An expansive philosophical treatise on living a principled, open-minded life, under the mantle of a gripping international...

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Genius Baby

RICHARD GROWS UP FAST AND HELPS SAVE THE WORLD'S ECONOMY

In Maxwell’s freethinking thriller, a global conspiracy unfurls when an inexpensive energy device sparks the murderous greed of big business.

This story takes shape quickly, as readers learn about a Kenyan man who has created a device that harnesses solar energy. Kevin Chu, an esteemed patent lawyer, foresees energy companies lethally resisting such a device. That turpitude gives Maxwell the opportunity to expound on the ruinous nature of avarice and warfare and how those pursuits have thwarted Adam Smith’s idea of wealth accruing in all nations. That examination spins into a consideration of childbirth and, in turn, the birthing of a genius baby: “The happier the home, the more the mother will be relaxed. The more the mother relaxes, the less adrenaline she produces...the more the fetus’s own healthy hormones can function efficiently to knit synapses in the brain.” Richard, the 23-month-old son of Chu and his wife, Ann Milton-Chu, a children’s book author, speaks like a Cambridge scholar, plays a mean blues piano and comes up with a plan to prevent the murder of the Kenyan inventor’s patent attorney, Jacques Rousseau. Seemingly every encounter between Richard and his father is another chance for the narrative to digress into varied topics, including music, the brain, derivatives, bureaucratic catatonia, breast-feeding, truth, Calvinism and cynicism. The philosophies are bighearted and generous, even as they overstuff the book—a Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on steroids. The details, however, can threaten the book’s momentum—“Kevin leans back in his luxurious soft Brazilian beige calfskin executive chair”—and provide moments of near-farce: The conspiracy is conducted by “a supreme council connected to a secret world-wide military industrial fascist complex,” among whom are former Skull and Bones members, with “their usual rituals of male bonding, which includes dancing American Indian style, but in the nude.” Nonetheless, it’s impressive to witness so many inclusive, decent thoughts under one roof.

An expansive philosophical treatise on living a principled, open-minded life, under the mantle of a gripping international thriller. 

Pub Date: April 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482006063

Page Count: 310

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2013

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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: N/A

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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