Lonely people are unsuccessful people. People who are alone are unsuccessful people. Gee, I've never heard that one before. Quite frankly, Brooks adds...moreLonely people are unsuccessful people. People who are alone are unsuccessful people. Gee, I've never heard that one before. Quite frankly, Brooks adds nothing of substance to the advancement of relations between people, at least that I could see, but he is a much better writer than most who've trod the same ground, so I must give credit where it is due.
Beyond that, there really isn't much to say about this one, other than that I could not for the life of me figure out whether or not there was an unstated -- and rather cruel -- assumption underlying this work. Namely, I kept getting whiffs that those who are alone are that way because they wish to be, not because they have difficulty in forming and keeping relationships. And that it is all their fault, and dadgumit, they really should just get with the program. He certainly nowhere touches upon any condition from major depression to ADHD to Autism Spectrum Disorders as possibly a very difficult barrier for some to overcome. Perhaps I'm oversensitive on these topics, being blessed with the full trifecta. And, as noted, the exact phrasing noted above does not appear in the book. Admittedly a head-scratcher. But I submit not an unreasonable thought to have.
Oh, yeah. The story. On the fence about it. I suppose it helped Brooks put a face on his points, but I'd say that it was overall a distraction.(less)
Way too shiny, happy a view of the future, even for the next decade. Though his call to cut foreign aid generally, close military foreign bases, and h...moreWay too shiny, happy a view of the future, even for the next decade. Though his call to cut foreign aid generally, close military foreign bases, and his recognition of the US as the "world's policeman" as the crap it is, gave it one more star than maybe it deserved. And he even made some noises about reshaping our relationship with Israel. This gave me a good chuckle, being so conditioned and full of hemming and hawing you'd think he wrote this section looking over his shoulder the entire time. Still, I guess it took a set of brass balls to even bring the topic up, especially since he wants their "aid" to zero.(less)
Pluses: Interesting and accessible, makes some rather difficult material (esp. in Kant and Heidegger) understandable to the average listener, presumab...morePluses: Interesting and accessible, makes some rather difficult material (esp. in Kant and Heidegger) understandable to the average listener, presumably without distorting their messages too much. The section on Freud was also something of an eye-opener, as I'd never imagined his system worked quite the way Erickson says it did.
Minuses: Erickson can be extremely patronizing at times, though I doubt he even realizes it. He also seems to overdo the Midwest cornpone a bit for my tastes; if he was raised like that doubtless he's moved far beyond it. He also has a collection of stock phrases that grew quite tiresome after a while "let us meditate on," "we have reached a point in our journey," and a few others that seemed to crop up about every five minutes.
As to substance, I don't think his presentation of Marx was very well done, as best I recall he never explains why his starting point was Kant, and I found the last few sections, on existentialism (Sartre, Foucault, Habermas, etc.) close to impossible to follow...which may say more about the material than the one trying to explain it in laymman's terms.
I did enjoy it, I liked most of the survey, but I just can't bring myself to click on that 4th star.(less)
If not as entertaining as Michael Lewis's The Big Short it was at least as well researched, and certainly offered more insight into John Paulson, doub...moreIf not as entertaining as Michael Lewis's The Big Short it was at least as well researched, and certainly offered more insight into John Paulson, doubtless the biggest winner from the housing collapse. Overall, though, not much new ground broken, and perhaps a bit too heavy on the descriptives regarding Gulfstreams, exotic dinner menus and other errata I found on the tedious side.
Curiously, I recall no direct statement by Cashman that he had actually interviewed Paulson in the creation of this book. Yet he often presents as though he's inside Paulson's head, watching his synapses fire. Perhaps such a statement was made and I missed it -- such is the curse of listening to audiobooks while driving -- but given Paulson's central role in this tale you'd think such a fact would have been repeated several times. If so, I missed 'em all. (less)
I suppose if there was a 2 1/2 star rating I could've seen my way to giving it to this one, but the author's approach seemed to come straight out of a...moreI suppose if there was a 2 1/2 star rating I could've seen my way to giving it to this one, but the author's approach seemed to come straight out of a tabloid. Irritating as hell. Everything was a personality conflict, everyone scheming against one another, no one having any clue what was going on in their CDO/MBS Hedge Fund. And damned litttle about how Ber Sterns got to where it was when the knives came out.
What this book needed was a whole helluva lot more analysis, financial, macroeconomic, whatever, and a whole lot less discussion of the sometimes bizarre behavior of the people leading Bear Sterns....And what was all that material about Lehman shoved onto the end of the book? It was almost as though he needed to puff the work up by 50 pages, was out of things to say about Bear Sterns, so let's chuck in something that is beyond a summary but is nowhere near long enough to tell the whole story.
Forgettable, unless watching re-runs of Dallas and Falcon Crest are what floats your boat. (Though I"m not so sure such a thing exists.)(less)
It is not not that I necessarily disagree with the theme of the book, that "right-brainers" will come into their own in the next century, it is more t...moreIt is not not that I necessarily disagree with the theme of the book, that "right-brainers" will come into their own in the next century, it is more that the author fails to provide any real proof for one of his main theses: that we are moving into an age of abundance. The lone tidbit of proof offered up is that there are more choices of consumer goods today than their were in the 1970s, and that what was once considered in the luxury category has become rather everyday and mundane.
