Jacki and I have the privilege to care for two 11 year old foster boys. The stories of their lives up until this point are simply too traumatic to share (and confidential). One of the boys, could NOT tie his own shoes when he arrived in our home. I taught him. Although in 5th grade, BOTH boys are WAY behind in school academically. One refuses to read at school because he is so far behind. Frankly, he’s ashamed.
One of the boys required glasses due to vision issues. Of course, we obtained them and he hates them…refusing to wear them – even though he chose them. Thus, we made an agreement – I would read to him at night ONLY if he wore his glasses. Well, miracles happen — every night we now read together – with our glasses on. We pick out our next books to read together on Amazon. His reading tests at school are now “very solid” in terms of progress. He likes to correct me if I skip or mispronounce a word.
The photo on this post is “the boys” enjoying our evening reading time together. It’s the highlight of my day – everyday.
Invite a child to read with you. It will change your life – and theirs. Oh, the power of story…We finished “Touching Spirit Bear” by Ben Mikaelsen last night. A marvelous book. Next: Ghost of Spirit Bear…
Reading with children is not a parental responsibility – it is a parental privilege…
A journey into a cavern of capitalism that is rarely explored.
The assessment of financial risk in society evolves. In this volume, one gets a guide to the inner working and evolution of Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poors. Yet, it is vastly more than that.
As Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Warwick, Sinclair’s methodology and commentary are simply magnificent. With such a paucity of books authored on this subject, I searched and selected this volume. I am very glad I did.
The honesty that guides the author’s analysis is refreshing:
“Rating, as it exists today, is not rocket science. It attempts to meld quantitative and qualitative variables that are not commensurate and therefore cannot be placed into an equation. It is crucial to understand this point for much of the commentary in the financial media passes over the inherent subjectivity of bond rating. Ratings are not deducible. They reflect the application of rules of thumb. What follows from this observation is that ratings are judgments – the realization that ratings are actually more contestable than they may appear.” (emphasis is mine. p. 176).
In a society where quantitative modeling seems to lead to “leaving it to the experts” – the realization that subjectivity in risk assessment remains an all too often overlooked element within this reality. Sinclair’s chapter on Blown Calls (and the footnotes therein) are tangible evidence of this fact.
The chapter entitled “Unconscious Power” was absolutely fascinating. The ever-increasing global power that these entities exercise over humanity is an awareness that did not go unnoticed by this reader.
This book is a gem, crafted by an incredibly capable and insightful scholar. Timothy J. Sinclair is a superb guide.
Far too many financial histories inhabit the shelves and stacks that have one thing in common: an intellectual agenda in search of support. This work is a uniquely refreshing exception. It is a work that distinctly deserves the scholarly recognition it has received – from many, diverse audiences.
I enjoy reading in this subject area. This particular work was delicious for me for a myriad of reasons. Here are a few:
1. Linguistics – Lepler’s appreciation for the words, terms and phrases people used to describe their life experience was precious to me. It is too often overlooked by other authors.
2. The sheer depth and breadth of Lepler’s research was, to say the least, unique and vividly rewarding for her readers.
3. Lepler’s appreciation for the impact of “culture” was quite apparent – again and again – enlightening.
4. AGAIN – Far too many authors who write financial histories seem to have a thesis that they attempt to validate via the introduction of a supporting narrative – such is the human penchant to “be right” and get at “the truth.” Lepler’s methodology and multi-dimensional approach to the issue of “many” panics was terribly refreshing.
5. It was a pleasure to read a financial history book that was authored by a bonafide historian vs. an economist or a political hack with an agenda. The author’s objective dedication to her scholarly craft was apparent on every page.
6. The author’s critiques of other works were, in my opinion, “spot on.” I was grateful for the courage to say what she wrote.
7. I adored the characters brought to life. It made the book fascinating.
8. Lepler’s appreciation for epistemology was apparent throughout.
9. The author’s contributions from the “phrenology folks” were priceless.
10. Lepler’s focus on the impact of communication (or lack thereof) between persons, media outlets of the day, groups and organizations (and governments) is a fundamentally important dimension of the author’s contribution.
As Lepler states on page 253: “Even when economic events seem beyond the control of any individual, the shaping of their meaning remains within our grasp.” – How marvelously this work remained true to this statement – in every sense of the phrase.
My edition of the “Many Panics” by Jessica M. Lepler is marked up like a child writing with crayon on a kitchen wall. This book is a treasure for me and I have learned to become a better researcher and story teller because of it. It is simply VERY rare to have the privilege to devour and digest such a magnificent work. I sincerely hope that Lepler’s dedication to a tireless methodological approach for source documents will serve to inspire other historians and writers – and students – as this work inspired me. This work will occupy a prominent position in my personal library. I will refer to it quite often.
When you read this book you garner a vastly deeper appreciation for the terms scholar, historian, research and story teller. You also are blessed with a unique narrative regarding the history of America’s financial disasters in the nineteenth century. I’ve done quite a bit of reading in this genre – and this book is a MUST READ.
I truly enjoyed this work. Actually, I became immersed in the narrative and learned more than I could have hoped.
This work has encouraged me to continue to “explore the places where maps have failed us…pushing along in the dark.” (p. 254). Yet, the historical evolution of U.S. capitalism that this work recounts, illuminated the absence of pre-existing maps from which to plot the path ahead. However, this work also revealed for me that man, at every juncture, with his seemingly eternal penchant for wealth and power, and organization – emerged, and injected itself at every opportunity.
For me, this book distinctly reinforced the incontrovertible evidence inhabiting the historical record; when you combine man and money, the emergence of mayhem is a matter of fact. Although we currently live in a time where our culture suggests that we know most everything, can control our environments, and predetermine outcomes of socio-economic (and geo-political) policies – I remain a healthy skeptic…particularly as it relates to ALL things economic. Again, this volume is a reminder to me to remain sensitive to the alerts from my “crap detector” (attached to my forehead, swiveling in a 360, 24-7 – and – solar powered). The “smugness” that inhabits our intellectual, social, economic and political discourse today remains, in my opinion, one of our most profound, enduring weaknesses – as a species – particularly as folks continue to espouse rigidly militant “certainty” about issues; past, current and future. I, for one, appreciate those who possess a high regard for questions vs. those who attempt to cram answers down my throat…as the author’s commentary at the end of the book, directed at his colleagues, elicited deeply appreciative smirks from this reader.
Yes, as some of the author’s final remarks in this book indicate, I too have ongoing concerns about the unregulated and mysterious miasma of rogue waves of capital that seemingly slosh between the shores of our globe…outside the cognitive awareness of the ordinary citizen…capital without margin (“margins impose safety”… p. 251), incalculable leverage, incomprehensible risk, and a source of instability whose magnitude and morph I remain acutely concerned with…as inertia continues to thrust us into places where maps are under construction…pushing along in the dark.…to a yet, unknown destination. Yet, the human motivations remain seemingly unchanged.
This particular work is profoundly appreciated by this reader. Thank you so very much Mr. Reynolds.
I highly recommend it.
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