A refreshingly different view of manufacturing that clearly identifies what is necessary to compete globally.

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AMERICAN DRIVE

HOW MANUFACTURING WILL SAVE OUR COUNTRY

With the assistance of Cox (Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862, 2005, etc.), automotive industry veteran Dauch (Passion for Manufacturing, 1993) provides a unique view of manufacturing and its role in the future of the United States.

In the early 1990s, the author organized teams that built up American Axle and Manufacturing as a world-class competitor out of the relics of some of GM's former parts suppliers. In the ’80s, he had provided the leadership on the factory floor that helped turn Chrysler around. When he took control of American Axle in 1994, the average educational level of the work force was 9th grade. Ten years later, the average worker was a community college sophomore. “You need a strong background in mathematics, science, computers and communications,” he writes. “Modern manufacturing is not your father's factory floor.” Dauch’s quality reputation is built on lean manufacturing and the just-in-time inventory system. He and his teams modified the approach of W. Edwards Deming, who became legendary in the Japanese auto industry in the ’50s. The author describes how he built up quality systems at Chrysler and then American Axle and how the process is organized from the design and engineering phase forward. Sometimes, writes Dauch, the United Auto Workers union would support his efforts, but most often the organization was obstructive. From a base in renovated 100-year-old factories in Detroit, American Axle has become one of the world's premier axle and drivetrain assembly manufacturers. Throughout the book, Dauch discusses his leadership philosophy and argues against the view that foreign competition is undermining American manufacture.

A refreshingly different view of manufacturing that clearly identifies what is necessary to compete globally.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-250-01082-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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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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Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

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CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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