If you’re wondering about the dollars-and-cents effects of the virus, this book makes a lucid guide.

A senior economist at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau surveys the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The good news: The pandemic took less of a toll on the economy than it might have. The bad news, and thus the paradox of the title: The economic damage will last. As Fulford shows in clear and accessible prose, the world as a whole was unprepared for a devastating pandemic; Americans, in particular “were not prepared for an economic collapse of this magnitude.” That lack of preparation continues, and willfully, since Americans still don’t have much interest in saving for a rainy day. However, where they might have suffered because of that unpreparedness, monetary policy in the form of stimulus and unemployment payments saved the day. Whereas in 2008 the response of the government was timid, in this instance, Congress acted quickly to pass three major stimulus bills “more than five times larger than the response to the Great Recession.” Moreover, the relocation of much of the knowledge workforce from office to home remade the economic landscape, showing that there were new possibilities in independence and entrepreneurship. Many of the ills of the pandemic are generational, since they mostly affect young people. Millennials have had to weather two major economic upheavals in their working lives, while those who are in school today lost educational ground, so that “the average student affected by pandemic schooling is likely to earn around 4.6 percent less over her lifetime than she would without the pandemic.” This adds up to $100,000 per person and more than $5 trillion over a generation. There’s no real way to catch up, Fulford writes, and though things will get better, the damage to the supply chain and inflation are something Americans will be weathering for years to come.

If you’re wondering about the dollars-and-cents effects of the virus, this book makes a lucid guide.

Pub Date: May 16, 2023

ISBN: 9780691245324

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023



Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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