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My Book Reviews

Category: Personal Finance
Published: 1998
Read: 2002
Reviewed: Sep 2010

This book, written by sociologist Andrew Hacker, talks about the economic profile of different groups of Americans. It is similar to "The Millionaire Mind". It talks about different trends (like the rising income inequality over the last few decades) and cites various statistics relating to different areas, such as: marriage, children, labor trends, wages, industries, poverty, billionaires, race, sex, and immigrants.

This book is very weak because most of the statistics are either well-known (like rising income inequality, and CEO pay) or are simply intuitive. Books like this are very primitive because they only teach you THAT things are, but they don't teach you WHY things are. Those more relevant questions are being answered by the current books about neuroeconomics, behavioral finance, and social psychology. That is where the interesting research is being done. Here are the few interesting quotes from the book:

  • To learn about people, you should observe what they do instead of listening to what they say. "The marvelous thing about rats is that they do not talk. The trouble with the social sciences is that they record all the silly and self-serving things that people say."
  • The American variant of capitalism never made the creation of jobs a primary goal.
  • "One reason immigrants open their own enterprises is that they are unsure whether they would be allowed to succeed in corporate careers."
  • "Ours is an age when money is apt to be used for creating financial pyramids as to build productive capacity."

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