An accessible audit of Russia's efforts to gain a place at global capitalism's table after more than seven decades of Communist misrule and mismanagement. As Goldman (Economics/Wellesley; What Went Wrong with Perestroika, 1991, etc.) makes abundantly clear, switching from a centrally planned economy to a market economy is easier said than done. Goldman draws on in-country contacts, official records, and contemporary news reports to document how Moscow has gone wrong at critical junctures since 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev first set the Soviet Union on a restructuring course whose implications he did not fully grasp. After a lucid account of the sociopolitical events that allowed Boris Yeltsin to oust Gorbachev (in effect, by undermining the USSR), the author offers an unsparing critique of the current incumbent's stewardship. Like his unfortunate predecessor, Goldman points out, Yeltsin failed to facilitate the formation of new businesses. Nor did he and his chief adviser (Yegor Gaidar) do enough to encourage land ownership. They also neglected to institute currency reforms that could have dampened inflationary pressures and enhanced the ruble's convertibility. Banking, price control, and tax policies were botched as well; the regime has dithered disastrously on privatizing state-owned enterprises; and the government has yet to sponsor commercial codes that might restore much-needed order to a chaotic, crime-ridden consumer marketplace. The author goes on to weigh Russia's makeover prospects in the context of the bootstrap recoveries achieved by former Kremlin satellites (Hungary, Poland), mainland China, and WW II's losers (Japan, West Germany). Even without much foreign aid or investment in the short run, concludes Goldman, the Russians could eventually win their latest revolution, albeit at no small cost. An informed and informative analysis of the toil and trouble attendant upon a great nation's attempts to gain world-class status as an economic rather than military power. Helpful tabular material and graphs throughout.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-393-03700-2

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1994

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More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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