Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look PDF Summary

Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look PDFIn “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” Jared Diamond first championed the notion that geography has had a profound influence on the distribution of human wealth.

Now, in the appropriately titled report “Is the American Dream Alive or Dead,” the Economic Innovation Group demonstrates that the American reality of today can be described along the same lines.

Which is a scary notion.

But, unfortunately, is backed by data.

Who Should Read “Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look”? And Why?

Whether you believe in the American dream or not, this article is certainly a wakeup call – for the latter to see their fears validated by the available data, and for the former to realize that, even if still alive, it’s all but a nightmare for millions.

Economic Innovation GroupAbout the Economic Innovation Group

The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is a bipartisan public policy organization founded half a decade ago with the mission “to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors to forge a more dynamic economy throughout America.”

To do that, EIG combines research and data-driven approaches to thoroughly examine some of the most pressing economic challenges facing the United States.

The organization considers itself “a leading voice in bringing geographic inequality into the national conversation.”

“Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look PDF Summary”

Ever since being both invented and overused ad nauseam by Horatio Alger Jr. in the second half of the 19th century, the nature and the reality of the American Dream have been explored by a host of great American writers in some of USA’s essential works of literature.

However, whether it’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby” or Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” or Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” – these books all seem to have in common a profound distrust in Alger’s vision, neatly summed up in George Carlin’s famous quip: “it’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”

Well, many still do, George: if you work hard enough – they think – you can reach the top of the ladder, no matter how many steps you need to climb on the way to there.

In EIG’s report “Is the American Dream Alive or Dead?”, we learn that things are not as pink.

On the contrary, in fact: the American Dream is unequivocally at risk, since “more than half of all U.S. counties [exert] a negative impact on children’s future earnings.”

You heard that right:

Basically half of America can only sleep through the American Dream!


Because they live in the wrong counties.


Place matters. While many like to think of the United States as a country where anyone willing to work hard can succeed, the reality for many is more complicated. The American Dream lies far out of reach for young people across much of the country not due to any individual shortcomings, but due to the unique mix of social, cultural, and economic forces at work in their communities—forces that condition and affect, if not always determine, lifetime outcomes.

Based on data coming from 2,869 US counties, EIG has discovered that “economic prosperity and economic mobility are positively and meaningfully correlated.”

Meaning: upward mobility is possible in prosperous counties, but unlikely in the poor ones which suffer from high rates of inequality as well!

The ratio is staggering:

Three out of five children under the age of 18 (so, 60% of underage Americans) live in counties where the American Dream is all but a nightmare.

If the American Dream is a “twofold promise of prosperity and mobility,” then “neither is in good health,” since both promises are alive and well in only 420 (i.e., one-seventh) of the examined counties. These are mostly located on the East Coast and the metropolitan areas on the West Coast, as well as the upper and the industrial Midwest and Texas.

The Southeast, on the other hand, and the remote desert Southwest (populated by Native Americans), abounds in counties in which the American Dream is merely a distant prospect.

Most of the counties have less than 100,000 people, “but altogether 14.5 million Americans live in these corners effectively vacated by the American Dream.”

In between these extremes, EIG analyzes two more groups of counties: such where mobility is possible, but the upward move doesn’t mean prosperity as well (the American dream is within reach) and such which are prosperous, but immobile (the American dream is fenced off).

The American Dream is fenced off in 28% of USA’s prosperous counties where 47.5 million Americans live in wild inequality.

On the other hand, the American dream is within reach against the odds for about 1.4 million Americans living in the few counties “that are still able to reconcile distress with mobility.”

The conclusion?

If the American Dream is to become more accessible, the country needs a more geographically inclusive pattern of growth, and it needs to tackle the determinants of mobility at their roots, neighborhood by neighborhood, at the same time.

Key Lessons from “Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look”

1.      The American Dream Is a Twofold Promise of Prosperity and Mobility
2.      The Four States of the American Dream
3.      The Stats Behind the American Dream

The American Dream Is a Twofold Promise of Prosperity and Mobility

By definition, the American Dream promises two things: that if you work hard, you’ll be able to move up the social ladder and become rich.

EIG’s report studies the data of almost 3,000 counties to see in which condition is the American Dream in relation to these two promises.

The Four States of the American Dream

After studying the data, EIG then categorizes each county in one of the four possible categories: prosperous and mobile counties (the American Dream is alive and well), prosperous and immobile (the American Dream is fenced off), distressed and mobile (the American Dream is within reach) and distressed and immobile (the American Dream is a distant prospect).

The Stats Behind the American Dream

Overall, over 60 percent of Americans under the age of 18 are growing up in counties which are geographically and environmentally incapable of fostering economic mobility.

The American dream is alive and well in 72% of USA’s prosperous countries examined by EIG (about 71 million people), mostly located in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains.

The rest 28% (which encompass 47.5 million people) lack policies capable of translating prosperity into mobility and are, thus, fencing off the American Dream from many dreamers.

Against the odds, about 10% of America’s distressed counties (only 1.4 million people) still manage to foster upward mobility, rendering the American Dream within reach.

However, for the rest of the Americans living in USA’s poor counties (14.5 million), the American Dream is merely a distant prospect.

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“Is the American Dream Alive or Dead? It Depends on Where You Look Quotes”

The American Dream can be summed up as a two-fold promise of prosperity and mobility. Neither is in good health. Click To Tweet

Overall, the majority (51 percent) of counties in the United States exert a negative impact on the economic mobility of low-income children. Click To Tweet

Fewer than 10 percent of the country’s distressed counties manage to provide disadvantaged children with a ladder to higher incomes in adulthood. Click To Tweet

Altogether 14.5 million Americans live in… corners effectively vacated by the American Dream. Click To Tweet

The American Dream does indeed exist; our task is to expand its reach. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

The concluding sentence of EIG’s report may be the most important you’ll read this year if you still believe in the American Dream or, at least, in some things such as compassion and humanity:

The American Dream does indeed exist; our task is to expand its reach.

