A smart, comprehensive economics guide with a feminist twist.



Diamond (Whole Worlds Could Pass Away, 2017, etc.) sets out to debunk the patriarchy of capitalism in this nonfiction work aimed at women.

Capitalism, throughout history, has kept women from pursuing an equal or gainful role in the creation and accumulation of wealth, according to the author. Even today, she says, societal norms discourage women from taking an interest in economic affairs. As she writes in her introduction, when it comes to the economic discussions, “letting yourself doze off is as dangerous as sleeping with a huge python in the house. Only when a greater number of women understand economic secrets, muffled by slithery language, will we find the political will to transform them.” To that end, she offers a crash course in basic economic theory along with investigative dives into how women and minorities have been shut out of economic growth, the cause and fallout of the 2008 global recession, and the ways in which the economy could be fixed to work better for everyone. Mixing personal narrative, history, definitions, and entertaining comic-strip asides, illustrated by Todd, Diamond encourages women to get informed, to get angry, and to talk about wresting control of society from the oppressive “EconoMan.” Diamond writes in a peppy, accessible prose that brings clarity to complex subjects: “Voilà! It’s free market magic. The bias of sexism and racism is easily eliminated,” she says while explaining economist Milton Friedman’s theory of the cost of prejudice. “You see how this works for us, girls?” But for all these flourishes, the author doesn’t shy away from tackling complex (and sometimes-dry) economic ideas. Diamond claims to be merely an amateur economist, but her experience as a novelist, journalist, and professor are all brought to bear to demystify difficult concepts, such as Pareto efficiency (“Pareto basically said that an allocation of resources is efficient if as a result, one individual is better off, and no individual is worse off”). Diamond’s wit and charm, combined with Todd’s quirky art, succeed in creating an economic primer that’s both informative and fun.

A smart, comprehensive economics guide with a feminist twist.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63152-318-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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


“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 forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.


Known for her often contentious perspectives, New York Times opinion writer Weiss battles societal Jewish intolerance through lucid prose and a linear playbook of remedies.

While she was vividly aware of anti-Semitism throughout her life, the reality of the problem hit home when an active shooter stormed a Pittsburgh synagogue where her family regularly met for morning services and where she became a bat mitzvah years earlier. The massacre that ensued there further spurred her outrage and passionate activism. She writes that European Jews face a three-pronged threat in contemporary society, where physical, moral, and political fears of mounting violence are putting their general safety in jeopardy. She believes that Americans live in an era when “the lunatic fringe has gone mainstream” and Jews have been forced to become “a people apart.” With palpable frustration, she adroitly assesses the origins of anti-Semitism and how its prevalence is increasing through more discreet portals such as internet self-radicalization. Furthermore, the erosion of civility and tolerance and the demonization of minorities continue via the “casual racism” of political figures like Donald Trump. Following densely political discourses on Zionism and radical Islam, the author offers a list of bullet-point solutions focused on using behavioral and personal action items—individual accountability, active involvement, building community, loving neighbors, etc.—to help stem the tide of anti-Semitism. Weiss sounds a clarion call to Jewish readers who share her growing angst as well as non-Jewish Americans who wish to arm themselves with the knowledge and intellectual tools to combat marginalization and defuse and disavow trends of dehumanizing behavior. “Call it out,” she writes. “Especially when it’s hard.” At the core of the text is the author’s concern for the health and safety of American citizens, and she encourages anyone “who loves freedom and seeks to protect it” to join with her in vigorous activism.

A forceful, necessarily provocative call to action for the preservation and protection of American Jewish freedom.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-13605-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2019

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