Book Bits: 4 March 2023

Blood Money: The Story of Life, Death, and Profit Inside America’s Blood Industry
Kathleen McLaughlin
Summary via publisher (Simon & Schuster)
Journalist Kathleen McLaughlin knew she’d found a treatment that worked on her rare autoimmune disorder. She had no idea it had been drawn from the veins of America’s most vulnerable. So begins McLaughlin’s ten-year investigation researching and reporting on the $20-billion-a year business she found at the other end of her medication, revealing an industry that targets America’s most economically vulnerable for immense profit. And she unearths an American economic crisis hidden in plain sight: single mothers, college students, laid-off Rust Belt auto workers, and a booming blood market at America’s southern border, where collection agencies target Mexican citizens willing to cross over and sell their plasma for substandard pay.

How Monetary Policy Got Behind the Curve―and How to Get Back
Edited by Michael D. Bordo, et al.
Summary via publisher (Hoover Institution Press)
With the inflation rate in the United States and many other countries on the rise for over a year and nearing double digits, the Hoover Institution hosted its 2022 conference on monetary policy. Policy makers, market participants, and academic researchers gathered to discuss the situation. Many agreed that low interest rates and high money growth were inappropriate given the high inflation rate and evidence that the United States has recovered from the deep recession induced by the pandemic and its policy response in 2020. The thoughtful papers and the thorough discussions in this volume of conference proceedings illustrate the debate about the reasons for this mismatch, as well as how to get back on track.

I, Human: AI, Automation, and the Quest to Reclaim What Makes Us Unique
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Review via Publishers Weekly
The threat posed by artificial intelligence isn’t mass unemployment or murderous droids but subtler mental derangements, according to this astute study. Columbia psychology professor Chamorro-Premuzic (Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?) suggests that AI’s use in search engines, social media, and gadgetry is part of an effort by tech companies to harvest attention and money by identifying and manipulating human patterns of behavior. AI, he contends, prods users to scan and click in predictable, routinized ways; saps attention and patience with information overload; reinforces biases (hiring algorithms, for instance, can recreate bosses’ racial prejudices); and feeds narcissism by courting obsession over the likes garnered by selfies.

The Threshold: Leading in the Age of AI
Nick Chatrath
Summary via publisher (Diversion Books)
Accomplished leadership consultant Nick Chatrath offers a revolutionary framework for how leaders in all kinds of organizations can adapt to the new age of technology—the Age of AI— by leaning into the qualities and skills that make us uniquely human. For readers of Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0, The Threshold is a bold new way to think about human, emotionally intelligent leadership right now as we stand at the threshold of AI superintelligence.

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