We’ll just leave it at that.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF Summary

The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF‘I Made Steve Bannon’s Psychological Warfare Tool’: Meet the Data War Whistleblower

Since about two months ago, Cambridge Analytica Ltd. Is a “was.”

Specifically, on May 1, 2018, the now notorious consulting firm and its parent company (SCL Group) filed for insolvency and announced publicly that they are closing their operations.

We have no doubts that you know why!

But do you know the whole story?

In “The Cambridge Analytica Files” (aka “I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool”), Christopher Wylie, its main protagonist, reveals it all.

Who Should Read “The Cambridge Analytica Files”? And Why?

If you are feeling a bit left out of the story behind the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and you think that – for once – the relevant Wikipedia article is not structured well (or substantial) enough, then this article in “The Observer” is just for you.

As a bonus, here you’ll hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth – Christopher Wylie – framed beautifully by the investigative journalist who lift the lid on the matter first, Carole Cadwalladr.

Carole CadwalladrAbout Carole Cadwalladr

Carole Cadwalladr is a British investigative journalist and novelist.

Twice shortlisted for the British Press Awards, Cadwalladr is a former “Daily Telegraph” journalist who is currently a features writer for “The Observer,” most famous as the author of a series of articles on Brexit and the 2016 US Presidential elections, for which she recently (June 2018) won “The Orwell Award.”

She is also the author of one well-received novel, “The Family Tree,” which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize back in 2006.

“The Cambridge Analytica Files PDF Summary”

Christopher Wylie was born on June 19, 1989 – which means that about a month ago he celebrated his 29th birthday.

Even so, he’s already one of the most famous whistleblowers in history!

We wonder if he could have predicted that when he was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a child or when he became a high school dropout a decade later.

Well, based on how he described his “probable destiny” in his school yearbook at 16, not really:

Politician. Well, that, or just another dissociative smear merchant peddling backroom hackery in its purest Machiavellian form.

One year later, Christopher was working for Michael Ignatieff, the former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. At 19, he taught himself to code, and the very next year he came to the United Kingdom to study law at the London School of Economics.

Soon after, he was recruited by the Liberal Democrats to help them with voter targeting.

He felt quite comfortable in this new-found career of his, and, by the age of 24, Wylie was already studying for a Ph.D. in fashion trend forecasting.

Unsurprisingly, it was at this time that he was offered a job as a research director by a company specializing in defense and elections operations.

The company’s name?

SCL Group, one of whose subsidiaries, SCL Elections, would go on to found the much more infamous Cambridge Analytica.

However, as Carole Cadwalladr says, “for all intents and purposes, SCL/Cambridge Analytica are one and the same.”

Wylie accepted the job.

How could he not?

SCL Election’s CEO Alexander Nix told him that he would have total freedom and be able to test out all of his crazy ideas!

Retrospectively scrutinizing the chronology, it’s easy to see how things went from bad to worse when Wylie was introduced to Steve Bannon, then editor-in-chief of the “alt-right” news network Breitbart, and it was through him that Wylie met one of Breitbart’s and Cambridge Analytica’s main donors, Robert Mercer.

Now, Wylie had already devised

a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

What the plan needed to function was money.

And Robert Mercer, a pioneer in AI and machine translation, had lots and lots of it!

Together with Nix, Wylie pitched Mercer his plan, and soon enough, the wheels were in motion.

The final piece of the puzzle?

Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born Cambridge-based research psychologist, whose company Global Science Research (GSR) had already used apps to obtain personal profile information of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users for academic purposes.

After reaching a deal with Cambridge Analytica, Kogan replicated the effort: he invited people to participate in a (supposedly) scientific personality survey, which resulted in GSR obtaining the information of 320,000 survey participants, in addition to all of the profiles of their Facebook friends.

This information was passed to Cambridge Analytica, which meant that now a political consulting firm had full access to the personal profiles of about 50 million Facebook users!

Facebook’s fault?

In the words of Swiss-based data expert Paul-Olivier Dehaye:

It has misled MPs and congressional investigators, and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law. It has a legal obligation to inform regulators and individuals about this data breach, and it hasn’t. It’s failed time and time again to be open and transparent.

The worst thing is that Cambridge Analytica – if we trust Wylie – are “mercenaries” and will “work for pretty much anyone who pays.”

And work they did: first for Senator Ted Cruz, then for Brexit, then indirectly for the Russian oil company Lukoil (i.e., Putin, it’s always Putin) and then for Donald Trump!

Now, to be fair, there’s no way to know how much microtargeting voters profits those who employ it.

However, it’s all but obvious that it is an unfair advantage.

And that, moreover, it should be unlawful – since it presupposes manipulating with the personal data of millions and millions of unsuspecting people.

Key Lessons from “The Cambridge Analytica Files”

1.      The Cambridge Analytica Files Scandal Was a Serious Breach of Privacy
2.      Facebook Is “Abusive by Design”
3.      Silicon Valley Has Turned on Itself

The Cambridge Analytica Files Scandal Was a Serious Breach of Privacy

Christopher Wylie was a 24-year-old research director at SCL/Cambridge Analytica when he pitched his idea of microtargeting voters through the use of their Facebook profiles to Steven Bannon and Robert Mercer.

