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Book Reviews in Category : Book Reviews Category Tools
Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale
Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale
The Moral Limits of Markets

The sub-title that Debra Satz, a professor of ethics at Stanford, gave to this was copied by Michael Sandel, similarly employed at Harvard, in "What Money Can't Buy" a year or so later. Your reviewer loved the latter, and this steered her to the present volume, which is more encompassing... Read more
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9th March 2015 06:55 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
How to Predict the Unpredictable
How to Predict the Unpredictable
The Art of Outsmarting Almost Everyone

There is a spoiler at the end of the prologue to this, which is that humans are predictable when they try to be random. Though, this reviewer was more intrigued in the opener to learn of Claude Shannon's 'Ultimate Machine', which she swiftly you-tubed. She's a fan of that already. Anyway,... Read more
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25th January 2015 09:55 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Honey Money
Honey Money

Catherine Hakim, a British social scientist, refers to "erotic capital" as the fourth personal asset. The first three are economic capital (money, wealth), human capital (expertise, education, intelligence) and social capital (slightly ill-defined networking and influencing capability,... Read more
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22nd January 2015 06:03 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)

More than a bit reminiscent of "Being Wrong" (by Kathryn Schultz) to this reviewer, but predating it by a while, this book offers a theory for why mistakes get not just made but entrenched. Or rather, the incidence of mistake itself is not much touched, as if it were a random outcome. But... Read more
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22nd January 2015 05:51 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Art of Choosing
The Art of Choosing

Sheena Iyengar has been studying choice for over a decade, and gets to do it at an Ivy League business school. Your reviewer didn't know this before she bought the book. She would have chosen it anyway. Which gets to the start of several well-researched aspects of the subject at... Read more
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4th January 2015 02:44 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Obliquity
Obliquity
Why our goals are best reached indirectly

Obliquity tries to be a bit bigger than it really is, though actually it is up-front about this. In the acknowledgements, John Kay informs the reader it was a newspaper article later fluffed out into a book. This stayed with your reviewer as she leafed through twenty odd chapters, few of... Read more
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4th January 2015 02:41 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
How Much Is Enough?
How Much Is Enough?
Money and the Good Life

This is a book that seeks to unmask neoclassical economics as an imposter: the study of the allocation of scarce resources is uprooted by the Skidelskys--in their manifesto to switch out scarcity for abundance. (It's a perception thing, don't you know). At the same time, modern liberalism... Read more
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4th January 2015 02:39 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
The Prize
The Prize
The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power

Daniel Yergin takes the reader from the hills of Pennsylvania to the Persian Gulf and Alaska in oil's journey from providing kerosene lamps to its displacement as the critical energy source for industrial age man. (Aka Hydrocarbon Man).
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18th November 2014 10:48 PM by Darth Rotor Go to last post
 
Priceless
Priceless
The hidden psychology of value

It is fairly well understood that prices of 9.99 sell more stuff. And even that the public knowledge of this factoid doesn't make it go away. However when so many more pricing quirks are collected together--quirks that demonstrate, broadly, that people do not behave optimally even if it... Read more
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15th September 2014 07:19 AM by Lothian Go to last post
 
No-one Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart
No-one Makes You Shop at Wal-Mart
The surprising deceptions of individual choice

Tom Slee's book initially stood out to this reviewer as "Naomi Klein via game theory". At its core it wishes to highlight life, wealth and, well, quality inequality as a social ill, and then diagnose the disease as caused by too much choice. The first chapter bears more than a slight... Read more
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25th August 2014 01:14 PM by Almo Go to last post
 
The Spirit Level Delusion
The Spirit Level Delusion
Fact-checking the left's new theory of everything.

Although the present review was written fully five years after "The Spirit Level" (by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett) was published, the rebuttal of its subject followed that original within a year. Christopher Snowdon has produced a volume about half the length of its nemesis... Read more
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17th August 2014 08:26 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Coming Apart
Coming Apart

America used to be better a long time ago because people weren't as lazy. Now, all of these people who are working two or three part-time jobs are struggling because they aren't listening and obeying their wealthier bosses.
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24th June 2014 08:31 PM by Astrodude Go to last post
 
Scarcity
Scarcity
Why having too little means so much

This reviewer wondered whether Scarcity should be a movie sequel to Scarface, except that Tony Montana was killed off in the original. Hence it is behavioural economics instead. She also wondered whether it was really a whole book in itself, rather than what could have been a chapter out of... Read more
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3rd June 2014 03:27 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Being Wrong
Being Wrong
Adventures in the margin of error

Kathryn Schulz has pounced on a gap in the market, and in popular perception, and constructed a thesis about the importance of error woven together with stories advertised as Malcolm Gladwell style by one review. Not quite, according to this reviewer, but a decent effort. Throughout, the... Read more
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24th May 2014 03:48 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
Prisoner's Dilemma
Prisoner's Dilemma

Part biography (of John von Neumann), part history (of the RAND corporation and landmark moments of the cold war, with cameos from Bertrand Russell and others), and part (about half) pure and applied game theory, this is an entertaining and absorbing book. The title comes from... Read more
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20th May 2014 05:33 AM by Francesca R Go to last post
 
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