RaveWall Street JournalIn To Rule the Waves, Bruce D. Jones attempts to adapt [Alfred] Mahan’s thinking to the 21st century. In prose much livelier than his predecessor’s, Mr. Jones places the oceans at the center of modern globalization ... Mr. Jones has managed to write an important book about foreign policy without delivering an impenetrable tome. He handles his reporting deftly, keeping the reader engaged.
RaveThe Washington Post... fascinating and deeply researched ... Stone is at his best describing Bezos’s demanding style of management ... As he concludes his masterful book, \'Whatever you think about the company—and the man—that controls so much of our economic reality in the third decade of the twenty-first century, there is no turning back now.\'
MixedThe Wall Street JournalMacGillis ably catalogs the many ways in which Amazon’s breakneck expansion has left social wreckage in its wake ... MacGillis tells the tale with empathy...Yet the story of Amazon isn’t really the story he wants to tell. Mr. MacGillis’s lens is wide, capturing images of a country in which many people’s living standards are falling and entire regions are left behind...By sharing with us the heart-rending stories of individuals struggling in the face of economic change, as well as examples of Amazon’s alleged abuses, Mr. MacGillis indicts the company for trends that began well before Jeff Bezos’s brainchild was born...The author’s claim that Amazon has \'segmented the country into different sorts of places, each with their assigned rank, income, and purpose,\' is a bit far-fetched. I’m no great fan of the Seattle-based giant, whose heavy-handed ways have enabled it to dominate important parts of the U.S. economy. But Mr. MacGillis’s attack is almost enough to make one cry a tear of sympathy for it.
PanThe Wall Street JournalAs its unfortunate title suggests, Mr. Dumaine’s book is a paean to Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO ... After 120 pages of fawning praise, Mr. Dumaine acknowledges that Amazon may not be perfect ... Mr. Dumaine’s claim that Amazon is always trying to improve its customers’ lives runs up against the reality that the interests of Amazon’s customers may conflict with Amazon’s ... Rather than exploring how Amazon’s massive store of information might impinge on competition—an emerging issue in economics—Mr. Dumaine blithely dismisses concerns about Amazon’s power over firms that are simultaneously its customers and its competitors as \'hipster antitrust.\' ... Amazon is indeed a remarkable company. In a short period of time, it has remade the consumer economy. Mr. Bezos’s accomplishments merit serious study. I suspect he can withstand tougher scrutiny than he receives in this volume.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalUnorthodox as they are, these companies may pose less of a threat to the makers and sellers of consumer goods than Mr. Ingrassia suggests. Precisely because they are founded by entrepreneurs looking to make a killing rather than a livelihood, selling out is at the core of their business plans ... Indeed, as Mr. Ingrassia admits, the disruption he describes may be but a passing phase ... Disrupting an industry is easy. Doing so profitably is a different matter.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... charming ... Anyone looking for dirt about the media industry or Netflix’s better-known co-founder—current chief executive Reed Hastings —won’t find it here. The book instead offers an engaging read that will engross any would-be entrepreneur.
MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. Nicholas, a professor at Harvard Business School, is evidently a fan of American-style venture capital... But his book doesn’t demonstrate that venture capital as promoted in the U.S. is the best way, or even a good way, to support risk-taking ... focuses entirely on the U.S. and offers no information about how high-risk startups are funded in other countries ... perhaps the history of U.S. venture-capital investing is not quite the triumph that Mr. Nicholas would have us believe.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\" ... entertaining ... Mr. Oller, a biographer and former Wall Street lawyer, highlights the role of the white-shoe firms in making their corporate clients understand that the times were changing in an age of reform.\
Nicole C. Kirk
MixedThe Wall Street JournalMs. Kirk is a historian of religion at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, and her interests clearly run more toward religion than other matters. Wanamaker’s tumultuous term as postmaster general for the Republican president Benjamin Harrison—which began with firing thousands of Democratic postmasters but later brought about the establishment of rural free delivery—gets short shrift. What possessed Wanamaker to seek a U.S. Senate seat in 1896 and the governorship of Pennsylvania two years later remains obscure; both forays are mentioned by Ms. Kirk only in passing, in the same sentence. A reader wanting to know why this legendary businessman flirted with failure in 1907 is out of luck ... Yet her book offers hints that we might not consider him an altogether admirable character. Wanamaker’s religiosity, as she describes it, reeks of a sense of superiority ... His was not a universal version of the Gospel.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal\"There have been many, many books about the financial crisis, but few, if any, have treated it as a world-wide event...This is economic history on an epic scale, and readers who persevere through the book’s roughly 600 pages of text will find many surprises ... At times, Mr. Tooze lets his outrage get the better of him. He suggests that the United States might have shortened the crisis by nationalizing sick banks, but he fails to note that Britain and Germany achieved little by doing just that ... Nonetheless, Mr. Tooze has written a valuable book about the challenges of managing a tightly connected world economy. The questions he raises resonate in the Age of Trump.\
William C. Rempel
RaveThe Wall Street Journal...William C. Rempel’s breezy biography offers an entertaining look at Kerkorian’s outsize life, but the question of his historical stature is still open to debate ... Mr. Rempel has come up with information that the secretive Kerkorian would no doubt have preferred to keep under wraps, and the investigative work couldn’t have been easy ... Mr. Rempel’s research yields a portrait of a guy who took big risks that made him very rich but who had an unhappy personal life... But that bold subtitle notwithstanding, Mr. Rempel doesn’t have much to say about Kerkorian’s legacy. His wheeling and dealing appears to have left few traces.
Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalThis book, it must be said up front, it not an easy read. Messrs. Van Parijs and Vanderborght are ethicists, and their closely argued text has all the liveliness of a philosophical treatise. But Basic Income provides a rigorous analysis of the many arguments for and against a universal basic income, offering a road map for future researchers who wish to examine policy alternatives ... Messrs. Van Parijs and Vanderborght make a strong case that any basic income should be universal, because grants aimed at the poor or the jobless 'have an intrinsic tendency to turn their beneficiaries into a class of permanent welfare claimants' ... the authors’ call 'to restructure radically the way in which economic security is pursued in our societies and in our world' is encountering growing sympathy from people with widely disparate political orientations but a shared concern about how technology might fundamentally change the nature of work.
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal'The history of its Post Office is nothing less than the story of America,' Ms. Gallagher’s opening sentence declares, and in this lively book she makes the case well ... She also emphasizes the important role of the thousands of local postmasters, who were the principal link between the young federal government and its citizens.
PanThe Wall Street JournalThe energy crisis, [Jacobs] contends, transformed American politics, decimating liberalism and bringing anti-government conservatives to power ... There’s an element of truth to her claim...Contrary to Ms. Jacobs’s depiction, though, the endless political battles over energy had less to do with partisan politics than with rent-seeking ... Nor is it clear, as Ms. Jacobs contends, that energy was the dominant political concern of the 1970s. In reality Americans, along with the citizens of almost every other wealthy country, had ample cause to be unhappy ... Ms. Jacobs tells her story largely by stringing together pronouncements by politicians and anecdotes from the media...The extraordinary complexity of unwinding decades of government intervention in energy markets goes missing amid the stereotypes.