Soon enough, Cambridge Analytica partnered with Aleksandr Kogan and through its company, Global Science Research (GSR), it was given access to the profiles of millions of Facebook users under the premise of using them for psychological research.

The data was instead used by Cambridge Analytica to target voters on behalf of its clients: Ted Cruz, the Russian oil company Lukoil, the Brexit campaigners, and Donald Trump.

Facebook Is “Abusive by Design”

None of this would have happened if Facebook cared for the privacy of its users.

However, time and time again, it has demonstrated that it doesn’t care one bit.

In fact, in the opinion of Christopher Wylie, the Facebook project has been allowed to exist and “become as vast and powerful as it has because of the US national security establishment.”

Because it’s obviously designed in a way which makes it, for lack of a better word, easily 2hackable.”

Silicon Valley Has Turned on Itself

Silicon Valley became what it is today due to substantial government investments during the Cold War. And it is only natural that the government will have an interest in its products, Facebook being one of the most powerful.

However, Christopher Wiley notes,

It’s a form of very deep but soft power that’s been seen as an asset for the US. Russia has been so explicit about this, paying for the ads in roubles and so on. It’s making this point, isn’t it? That Silicon Valley is a US national security asset that they’ve turned on itself.

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“The Cambridge Analytica Files Quotes”

Millions of people’s personal information was stolen and used to target them in ways they wouldn’t have seen, and couldn’t have known about, by a mercenary outfit, Cambridge Analytica, that, Wylie says, ‘would work for anyone.’ Click To Tweet

The Facebook data is out in the wild. And for all Wylie’s efforts, there’s no turning the clock back. Click To Tweet

It showed these odd patterns. People who liked 'I hate Israel' on Facebook also tended to like KitKats. Click To Tweet

If you do not respect the agency of people, anything you do after that point is not conducive to democracy. Click To Tweet

Facebook has denied and denied this. It has failed in its duties to respect the law. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Cambridge Analytica Files” – more properly titled “’I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower” – is an article which, we believe, everyone should read.

Also – one which will be quoted over and over again in the recent future.

Hopefully, we’ll also learn something from it while quoting it.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Plan of Attack PDF Summary – Bob Woodward

Plan of Attack PDFThe Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq

In “Bush at War,” Bob Woodward recounted George W. Bush’s responses to the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent War in Afghanistan.

Now, in “Plan of Attack” he picks up where he left off.

Which means – it’s time the American public learns of the decision-making process which led to the War in Iraq.

Who Should Read “Plan of Attack”? And Why?

Ever since blowing the Watergate affair wide open, Bob Woodward has acquired the status of a legend in the world of investigative journalism, which means that all of his books are both eagerly awaited and closely scrutinized.

This one was on the reading lists of both the Bush/Cheney and the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign during the elections of 2004.

Which can only mean that is as objective and neutral-sided as it can be.

An essential read for everyone who wants to learn something more about the way our leaders decide who should we bomb and how should we do that.

Bob WoodwardAbout Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward is an American investigative journalist, an associate editor at “The Washington Post” where he has worked ever since 1971.

A 1965 graduate of Yale University, Woodward served as a communications officer in the US Navy for five years before beginning his journalistic career.

Just two years into it, he was teamed up with Carl Bernstein, and the two gained a nationwide reputation as the men who unearthed the Watergate Affair, “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time.”

An author of 17 nonfiction bestsellers and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Woodward has been described as both “the best reporter of our time” and “the best reporter of all time.”

Find out more at

“Plan of Attack PDF Summary”

Ten days before George W. Bush’s first inauguration, the newly elected American President attended a Pentagon briefing, which – following the advice of Vice President-elect (and behind-the-scenes, ahem, master of ceremonies) Dick Cheney – was supposed to be almost exclusively about Iraq.

Ever since the presidency of Bush’s father and the Persian Gulf War, Iraq was seen as a rogue state and its leader, Saddam Hussein, was regularly portrayed in American media as some sort of an incarnation of evil.

Be that as it may, the briefing must have been a boring affair, since Dick Cheney conspicuously nodded off, and George W. Bush was more interested in the peppermints on the table than what then-Secretary of Defense William Cohen had to say on the matter.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, on the other hand, couldn’t hear a thing, so he repeatedly kept asking the generals to speak up.

After the meeting, one of the chiefs dryly remarked that the new administration has gotten off to a great start.

In the eyes of Cohen, it seemed to be interested in everything but a war with Saddam.

A few days later, Bush received a second briefing.

This one was from George Tenet, Director of the CIA, and James Pavitt, his deputy.

The conclusions were unsurprising: there were three chief threats to the security of the United States, and none of them was Iraq.

Needless to say, the three threats in question were – in order of seriousness – Osama bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and China.

Nine months later, these predictions came through: 3,000 Americans lost their lives during the Al Qaeda-organized September 11 attacks.

Surprisingly, Bin Laden wasn’t the only target Pentagon was interested in after 9/11. That very same day, the then-Defense Secretary started plotting something else as well:

At 2:40 p.m. that day, with dust and smoke filling the operations center as he was trying to figure out what happened, Rumsfeld raised with his staff the possibility of going after Iraq as a response to the terrorist attacks, according to an aide’s notes. Saddam Hussein is S.H. in these notes, and UBL is Usama Bin Laden. The notes show that Rumsfeld had mused about whether to ‘hit S.H. @ same time — not only UBL’ and asked the Pentagon lawyer to talk to Paul Wolfowitz about the Iraq ‘connection with UBL.’ The next day in the inner circle of Bush’s war cabinet, Rumsfeld asked if the terrorist attacks did not present an ‘opportunity’ to launch against Iraq.

