A rare example of economic analysis, deeply respected within the discipline, wholly accessible to general readers.

IRRATIONAL EXUBERANCE

REVISED AND EXPANDED THIRD EDITION

With the wreckage still smoldering from the Great Recession, a Nobel Prize–winning economist once again revisits his 15-year-old, widely influential best-seller, which examined the nature of speculative bubbles.

When Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan used the phrase “irrational exuberance” to describe the 1996 booming stock market, he enigmatically hinted at a phenomenon at odds with the prevailing efficient market theory: that assets are always priced correctly, that “all financial prices accurately reflect all public information at all times.” Since then, shocking economic developments and converts to the powerful argument Shiller (Economics/Yale Univ.; Finance and the Good Society, 2012, etc.) first articulated in 2000 have conspired to thoroughly disconcert defenders of markets’ rationality. In explaining the origin and attributes of speculative bubbles, the author persuasively examines the structural factors—politics, technology and demography—underlying them, the cultural factors reinforcing them and the psychological factors driving market behavior. His groundbreaking use of disciplines other than economics—sociology, epidemiology, social psychology, communications and journalism—helps explain the mania or madness we associate with bubbles. Speculative bubbles, he insists, are very real, the result of “the combined effect of indifferent thinking by millions of people…motivated substantially by their own emotions, random attentions, and perceptions of conventional wisdom.” He fully updates his argument here, adding new material (a chapter on the bond market, his 2013 Nobel lecture) and augmenting the text to reflect developments since the 2005 second edition. He vacuums up all manner of cultural phenomena, from the important (rising income inequality) to the possibly significant (Google Glass) to the trivial (Kim Kardashian), to reinforce his thesis, and he writes expressively, whether explaining arcane economic issues or illustrating how the story behind Mona Lisa’s smile helps account for the painting’s astonishing market value.

A rare example of economic analysis, deeply respected within the discipline, wholly accessible to general readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-691-16626-1

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more