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Book Summary: NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The remarkable memoir of an ambitious young photojournalist who went off to war as a twenty-two-year-old girl—and came back, four years and many adventures later, a woman “Eloquent and well observed, not only about the memoirist, but about the world: war, death, photojournalism and, of course, the worldwide battle between the sexes.” —The Washington Post Book World In 1988, fresh out of Harvard, Deborah Copaken Kogan moved to Paris with a small backpack, a couple of cameras, the hubris of a superhero, and a strong thirst for danger. She wanted to see what a war would look like when seen from up close. Naïvely, she figured it would be easy to filter death through the prism of her wide-angle lens. She was dead wrong. Within weeks of arriving in Paris, after begging to be sent where the action was, Kogan found herself on the back of a truck in Afghanistan, her tiny frame veiled from head to toe, the only woman—and the only journalist—in a convoy of rebel freedom fighters. Kogan had not actually planned on shooting the Afghan war alone. However, the beguiling French photographer she’d entrusted with both her itinerary and her heart turned out to be as dangerously unpredictable as, well, a war. Kogan found herself running from one corner of the globe to another, each linked to the man she was involved with at the time. From Zimbabwe to Romania, from Russia to Haiti, Kogan takes her readers on a heartbreaking yet surprisingly hilarious journey through a mine-strewn decade, her personal battles against sexism, battery, and even rape blending seamlessly with the historical struggles of war, revolution, and unfathomable abuse it was her job to record. In the end, what was once adventurous to the girl began to weigh heavily on the woman. Though she had finally been accepted into photojournalism’s macho fraternity, her photographs splashed across the front pages of international newspapers and magazines, Kogan began to feel there was something more she was after. Ultimately, what she discovered in herself was a person—a woman—for whom life, not death, is the one true adventure to be cherished above all.
Book Summary: “Brilliant, funny . . . the best math teacher you never had.”—San Francisco Chronicle Once considered tedious, the field of statistics is rapidly evolving into a discipline Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, has actually called “sexy.” From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the real-world application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you’ll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As best-selling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few well-chosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more. For those who slept through Stats 101, this book is a lifesaver. Wheelan strips away the arcane and technical details and focuses on the underlying intuition that drives statistical analysis. He clarifies key concepts such as inference, correlation, and regression analysis, reveals how biased or careless parties can manipulate or misrepresent data, and shows us how brilliant and creative researchers are exploiting the valuable data from natural experiments to tackle thorny questions. And in Wheelan’s trademark style, there’s not a dull page in sight. You’ll encounter clever Schlitz Beer marketers leveraging basic probability, an International Sausage Festival illuminating the tenets of the central limit theorem, and a head-scratching choice from the famous game show Let’s Make a Deal—and you’ll come away with insights each time. With the wit, accessibility, and sheer fun that turned Naked Economics into a bestseller, Wheelan defies the odds yet again by bringing another essential, formerly unglamorous discipline to life.
Book Summary: Charles Wheelan’s wonderfully whimsical, best-selling Naked series tackles the weird, surprisingly colorful world of money and banking. Consider the $20 bill. It has no more value, as a simple slip of paper, than Monopoly money. Yet even children recognize that tearing one into small pieces is an act of inconceivable stupidity. What makes a $20 bill actually worth twenty dollars? In the third volume of his best-selling Naked series, Charles Wheelan uses this seemingly simple question to open the door to the surprisingly colorful world of money and banking. The search for an answer triggers countless other questions along the way: Why does paper money (“fiat currency” if you want to be fancy) even exist? And why do some nations, like Zimbabwe in the 1990s, print so much of it that it becomes more valuable as toilet paper than as currency? How do central banks use the power of money creation to stop financial crises? Why does most of Europe share a common currency, and why has that arrangement caused so much trouble? And will payment apps, bitcoin, or other new technologies render all of this moot? In Naked Money, Wheelan tackles all of the above and more, showing us how our banking and monetary systems should work in ideal situations and revealing the havoc and suffering caused in real situations by inflation, deflation, illiquidity, and other monetary effects. Throughout, Wheelan’s uniquely bright-eyed, whimsical style brings levity and clarity to a subject often devoid of both. With illuminating stories from Argentina, Zimbabwe, North Korea, America, China, and elsewhere around the globe, Wheelan demystifies the curious world behind the paper in our wallets and the digits in our bank accounts.
Book Summary: What is the score card for economics at the start of the new millennium? While there are many different schools of economic thought, it is the neo-classical school, with its alleged understanding and simplistic advocacy of the market, that has become equated in the public mind with economics. This book shows that virtually every aspect of conventional neo-classical economics' thinking is intellectually unsound. Steve Keen draws on an impressive array of advanced critical thinking. He constitutes a profound critique of the principle concepts, theories, and methodologies of the mainstream discipline. Keen raises grave doubts about economics' pretensions to established scientific status and its reliability as a guide to understanding the real world of economic life and its policy-making.
Book Summary: "Clear, concise, informative, witty and, believe it or not, entertaining." —Chicago Tribune Finally! A book about economics that won’t put you to sleep. In fact, you won’t be able to put this bestseller down. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favorite of students and general readers is more than a good read, it’s a necessary investment—with a blessedly sure rate of return. Demystifying buzzwords, laying bare the truths behind oft-quoted numbers, and answering the questions you were always too embarrassed to ask, the breezy Naked Economics gives readers the tools they need to engage with pleasure and confidence in the deeply relevant, not so dismal science. This revised and updated edition adds commentary on hot topics, including the current economic crisis, globalization, the economics of information, the intersection of economics and politics, and the history—and future—of the Federal Reserve.
Book Summary: Air bags cause accidents, because well-protected drivers take more risks. This well-documented truth comes as a surprise to most people, but not to economists, who have learned to take seriously the proposition that people respond to incentives. In The Armchair Economist, Steven E. Landsburg shows how the laws of economics reveal themselves in everyday experience and illuminate the entire range of human behavior. Why does popcorn cost so much at the cinema? The 'obvious' answer is that the owner has a monopoly, but if that were the whole story, there would also be a monopoly price to use the toilet. When a sudden frost destroys much of the Florida orange crop and prices skyrocket, journalists point to the 'obvious' exercise of monopoly power. Economists see just the opposite: If growers had monopoly power, they'd have raised prices before the frost. Why don't concert promoters raise ticket prices even when they are sure they will sell out months in advance? Why are some goods sold at auction and others at pre-announced prices? Why do boxes at the football sell out before the standard seats do? Why are bank buildings fancier than supermarkets? Why do corporations confer huge pensions on failed executives? Why don't firms require workers to buy their jobs? Landsburg explains why the obvious answers are wrong, reveals better answers, and illuminates the fundamental laws of human behavior along the way. This is a book of surprises: a guided tour of the familiar, filtered through a decidedly unfamiliar lens. This is economics for the sheer intellectual joy of it.