An about-face proposal for a more resilient economy, where the past isn’t just prologue, it’s a prescription for success.

MOVING BACK TO OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE

BOTTOMS-UP TO PROSPERITY

Public policy maven looks to resurrect what he believes is a time-tested strategy for building a prosperous America.

Gregory fearlessly attacks two vaunted theories: Laissez-Faire and Keynesian economics. Both, he argues, failed as fiscal policies and cannot ensure a lasting recovery. The “trickle-down” prosperity promised since the 1980s never happened, as a greater share of national income became concentrated among top earners. Conversely, Keynesian principles were never appropriately implemented; instead politicians used them as an excuse to get any type of funding approved. A wonkish intellectual who worked for the Michigan Legislature, Gregory is blunt in his diagnosis and even more certain of the cure. He advocates “Investment Budgeting” – government-sponsored infrastructure projects aimed at spurring economic growth. If history provides Gregory ammunition against current policy, it’s also where he finds evidence that strategic infrastructure investment works. Canals, railroads and Interstate highways are hailed as projects that created jobs in the short-run but also fueled future expansion as businesses took advantage of their benefits. To bolster his case for Investment Budgeting, the author paints a bleak picture of America in a “Silent Depression,” a 40-year downward spiral marked by growing income inequality and a shrinking middle class. Much of the blame is placed on the usual suspects: complacent policymakers and a self-interested business lobby. Skepticism is fair game in policy discussions, so the book will get plenty of head-shaking from those who believe Uncle Sam does more harm than good. Its populist overtones, however, will resonate with the disaffected. The most controversial chapter is “Blacks and the Excess Labor Force,” which asserts that the war on crime and drugs unfairly targets the “Black underclass.” The chapter doesn’t synergize with the rest of the text, but it raises questions about the efficacy of the U.S. prison system. Gregory writes with the unique perspective of having once served time himself. While he tries to convince readers of hidden political agendas, Gregory doesn’t push class warfare. He envisions “bottoms-up” growth by putting more people to work.

An about-face proposal for a more resilient economy, where the past isn’t just prologue, it’s a prescription for success.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-1461008156

Page Count: 158

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 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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Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

THE GUCCI MANE GUIDE TO GREATNESS

A hip-hop star who went on his first international tour wearing an ankle monitor explains how to succeed.

“The words you are about to read can help you,” writes Gucci. “That’s because there is truth in them. These are words of wisdom, like the Bible and its proverbs.” Unquestionably, Gucci likes to aim high, as many of his proverbs attest: “Stop Underestimating Yourself”; “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”; “Nobody Cares. Work Harder”; “When They Sleep, I’m Grinding”; “Do More, Get More.” And never forget, “Women Are Brilliant.” Gucci not only shares his recipes for success. As in a cookbook that shows pictures of the end result, the author includes dozens of dazzling photos of himself and his beautiful wife, among them a series on his surprise wedding proposal at an Atlanta Hawks game. After the success of his bestselling debut, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci has realized there is money to be made in the book business. In addition to the Bible, he has his eye on Malcolm Gladwell and his reported $5 million advances. While he is “cool with Malcolm Gladwell being more celebrated than me as an author…the difference between Malcolm Gladwell and me is that I’m going to make more money because I’m going to make so many books for my following….You can enjoy this book or not, but I’m going to make my fifty-second book, my hundred and eighth book.” Many readers will hope that one of them will be a diet book, as the 100-plus pounds Gucci has lost and kept off are a frequent topic—alas, he doesn’t reveal his weight loss secrets here. Until the next book, try to live the Gucci Mane way. “Avoid lazy and miserable people,” and “Find something to be excited about every day.”

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982146-78-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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