This book was given to me when Jake's coworker cleaned out his bookshelves. It was a worn paperback copy so large it was impossible to hold without cr...moreThis book was given to me when Jake's coworker cleaned out his bookshelves. It was a worn paperback copy so large it was impossible to hold without creasing the spine in the middle. I liked this book a lot. I thought I'd roll my eyes more at all the made-up stuff and "Yea, therefore the prophet ..." but it was really a lovely allegory for like, ya know... capitalism, religion and I guess also devolution.(less)
They want to help the "least sophisticated" people make fewer mistakes with nudges in the right direction....moreLots of disjointed thoughts here, collected:
They want to help the "least sophisticated" people make fewer mistakes with nudges in the right direction. Are (poor) people less sophisticated, or do they simply have fewer resources and less ability to make mistakes? (Or am I being touchy and is this saying the same thing?)
The RECAP idea made me laugh a little. The techno-optimism is rather extreme. Do you lose "Humans" when you present them with spreadsheets? With proof that financial education doesn't work (that they cite later on!), would requiring high schoolers to use these spreadsheets (as they suggest) be effective?
"Save More Tomorrow," increasing savings rates as people get regular pay increases, assumes that people's wages DO regularly increase, or that they even outpace inflation, which simply isn't the case for many workers anymore.
On school choice: In the end, if you aren't doing something to change how schools are funded (and the circumstances children grow up in), you are still choosing winners and losers. Even given spreadsheets or fact cards, parents with fewer resources will do less to act against inertia.
And as someone who has worked in nonprofits, the Charity Debit Card idea made me laugh. How many people give enough to itemize? Are they the people who need to benefit from an easier tax deduction? Are they motivated to give for that reason, and bookkeeping is what's holding them back? I'd like to find out more about how well FSA has worked -- I know for many people it's more trouble than it's worth. (Not to mention the logistics of billing a charity dinner where not all of your donation is tax-deductible, since part of the price is assumed to pay for your wine and chicken Parm.)
One thing that came up for me over and over was their idea that sunshine is the best disinfectant -- so much so that simply publishing the names of polluting firms or the financial backers of politicians will end the possibility of corruption. I think that there are industries that are too large and too powerful to be impacted by negative publicity (at least in a timely manner; see Monsanto, see Keystone, see even US policy on Guantanamo). There are also industries that can use their power to stop that sort of sunshine to begin with (see Ag Gag laws). It may be Pollyanna-ish of them to assume this won't happen; it may be doom-and-gloom of me to assume it will.
They also mention in passing that Social Security may be on the brink of insolvency, and that subprime loans were not all bad, which, no.(less)
Man, like, I read this really fast but the whole time I was thinking I wasn't sure I could finish this. Maybe this book is not for me, I don't know. A...moreMan, like, I read this really fast but the whole time I was thinking I wasn't sure I could finish this. Maybe this book is not for me, I don't know. A good friend lent it to me and she liked it but what she'd liked most she said was the stuff about the immigrant experience. So she's got me there.
I thought the stuff like AlliedWasteGeneralElectricMcDonald'sWhatever and Onionskins and Norway was just facile and silly and incredibly distracting -- I kept groaning when I should have been staring wide-eyed into A REAL FUTURE THAT COULD REALLY HAPPEN. What I found most affecting was their relationships to their parents, and I was disappointed that they didn't really get into that more. And maybe some of the soft young-love moments were good but I'm In a Place right now so yeah.
And the end was dumb. Yeah hm. I wouldn't recommend it.(less)
you know what, i am glad i read this. i have a hard time with scifi/speculative fiction because i can't stop rolling my eyes real hard at their all-vo...moreyou know what, i am glad i read this. i have a hard time with scifi/speculative fiction because i can't stop rolling my eyes real hard at their all-vowel names or whatever tiny tweaks to whatever's current that are thrown in there to make the characters alien. like in star trek where people have weird brows or ears and love money or hate sex, like otherwise they are bipedal and all sorts of other things. actually you know, it's silly to hold scifi to that standard -- it's really an attempt to make a point that often just seems really ham-handed. like, you know, the ferengi love money and their lives are sort of shallow!
