A solid and well-written overview of how to invest effectively.

A longtime financial executive explains investing to novices.

In this debut business book, Geddes examines the basic principles of investing, how human psychology is often at odds with sound practices, and how individuals can choose to manage their own assets or hire a financial professional. And even though he has made his career managing the investments of others, the author tells readers that in most cases, they can get the best returns by doing it themselves and pursuing a passive strategy that requires little more than annual maintenance. The volume encourages readers to put their money in index funds rather than trying to pick high-performing stocks or attempting to profit from the rises and falls of the markets, arguing—with supporting evidence—that it is the method that provides the most reliable returns. Geddes recommends concentrating on improving returns by minimizing fees and taxes, showing that these are the ways investors are most able to improve their outcomes. The work also offers guidance for readers who would prefer to hire a professional, with advice on assessing potential advisers and working effectively with them. The author is a strong writer who does an excellent job of stripping away the bluster and complexity that often surround financial advice to focus instead on the fundamentals. The book’s grounding in psychology gives Geddes a theme to return to as he reminds readers throughout the text that although it may feel appropriate to buy and sell in response to changes in the market, resisting the urge will deliver the best long-term results. The balance between details and minutiae is well managed, with plenty of actionable information presented in a comprehensible format. Readers who are already aware of the basics of investing will find the volume an effective refresher and a useful reminder of the value of passive strategies while those without substantial knowledge of the subject will be able to use the work as an effective and engaging introduction.

A solid and well-written overview of how to invest effectively.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2022

ISBN: 979-8985006414

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2022


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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019


A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023