Brilliant insights and magnificently written. If you think you interpret the world and make decisions in a rational manner, even most of the time, thiBrilliant insights and magnificently written. If you think you interpret the world and make decisions in a rational manner, even most of the time, think again. Over four decades Kahneman has repeatedly demonstrated the bewildering away of biases, heuristics, logical fallacies, and internal inconsistencies that define us as human beings. As gloriously rich in our minds' inner workings as bafflingly illogical, especially when it comes to probability and uncertainty. These are profound challenges to the still-dominant rational-agent model of conventional economics. I only wish I'd read this sooner!...more
Monumental. Breathtaking. Challenging, confronting, compelling. This is a touchstone work in human thought.
And I cannot help but add my amazement at tMonumental. Breathtaking. Challenging, confronting, compelling. This is a touchstone work in human thought.
And I cannot help but add my amazement at those reviewers here giving poor rating and claiming that the entire book can be summarised as 'shit happens'. The demonstration of their utter inability to grasp Taleb's ideas is spectacular! (And spectacularly stupid, given, for one, he addresses such misconceptions in this edition's postscript essay.) Epistemic arrogance indeed... with a strong dose of the Dunning-Kruger effect....more
A thoughtful and cogent analysis of the many and varied failures to achieve meaningful and effective climate change mitigation. While I do not fully aA thoughtful and cogent analysis of the many and varied failures to achieve meaningful and effective climate change mitigation. While I do not fully agree with some aspects of Latin's critique, his overall thesis is surely robust: that the bulk of mitigation policy erroneously focuses on changes that at best simply slow the rate of increase of atmospheric GHG concentration; that major international negotiations (specifically the UNFCCC) are highly unlikely to succeed while the global North continues to insist the South should take on binding emission reductions, rather than a shift toward providing and disseminating the GHG-free clean tech that is actually required; that it is not true that doing something is better than nothing, when such policies serve to facilitate incrementalism rather than the sorts of radical transformation that are actually necessary, wasting tens of billions in the process; and that a suite of policy instruments and institutions, coordinated in an integrated framework — including a rising carbon price — are fundamentally and urgently required to genuinely deal with the threat.
In particular I commend Latin for his dissection of, in his words, 'asymmetric idealism' in the pursuit of alternative mitigation schemes, such as fee-and-dividend — an idea I, like Latin, argue is deeply and irrevocably flawed, if for no other reason that it utterly fails to provide desperately needed funds for clean technology and other climate programs.
I do take some small issue with Latin's work. Some of the proposals I feel tend to suffer somewhat from that same asymmetry. For one, I do not find the main proposals in Chapter V entirely complete, not because they aren't needed and sound, but because they do not fully confront the fact that for clean tech to succeed, fossil fuel plants — including new gas infrastructure — must be forced to close. I am not convinced the proposed regulatory stick is big enough to do that. Second, I found it striking that Latin appears to suggest that his integrated framework is somehow a novel creation. It effectively describes what are usually termed 'complementary measures', and the rather important understanding that a carbon tax or an ETS alone is insufficient is not news. The Stern Review famously noted that a carbon price alone would not induce the necessary changes at the scale or pace required (I wrote an MSc thesis on this issue back in 2008 using a range of existing literature, including that prepared for Australia's Garnaut Review). Indeed, the IEA has made this point explicitly for a number of years.
Nonetheless these quibbles are not major and Latin's work is an important contribution....more
[content 5*, publication 4*] Thoroughly convincing and empirically detailed demolition of the diet-heart / lipid hypothesis for coronary heart disease[content 5*, publication 4*] Thoroughly convincing and empirically detailed demolition of the diet-heart / lipid hypothesis for coronary heart disease and stroke. At no point in the chain from consumption of 'evil' saturated fat to diet-mediated blood cholesterol levels to the 'bad' LDL cholesterol to the role and causes of atherosclerosis and its purported link to heart disease does the scientific evidence withstand scrutiny. And — incredibly important — that is with reference to the same studies held up as evidence by the diet-heart hypothesis proponents, as well as studies directly challenging that hypothesis in the peer-reviewed medical literature. Ravnskov is no crank, with many publications in the likes of The Lancet, British Medical Journal, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and so on.
You can't moderate your blood cholesterol by diet. Saturated fat is likely good for you. LDL cholesterol is a crucial component of your immune system. Cholesterol levels are not correlated with incidence of heart disease; indeed, low cholesterol levels are correlated with stroke. Blood cholesterol has not been shown to be the cause of atherosclerosis (of your coronary arteries). Atherosclerosis is likely not the underlying direct cause of heart disease.
If Ravnskov and the works he cites are demonstrably wrong, I'd like to see the science.
[I gave it four stars only because of the large number of typographical and punctuation errors (though of course it is a Swedish publisher), and more importantly, for a non-trivial quantity of mismatched footnotes. The content is five stars however!]...more
A manifestly important book. It's hard to capture the scope of Keen's work —his erudition of the real history of economic thought and demolition of thA manifestly important book. It's hard to capture the scope of Keen's work — his erudition of the real history of economic thought and demolition of the neoclassical house of cards is breathtaking, exciting, urgently necessary.
If, like me, you sat in undergrad economics classes thinking (or even saying) 'but... huh?' then it may just be that you were quite capable of understanding what was being presented, it simply made no sense.
Two books have changed my life this far — this is the third. It is a revelation from beginning to end. Before even fully completing it I had made theTwo books have changed my life this far — this is the third. It is a revelation from beginning to end. Before even fully completing it I had made the decision to stop my vegetarian diet of some 14 years, and to develop one that is as genuinely sustainable as possible. And, with luck, to reverse some of the creeping health issues that have developed in that time....more