Abundance, Asia, and automation. The second is covered in great detail, and it appears Pink actually did the legwork to show how what were once skilled or semi-skilled white collar jobs are moving overseas the same way manufacturing has. (Quite frankly it is also what saved this work from a one star review.) Automation? Certainly we've seen some of it, but just because certain tasks that used to be performed by humans can now be performed faster, cheaper and better via computer, Pink seems to extrapolate this out to a conclusion that may or may not be justified. What were some of the predictions of the 1950s? Personal helicopters, nuclear powered cars, electricity so cheap you wouldn't even bother with metering it any longer. And I submit that Pink is engaging in the same sort of thinking now that those folks did back then...Of course, he may be right, but trendlines have ways of flattening or even nose-diving, rather than zooming into the stratosphere.
Finally, back to "abundance," as it relates to the US and probably the entire West. How is it going to be paid for? Namely, what will the West have to offer China, India, Indonesia, Korea, whomever? Assuming Pink's thesis to be true, I have no idea, and saw no evidence that he does either. And why should any of those countries underwrite gigantic trade imbalances, rather than improving the lot of their own people? (I see no way this could be avoided, and Pink is silent.) His book left me with the depressng sense of a world run out of Asia and the USA under the effective control of a small cognitive elite, lording it over a vast horde of useless lumpenproletariat, that can neither compete in the global economy nor escape what would have to be something amounting to debt slavery.
Perhaps the above is nonsense, but again where Pink's logic might lead him to some place he does not like he seems to stick his fingers in his ears and shout "na, na, na, I can't hear you." Well, okay he simply drops the topic. Same thing for all practical purpose.(less)
Quite frankly I feel as if I were sold a pig in a poke with this audiobook. Farrell's politics intrude throughout, and this is not mentioned, though I...moreQuite frankly I feel as if I were sold a pig in a poke with this audiobook. Farrell's politics intrude throughout, and this is not mentioned, though I guess it is hinted at, in the book description. I don't particularly agree with his beliefs, but don't particularly disagree either. What bothered me was the hectoring, lecturing, superior tone apparent whenever something political came up...and this was about an every five minute occurrence.
And what sort of advice is offered? I'm embarrassed to say I can't really remember, three days after finishing the audiobook. As best I recall it was the usual bromides about saving, raising your children to be intelligent about money, and so forth. I do believe he contradicted himself, after a fashion, on paying for college. He kept citing his parents in this area, then later mentions something about college costs rising much faster than inflation, but also later compares debt levels of graduates of today vs. those of the past. Dirty pool, in my book.
I suppose the book would have been a bit more tolerable if the rhetoric had been toned down, or if I followed the same line he does in all things, but this is really one you can skip and miss nothing or pickup free from the library. After all, sometimes reminders of general principles can be a good thing. (less)
Too scattershot throughout, and too preachy at the end. The harsh and depressing reality is that the 21st century is going to suck for the average Ame...moreToo scattershot throughout, and too preachy at the end. The harsh and depressing reality is that the 21st century is going to suck for the average American, who will be lucky to enjoy the standard of living enjoyed by his great-grandparents. If you strip away Friedman's verbiage that's the straight-forward conclusion you're left with. (Even though I have no recall of him using terms like, oh, trade-imbalance, dissaving, or national debt. Though it might be interesting to ask why they were missing. They're really not part of globalization?)
Actually "verbiage" is putting it politely. Think hall of funhouse mirrors. Or not stopping with lipstick on the piggy, but adding a wig, high heels an evening gown and matching accessories. For whatever reason, Friedman is desperate to distract the listener from, well, what his eyes show him in his travels and to burble on about the potential wonders and joys of globalization. Thus you ask Miss Piggy if that gown is Dior, not why is it that Miss Piggy looks so porcine.
Whatever. Friedman makes a case about as well as you can for a thesis premised on nonsense. And the trends he's identified may in fact be irreversible, and are as likely to only pick up steam as do anything else. Whether we're fed continuous doses of Friedman's brand of Prozac or not. From him or others.
I just wish he'd been honest. What was that quote from that old but goodie Western, The Outlaw Josie Wales? Something about "Don't piss down my back and tell me its raining," perhaps? Except that in this world we live in the piss is seemingly flowing by the gallon. And Friedman wants us to consider it all Chanel No. 5. And perhaps most even do, well, for as long as they can.
A few interesting points but the non-stop drumbeat of America on the road to fascism as planned and executed by Bildebergers, CFR members and a cast o...moreA few interesting points but the non-stop drumbeat of America on the road to fascism as planned and executed by Bildebergers, CFR members and a cast of thousands for their benefit and our detriment got both tiresome and tedious after awhile. Okay, the way the federal reserve system goes about its business is akin to a crackhead doing ballet, or the Kennedy assassination was a put up job, or... Well, that's about how it went. However, the invisible strings of the puppet masters are pulling just doesn't follow. From either his evidence or his reasoning.
I'd probably listen to another work of his, since he obviously did his share of research, but, man o man do those conclusions veer straight off into cloud-cuckoo land.(less)