A clear demonstration that the kids are all right. Now lead, follow, or get out of their way.

WINNING THE GREEN NEW DEAL

WHY WE MUST, HOW WE CAN

Founders and supporters of the progressive Sunrise Movement join forces to argue for the Green New Deal.

In this urgent collection, edited by Sunrise leaders Prakash and Girgenti, the contributions cohere into a difficult-to-disparage—logically, at least, if not politically—argument for immediate change. “The Green New Deal,” writes Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who helped create the concept with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “is a proposal for a ten-year economic mobilization to rapidly transition the U.S. to a zero-carbon economy, and in doing so to regenerate and reorganize the U.S. economy in ways that significantly reduce inequality and redress legacies of systemic oppression.” She continues later, “[it] is a new policy vision—one that will guide government and society through the biggest task in modern history: decarbonizing our global economy within the next ten to twenty years.” It seems like an inarguable, necessary proposition, but not in a political system that perpetuates economic inequality and ensures that the poor stay poor and the rich get richer. Addressing politics, science, economics, racism, and income inequality, among other topics, the contributors eviscerate the opposition to a movement that could not only change everything for the better, but save a world moving toward extinction. Though the reading is sometimes intellectually intense to the point of exhaustion, the editors wisely break up the rhetoric with personal stories from people whose regions will be inevitably affected by climate change. There are also moving personal narratives from the children who occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office in 2018. Arrested by Capitol Police, they earned acclaim from Ocasio-Cortez and others. These incisive essays provide a clear blueprint for creating solutions regarding the climate crisis, standing up for appropriate representation, and uniting disparate forces to build a better world. Among the other contributors are Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, William Barber II, Joseph Stiglitz, Kate Aronoff, and David Wallace-Wells.

A clear demonstration that the kids are all right. Now lead, follow, or get out of their way.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982142-43-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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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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A lucid (in the sky with diamonds) look at the hows, whys, and occasional demerits of altering one’s mind.

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THIS IS YOUR MIND ON PLANTS

Building on his lysergically drenched book How to Change Your Mind (2018), Pollan looks at three plant-based drugs and the mental effects they can produce.

The disastrous war on drugs began under Nixon to control two classes of perceived enemies: anti-war protestors and Black citizens. That cynical effort, writes the author, drives home the point that “societies condone the mind-changing drugs that help uphold society’s rule and ban the ones that are seen to undermine it.” One such drug is opium, for which Pollan daringly offers a recipe for home gardeners to make a tea laced with the stuff, producing “a radical and by no means unpleasant sense of passivity.” You can’t overthrow a government when so chilled out, and the real crisis is the manufacture of synthetic opioids, which the author roundly condemns. Pollan delivers a compelling backstory: This section dates to 1997, but he had to leave portions out of the original publication to keep the Drug Enforcement Administration from his door. Caffeine is legal, but it has stronger effects than opium, as the author learned when he tried to quit: “I came to see how integral caffeine is to the daily work of knitting ourselves back together after the fraying of consciousness during sleep.” Still, back in the day, the introduction of caffeine to the marketplace tempered the massive amounts of alcohol people were drinking even though a cup of coffee at noon will keep banging on your brain at midnight. As for the cactus species that “is busy transforming sunlight into mescaline right in my front yard”? Anyone can grow it, it seems, but not everyone will enjoy effects that, in one Pollan experiment, “felt like a kind of madness.” To his credit, the author also wrestles with issues of cultural appropriation, since in some places it’s now easier for a suburbanite to grow San Pedro cacti than for a Native American to use it ceremonially.

A lucid (in the sky with diamonds) look at the hows, whys, and occasional demerits of altering one’s mind.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-29690-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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