That kind of sums it up. Very ambitious treatment of the history of energy in the last couple of centuries. How it shapes and is sh(5.0) Comprehensive
That kind of sums it up. Very ambitious treatment of the history of energy in the last couple of centuries. How it shapes and is shaped by global politics, climate change, war etc. Definitely learned a lot about how we got where we are today.
I did wish Yergin took climate change and environmental concerns a little more seriously. They seemed to be treated more like a prevailing political wind than fundamental concerns and forces that will eventually steer us away from exploiting all available fossil fuels. He's big on relating how much untapped energy lies buried in the earth, but doesn't spend too much time dwelling on whether we should actually burn it all.
(4.5) Excellent read, a first-hand account of the Great Depression
A few interesting things about this: * written by a lawyer (as opposed to manual labo(4.5) Excellent read, a first-hand account of the Great Depression
A few interesting things about this: * written by a lawyer (as opposed to manual laborer or a tycoon, perspectives more commonly represented) * fairly dispassionate (well, he is a lawyer ;) ): without much reference to his own situation, Roth reports on the state of national elections, the stock market, local business, inflation rumors etc., so it's not a depressing account of how miserable he and those around him were. It's more a real-time sense of what he thought was going on * he wrote something almost every week (more often when things were really exciting) so you get very little in the way of analysis, just instantaneous impressions. It's cool that way
One theme he comes back to repeatedly is the attempt to draw conclusions about the appropriate ways to invest. He gets a bit repetitive on this sense, but it's interesting to hear him develop his thinking and conclusions. Not surprisingly, what he comes up with:
* always keep a stash of highly liquid investments or cash so you can take advantage of any crashes, panic etc. * buy with money you won't need to live, so that you can sell when the price is favorable to you (not when you're desperate) * nearly gets to dollar-cost averaging (tells about a worker making $5k per year who took this approach and did quite well for himself, but suggests you can do better if you buy when stocks are undervalued etc.) * when you've accumulated a little wealth through savings, that's 1/2 the battle; the rest is figuring how to preserve it...recommends saving/generating a sum that can cover living expenses with extremely conservative investment (essentially government bonds), then live off that and don't touch it * stay away from real estate
He's not far off the mark.
I also enjoyed his analysis of past depressions and panics. He makes many of the same observations of history repeating itself that people are making today about our 'great recession'. He spends a fair amount of ink predicting the boom/bust cycles that will likely occur in the late 30s and then adjusts them as he sees the US becoming more and more likely to enter WW II.
Really give credit to the editors (Roth's son and an editor he enlisted) for keeping the content almost entirely composed of Roth's diary. They do inject a few tidbits here and there (occasionally helpful, as well as some obligatory depression-era photos), but on the whole you're just getting the raw diary that Roth kept (well, except for that missing volume IV), it's kind of like time-traveling...though the interesting thing for me is that it didn't feel distant at all. Could easily have been writing about today (minus the world war bit).
Just a really cool read.
Bugs: not really applicable...any errors are probably directly transcribed from journal, so I imagine a big [sic] at the end of it. Dug some of his creative hyphenation (e.g. high-light)....more
(4.5) Surprisingly good, though not surprisingly not much actually about the path of her T-shirt
In-depth investigation of the history and politics of(4.5) Surprisingly good, though not surprisingly not much actually about the path of her T-shirt
In-depth investigation of the history and politics of the industries that touch T-shirts: cotton production, processing, apparel manufacturing, shipping, recycling. She traces the history of each of these industries from their birth to today, then picks apart the current trends driving the industries today. Particularly eye-opening were the fights over tariffs and import quotas on apparel...many parties changed sides from a protectionist stance to a free-trade stance and vice versa. But she explains it all quite well so it actually all makes sense.
I was worried this would be like those other journalist-written books where they stitch together 5 articles and fluff it up to 300 pages...especially since the impression I got from the title was that she'd just take us to each of the factories that touched her shirt and give her impressions of what she saw. But turns out she's actually a business school professor, and she really did her homework.
Other tidbits I liked: * US textile industry lobbied to get customs officers trained to spot illegal socks (this on top of their usual duties of finding weapons etc.) * Francis Cabot Lowell as industrial espionage, stealing secrets of British power looms and other technological advances to jumpstart the US textile industry and the American industrial revolution
I don't think her style of injecting commentary about feedback from the first edition is the best. It's kind of weird to read a book that's referring to itself. I guess I would've preferred that she just put that in a preface or afterward for the edition. But it wasn't too disruptive.
I was also entertained to hear her mention two economists, Economy and Cline, and (late 18th century physician and) activist Percival (three of us who sit near each other at work have these surnames as well ;) )....more