Sage, grandfatherly, often-amusing advice on watching one’s pennies.




Financial coach Petrick offers dozens of strategies to save money while maintaining a sense of humor.

This book is about making money on a very human scale–as such, readers can, and more than likely should, start following its commonsensical advice today. The author also wants readers to have fun in the process, so he keeps his tone light and mirthful and he provides ways to achieve the satisfaction of another dollar in the bank. Petrick’s advice is homespun: get AAA and rewards credit cards (and always pay off those credit cards); get free stuff by browsing the Internet; and pursue hobbies with minimal ongoing costs or, even better, those that may add a small second-income stream like fly-tying, pottery or photography. He recommends that readers drink a glass of wine at home before going to a restaurant, do their own laundry, clean their own houses and ditch labor-saving, and money-gobbling, items like juice boxes and electric shoe polishers. Into the mix he blends some more serious tidbits, recommending that readers never stop learning. Though he doesn’t tender specific investment tools, the author counsels readers to stay on top of these methods by devoting 15 minutes to them each day. Petrick’s primary objective is encouraging readers to live on 70 percent of their salaries and invest 10 percent in each of three areas: paying off debt, savings and charity. In the vein of power-of-positive-thinking titles, he writes, “Your personal financial life will improve in direct proportion to the amount of money you release toward improving our world.” The exact percentage of charity doesn’t matter, he writes, since it’s the attitude that counts. The author reiterates the old chestnuts–avoid debt, build an emergency fund, invest with your eyes open and learn from mistakes–but what powers the book is the doctrine of steady, disciplined accumulation. Petrick counsels that readers should make the savings game fun by treating it just so–as a game.

Sage, grandfatherly, often-amusing advice on watching one’s pennies.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-595-71907-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2011

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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

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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.


A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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