Policymakers will welcome this practical guide to overcoming “cultural hangovers” and allowing more Americans to participate...

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AMERICA'S MOMENT

CREATING OPPORTUNITY IN THE CONNECTED AGE

An optimistic report on ways to harness the power of the digital age to create jobs for Americans.

In this rich compendium of information on new tools “to rework America, to rebuild the American dream,” a bevy of business, technology, and other experts convened by the Markle Foundation explains that the same modern forces that have erased so many American jobs—technological leaps and globalization—can become the basis for a vast expansion of work opportunities. Data and analytics can help develop new jobs, and the Internet can better match employers and middle-skill workers. Novel ways can be found to categorize and credential talent for an increasingly “no-collar” world. Much of the book focuses on the need to overcome old mindsets and habits that dominate the world of work. Online connections are now making possible an explosive growth in commerce, say participants in the “Rework America” initiative. For example, a Brooklyn-based woman now transmits designs digitally to a shoe store in China, which custom-makes shoes with a 3-D printer. As better online platforms are developed, more American sellers will be able to reach foreign buyers. At home, an outdated labor market system fails to match employers and workers when it comes to fast-changing skills and job categories. Too often, companies engage in up-credentialing, requiring college-level skills for jobs, such as entry-level IT positions, that do not require them. On the other hand, college dropouts get little credit for the college work they have completed. Taking a more nuanced view of skill-to-job matching can generate many more needed middle-skills workers, an area expected to be the largest part of all future job growth. Other topics include the need to anticipate new kinds of training needs and find better methods for sharing data.

Policymakers will welcome this practical guide to overcoming “cultural hangovers” and allowing more Americans to participate in the benefits of our networked era.

Pub Date: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-28513-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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