The Revenge of Analog

By David Sax. Collects success stories of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and big corporations that explore unreported trends in analog consumerism and reveal a renewal of interest in tangible goods.

The Global Code

GlobalCodeThe Global Code: How a New Culture of Universal Values Is Reshaping Business and Marketing
By Dr. Clotaire Rapaille

For decades, Clotaire Rapaille’s work focused on how people’s relationships with the most important concepts in their lives love, health, and money, for instance are guided by subconscious cultural messages. But recently, he has uncovered a new phenomenon: a “global unconscious,” or core values and feelings that are consistent worldwide the result of our constant interconnectedness. He has also identified a new group who are paving the way for the future of decision-making: the Global Tribe. These individuals are fluent in the language of culture, untied to any notion of nationalism or ideology. They are defining the key values driving our new world economy, with profound implications for how companies market their products and services.

Rapaille takes us on a journey through China, Brazil, India, England and everywhere in between to discover the new standards for luxury, pleasure, technology and education. How can elite brands compete in a world of knockoffs? How can universities maintain their prestige when a cheap master’s degree or doctorate is only a click away? We must speak the language of the Global Tribe in order to succeed.

Building on seven years of research, Rapaille analyzes how this new mindset has taken hold in various regions, and how marketers and service providers can tailor their offerings and marketing accordingly. The Global Code is an invaluable glimpse at how our new multi-sphere world is affecting us all.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate

CapitalismThe most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

In short, either we embrace radical change ourselves or radical changes will be visited upon our physical world. The status quo is no longer an option.

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Can we pull off these changes in time? Nothing is certain. Nothing except that climate change changes everything. And for a very brief time, the nature of that change is still up to us.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

FlashBoysBy Michael Lewis

Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets. This they do by creating an exchange in which high-frequency trading source of the most intractable problems will have no advantage whatsoever.

The characters in Flash Boys are fabulous, each completely different from what you think of when you think Wall Street guy. Several have walked away from jobs in the financial sector that paid them millions of dollars a year. From their new vantage point they investigate the big banks, the world s stock exchanges, and high-frequency trading firms as they have never been investigated, and expose the many strange new ways that Wall Street generates profits.

The light that Lewis shines into the darkest corners of the financial world may not be good for your blood pressure, because if you have any contact with the market, even a retirement account, this story is happening to you. But in the end, Flash Boys is an uplifting read. Here are people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don t get paid for that; they have perceived an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.”

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry

Pound FoolishBy Helaine Olen

If you’ve ever bought a personal finance book, watched a TV show about stock picking, listened to a radio show about getting out of debt, or attended a seminar to help you plan for your retirement, you’ve probably heard some version of these quotes:

  • “What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases, it is simply a lack of belief.” –Suze Orman, The Courage to Be Rich
  • “Are you latte-ing away your financial future?” –David Bach, Smart Women Finish Rich
  • “I know you’re capable of picking winning stocks and holding on to them.” –Jim Cramer, Mad Money

They’re common refrains among personal finance gurus. There’s just one problem: those and many similar statements are false.

For the past few decades, Americans have spent billions of dollars on personal finance products. As salaries have stagnated and companies have cut back on benefits, we’ve taken matters into our own hands, embracing the can-do attitude that if we’re smart enough, we can overcome even daunting financial obstacles. But that’s not true. In this meticulously reported and shocking book, journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen goes behind the curtain of the personal finance industry to expose the myths, contradictions, and outright lies it has perpetuated. She shows how an industry that started as a response to the Great Depression morphed into a behemoth that thrives by selling us products and services that offer little if any help.

Olen calls out some of the biggest names in the business, revealing how even the most respected gurus have engaged in dubious, even deceitful, practices – from accepting payments from banks and corporations in exchange for promoting certain products to blaming the victims of economic catastrophe for their own financial misfortune. Pound Foolish also disproves many myths about spending and saving, including:

  • Small pleasures can bankrupt you: Gurus popularized the idea that cutting out lattes and other small expenditures could make us millionaires. But reducing our caffeine consumption will not offset our biggest expenses: housing, education, health care, and retirement.
  • Disciplined investing will make you rich: Gurus also love to show how steady investing can turn modest savings into a huge nest egg at retirement. But these calculations assume a healthy market and a lifetime without any setbacks – two conditions that have no connection to the real world.
  • Women need extra help managing money: Product pushers often target women, whose alleged financial ignorance supposedly leaves them especially at risk. In reality, women and men are both terrible at handling finances.
  • Financial literacy classes will prevent future economic crises: Experts like to claim mandatory sessions on personal finance in school will cure many of our money ills. Not only is there little evidence this is true, the entire movement is largely funded and promoted by the financial services sector.

Weaving together original reporting, interviews with experts, and studies from disciplines ranging from behavioral economics to retirement planning, Pound Foolish is a compassionate and compelling book that will change the way we think and talk about our money.

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

By Michael J. Sandel

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?

In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets?

In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life – medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from “having” a market economy to “being” a market society. Is this where we want to be?

In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can’t Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society – and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honor and that money can’t buy?

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