Will provoke animated conversation among global news enthusiasts.

SINGAPORE AND ASIA

CELEBRATING GLOBALISATION AND AN EMERGING POSTMODERN ASIAN CIVILISATION

In their debut nonfiction title, the authors explore Singapore’s global economic rise in the context of world history, politics and culture.

Singapore’s economic ascent parallels that of other Asian countries, a phenomenon, the authors assert, due to both broad Asian characteristics and Singapore’s unique history, geography and culture. The title’s emphasis on globalization and post-modernization succinctly highlights the reasons for this city-state’s success, but the reasons, of course, are much more detailed. The beginning of the book presents an overview of the current global economy, and moves toward presenting a detailed case study of Singapore within that economy. There is, however, more to achievement than singular financial considerations: The last two parts, “Building Human and Social Capital” and “Enhancing Liveability,” illustrate the importance of not only education, health and dwellings but cultural activities such as arts, sports and nightlife. They posit that the tiny country’s standing has been engineered on the pragmatic fusion of pre-modern Asian value—work ethics, thrift, and acceptance of benign authority—with western science and technology. The authors maintain that the views expressed in the book are the perspectives of two apolitical citizens in Singapore, views which are entirely personal. They might not be political in the strictest sense of government participation or activism, but their observations are certainly political, if not passionate. Singapore’s economic triumphs are surely supported by sound references, but some of the writing’s excessive value statements almost make the book seem more like a marketing piece for tourism or commerce. However, the quality of the majority of the source material is offset by an overreliance on a single source; The Straits Times news source represents one third of the footnotes. Often, facts are presented without citation. East Asians might indeed work harder than others, but documented quantification would likely ease readers’ minds about the veracity of that proclamation. Likewise, wind power might cost double that of coal, but that number should be substantiated. The outcome of the book, therefore, is a somewhat awkward mix of validated economic statements, personal observations and strong political views. 

Will provoke animated conversation among global news enthusiasts.

Pub Date: April 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469183640

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2012

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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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Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

THE DYNASTY

Action-packed tale of the building of the New England Patriots over the course of seven decades.

Prolific writer Benedict has long blended two interests—sports and business—and the Patriots are emblematic of both. Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team built a strategic home field between that city and Providence. When original owner Billy Sullivan sold the flailing team in 1988, it was $126 million in the hole, a condition so dire that “Sullivan had to beg the NFL to release emergency funds so he could pay his players.” Victor Kiam, the razor magnate, bought the long since renamed New England Patriots, but rival Robert Kraft bought first the parking lots and then the stadium—and “it rankled Kiam that he bore all the risk as the owner of the team but virtually all of the revenue that the team generated went to Kraft.” Check and mate. Kraft finally took over the team in 1994. Kraft inherited coach Bill Parcells, who in turn brought in star quarterback Drew Bledsoe, “the Patriots’ most prized player.” However, as the book’s nimbly constructed opening recounts, in 2001, Bledsoe got smeared in a hit “so violent that players along the Patriots sideline compared the sound of the collision to a car crash.” After that, it was backup Tom Brady’s team. Gridiron nerds will debate whether Brady is the greatest QB and Bill Belichick the greatest coach the game has ever known, but certainly they’ve had their share of controversy. The infamous “Deflategate” incident of 2015 takes up plenty of space in the late pages of the narrative, and depending on how you read between the lines, Brady was either an accomplice or an unwitting beneficiary. Still, as the author writes, by that point Brady “had started in 223 straight regular-season games,” an enviable record on a team that itself has racked up impressive stats.

Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982134-10-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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