Laugh-a-minute or not, an accessible introduction to a densely complex subject.

THE CARTOON INTRODUCTION TO ECONOMICS

VOLUME TWO: MACROECONOMICS

A lighthearted effort to make the dismal science less dismal, though too often about as funny as a Yakov Smirnoff set.

Economics is all about managing scarce resources, money being one of them. Macroeconomics, the big-picture aspect of economics, “has two big goals,” writes Bauman (billed as the world’s “only stand-up economist”)—namely, to establish means by which living standards increase over time, which is where old Adam Smith’s invisible hand comes in, and to “explain how economies grow…and why economies collapse,” which, considering the collapsing state of things, makes the field both useful and timely. The “holy grail” of macroeconomics, Bauman writes, is “how to get economies to grow without crashing,” which would seem to defy the laws of thermodynamics—and there the fun begins, for on one hand you have Milton Friedman, on the other John Maynard Keynes, and any number of disparate and often contentious approaches to making everyone rich without, in the end, making everyone destitute. There’s a lot of ground that Bauman and artist Klein have to cover, so much that sometimes useful concepts—Joseph Schumpeter’s suggestive theory of “creative destruction,” for instance—get only a panel or two. Even so, Bauman hits his targets with pleasing accuracy. For example, he and Klein get, in just a few pages, what it has taken other writers whole volumes to express on the matter of the Keynesian view of the causes of cyclical unemployment. Bauman is also pleasingly subversive without overtly seeming to be so: He gives a lively, sardonic view of how inflation serves as a de facto means of wage cutting in the age-old war of supply and demand. The cartoons are ample, but the yucks few, particularly when Bauman recycles the old saw, beloved of Reagan and his Reaganomic acolytes: “In a recession, you lose your job…in a depression, I lose mine.” Which goes to show, it is called the dismal science for a reason. 

Laugh-a-minute or not, an accessible introduction to a densely complex subject.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8090-3361-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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