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  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, by Willard Spiegelman. New York: Picador, 2009. 208 pp. $16 (paperback). In Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, Willard Spiegelman asks: “In adulthood, what should—what does—one read? No longer having the luxury of youthful promiscuity, knowing that the clock ticks, that every choice of something eliminates something else, what should you do?” (p. 49). Spiegelman suggests rereading “those books that gave pleasure in the past.” He adds: A photographic memory is not necessarily a blessing; there's a charm in forgetting, so if you're not cursed with perfect recall, you'll have the joy of discovering some things as though for the first time, while others will hit you with the refreshing rush of repetition. As an older version of the person you've always been, you can have things two ways at once: something old, something new; something recalled, something revealed. (p. 49) Although Spiegelman does not directly advise going back to what one loves and extracting still more pleasure from it, or learning to convert a declining memory into a source of enjoyment, he nevertheless provides example after example of himself doing just such things. Whereas other books about happiness tell readers how to become happy, in Seven Pleasures Spiegelman simply discusses the activities that have made him happy and shows how he has learned to deeply enjoy his life.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art, by Roger Kimball. New York: Encounter Books, 2005. 200 pp. $17.95 (paperback). Reviewed by Daniel Wahl Roger Kimball begins The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art by asking why we teach and study art history. “It is a question,” he says, “that elicits a complicated answer.” To learn about art, yes, but also to learn about the cultural setting in which art unfolds; in addition, to learn about—what to call it? “Evolution” is not quite right, neither is “progress.” Possibly “development”: to learn about the development of art, then, about how over the course of history artists “solved problems”—for example, the problem of modeling three-dimensional space on an essentially two-dimensional plane. Those are some of the answers, or some parts of the answer, most of us would give. There are others. We teach and study art history—as we teach and study literary history or political history or the history of science—partly to familiarize ourselves with humanity's adventure in time. We expect an educated person in the West to remember what happened in 1066, to know the plot of Hamlet, to understand (sort of) the law of gravity, to recognize Mona Lisa, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, or Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère. These are aspects of a huge common inheritance, episodes that alternately bask in and cast illuminations and shadows, the interlocking illuminations and shadows that delineate mankind's conjuring with the world. All this might be described as the dough, the ambient body of culture. The yeast is supplied by direct acquaintance with the subject of study: the poem or novel or play, the mental itinerary a Galileo or Newton traveled, the actual work of art on the wall. In the case of art history, the raison d'être—the ultimate motive—is supplied by a direct visual encounter with great works of art. Everything else is prolegomenon or afterthought: scaffolding to support the main event, which is not so much learning about art as it is experiencing art first hand. Or so one would have thought. What has happened to the main event? (pp. 1–2) As Kimball makes clear, the main event has changed.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Martian, by Andy Weir. New York: Crown, 2014. 384 pp. $24 (hardcover). Reviewed by Ari Armstrong Imagine you're on a mission on Mars. Your space suit, not to mention your body, was punctured by an antenna blown loose by a raging sandstorm. Luckily, although the blow knocked you unconscious, the blood from your wound helped seal the hole, so you didn't die from lack of oxygen. Now that you're awake and moving again, you realize an unfortunate fact: Your entire crew, reasonably thinking you died and facing the dangerous storm, took off in the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) and left you behind. You are now totally alone on a planet hostile to life. Your food supplies are running low, and you have no obvious way to communicate with Earth, much less to get home. What do you do? If you're Mark Watney, the main character of Andy Weir's near-futuristic, science fiction novel The Martian, you carefully think about what you need to do to stay alive and get rescued, and then you methodically do it. Watney's training as a botanist and a mechanical engineer gives him the skills he needs to survive; and his fierce desire to live, his fortitude, and his quirky sense of humor give him the strength of will to do it. Fortunately, Watney's own mission and various other missions to Mars have left a number of important tools at his disposal. He has a reasonably well-stocked Hab (basically, a giant pressurized tent), some solar cells, several functional space suits, two functional rovers, duct tape, glue, and various other machines and items. Oh, and he has some live potatoes, which his crew was supposed to have cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. Don't forget the potatoes! They become crucially important in Watney's efforts to survive. The story revolves around Watney coming up with clever ways to keep sucking air and consuming calories, then figuring out how to travel some two thousand miles across the cold Martian landscape to the site of a future Mars landing.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: “[E]ach person shall remain free, especially in his religion, and . . . no one shall be persecuted or investigated because of their religion” (p. 96). Those words evoke America's revolutionary era, but they were penned two centuries earlier. They are part of the Dutch de facto constitution, the Union of Utrecht, drafted in 1579 after thousands of Dutchmen had suffered religious persecution by the Spanish in the form of torture and death. To Russell Shorto, a writer for The New York Times Magazine, these words speak directly to the “tolerance” embodied by the 17th-century Dutch Republic and its colonies, particularly the island colony of Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, after English explorer Henry Hudson claimed the land for the Netherlands in 1609.
