Book Bits: 30 April 2022

The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era
Gary Gerstle
Review via Financial Times
It’s rare that one can use the term “instant classic” in a book review, but Gary Gerstle’s latest economic history, The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order, warrants the praise.
It puts neoliberalism, defined as a “creed that prizes free trade and the free movement of capital, goods and people,” as well as deregulation and cosmopolitanism, in a 100-year historical context, which is crucial for understanding the politics of the moment, not just in the US but globally. The book also knits together a century of very complicated economic, political, and social trends, which are often siloed but are in fact quite interrelated, creating a new and important narrative about where America has been, and where it may be going.

The Bogle Effect: How John Bogle and Vanguard Turned Wall Street Inside Out and Saved Investors Trillions
Eric Balchunas
Summary via publisher (Matt Holt Books)
Today, the lion’s share every dollar invested in America goes to either Vanguard funds or Vanguard-influenced funds. But Bogle’s impact reaches well beyond index funds into many other areas, such as active management, ETFs, the advisory world, quantitative investing, ESG, behavioral finance and even trading platforms. The Bogle Effect takes readers through each of these worlds to show how they—and the investors they serve—are being reshaped. And even after all these years, the revolution is just getting started.

Missing the Target: Why Stock-Market Short-Termism Is Not the Problem
Mark J. Roe
Summary via publisher (Oxford U. Press)
According to many political leaders, pundits, and corporate lawmakers, stock-market-driven short-termism – when corporations prioritize immediate results in the next quarter over their longer-term interests – is harming the American economy. This view, popular in influential circles, sees short-termism as causing sharply declining research and development (R&D), too many stock buybacks, and severe environmental harm. But the data fits badly with this black-and-white representation of short-termism.</href=”https:>

Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything―Even Things That Seem Impossible Today
Jane McGonigal
Q&A with author via
When I asked Jane McGonigal about her approach to forecasting the future, she corrected me. “Future we usually say with an ‘s’—‘futures’—so we can keep an open mind to many different things. We’re not trying to predict a singular future. We’re trying to consider possibilities so we can shape it to be more like the future we want.”
McGonigal is both a game designer and futures forecaster. Over the past 15 years, she’s worked as the director of games research and development at the Institute for the Future, where she specializes in designing large-scale future simulations with thousands of people.

The Rise of Ecofascism: Climate Change and the Far Right
Sam Moore and Alex Roberts
Summary via publisher (Polity)
The world faces a climate crisis and an ascendant far right. Are these trends related? How does the far right think about the environment, and what openings does the coming crisis present for them?This incisive new book traces the long history of far-right environmentalism and explores how it is adapting to the contemporary world. It argues that the extreme right, after years of denying the reality of climate change, are now showing serious signs of reversing their strategy. A new generation of far-right activists has realized that impending environmental catastrophe represents their best chance yet for a return to relevance. In reality, however, their noxious blend of conspiracy, hatred and violence is no solution at all: it is the ‘eco-socialism of fools’.

Radically Human: How New Technology Is Transforming Business and Shaping Our Future
Paul Daugherty and H. James Wilson
Summary via publisher (Harvard Business Review Press)
Technology advances are making tech more . . . human. This changes everything you thought you knew about innovation and strategy. In their groundbreaking book, “Human + Machine,” Accenture technology leaders Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson showed how leading organizations use the power of human-machine collaboration to transform their processes and their bottom lines. Now, as new AI powered technologies like the metaverse, natural language processing, and digital twins begin to rapidly impact both life and work, those companies and other pioneers across industries are tipping the balance even more strikingly toward the human side with technology-led strategy that is reshaping the very nature of innovation. In “Radically Human,” Daugherty and Wilson show this profound shift, fast-forwarded by the pandemic, toward more human–and more humane–technology.

Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor
Kim Kelly
Review via Esquire
Something is sweeping the nation. A dangerous virus, sure; a juicy new season of Selling Sunset, absolutely; but what’s really rocking the zeitgeist is an explosion of enthusiasm for organized labor. Kim Kelly, the labor columnist at Teen Vogue and the author of the new book Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor, has seen it firsthand. “There is a vibrant, vital sense of urgency now, exacerbated by mounting crises and underpinned by historic levels of unemployment and economic inequality,” Kelly writes in her book. “Something’s got to give.”

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