by Peter S. Goodman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 18, 2022
An urgent, timely, and compelling message with nearly limitless implications.
The consequences of unfettered avarice.
New York Times global economics correspondent Goodman mounts a scathing critique of the greed, narcissism, and hypocrisy that characterize those in “the stratosphere of the globe-trotting class,” many of whom gather at the annual World Economic Forum held in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos. Davos Man—an epithet coined by political scientist Samuel Huntington—is “an unusual predator whose power comes in part from his keen ability to adopt the guise of an ally.” The “relentless plunder” perpetrated by Davos Man, Goodman argues persuasively, “is the decisive force behind the rise of right-wing populist movements around the world,” leading to widening economic inequality, intense public anger, and dire threats to democracy. The author closely examines five individuals: private equity magnate Stephen Schwarzman; JPMorgan Chase executive Jamie Dimon; asset manager Larry Fink; Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff, who promotes himself as “the most empathetic corporate chieftain.” At the same time that these men broadcast their concern for social justice, they enrich themselves by manipulating economies, lobbying politicians, eviscerating regulations, weakening government oversight, and extracting huge tax benefits. Fink’s professed concern for the environment, for example, is really an alarm about risk to investments: “In a world under assault by rising seas and turbulent weather, how safe was real estate, and what were the implications for mortgage-backed securities?” During the mortgage crisis, Schwarzman’s company bought foreclosed properties, amassing a large inventory that it leased to desperate renters. With their yachts, multiple mansions, and private islands, they prove themselves “unmoored from the rest of human experience.” Reining in Davos Man, Goodman asserts, “can happen only through the exercise of democracy—by unleashing strategies centered on boosting wages and working opportunities, by erecting new forms of social insurance, by reviving and enforcing antitrust law, by modernizing the tax code to focus on wealth.”An urgent, timely, and compelling message with nearly limitless implications.
Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022
Page Count: 480
Publisher: Custom House/Morrow
Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021
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by Jonah Berger ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2023
Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.
By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Pub Date: March 7, 2023
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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