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Spain, Netherlands, Island, Dutch
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. Among Mr. Simpson's many accomplishments, he authored a friend-of-the-court brief in the landmark case Citizens United v. FEC, served as lead counsel in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, helped overturn aspects of Colorado's campaign finance laws that restricted people's ability to fund political speech, and helped overturn New York's ban on direct shipping of wine. Simpson has contributed articles to Legal Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Times, among other outlets. He is also the author of “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America,” which was published in the Spring 2010 edition of The Objective Standard. —Ari Armstrong
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Washington, Chicago
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: Simon Schuster, 2011. 656 pp. $35 (hardcover). Reviewed by Daniel Wahl With the recent passing of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson's biography of the now-legendary businessman was certain to become a best seller. And it has. But not everything that sells well is worth reading. Is this? In Steve Jobs, Isaacson's focus is on the choices, actions, and value judgments that Jobs made throughout his life—as well as on how Jobs himself evaluated these choices and actions. The result is that you truly get to know Steve Jobs—to see “what made him tick,” what he did, and how it all worked out for him—from his childhood on. As the only biographer with whom Jobs ever cooperated, Isaacson is able to include a lot of new information. For example, Isaacson tells us that Jobs knew from a very early age that he was adopted and gives us a dramatic moment when he realized what other people might think about his being adopted: “My parents were very open with me about that,” [Jobs] recalled. He had a vivid memory of sitting on the lawn of his house, when he was six or seven years old, telling the girl who lived across the street. “So does that mean your real parents didn't want you?” the girl asked. “Lightning bolts went off in my head,” according to Jobs. “I remember running into the house crying. And my parents said, 'No, you have to understand.' They were very serious and looked me straight in the eye. They said, 'We specifically picked you out.' Both of my parents said that and repeated it slowly for me. And they put an emphasis on every word in that sentence.” (p. 4) Owing partly to this event, and partly to another—where Jobs noticed how smart he was in comparison with others—Isaacson shows how Jobs began to regard himself highly. He also quotes Jobs showing how he thought later in life of his being adopted: “There's some notion that because I was abandoned, I worked very hard so I could do well and make my [biological] parents wish they had me back, or some such nonsense, but that's ridiculous,” he insisted. “Knowing I was adopted may have made me feel more independent, but I have never felt abandoned. I've always felt special.” (p. 5) Isaacson shows that Jobs was independent to the core, that he never really cared what others thought on any deep level, a trait that Isaacson says often worked in Jobs's favor, by making him more assertive and less hesitant in going after what he wanted. . . .
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Gideon Reich
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: Threshold Editions, 2011. 223 pp. $25 (hardcover). Reviewed by Gideon Reich In This is Herman Cain, Herman Cain attempts to convince the reader to support him in his run for president of the United States by telling the story of his life, with emphasis on his amazing business accomplishments. Although the impressive story is somewhat undercut by Cain's mixed politics and religious (even superstitious) beliefs, this self-confident, ambitious, and capable business leader appears to be an admirable man. Cain recounts his early childhood, growing up in segregated Atlanta “po', which is even worse than being poor” (p. 1). His father “worked three jobs: as a barber, as a janitor at the Pillsbury Company, and as a chauffeur at the Coca-Cola Company”; and his mother worked as a maid (p. 15). Nevertheless, thanks to his father's influence, Cain had a positive attitude: My attitude then—as it is to this very day—was that you take a seemingly impossible goal and you make it happen. That was one of the many lessons I learned from Dad: He never allowed his lack of formal education to be a barrier to his success. And he never allowed his starting point in life or the racial conditions of his time to be excuses for failing to pursue his dreams. Dad taught me the value of having dreams, the motivation to pursue them, and the determination to achieve them. (p. 14) According to Cain, he was ambitious from a young age, pursuing a series of ever more-challenging goals. He studied mathematics in college, then went to work in the U.S. Navy as a mathematician. When he learned that he was being passed over for promotions because he had only a bachelor's degree, he studied computer science at Purdue University and earned his master's degree in “one intense, demanding year” (p. 42). He did get promoted, and, at twenty-seven, achieved his first goal—a job that earned more than $20,000 a year (p. 44). . . .
