In-depth research and personal stories bring the issue of malnutrition in women and children to the forefront and provide...

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THE FIRST 1,000 DAYS

A CRUCIAL TIME FOR MOTHERS AND CHILDREN—AND THE WORLD

A presentation of research from around the world showing that good nutrition is critical in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.

The period consisting of pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life is when the human brain develops the most. In 2008, world leaders acknowledged the importance of this period and initiated several projects, including Scaling Up Nutrition, to assist low-income families around the world. Thurow (The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change, 2012, etc.), a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, follows several women—in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and the United States—through pregnancy, childbirth, and the child’s second birthday to see how they have responded to these efforts. Using interviews with the women and their families, the author gives an intimate look at the struggles many women face. They must fight against old customs that are leery of these new programs, contend with discrimination against women and female babies, and battle daily with a lack of sufficient money to purchase the food items they aren’t able to grow themselves. Poverty, lack of training, and prejudice are at the heart of the world’s malnutrition problems. Growing evidence shows that when these issues are addressed properly, children and mothers have far better survival rates. Thurow provides just enough grim facts on infant and mother mortality, the scarcity of food, sanitary conditions for birthing, and the general plight of impoverished families to garner sympathy without being melodramatic, and he also shows how women and children thrive under the right conditions. In today’s global society, the children of the world need a voice. Thurow has spoken and made the issue clear: children everywhere need better food and water if they are going to grow into healthy adults.

In-depth research and personal stories bring the issue of malnutrition in women and children to the forefront and provide evidence that, with proper support, children can flourish.

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61039-585-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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