An inspiring, provocative encouragement to younger generations to exercise political clout.



A spirited critique of American politicians’ treatment of younger generations, and a plan of action for youth empowerment. 

According to Moon (The Beltway Beast, 2014), a 65-year-old former financial industry executive and father of three, his generation’s stewardship of American democracy has been a moral disgrace. Its greatest victim, he says, is the “MI generation,” which includes millennials and the “iGeneration,” defined as “those born after 1998.” The current crop of American political leaders, he says, has given MIs a dangerous environmental policy, a widening chasm of economic inequality, and a toxic culture of rigid partisanship. The author particularly focuses on the damage caused by student-loan debt and an incoherent health care system. In both cases, he asserts, industries are permitted to engender unchecked hyperinflation. The United States government makes billions in profit annually from student loans, he says, which threatens to financially cripple an entire younger generation. And the health care system, he writes, seems designed to deliver the most onerous costs and the most limited choice. He does offer good news, though, noting that the MI generation is loaded with talent and diversity, that it has a penchant for entrepreneurial and technological innovation, and that it will soon become a dominant voting bloc. Moon recommends a political-action plan that focuses on winning vulnerable congressional seats and offers a set of criteria for selecting suitable candidates. Despite admitting his “guilt, frustration, and anger” at the current state of things at the outset of this book, the author supplies a surprisingly sober analysis—one that’s consistently reasonable and pragmatic. He also avoids obvious partisan allegiances, dispensing plenty of criticism for both major parties and decrying an electoral system that makes it extraordinarily hard for a candidate outside the two-party system to prosper. That said, this is a very brief study that covers an expansive stretch of political terrain, and as a result, some of the arguments, particularly in the sections on health care and student debt, are more exacting than others; a section on foreign policy is sensible but covers familiar ground. Overall, though, this is an intelligent call for practical reform.

An inspiring, provocative encouragement to younger generations to exercise political clout. 

Pub Date: June 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9913721-5-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: MGN Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2018

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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


“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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