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Loribeth Kowalski
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Cato Institute, 2010. 376 pp. $25.95 (hardcover). Reviewed by Loribeth Kowalski Parents in America typically tell their children that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, and children tend to believe it and explore the countless possibilities. I recall my own childhood aspirations: imagining myself as an archaeologist, wearing a khaki hat and digging in the desert sun; as a veterinarian, talking to the animals like Dr. Doolittle; as a writer, alone at my desk, fingers poised over a typewriter keyboard. Recently I found an old note in a drawer. It said, “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I want to save people. When I grow up, I WILL be a doctor.” Underneath my signature I had written “age 10.” Unfortunately, in today's America, a child cannot be whatever he wants to be. Leave aside for the time being the difficulties involved in entering a profession such as medicine. Consider the more man-on-the-street jobs through which millions of Americans seek to earn a living, support their families, and better themselves. Suppose a person wants to drive a taxi in New York City. To do so, he will first have to come up with a million dollars to buy a “medallion.” If he wants to create and sell flower arrangements, and lives in Louisiana, he'll have to pass a “highly subjective, State-mandated licensing exam.” If he wants to sell tacos or the like from a “food truck,” and lives in Chicago, he had better keep his business away from competing restaurants, or else face a ticket and fine. And a child doesn't have to wait until he's an adult to directly experience such limitations on his freedom. Last summer, authorities in various states shut down children's lemonade stands because they didn't have vending permits or meet other local regulations. In today's America, it is increasingly difficult to enter various professions, near impossible to enter some, and, whatever one's profession, it is likely saddled with regulations that severely limit the ways in which one can produce and trade. Timothy Sandefur explores and explains these developments in The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law. Sandefur addresses this subject in the most comprehensive manner I've seen, surveying the history of economic liberty from 17th-century England through the Progressive era in America and up to the present day. He shows how the freedom to earn a living has been eroded in multiple ways throughout the legal system, from unreasonable rules, to licensing schemes, to limitations on advertising, to restrictions on contracts. In The Right to Earn a Living, we see how these and other factors combine to create a system in which it is more and more difficult to support oneself and one's family in the manner one chooses.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 237 pp. $20 (Kindle edition). Reviewed by Daniel Wahl Already battered by slowing automobile sales due to the 2008 recession, Toyota faced a second crisis: claims that its management had put short-term profits ahead of their customers' safety. With commentators in the United States harshly criticizing the Japanese car manufacturer, Jeffrey K. Liker felt compelled to rise to Toyota's defense. Liker is the author of six books on the company, including the international best seller The Toyota Way, which shows readers the principles and operations that enabled Toyota to become both highly regarded by its customers and one of the most consistently profitable companies ever. In short, Liker knows Toyota more intimately than most, and the claims he was hearing in 2009 didn't correspond to that knowledge. But before he rushed to defend the company, Liker paused. A friend reminded him that blindly defending the company wasn't “the Toyota way,” and he had to agree. The Toyota Way demands that any problem be thoroughly investigated before any conclusions are reached. It demands that problem solvers “go and see” the problem firsthand and not rely on abstract, thirdhand reports. It demands thoughtful and critical reflection to find root causes and develop effective solutions. Most of all, it demands that every team member openly bring problems to the surface and work to continuously improve what is within their control. I wasn't doing any of these things. Whether Toyota was living up to its principles or not, I wasn't. (loc 165) So Liker set aside his defense of Toyota and set out to investigate what happened at Toyota during these crises; Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity presents his findings. Together, Liker and coauthor Timothy N. Ogden went to plants across America and Japan to see whether Toyota was still the same company that Liker profiled in his earlier books—a company living up to its principles. As it turned out, Liker was glad he paused.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, New York, America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Merry Christmas, readers! And welcome to the Winter 2011 issue of The Objective Standard. I'd like to begin by congratulating Antonio Puglielli, the winner of the second annual TOS essay contest. Mr. Puglielli's entry, “'Dog Benefits Dog': The Harmony of Rational Men's Interests,” won him $2,000 and publication of his essay in TOS (see p. 67). Second place went to Caleb Nelson (winning $700) and third place to Deborah B. Sloan (winning $300). Congratulations to Mr. Nelson and Ms. Sloan, as well! As Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich vie for the GOP presidential nomination, and as Republicans marshal efforts to secure as many Senate seats as possible, advocates of liberty need to keep an eye on the one principle that unifies our political goals and grounds them in moral fact. In “The American Right, the Purpose of Government, and the Future of