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Kristen

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Awesome!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-19

An absolute tour de force. Give this man a Nobel Prize! One of the best books on rationality and economics ever.

Mediocre inspiration

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-11-17

Very repetitive and not obviously supported by much some evidence. Inspiring message, but I don't really know whether it's true or not.

The dubious virtues of capitalism

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-05-17

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This book seems to mostly be a hatched job of socialism parading as a fair and balanced viewpoint. The author seems sincere in his belief that a socialist philosophy is just an economic stupidity, and then goes on to extol the apparently endless virtues of what is, at heart, some fairly straightforward capitalist dogma.

While from an individual's point of view, the advice given seems likely to achieve the end goal of making the individual using it richer - at least a little - there seem to be quite a few pretty critical issues entirely overlooked.

The first is ethics. This question isn't even passed over lightly, it's completely absent from the book. The author wants you to think about how to get rich - full stop. He clearly feels enough guilt over his strategies to offer the platitude that poor people are really responsible for their own problems, and if only they'd change how they think about the world, they too could be rich. In so doing, he lays the challenges and problems of the poor and middle classes at their own feet. He explains, at some length, that taxation is bad and implies that people who pay taxes are stupid, and helpfully elucidates that America and the UK were both countries that had no taxes at one point, but fails to mention that the effect of tax was, in part, to make the countries the global powers that they became by allowing them to invest in projects that no individual could manage alone. Not that tax is bad, though, we're assured - just that smart people don't pay it.

Yes, fine. It's possible to evade taxes - rich people do it all the time. That doesn't make it an ethical thing to do - just a selfish and short-sighted one. Even the rich enjoy having public services such as a police force, army and roads. Boasting about not contributing to things we literally all need seems to be the exact thing the author subtly calls the rest of us who do - terminally short sighted and stupid.

Moving on. The second major problem is that the strategies presented would literally fail if more than a tiny minority of people adopted them. In a world full exlusively of investors, ironically no one makes and bread. The behaviours suggested in this book are fundamentally parasitic in nature - you leverage other people's hard work to make yourself rich at their expense. Smart, but very destructive to society as a whole. Still, the book will absolutely help you get rich enough to stop caring if the whole system crumbles.

Third, this is a book of it's time, and will age less and less favourably as time goes on. With radical changes coming more and more rapidly, the approach advocated by this book is going to become less and less relevant. Hard times ahead - except for the people who already have pretty much everything. If that's you, congrats. If not - you're screwed in the long run, even if you take all the advice in the book.

I'm sure the author would tell me that I'm my own worst enemy, though, because in spite of his efforts to be 'neutral' and 'balanced' in how he presents things, his own viewpoint is fundamentally that of a pretty greedy man of slightly better than mediocre intelligence.

101 of 125 people found this review helpful