I Iike Don DeLillo lots, but could not enjoy this audiobook because narrator failed use voices nor other cues to indicate speaker in dialogs, forcing me rewind so often I gave-up half-way.
This is the humanities done well. In the tradition of Susan Sontag's essay on the kitsch, Denby succeeds in expanding our consciousness. He identifies a class of communication which is rampant and dangerous, and through its identification and analysis offers some immunization.
Regrettably, the narrator reads with a sarcastic voice which doesn't fit the character of the essay, (I suppose the casting call was for someone snarky.) The effort of listening through the narrator is well rewarded by the books content.
Snark is a style of communication which is:
1) aiming to be humorous
2) usually forming an invective
3) invokes knowingness to other: that is it separates an out group ('them') from an in group ('us) by reference to in group knowledge or oblique in group belief proclamation.
4) And, most importantly, is logically inconsistent, or untrue, or badly evidenced.
Summary: Fuel prices will go up, and if you don't think so, you have succumbed to "group think." Inflation likely up (he hedges). Invest in 1970s winners: oil, alternative energy, oil services, gold, real estate.
Criticism: Terrible book. Worst of the year, (of about 80+, mostly academic). That fuel prices will go up to $150+ per barrel in ensuing decade is probably true, but in this book you won't find evidence stronger than what you'll get from a hotel bar bull session. Author merely repeats thesis, and disparages those who disagree as succumbing to group think. Scant economic argumentation, and no social psychology evidence presented for relevant “group think” thesis. Transparent and pathetic rhetorical gimmicks, (ad hominem, false modesty, fallacious arguments from authority, unbalanced statistical comparisons, and pretenses of scientific competence, which get rather hilarious when he gets high-school science wrong.) Regrettably, a repulsive personality winds through the patchwork of second rate speeches composing the book. Investment advice only at tail-end, last 10%, of book.
The prose is business incompetent, the evidence infomercial, the personality egotistical, the investment intelligence, conventional and dull unless contradictory and useless. I fear first that reading the book lowers one’s IQ, and most that its strong sales indicate illiteracy on wall street.
Note: Do not confuse this book with *Collapse*, Jared Diamond’s brilliant integrated history of failed societies, (also on Audible). Diamond won a Pulitzer for *Guns, Germs and Steel*, and is one of the world’s most distinguished scientists.
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