Liberty,” I identify that principle and discuss its application to issues of the day, including “entitlement” spending, corporate bailouts, and the Islamist threat. If you wonder which side of the abortion debate has the facts straight—or why the issue should matter to anyone other than pregnant women—you will find answers in “The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties,” by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong. And if you already know the answers, I think you'll agree that this is the article to circulate on this matter. You may think that Steve Jobs was an impatient man, and you may know of evidence to support that idea, but in Daniel Wahl's “The Patience of Jobs,” you'll discover that Jobs, once again, breaks the mold. He was not patient, yet he was. How can that be? (Hint: The answer has nothing to do with Buddhism.) Get ready to fall in love with Linda Mann's still lifes and her manner of discussing them. Why do they grab your attention? Why do they hold it? Why are they so fascinating and rich and beautiful? I press Ms. Mann for answers, and she delivers. The interview is accompanied by color images of the paintings discussed. What's so great about the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.? Sanctum sanctorum—it's the holy of holies—says Lee Sandstead, and he has facts and photos to prove it. Chris Wolski reviews the movie The Help, directed by Tate Taylor. And the books reviewed in this issue are: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, by Herman Cain (reviewed by Gideon Reich); American Individualism—How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, by Margaret Hoover (reviewed by Michael A. LaFerrara); Disabling America: The Unintended Consequences of the Government's Protection of the Handicapped, by Greg Perry (reviewed by Joshua Lipana); The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law, by Timothy Sandefur (reviewed by Loribeth Kowalski); Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics, by Nicholas Wapshott (reviewed by Richard M. Salsman); Capitalist Solutions: A Philosophy of American Moral Dilemmas, by Andrew Bernstein (reviewed by Ari Armstrong); Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity, by Jeffrey K. Liker and Timothy N. Ogden (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh, Atheist and Republican, by Bryan Niblett (reviewed by Roderick Fitts). This issue of TOS completes our sixth year of moving minds with the ideas on which a culture of reason and freedom depend. Our seventh year will be, as every year is, bigger and better than the last, and we thank you for your continued business and support. We couldn't do what we do without you. Have a joyful Christmas, a happy New Year, and a prosperous 2012. —Craig Biddle
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Washington
  • Author: Thomas A. Bowden
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines the meaning and consequences of Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous dissent in Lochner v. New York, showing how and why it has devastated American jurisprudence, and indicating what future jurists must grasp and do in order to begin reversing the damage.
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Eric Daniels
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: During the Great Depression, the English economist John Maynard Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, in which he argued that governments could spur employment and reinvigorate an ailing economy by borrowing and spending money. The recent financial crisis has reinvigorated interest in Keynes's ideas. Articles in the Financial Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, and Forbes have heralded the resurgence of interest in Keynesian theory. Commentators across the political spectrum, from Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz to Bruce Bartlett and Greg Mankiw, have called for a return to Keynesian economics. Congress and President Obama have enacted a gargantuan "stimulus" bill and are pursuing massive spending programs the likes of which Keynes could only have dreamed. It seems that pundits and politicians are all Keynesians now. A new book, however, argues that Keynes's theory is much more profound than most people realize. In Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism, George Akerlof and Robert Shiller present what they regard as the essence of Keynesianism-Keynes's view of man as an animal saddled with inherent, irrational drives. These "animal spirits" have historically been ignored, say the authors, which is why Keynesianism has, at times, given way to other theories. Those who want Keynesian political policies to rise back to dominance and endure need to understand and embrace this neglected aspect of the theory. The authors point out that, because Keynes published his work in the middle of the Great Depression, his followers wanted governments to adopt his policy recommendations as soon as possible. To make his prescriptions more palatable, Akerlof and Shiller tell us, Keynesians of the time deemphasized the more insightful yet more abstruse "fundamental message" in Keynes's work. Although the watered-down version of Keynesianism was more politically acceptable, it was, according to the authors, less politically potent and more vulnerable to attack. Yes, the Hoover and Roosevelt administrations engaged in deficit spending, but they "lacked the confidence to pursue those policies far enough" (p. viii). The Keynesian borrowing and spending of World War II was more robust, Akerlof and Shiller say; consequently, it ended unemployment, became all the rage in the 1940s, and remained a widely respected policy for some time. But even this broader and longer-lasting support for Keynesian deficit-spending was bound to fizzle because the "more fundamental message of The General Theory was cast aside" (p. viii). . . .
