Students of population biology, gerontology, and finance alike will find value in these pages.

2030

HOW TODAY'S BIGGEST TRENDS WILL COLLIDE AND RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF EVERYTHING

Wharton School professor Guillén examines demographic, economic, and climatic trends to project a vision of the world 10 years hence.

Forecasting the future is always a project fraught with peril, as the authors of The Limits to Growth might tell you. Yet some trends of the present seem bound for a harvest of ineluctable results. The number of hungry people will grow in the next decade, but so, too, will obesity; by the author’s projections, 50% of Americans will be obese in 2030. This speaks to another growing trend: inequality, a neat solution for which seems unlikely. Even so, Guillén prophesies that middle-class markets will grow in Asia at a much faster clip than in Europe and North America while Africa, which now has the world’s fastest-growing populations, will be on the brink of either disaster or a renaissance that will finally bring it wealth. “For better or worse,” he writes, “its fortunes will matter globally.” Regarding the issue of population, the world will be older almost everywhere. Interestingly, Guillén links the success of Airbnb and other aspects of the “sharing economy” to older persons who want to remain in their homes but find them large enough to offer rooms to rent. Bearing the financial weight of this increasingly older population will be millennials and Gen Z’ers, many of whom, ventures the author, will not be able to accumulate much wealth over their working lifetimes. Some of the seemingly intractable problems of today—immigration and climate change, foremost among them—will not be fixed until the conversations surrounding them become fact-based. As Guillén notes, immigration is a net benefit to society, and “there’s a great need for a calm debate about the best policies to determine the volume, timing, and composition of immigration so as to maximize the opportunities for both the origin and the destination countries and so that globalization does not leave millions of people behind as they lose jobs and their communities decline.”

Students of population biology, gerontology, and finance alike will find value in these pages.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26817-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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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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