but anyway, the characters in this book are a lot better drawn, of course, and i really appreciated that. giving time to explore the protagonist's past and seeing it wasn't some howard-roark-like constant work focus that led him to be the brilliant genius he is today was nice!
ok so as a frustratingly idealistic person who thinks our current "market economy" is utterly broken, it is a relief to muck about in this anarchic society whose people are all fed (well, all or none, mostly, sort of) and mostly do work they want to be doing, that's nice. it's set on a world where there is such scarcity that working together is pretty important. i wonder if it would work like that otherwise? does having lots of stuff lead to hoarding lots of stuff? or does having little stuff lead to hoarding what you have? i donno. anyway. i am still thinking about this. which is a good thing for a book to do to you.(less)
This was difficult but not in the way you might expect something 1,000+ pages to be. I was told to "stick with it," which I never found hard to do, bu...moreThis was difficult but not in the way you might expect something 1,000+ pages to be. I was told to "stick with it," which I never found hard to do, but the interest you hold might wane to the sliver of, "how does this keep going? for 400 pages more?" and when it comes together (sort of) you WILL BE GLAD YOU DID. It was things converging without anyone in the story knowing it. I don't know. I loved this but it was hard to read over lunch. Some of the sexiest things ever.(less)
It was fast-paced and filled with interesting facts but sometimes I felt pretty talked-down to. Which I guess is his way. Clear and readable and I'd r...moreIt was fast-paced and filled with interesting facts but sometimes I felt pretty talked-down to. Which I guess is his way. Clear and readable and I'd recommend it as a way to blow through some nonfiction.(less)
kind of a slog in parts, but i'm glad i read it. anyone who tells you that STEM is the guaranteed path to a house-car-kids middle-class future is reac...morekind of a slog in parts, but i'm glad i read it. anyone who tells you that STEM is the guaranteed path to a house-car-kids middle-class future is reacting to a very limited historical reality. & hooray for the haircuts in the pictures.(less)
This truly became a beach read when the San Francisco winter turned 70 degrees. That was pretty much the perfect way to read it -- in two hours, with...moreThis truly became a beach read when the San Francisco winter turned 70 degrees. That was pretty much the perfect way to read it -- in two hours, with sunglasses on and heels kicked up. It's unfinished, so don't make it your first Capote. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes him. It's a breezy read without being fluff.(less)
you guys i wanted to love this so much. and mostly i did. but it's been a while since i read it and i remember rolling my eyes about a million times....moreyou guys i wanted to love this so much. and mostly i did. but it's been a while since i read it and i remember rolling my eyes about a million times. this is preaching to the choir. which can be cathartic but i wanted more! use that breezy and relate-able style to convert! help us! ?? is that totally unrealistic??(less)
I so appreciate what Paul Tough does here to talk about the physical and psychological effects of growing up in poverty and around trauma, but he cons...moreI so appreciate what Paul Tough does here to talk about the physical and psychological effects of growing up in poverty and around trauma, but he consistently fails to connect those effects with a cause. He mentions the "savage inequalities" of school funding, neighborhood resources and systemic racism only in passing, which is quite hard for me to swallow in a book that claims to be entirely about what poor kids need to succeed.
There's also a lot that made me feel icky about "character" generally -- the values he lists are ones that make for a good worker, but do they make for a better community, a fuller life? I wish he'd investigated whether curricula around social justice could help kids understand the world around them in a more complete way and perhaps also empower them to make changes they want to see. Is the KIPP model of discipline and testing just replicating the extrinsic motivation he claims has so ill-served better-off kids?
When affluent kids can screw up, drop out, and still succeed, or when they ride a greased chute from $40k/yr preschool to Riverdale to McKinsey & Company, is character really what leads kids to succeed?
What really needs to change: Kids or schools? Schools or culture? Is "no excuses" asking kids to take on the weight of systemic racism and oppression? Are we allowing the elite to skip the responsibility of addressing poverty by saying kids can get themselves out?
Smaller notes: Youngest kids did have character assessments on report cards for parents when I was a kid ("plays well with others"). Is social/emotional learning a new concept?
If it's something we can't or don't yet test for, does the argument that the "power of character" contributes more to a child's success than tests results might indicate undermine the argument for an intense testing regime, like the one many charter schools he celebrates have? Could Tough have addressed testing itself?(less)