Four days later, during a debate at Camp David, even Dick Cheney – otherwise obsessed with attacking Iraq – advised against such an action: “If we go after Saddam Hussein,” he reportedly said, “we lose our rightful place as the good guy.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell didn’t want to hear anything about this: he saw no real linkage between Saddam and 9/11 and, unless provided, he considered any attempt to enlarge the scale of operations to include Iraq as well “a lunacy.”

What this resulted in was secret meetings between Donald Rumsfeld and his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz, culminating in a meeting between President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld during which it was effectively decided that the United States will invade Iraq.

This happened on November 21, 2001.

What followed was a “a chronicle of continual dilemmas, since the president was pursuing two simultaneous policies. He was planning for war, and he was conducting diplomacy to avoid war.”

Rumsfeld didn’t like any of the 68 war plans the Pentagon possessed concerning an invasion of Iraq, so he started a project of updating them.

Paul Wolfowitz and, especially, General Tommy Franks took care of that, and in about a year and a half, the United States was ready for a war.

One that it had about $700 million dollars to spend on (funds taken from the supplemental appropriations bill for Afghanistan), but no rationale to justify it (9/11 was not enough for the American public).

And, just like that, on February 5, 2003, Colin Powell (who changed his mind in the meantime possibly out of a sense of duty) addressed a plenary session of the United Nations Security Council and argued in favor of a military operation, claiming that Iraq possessed WMDs.

What the American public – and, most probably, Powell himself – didn’t know at that time, was that as much as half a year earlier, the CIA tried telling the Bush administration that Iraq wasn’t in possession of WMDs and that Saddam had never collaborated with Al Qaeda.

However, by that time, this didn’t matter one bit.

The Bush administration wanted Saddam out of Iraq, which was the only reason why the USA attacked the country.

As harsh as it may sound, the 9/11 attacks were just an appropriate excuse.

The real war – like most wars – was actually a secret one.

Key Lessons from “Plan of Attack”

1.      The War on Terror Wasn’t About 9/11: It Was About Regime Change
2.      The Planning of the Iraq War Started Way Before the American Public Found Out
3.      The Pottery Barn Rule of War

The War on Terror Wasn’t About 9/11: It Was About Regime Change

As far as the official version of history is concerned, the War on Terror was United States’ response to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

However, this doesn’t explain why, that very same day, Donald Rumsfeld mused over “the possibility of going after Iraq as a response to the terrorist attacks.”

Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and, as we now know, it certainly didn’t possess WMDs.

However, it was ruled by Saddam Hussein, and he had to go.

That was all that mattered.

The Planning of the Iraq War Started Way Before the American Public Found Out

According to “Plan of Attack,” George W. Bush decided that the United States is going to attack Iraq on November 21, 2001, barely two months after the 9/11.

The rest of it – all the discussions about WMDs, and analyses of whether an invasion of Iraq was a feasible and reasonable solution – was nothing more but a smokescreen.

The Pottery Barn Rule of War

During the early period of the planning, Colin Powell was adamantly against a war in Iraq. He repeatedly warned the administration of “The Pottery Barn” rule of war.

Simply put, it states: “if you broke it, you owned it.”

In this case, it meant that an invasion of Iraq would result in the United States being subsequently responsible for all aspects of the country’s future fate.

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“Plan of Attack Quotes”

Bush said he realized that the simple act of setting Rumsfeld in motion on Iraq war plans might be the first step in taking the nation to a war with Saddam Hussein. Click To Tweet

The deep divisions and tensions in the war cabinet with Powell the moderate negotiator and Rumsfeld the hard-line activist meant no real policy would be made until either the president stepped in or events forced his hand. Click To Tweet

Cheney became the self-appointed examiner of worst-case scenarios. Though it was not formalized, he would look at the darker side, the truly bad and terrifying scenarios… an ideal assignment for Cheney. Click To Tweet

Cheney thought that the Clinton administration had failed in its response to terrorist acts, going back to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and that there had been a pattern of weak responses. Click To Tweet

Powell did not share Armitage’s concern that the two of them had been enablers of the Cheney-Rumsfeld hard-line policies. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Jill Abramson, the managing editor of “The New York Times,” described Woodward’s four books on George W. Bush as “the best record we will ever get of the events they cover.”

Preceded by “Bush at War” and followed by “State of Denial” and “The War Within,” “Plan of Attack” may be the most technical – and, thus, least interesting – one, but it is also the one covering the most crucial period of Bush’s presidency: the one between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq.

Well-written and thoroughly researched, “Plan of Attack” is an exceptional and surprisingly impartial account of a still volatile topic.

As most of Woodward’s books – an essential read.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Trade War Brewing? PDF Summary

Trade War Brewing? PDFWorld Trade in 2018

Evidently, the battlefield is now remodeled to serve the purposes of the New Era.

Two Major Superpowers are on the brink of full-scale Trade War that can shape the course of the economic future.

Let’s find out what makes this warfare so unique.

Who Should Read “Trade War Brewing?”? And Why?

Almost the entire planet has grown tired of endless conflicts and battles. As it turns out, the bloodshed is now converted into an intellectual war, which calls into question our integrity and principles.

In the “Trade War Brewing?“ Report you’ll be introduced to the eventual aftermath of this clash and more.

Dive right in!  

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit wants to be labeled as entirely independent research and analysis organization.

“Trade War Brewing? PDF Summary”

American Administration led by the 45th US President Donald J. Trump released a report on the reasons for increasing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Eastern and Central Asia.

For the apparent logic to safeguard America’s interest, the Chinese manufacturers and importers are pushed back by additional fees imposed on them.