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: David Littel
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: Norton and Company, 2009. 221 pp. $24.95 (cloth). Reviewed by David Littel A political consensus is forming around the ideas of attorney and author Philip K. Howard. Beginning in 1990 with The Death of Common Sense and continuing through scores of articles and the work of his organization, Common Good, Howard has depicted an American legal system run wild, and he has advanced a thesis about what must be done. Political figures from Al Gore to Newt Gingrich praise his work. Self-proclaimed pragmatist Michael Bloomberg raves that Howard "offers big-picture ideas for how we can solve entrenched problems." In a prepublication review, George Will announced that Howard's latest book, Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans From Too Much Law, "surely will be 2009's most-needed book on public affairs." The bulk of Life Without Lawyers is an indictment of American law, covering everything from public schools to administrative regulations to civil lawsuits. As in his earlier books, Howard describes a series of nightmare scenarios drawn partly from his own experience as a practicing attorney and partly from other sources. For example, he tells the story of a family-owned dry cleaning business in Washington, D.C. that was sued for $54 million because of a lost pair of pants. The plaintiff calculated his damages based on a $1,500 consumer fraud penalty multiplied several times over in addition to $15,000 per weekend for a rental car to take his laundry to a more reliable establishment, $542,000 for his own time in pursuing the matter, and $500,000 for mental anguish. The suit was not dismissed but was allowed to linger for two years, costing the business owners more than $100,000 in legal fees (p. 72). . . .
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Nine-year-old Warren Buffett is in his yard playing in the snow. Warren is catching snowflakes. One at a time at first. Then he is scooping them up by handfuls. He starts to pack them into a ball. As the snowball grows bigger, he places it on the ground. Slowly it begins to roll. He gives it a push, and it picks up more snow. Soon he reaches the edge of the yard. After a moment of hesitation, he heads off, rolling the snowball through the neighborhood. And from there, Warren continues onward, casting his eye on a whole world full of snow (prologue). Many decades later, Alice Schroeder, a former insurance analyst at Morgan Stanley and the author of The Snowball, is sitting in front of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest men. "Where did it come from," she asks, "Caring so much about making money?" Buffett leans forward, "more like a teenager bragging about his first romance than a seventy-two-year-old financier," and begins to tell his story: "Balzac said that behind every great fortune lies a crime. That's not true at Berkshire [Hathaway]" (p. 4). Thus begins The Snowball, one of the most highly anticipated biographies of the past few years and the first to be written about Buffett with his full cooperation. As its full title indicates, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life sets out to present Buffett's thinking, not only about business but about life in general. Among the many topics this hefty volume explores are those individuals who influenced his thinking. A major figure in this respect is Buffett's father, whom he idolizes and from whom he learned a crucial point when it comes to judging both oneself and others: The big question about how people behave is whether they've got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always pose it this way, I say: "Lookit. Would you rather be the world's greatest lover, but have everyone think you're the world's worst lover? Or would you rather be the world's worst lover but have everyone think you're the world's greatest lover?" . . . Now my dad: He was a hundred percent Inner Scorecard guy. He was really a maverick. But he wasn't a maverick for the sake of being a maverick. He just didn't care what other people thought" (p. 33). In addition to the valuable lessons he learned from important figures in his life, Schroeder shows how Buffett's own interests and thinking during childhood contributed to his development. Schroeder reveals him to have been an efficacious child, intensely interested in collecting and processing facts. . . .
