RaveThe Financial Times (UK)It’s tough to turn the nuances of monetary policy into personality-driven narrative. But Christopher Leonard has succeeded in doing just that ... Weaving together narrative non-fiction with big ideas can be difficult. One of the best things about this book is that through Hoenig, Leonard, a business journalist, is able to tell the whole, complicated half-century story of how we got to where we are now in a way that isn’t at all wonky. There are real people here, making real decisions about the real world. What’s more, this isn’t just about 10 years of easy money. It’s about a culture in which the Fed has over the past several decades taken over from government as the key economic actor in the country.
Qian Julie Wang
PositiveThe Financial Times (UK)... a coming of age story that puts a fresh spin on the familiar tale of migratory hardship. There’s no sentimental ennoblement of poverty in this book ... With a child’s honesty, she shows us how struggle can grind people down, making them as paranoid and cruel to each other as the system is to them ... Wang picks up an important and under-explored thread, one that has been mined in books such as Katherine Boo’s meticulous exploration of Mumbai slum life, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: that being desperate doesn’t necessarily give you empathy. More often it makes you bitter and cruel ... There’s so much that’s predictably horrible about Wang’s experience that it can sometimes make for repetitive reading. But just when you feel like putting the book aside and making a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union in order to assuage the guilt, there’s a sharp observation or poignant remembrance that pulls you back ... I finished the book wanting far more about that emotional journey. In the final rushed pages, too much happens ... Wang’s story leaves the reader wishing that wanting a better future, and working so hard for it, wasn’t illegal in a country that has been built on the back of immigrants.
Richard Thompson Ford
PositiveFinancial Times (UK)In Dress Codes, Richard Thompson Ford’s history of the laws of fashion, we read most of what we need to know about a society through its clothes ... Race, gender and fashion are also pivotal in Dress Codes. Ford has several chapters that chart the evolution of African-American style, and the way in which it was employed in the struggle for equality ... There is still a fertile friction in this topic.
PositiveFinancial Times (UK)Susskind’s core thesis — that we are heading towards a world in which human work will become obsolete — is built on his supposition that most of the conventional notions about AI learning have been wrong ... Not all technologists or economists agree that AI will be nearly as disruptive to human labour as Susskind posits ... Still, there are plenty of people in the post-work world camp, including many of those at the top of the tech food chain. The parts of Susskind’s book that are most interesting and useful are those that grapple with how society should respond to that world.
PositiveThe Financial TimesHis new book, AI Superpowers, is both a provocative and readable distillation of the conventional wisdom on AI supremacy, as well as a challenge to it ... the book implicitly raises an important question—is AI innovation best suited to an environment of decentralization, or centralization? ... Lee introduces a personal note, sharing his struggle with lymphoma, which made him question his workaholic tendencies. While his writing on that topic veers towards the maudlin, the point—there’s no algorithm for a life well spent—is well taken in a world ever more focused on cold, mathematical efficiency.
PositiveThe Financial TimesShort and sharp ... an excellent primer for anyone who wants to understand why corporate wealth and power have grown so concentrated in the past four decades, and why that might be a problem for democracy ... Wu’s ideas (some of which were teased at in his last book, The Attention Merchants) are already influencing the New Brandeis school of trust busters who are gaining power at the Federal Trade Commission, America’s consumer watchdog, and other regulatory agencies in Washington. If they get their way, Big Tech may look a lot smaller in the future.
PositiveThe Financial TimesQuart, the executive editor of the New York-based Economic Hardship Reporting Project, has no unified field theory for this new world...But Squeezed does deliver colour, and the stories of a falling down middle class reflect a felt experience of anxiety that is often lost in data-driven tales of recession and recovery ... Quart is particularly sharp on behavioural psychology and the economics of class.
PositiveThe Financial TimesAs Franklin Foer writes in World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, journalists often mistake their own concerns for those of the world at large...the rise of Big Tech, the fall of the fourth estate, and the effect of it all on democracy is a story that is not only pressing to hacks but to the world at large ...as World Without Mind shows, Big Tech and its disciples aren’t hippies — they are rapacious capitalists with a disturbing libertarian streak ...found myself unconvinced by Foer’s argument that creativity itself has been crushed by Big Tech... Still, he hits the point about the largest tech businesses being attention-merchants rather than innovators squarely on the head.
Joseph E. Stiglitz
RaveThe New York Review of BooksStiglitz, a critic of status quo globalization even before his time at the IMF (during which he produced Globalization and Its Discontents), explains why the eurozone is basically an economic marriage of convenience rather than a deep political union … Stiglitz’s verdict is convincing...Stiglitz argues persuasively that it never had to come to this, because a shared currency was never really required for a shared Europe, a project that he deeply supports. Europe could have focused more tightly on a common foreign policy, defense, trade, social safety nets, labor standards, and so on, rather than grasping for the tantalizing low-hanging fruit of monetary union crafted by a group of elite technocrats … Stiglitz doesn’t argue that any of this would have been easy.