This is a rather timely book. Professor Sandel does a great job of laying out the ethical, moral and economic arguments, but requires the reader, at least until the very end, to connect the dots and decide what is right. I really appreciate this because it allows one to draw one's own moral conclusions and do some of the work required to decide what is right and wrong about the way markets have shaped society. This has the potential to turn readers from passive head-nodders to active participants in change. One minor knit-pick: as an advertising person, I feel that calling into question the morality of certain kinds of adverting (casino tattoos on the forehead, turning one's home or car into a billboard) somewhat cheapens the arguments in this book. Advertising takes many forms and it's really easy (and a little lazy) to point to the more out-there forms of the trade and call it into question. Yes, it's morally wrong to prey on the economic situations of people that need to get tattoos or car wraps in order to feed their families, fund their drug habits or pay their mortgages. We all know this. The thing about advertising is, it's a self-policing business. If the general public feels that a specific form of advertising is repugnant, it goes away pretty quickly for the simple reason that a message in that media will be met with disdain instead of sales. That said, I found this book, as I have with other books by the author, completely engrossing, thought-provoking and stimulating.
I find Mr. Acuff's stories and examples rather compelling. This is all good advice, laid out in an easy-to-digest format. (I also liked the fact that he did not shove his Christianity down the reader's throat like his boss Dave Ramsey does.) I liked it so much I listened to it twice in a row.
King's storytelling is so approachable and infectious that one easily can overlook the minor play kinks. I wish there had a little more spine chilling ghost action, but overall, I really enjoyed this piece.
The first-person perspective of this book is priceless, and the tips for powering through weight loss without losing your mind (like all battles, weight loss is partly mental) are also quite valuable. Thanks for being the human Guinea pig, Drew.
The subject matter, style and no-holds-barred whimsey of this book reminds me so much of Adams, I have a hard time thinking that the two were not drinking buddies or something. Hodgman's performance is stellar.
I had never read Tolkien as a kid. I thought it was time, after being bombarded with Hobbit references, to rectify that fact. The Hobbit is a quick scan and a fun, imaginative story, well told.
Okay, now I'm more paranoid than ever that humanity will be ravaged by a super virus. This book is gripping. Not just because the story is true, but because it is extremely well told.
I loved everything about this book. The characters were interesting and likable/hatable. The story was well told, with plenty of unexpected twists and fresh ideas. I really like the alternative history meets science fiction/fantasy convention. I was sad that it ended, but glad to know there was another book in the series. I will gobble that one up very soon.
I personally pledge allegiance to the Grimnoir.
Also, I want to say something about Bronson Pinchot. The guy is an amazing, amazing narrator. Sure, he was fun to watch on TV and in the movies. But reading books like this one, as well as others (Matterhorn springs to mind) seems, to me at least, to be the ideal expression of his particular performer's genius. He is working his butt off here and as a listener, I can't thank him enough. He can create a dozen characters, male and female, and each one stands on their own sonic merits. I work in the audio medium from time to time and I know how difficult such a thing is to accomplish, and I just have to say, bravo, Mr. Pinchot. You make it look/sound easy.
This book contains a rather childish, simplistic and slanted view of our economy. And if you already understand economics on anything but a 8th grade level, you can pretty much skip it. I found that 80% of the information contained in the book is irrefutable, but a solid 20% is the product of faulty right-wing political thinking. Some examples:
The authors say that government is rife with corruption and waste. While corruption and waste do exist in government, it is likely not fair to paint with such a broad brush given the spending cuts and efficiencies that have happened over the past five years. Government spending is down. While corporate corruption seems to be accepted or overlooked by the authors.
The authors state that markets are the best way to make an economy grow. But they conveniently overlook government programs like the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan and the Interstate Highway act that had massive impacts on the US and world economy.
The authors also largely overlook the substantial greed and corruption in the private sector and discount the notion that there is a fundamental imbalance between the haves and have nots in our society largely caused by the people in their own industry. They are very good at pointing to a problem, and assigning blame (and bringing the same old gold standard argument up again), but they have no true thoughts on what to do to make the US economy more vibrant and diverse and equitable. If they think we will go back to 1920s monetary policy, they are mistaken.
And when the authors, who also narrated this book, started imitating the late Teddy Kennedy while portraying a corrupt politician, I had to shut the book off. Pete and Andy, you're no Teddy Kennedy.
I can deal with the whole economy based on fish on a desert island concept, but they take it way too far. And after an hour or so, it just gets annoying. What I can't take for a minute is the same level of simplicity and black and white thinking applied to social economics and the inequality in international markets. This book is too full of faulty thinking and slanted viewpoints to take seriously.
I read this piece — which was written before 9/11, before Google and Facebook, before the iPad, before the cloud, and before the browser wars ended — as a historic document. And in general I was surprised on two levels. First, that most big companies, all having embraced the internet as the game-changing paradigm that it is, still haven't gotten a clue about how to treat or talk to their customers. And two, how much of what the authors suggest and envision has been proven correct. The bits they got wrong — like the importance of "zines" and the pervasiveness of "extranets" — are mildly risible. Perhaps its time to update this manifesto. I'd say it's a worthwhile endeavor.
I really liked this book. One of the most compelling and telling facts that I took away from it is that the people who create processed foods, in general, actively shy away from consuming them in their own diet. The history of processed foods is well told here. The moral of the story: try not to eat foods that require chemists, engineers and lawyers to produce. You'll be happier and live longer.
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