Although no one believes that China would act indifferent to the provocations, people at least hope that this little issue will not grow into a full-scale Trade Conflict. American Trade Organization is deliberately testing the Chinese readiness to play alongside the restrictions.

Indeed, this is a double-edged sword because China in response can enforce trade restrictions on agricultural products. So, according to experts, this war for the moment is not anywhere near its end.

Due to the political and economic sake of the world, a full-scale trade war has to be prevented. Global supplies and needs being met rely on the cooperation of these two Giants on the World Arena.

Logically, increased barriers and tariffs on imports and exports could reduce the power of the wide-ranging supply chains.

So basically, both countries will suffer economically due to the higher fees. From what we see right now, the world trade growth ratio is at serious risk in terms of slowing down the global progress.

As a result, many Republicans in Congress may wind up in a middle of nowhere, by losing their seats. In other words, if the global community continues to behave immaturely, world trade will suffer in years to come.

The idea of integrating the supply chains may inflict an insignificant recession on the US Economy in 2020. Moreover, dragging down US-China relations is not something the World Trade Organization (WTO) strives for.

Such an unfortunate escalation may endanger their credibility. Losing its influence means having lesser authority in managing the global supply network.

China may file a complaint to its American counterparts about the steel and aluminum fees. As a matter of fact, Central and Eastern Asia depend on American metals.

Following a negotiation can eventually mean that one of the parties may receive the go-ahead from the WTO. Favoring one or the other country may leave the other one exposed to external influences.

An American Victory could spark a whole different behavior in protecting the country’s supplies and asserting dominance. In case of Chinese Victory, WTO could encourage the Americans to stick to the tariffs and cast doubt upon global agreements.

Each decision will inflame instability in the global arena, and further destabilize the fragility of world-trade liberalization.

Japan is growing increasingly closer with its European allies and is inclined to nurture the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On the other end, US isolation may represent a turning point in the worldwide dominance as far as trade is concerned.

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“Trade War Brewing? Quotes”

After setting the global trade agenda for the past 70 years, the current position of the Trump administration has left the US isolated. Click To Tweet With the US turning away from multilateral trade liberalization… China now has the opportunity to help to set the rules of engagement. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In all honesty, we don’t believe that we possess the means and expertise to gauge such an in-depth overview of the situation.

One thing is for certain; neither country wants to be on the receiving end of sanctions and outcomes which depict a fruitless economy.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

A Farewell to Alms PDF Summary

A Farewell to Alms PDFA Brief Economic History of the World

Have you ever wondered why some nations are rich and others poor?

Or, say, why some of the latter can’t get out of poverty regardless of their systems or the number of benevolent outside interventions?

Well, Gregory Clark has – and for most of his life.

And in “A Farewell to Alms” he offers a rather controversial answer.

Who Should Read “A Farewell to Alms”? And Why?

“A Farewell to Arms” purports to be a brief economic history of the world.

However, you’re in for a big surprise as early as the table of contents where you’ll certainly notice the suspicious absence of any title suggesting a discussion of the ideas of Adam Smith or John Maynard Keynes or of the economic theories of capitalism or socialism.

What kind of an economic history is this? – you start to wonder.

Probably the best answer to this question is “Malthusian,” but we’ll go for the more general one: “a very unique one.”

Because, as far as we know, it’s the only one of its kind.

Bear with us to find out which kind.

Or read it yourself if you are interested in economics, racial and political history and the nature of social mobility.

The best part: even though it features hundreds of graphs and discusses serious problems in economics, no formal economics training is necessary to understand any part of the book.

Gregory ClarkAbout Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark is an economic historian and a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis.

Born in Scotland, Clark attended King’s College, Cambridge before obtaining a Ph.D. degree at Harvard in 1985.

Ever since then, he has been researching topics such as social mobility, the wealth of nations, long-term economic growth, and, particularly, the economic history of England and India.

He has written one more book, the title of which is, once again, a pun on Ernest Hemingway’s novel, “The Son Also Rises.”

Find out more at

“A Farewell to Alms PDF Summary”

The basic outline of world economic history,” writes Gregory Clark at the beginning of “A Farewell to Alms,” “is surprisingly simple.

So simple, in fact, that he needs no more than one graph and about 17 pages to recount everything that has ever happened to humans in terms of wealth and incomes – and other related things – from Mesopotamia until today.

You can see the graph in the Introduction to his course at UC Davis, which, if you have the time, we advise you to hear out in its entirety – all 26 lectures of it:

Anyway, back to Clark’s simple outline of world economic history:

Before 1800 income per person – the food, clothing, heat, light, and housing available per head – varied across society and epochs. But there was no upward trend. A simple but powerful mechanism explained in this book, the Malthusian Trap, ensured that short-term gains in income through technological advances were inevitably lost through population growth.

Thus, the average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 BC.

To translate this in no uncertain terms: if you were living in the 18th century, chances are you would have probably lived the way the Nukak people – or, to use an example you can relate to even better, the Bushmen – live today (or, at least, lived up until recently).

To you, a fervent reader of Jane Austen novels, this may sound a little bit exaggerated, but statistics demonstratively prove that it is not.

Put differently, a typical Englishman had a much worse diet than a hunter-gatherer of the Stone Age, and, since, unlike his distant ancestor, he lived in a society of inequality, he was also far less happy than the latter; both could expect to live no more than, say, 35 years.

Jane Austen may have written about refined conversations over tea served in china cups,” wittily remarks Clark. “But for the majority of the English as late as 1813 conditions were no better than for their naked ancestors of the African savannah. The Darcys were few, the poor plentiful.

The mechanism which explains why this was so: the Malthusian Trap.

Here’s what it is all about.

