An edifying manual for Christian readers looking to recalibrate their relationship to dollars and cents.

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JESUS CHRIST, MONEY MASTER

THE WISEST WORDS EVER SPOKEN ON MONEY (JESUS MASTER)

Gallagher (Burning, 2014) combs the life and sayings of Jesus Christ for advice on money management.

Given Jesus’ repeated warnings about the temptations of money and the challenges that wealth poses to virtue, he might strike some readers as a counterintuitive choice for lessons regarding personal finance. However, Gallagher argues that Jesus is the “wealthiest person ever to walk on the face of the earth” if one properly understands the nature of his riches, which are primarily moral and spiritual. The bulk of this book is devoted to the question of the proper stance on money and work, using a series of lessons that draw on Jesus’ example. The author notes that Jesus enthusiastically extolled the value of work as a divine gift that gives purpose and fortifies character. More specifically, he says, Jesus can provide modern-day people with guidance on how to function as employees, self-employed workers, or bosses, and he also enthusiastically encourages entrepreneurship, self-sufficiency, risk-taking, and even investment. Very little of this instructional manual discusses immediate strategies to earn more cash—the purview of the book is more attitudinal than mechanical. At the end, the author provides some synoptic guidance on investment, touching upon stocks and bonds, real estate, and even precious metals. Of course, Jesus’ primary mission on Earth, as portrayed in the Bible, was not financial in character; as a result, some of the lessons here seem strained, such as Jesus’ perspective on taxation (neither avoid them, nor pay more than you have to). Often, the lessons are so consistent with common sense that a reference to Jesus’ approval seems gratuitous, as when the author recommends rising early in the morning. However, this book is specifically designed to communicate with readers who give paramount priority to Jesus’ example. The book comes with two workbooks (one for the leader of an eight-week discussion group, and one for his or her students) that provide discussion questions, relevant prayers, and opportunities for proactive self-reflection. Although the advice in this book is largely conventional, the author does an expert job of putting homespun wisdom in the context of scriptural exegesis.

An edifying manual for Christian readers looking to recalibrate their relationship to dollars and cents. 

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61254-220-1

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2017

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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 deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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