Not for the numerically faint of heart, and those who are numerate may argue at points—just as Piketty’s masterwork has...

THE ECONOMICS OF INEQUALITY

In a work that is aligned with but antecedent to his grand synthesis, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), French economist Piketty examines the structural causes of inequality.

Capital and income are intertwined, of course, and unevenly distributed. Just how unevenly has been a subject of much economic-historical work lately. In this book, published in 1997 and updated here and there since, Piketty observes that he does not “take fully into account the results of the past fifteen years of international research on the historical dynamics of inequality,” but the eternal verities hold. As the author writes, in a moment worthy of Marx, “the question of inequality and redistribution is central to political conflict.” Redistribute broadly and equitably, and you have the possibility of social justice; redistribute into the hands of the wealthy, and you risk turmoil and revolution when the have-nots catch on to what’s going on. Piketty’s argument is more descriptive than prescriptive; he notes that capital income, for instance, is subject to more unequal distribution than wage income, which makes good sense inasmuch as the rich tend to live on capital gains instead of salaries. The writing tends to be white paper–ish and technical (“in the United States…the P90/P10 ratio for income rose from 4.9 to 5.9 between 1979 and 1986”), and although training in economics isn’t strictly necessary in order to follow the author’s argument, it certainly wouldn’t hurt in tracking such concepts as the relative elasticity or inelasticity of capital and, particularly, human capital. The latter contributes strongly to Piketty’s case, which ends with a consideration of how Keynesian stimuli can influence long-term redistribution, if at all.

Not for the numerically faint of heart, and those who are numerate may argue at points—just as Piketty’s masterwork has inspired controversy. Still, a discussion worth having and a book worth reading.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-674-50480-6

Page Count: 146

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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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

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