It is based on three simple and axiomatic assumptions:

#1. Each society has a birth rate which, naturally, increases as living standards (higher income, better education, more advanced medicine) increase;
#2. Each society has a death rate which, once again as expected, declines with the increase of living standards (fewer people tend to die today than ever for this reason);
#3. Material living standards decline – as the population increases.

In a nutshell – the Malthusian Trap is the vicious circle of (anti-)progress!

Namely, as Thomas Robert Malthus (after whom the trap is named) demonstrated back in 1798, even if technology manages to increase the material living standards, they, in turn, will diminish the death rate and increase the birth rate, resulting in a society where even though we have more resources to distribute, we need to distribute them among more people as well!

The end result?

The resource supply per capita remains the same!

That certainly explains why nothing changed for tens thousands of years, but here’s the real kicker:

In the Malthusian economy before 1800 economic policy was turned on its head: vice now was virtue then, and virtue vice. Those scourges of failed modern states—war, violence, disorder, harvest failures, collapsed public infrastructures, bad sanitation—were the friends of mankind before 1800. They reduced population pressures and increased material living standards. In contrast policies beloved of the World Bank and the United Nations today—peace, stability, order, public health, transfers to the poor—were the enemies of prosperity. They generated the population growth that impoverished societies.

And then came the Industrial Revolution and put an end to the Malthusian era of humanity!

However, not in the way you think it did – which, in fact, makes the next part the most controversial of the book.

Namely, in Clark’s opinion, the Industrial Revolution facilitated the dying out of the poor, functioning as some sort of an advanced natural selection tool.

Look at today’s Malawi or Tanzania for evidence: due to the Industrial Revolution, their people are way poorer than their Stone-Age ancestors.

However, in Britain, as the poor got poorer and started dying more, the rich got richer and took over the positions of the former.

And with it, they spread a fairly new type of values – hard work, education, rationality – among the strata of society previously governed by illiteracy and instincts such as violence and impatience.

Thus, the British started using the resources more sensibly and finally broke out of the Malthusian Trap.

Many countries are, unfortunately, still in it.

And, if Clark’s analysis is correct, the policies we use to get them out of it, may be utterly wrong.

Key Lessons from “A Farewell to Alms”

1.      Hunter-Gatherers Were Richer Than Many People Living Today
2.      The Mechanism of the Malthusian Trap
3.      Money Doesn’t Bring Happiness

Hunter-Gatherers Were Richer Than Many People Living Today

It may sound strange to you, but the following sentence is a fact: “There walk the earth now both the richest people who ever lived and the poores.”

For example, the people living today in, say, Malawi and Tanzania – on average – have a lower living standard than their very distant ancestors.

Just as the Industrial Revolution reduced income inequalities within societies,” notes Clark, “it has increased them between societies, in a process recently labeled the Great Divergence. The gap in incomes between countries is of the order of 50:1.

The Mechanism of the Malthusian Trap

In “An Essay on the Principle of Population” published in 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus first touched upon the subject why, in spite of obvious progress, men, on average, remained as wealthy/poor for millennia.

And the explanation is quite simple:

When technological advances increase the supply – i.e., more resources – they also increase the birth rate and diminish the death rate – i.e., more people.

Which means, the amount of supplied resources per capita remains unaffected.

Money Doesn’t Bring Happiness

It’s strange, but it’s true:

“The people of the world of 1800, in which all societies were relatively poor, and communities were much more local in scope, were likely just as happy as the wealthiest nations of the world today, such as the United States.”


Simply put, because happiness is a relative category.

And because our societies are unequal.

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“A Farewell to Alms Quotes”

As long as technology improved slowly, material conditions could not permanently improve. Click To Tweet

Since the Industrial Revolution...we have entered a strange new world in which economic theory is of little use in understanding differences in income across societies. Click To Tweet

High incomes profoundly shape lifestyles in the modern developed world. But wealth has not brought happiness. Another foundational assumption of economics is incorrect. Click To Tweet

Given the static nature of the economy and of the opportunities it afforded, the abundant children of the rich had to, on average, move down the social hierarchy. Click To Tweet

Poor countries used the same technology as rich ones. They achieved the same levels of output per unit of capital. But in doing so, they employed so much more labor per machine that they lost most of the labor cost advantages with which… Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As controversial as an economics book can get nowadays, “A Farewell to Alms” was deemed “the next blockbuster in economics” as soon as it was published.

The prediction came true, springing a lively debate of which the main thesis is still a subject.

So, the word “stimulating” doesn’t even begin to describe it.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDF

Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDFOne can’t be blamed for feeling that the Third Industrial Revolution barely started yesterday, and the World Economic Forum says we are already in the midst of another one.

The goal of this one?

Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Innovation.”

Who Should Read “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation”? And Why?

When something has a boring and ridiculously long title as “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation” – you can be all but sure that it is a white paper.

And when that white paper is written by the World Economic Forum – it’s safe to assume that you are not reading about the present, but that you are, in fact, getting a glimpse into the future.

At merely 60 pages, the article convincingly argues that competition and profits mean little without proper sustainability practices because, in the absence of the latter, there may be nothing to compete for and nothing to profit from in the blink of an eye.

So, leaders and managers, governments and corporations, take note: the future depends on you implementing the advices from this white paper!

And we are not exaggerating!

World Economic ForumAbout the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation based in Geneva, “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

Every year, the Forum organizes a meeting in Davos, which brings together over 2,500 business and political leaders, Nobel Prize-winning economists, celebrities and journalists to discuss – in no less than three days – “the most pressing issues facing the world.”

This meeting has even generated a neologism, “Davos Man,” usually pejoratively used to mean a “supranational wealthy member of the global elite.”

“Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation PDF”

As we all know, the First Industrial Revolution started in the second half of the 18th century and used steam and water power to mechanize production.

The Second took place in the last half a century before the First World War and this one used electric power to create mass production.

The Third Industrial Revolution is the one most of us have lived our lives through – it is commonly known as the Digital Revolution, during which we used information technology to automate processes.

Well, brace yourself: as Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF announced a while ago, a new, Fourth Industrial Revolution, has begun.

This one is building on the third and is characterized by “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”

So, think AI, robotics, biotechnology, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, i.e., technology embedded in society and biology.

Fortunately, one must say, since we’re on the brink of a sixth extinction and we must do something about it now, lest we want to wake up in a tomorrow when nothing can be done anymore.

Because our economy has been unsustainable for much too long.

We now know (or most of the world acknowledges)” – states WEF’s white paper – “a simple truth: the way the world manufactures cannot be sustained. The ‘take-make-dispose’ linear economy approach results in significant resource inefficiency.

And here are the facts:

Global manufacturing consumes about 54% of the world’s energy and a fifth of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Industrial waste makes up to half of the world’s total waste generated each year. Production activities are gobbling up primary resources; metal ore extraction, for example, rose by 133% over the last three decades. At the same time, resource extraction from non-renewable stocks grew, while extraction from renewable stocks declined.

In other words, we do not have enough resources to keep up the growth.

The problem is that, in fact, we’ve never had them, and that everybody has known this for quite some time: century-old predictions have estimated that, unless we develop better practices, at one point, we’ll use up all of our resources and be left with nothing more but deserted industrial capacities and worldwide poverty.

Let us guess: you know about the peak oil problem ever since you were a little child, right?

Now, why have we been purposefully turning a blind eye on a problem as enormous as this for so long?

One word: capitalism.

Simply put, it was too expensive for corporations to care about problems such as the world or unsustainable production because this would have stopped production altogether.

So, as businesses grew more and more efficient in extracting and using resources, they grew more and more ineffective in preserving them.

Governments usually didn’t help one bit, because even though the “profits from destroying the planet were privatized,” “the cost for addressing the damage was socialized.”

In other words, in the eyes of the business leaders, sustainability was a cost only taxpayers’ money can and should cover.

It’s time to put an end to this!

Due to the technological advances of the Third and the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sustainability has not been a cost for a while; in fact, it is already a major business opportunity. One can even argue that, with more and more people being conscious of what we are doing to the planet, sustainability has become an important competitive advantage.

And this is where the Accelerating Sustainable Production (ASP) project of the World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Production comes into play.

Its final goal?

To “harness innovation to strengthen competitiveness while delivering increased efficiency, improved human well-being and less environmental damage.”


Through financing innovation in five cross-industry areas which hold the most promise for accelerating sustainable production.

Let’s have a look at all of them!

Key Lessons from “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation”

1.      Advanced Remanufacturing
2.      New Materials
3.      Advanced Agriculture
4.      Factory Efficiency
5.      Traceability

Advanced Remanufacturing

Thanks to developments in IT, new manufacturing cost-effective methods are revolutionizing production processes in the automotive and the electronics industry, making them both more efficient and greener.

New Materials

Thanks to advances in nano- and biotechnology, new materials are quickly disposing of traditional materials, becoming not only better, but also cheaper. These include green electronics, new types of packaging, and various alternatives to meat, leather, and plastic.

Advanced Agriculture

We are now more precise than ever, and new technologies are capable of optimizing farming decisions “on everything from fertilizer and irrigation to harvesting time and seed spacing.” And better planning doesn’t only translate into better business opportunity, but it also means greater care for things such as food scarcity and ecosystem health.

Factory Efficiency

The Internet of Things has already introduced us to an age in which factories are basically producing by themselves, in an all but near-dark environment, while shortening the supply chains and reducing the consumption of non-renewable resources.


The widely debated blockchain technology – coupled with data tags and sensors – is already allowing companies to safely trace and verify all relevant information about a product, whether it is the origin of its materials or the supply chain through which it has traveled. In the very near future, this should ensure fair earnings for small suppliers, while eliminating low-value-added processes.

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“Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation Quotes”

Our aim in the Accelerating Sustainable Production project is to leverage production as a tool for meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as a source for business competitiveness. Click To Tweet

Sustainability has been viewed as a cost. That perception needs to change to ensure we collectively understand that it can also represent a major business opportunity. Click To Tweet

In the past, profits from destroying the planet were privatized while the cost for addressing the damage was socialized. Click To Tweet

The way the world manufactures cannot be sustained. The ‘take-make-dispose’ linear economy approach results in significant resource inefficiency. Click To Tweet

The production of the future will cater to rapidly evolving consumer needs by delivering products and services within a well-designed supply chain that fully embeds innovation and sustainability. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Dense with data and statistics, outstandingly well-structured and well informed, “Driving the Sustainability of Production Systems with Fourth Industrial Revolution Innovation” is a well-researched, well-written and finely illustrated white paper of utmost importance.

Dear reader, if you are in a position to decide, know this: the earlier you implement it – the better for all of us.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

A Higher Loyalty PDF Summary

A Higher Loyalty PDFTruth, Lies, and Leadership

After the Hillary Clinton email controversy, James Comey, then Director of FBI, became a household name in most American homes.

Some celebrated him as a hero; others reviled him as a villain.

In the view of everybody, he was the man who won Trump his presidency.

On May 9, 2017, that very same Trump dismissed Comey from his position.

Which is why “A Higher Loyalty,” James Comey’s part memoir, part book-length discussion of ethics and leadership, was so eagerly awaited.

