argued but overlong demonstration of how earning an MBA can be a liability instead of an asset.

THE MBA BUBBLE

WHY GETTING AN MBA DEGREE IS A BAD IDEA

Ten years after receiving her master’s degree in business administration from a European business school, debut author Zanetti explains why the degree is often ineffective and unnecessary.

Zanetti takes readers through her argument point by point, beginning by noting that correlation and causation are distinct attributes: She cites research suggesting that, because the rigorous admission processes at top business schools are designed to admit individuals most likely to succeed, those individuals’ eventual successes are not the result of their educations at those schools. The book also addresses details of the financial tradeoffs students make in giving up several years of income in order to pursue a degree; most will not make up the difference in substantially higher post-MBA wages, Zanetti says. While data and figures support several of Zanetti’s arguments, others are more philosophical—the ethical limitations of business school, for instance, and the ineffectiveness of case studies as a tool for teaching students to manage new challenges. The book does admit that there are useful aspects to a business education, though Zanetti suggests that, in most cases, potential MBA students can more effectively educate themselves in the necessary areas without getting a degree. On the whole, Zanetti presents a strong argument, but it is not necessarily a book-length one; with several of the anecdotes and pieces of evidence appearing in multiple chapters, the text gets repetitive. The book is also hampered by uneven writing, and it is often evident that English is not Zanetti’s first language: “tittle” for “title”; “To create wealth in the west side of the world, it is not necessary to have neither working capital nor land”; “An MBA degree is not conceived to make you rich but to make rich the shareholders of business schools.”

A well-argued but overlong demonstration of how earning an MBA can be a liability instead of an asset.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490942933

Page Count: 232

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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