A 2016 Gallup survey ranked big business as second only to Congress as the country’s least-trusted institution. This fawning...

BIG BUSINESS

A LOVE LETTER TO AN AMERICAN ANTI-HERO

A paean to large business corporations.

Many Americans are anti-business—especially young people, Bernie Sanders supporters, the media, ordinary (distrustful) citizens, and Trump supporters—because they have “negative misconceptions,” writes Cowen (Chair, Economics/George Mason Univ.; Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals, 2018, etc.). In viewing corporations as “apparently selfish, profit-maximizing, even sometimes corrupt entities,” writes the author, such critics underrate the benefits of American business, which “makes most of the stuff we enjoy and consume” and “gives most of us jobs.” Indeed, “we don’t love business enough.” A popular blogger (marginalrevolution.com) and free-marketeer who admires Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, Cowen offers a highly accessible polemic touting the wonders of corporate America, which has “never been more productive, more tolerant, and more cooperative” and provides “a ray of normalcy and predictability” at a time of “weirdness” in government. He continues, “business helps carve out spaces for love, friendship, creativity, and human caring by producing the resources that make our lives not just tolerable but comfortable.” Beyond such praises, the author offers chapters on specific areas—“Are Businesses More Fraudulent than the Rest of Us?” “Are the Big Tech Companies Evil?” and “Crony Capitalism”—in which he dismisses concerns about business monopoly, political power, and fraud, insisting that “limitations of human nature” (not inherent flaws of capitalism) drive corporate behavior. “The propensity of business to commit fraud is essentially just an extension of the propensity of people to commit fraud,” he writes. Cowen makes some concessions to critics, noting the “problematic” invasion of privacy by tech giants like Google and Facebook and the “ripping off” of consumers by entire sectors of the corporate economy. But on the whole, business remains “one of the most beneficial and fundamental institutions in American life.”

A 2016 Gallup survey ranked big business as second only to Congress as the country’s least-trusted institution. This fawning book won’t change many minds.

Pub Date: April 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-11054-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's...

THE NEW GEOGRAPHY OF JOBS

A fresh, provocative analysis of the debate on education and employment.

Up-and-coming economist Moretti (Economics/Univ. of California, Berkeley) takes issue with the “[w]idespread misconception…that the problem of inequality in the United States is all about the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99 percent.” The most important aspect of inequality today, he writes, is the widening gap between the 45 million workers with college degrees and the 80 million without—a difference he claims affects every area of peoples' lives. The college-educated part of the population underpins the growth of America's economy of innovation in life sciences, information technology, media and other areas of globally leading research work. Moretti studies the relationship among geographic concentration, innovation and workplace education levels to identify the direct and indirect benefits. He shows that this clustering favors the promotion of self-feeding processes of growth, directly affecting wage levels, both in the innovative industries as well as the sectors that service them. Indirect benefits also accrue from knowledge and other spillovers, which accompany clustering in innovation hubs. Moretti presents research-based evidence supporting his view that the public and private economic benefits of education and research are such that increased federal subsidies would more than pay for themselves. The author fears the development of geographic segregation and Balkanization along education lines if these issues of long-term economic benefits are left inadequately addressed.

A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's more profound problems.

Pub Date: May 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-75011-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more