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Scott Holleran
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In the light and lively Fred Astaire, author and journalist Joseph Epstein offers an excellent overview of the career of the world's greatest male ballroom and tap dancer. This short biography, part of Yale University's Icons of America series, is like its subject-accessible yet elegant. Astaire began his dance training at the age of five after his mother, Johanna Austerlitz, brought him to New York City in the hopes of grooming him and his talented older sister, Adele, for careers in show business. Attending dance school with his sister, young Frederick took to the art form and was soon rehearsing with Adele in routines developed by their instructor. Changing their last names to "Astaire," the brother-sister act hit the theatrical circuit and began a professional career that lasted many years and included appearances on Broadway with Al Jolson and Fanny Brice; and work with famed showman Flo Ziegfeld, who paid the duo an impressive $5,000 per week during the Depression (pp. 12, 15). After Adele retired at the age of thirty-five, Astaire sought fortune in Hollywood. Shortly after being famously dismissed by a studio executive as "Balding. Can't sing. Dances a little." (p. 18), Astaire was noticed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and signed to a three-week contract for $1,500 per week. His first role-playing himself in Dancing Lady opposite Joan Crawford-proved that he had potential as a screen star.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 1849, millions were starving due to a then-mysterious disease that "in a matter of days, if not hours, could transform a thriving field [of potatoes] into a slimy, foul-smelling patch of rotting vegetation" (pp. 38-39). Everywhere, plants were "extremely inconspicuous, [tasted] terrible, or [went] to seed in a fast and fabulously prolific way, leaving nothing behind to harvest." And plants had evolved characteristics by which they survived just long enough to reproduce, characteristics that were unsuitable for feeding a large and fast-growing population (p. 40). But all this was about to change, and dramatically so, thanks to a man born that year: Luther Burbank (p. 6). In her new book The Garden of Invention: Luther Burbank and the Business of Breeding Plants, Jane S. Smith presents the life of this extremely influential but mostly forgotten plant breeder and businessman, emphasizing his innovations and the methods he used to develop and sell them. Burbank displayed some mechanical ingenuity as a child, but, Smith reveals, apart from this, nothing in Burbank's background suggested that he might become an inventor of new plants (p. 19). Though young men of his time were encouraged to work in an academic setting, Burbank, fond as he was of the outdoors, was unsure whether he wanted to follow suit-until, at the age of 21, he picked up a copy of Charles Darwin's The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. Smith describes this book as a "detail-crammed response to those who had criticized On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection as a hypothesis unsupported by sufficient proof" (p. 27), then concisely sums up what Burbank read: From gooseberries to gladioli, Darwin compiled his evidence: plants changed in response to outside stimulus (like the cabbages Darwin described that changed their shape or color when planted in different countries), and these changes could happen within a short time span (like the hyacinths he said growers had managed to improve from the offerings of only a few generations earlier). The causes of the changes were still largely unknown, but their occurrence was a fact beyond dispute. This was evolution measured in human time (p. 28). Burbank took from the book several big ideas-each of which Smith relates in an easy-to-read style: The first was that it was possible to force the emergence of latent differences in fruits and flowers, even to the point of generating what seemed to be entirely new varieties. Still more exciting was Darwin's tentative suggestion that selecting, grafting, hybridizing, or simply moving a plant to a new environment might spur changes that would persist over generations. According to Darwin, these alterations were often inadvertent, but as Burbank immediately realized, such happy accidents could also be deliberately pursued. The creation of new plant varieties, something far beyond the familiar efforts to breed the best of an existing stock, did not need to wait for the slow accumulation of natural advantages Darwin had described in his Origin of Species. Evolutionary change could be accelerated by human intervention (p. 28). Darwin's words "opened up a new world" for Burbank (p. 27). Not only did the book give him an intellectual framework for viewing the world and man's place in it, but an advertisement on the last page of Burbank's edition of Darwin's tract (for a book called Gardening for Profit) enabled him to see for the first time his place in it. He would not have to choose "between the outdoor life and the inventor's bench" after all-plant life "could be a subject for experimentation and improvement, and a commercial garden could provide a good living for an imaginative and enterprising man".
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: New York, California
  • Author: Raymond C. Niles
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Surveys the history and achievements of America's electricity entrepreneurs, shows how government interference in the transmission grid has hampered their enterprises from the outset to the present day, and indicates what America must do to liberate the grid and enable a new wave of entrepreneurs to supply this vital product commensurate with the country's demand.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: New York, America