An attractively presented guide and showcase to the museum and to business history.

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AMERICAN ENTERPRISE

A HISTORY OF BUSINESS IN AMERICA

The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History provides an illustrated overview of the country's business history, including images of objects and artifacts in the museum's collections.

The editors, Serwer, a former editor at Fortune magazine, and Liebhold, a curator at the museum, are joined by eight contributors from business, commerce, finance and government service. These include former treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs veteran Hank Paulson, Richard Trumka of the United Mine Workers Union, Bill Ford of the motor company, and Fisk Johnson, the fifth generation of the family in charge of SC Johnson. The editors identify four successive phases of business organization. Small businessmen and family businesses organized around trades and crafts characterized the Merchant Era, from 1770 to the 1850s. The Corporate Era (1860s-1930s) was based on the growth of industrialization, increasing capital and power, investors and limited liability. Contributor Adam Davidson, of the New York Times Magazine, writes that this period “represents a defining break between an old way of living and the new one we now know.” The editors divide the decades from the close of World War II to the present between the Consumer Era and the Global Era. The book covers the proliferation of slavery and the China trade, along with the development of the oil industry, advertising and the explosive rise of digital technology in the past few decades. The most interesting parts of the narrative are the pictures of the objects in the museum’s collection—e.g., a Singer sewing machine, an Underwood typewriter, a Bell telephone, a 1914 cash register from Marshall Field & Company in Detroit and a DuMont “Revere” entertainment center from 1947. Paulson concludes with a two-part contribution on global warming, noting that even though “we can see the crash coming…we're sitting on our hands instead of altering course.”

An attractively presented guide and showcase to the museum and to business history.

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58834-496-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Smithsonian Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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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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