Now, we have the summary!

Who Should Read “A Higher Loyalty”? And Why?

We’ve already provided you with a couple of summaries of books which offer an inspecting behind-the-scenes look at Washington’s inner workings, most recently John McCain’s “The Restless Wave” and Ben Rhodes’ “The World as It Is.”

However, “A Higher Loyalty” is a bit different than all of them, since it comes from a life-long Republican appointed Director of FBI by a Democrat and fired from the position by another Republican – the very same – most people would say – he had indirectly helped to claim the presidency.

So, this makes “A Higher Loyalty” an even more appealing read and everyone eager to find out more about the US 2016 Presidential Race and everything after shouldn’t miss this one for the world.

James ComeyAbout James Comey

James Comey is an American lawyer and former Director of the FBI.

A registered Republican, he was appointed to the position by Barack Obama in 2013, four years before being dismissed by President Donald Trump.

In the meantime, James Comey was responsible for opening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as a Secretary of State, which reopened merely days before the elections; many believe that this had a decisive impact on the close race between the two candidates.

“A Higher Loyalty” is Comey’s first and, so far, only book.

“A Higher Loyalty PDF Summary”

On January 27, 2017, just two or three weeks after first meeting Trump, James Comey, then Director of the FBI, dined alone with the President at the White House.

Trump wanted to learn from Comey if he was under an investigation concerning Russia’s meddling in the US 2016 elections, and James told him that he wasn’t.

After this, Trump uttered an ominous sentence:

I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.

Comey promised Trump honesty.

In return, on May 9, he got the boot.

He didn’t expect that to happen, but, nevertheless, he expects that, in time, justice will prevail, and enough evidence will be found to prove that his dismissal was merely the final act of a long list of subtle actions with which the President tried obstructing justice.

One with which Trump tried to punish him for choosing “A Higher Loyalty” instead of a more personal one.

But, James Comey was always going to be someone serving a higher law.

When he was merely sixteen years old, a gunman – probably the Ramsey Rapist – broke into the home of his family, holding him and his younger brother Pete at gunpoint and stealing whatever he was able to find.

Comey was all but sure that this was going to be the last day of his life.

When he and Pete escaped unharmed from the ordeal, James reevaluated his life and heard his true calling for the first time: he was going to be someone who helps people.

At first, he wanted to be a doctor, but, as a pre-med student at William and Mary College, he happened upon the philosophy of Reinhold Niebuhr, and this changed his worldview once again.

So much so that he chose to use the name Reinhold Niebuhr as a cover for his very own Twitter account.

(By the way, even if you don’t know who Niebuhr is, you certainly know the Serenity Prayer – well, he wrote that!)

Anyway, influenced by Niebuhr, Comey decided to become a lawyer, and, as one, he got a job in the United States Attorney’s office in Manhattan, working for none other than Rudy Giuliani during his most exciting mobster-hunting period.

However, the most important thing he learned from Giuliani was the necessity of a trait the former mayor of New York City (and Trump’s attorney) lacked: humility.

In Comey’s opinion, no man can really become a leader until he develops humility and understanding that he doesn’t have all the answers.

Allegedly, Obama had that in abundance, soliciting opinions from those who disagreed with him and listening attentively.

Trump, on the other hand, is even less humble than Giuliani, speaking nonstop (and mostly about himself) and ending meetings the very second someone challenges his opinion.

Consequently, Comey is deeply worried:

I am writing in a time of great anxiety in my country. I understand the anxiety, but also believe America is going to be fine. I choose to see opportunity as well as danger.

Donald Trump’s presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation. We all bear responsibility for the deeply flawed choices put before voters during the 2016 election, and our country is paying a high price: this president is unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego-driven, and about personal loyalty…

I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay.

We believe you, Comey.

We certainly do.

Key Lessons from “A Higher Loyalty”

1.      James Comey Was Bullied as a Child… but Had a Great Boss
2.      What Is Integrity: The Cases of Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton
3.      James Comey’s Six Traits of Great Leaders

James Comey Was Bullied as a Child… but Had a Great Boss

James Comey was born in 1960, in Yonkers, New York.

However, when he was in fifth grade, his family moved to Allendale, New Jersey, and James suddenly stopped being a popular kid.

On the contrary, he was now constantly bullied, on account of his bad haircut and patched-up clothes, both courtesy of his mother and some serious financial difficulties.

Fortunately, he had a great boss, Harry Howell, who prided himself on the cleanliness of his local grocery store.

And he was all a good leader should be: firm but not tyrannical, powerful yet merciful.

One time, after Comey had spilled numerous milk bottles, and Howell caught him mopping the mess up, he merely asked him: “Did you learn a lesson?”

Good, clean it up,” he added once he heard James’ authentic “Yes.

What Is Integrity: The Cases of Martha Stewart and Hillary Clinton

Many blame James Comey for seeking the spotlight, but, in his opinion, he’s merely doing his job.

That was the case back in 2003 when it was revealed that Stewart had sold her shares in ImClone Systems, after receiving a nonpublic tip from Peter Bacanovic, her broker.

The amount she saved?

Measly $50,000.

However, she subsequently lied to federal investigators, so Comey voted to persecute her, after which Stewart got five months in prison.

It needed to be done – Comey writes – since if it was a regular citizen, it certainly would have been done.

The same holds true for the Hillary Clinton email controversy.

In retrospective, Comey is obviously sad that his decision to reopen the investigation two weeks before the elections may have changed too many minds, but, even so, he would do it again.

Because the American public deserved to know before the elections, and because it was the right thing to do.

James Comey’s Six Traits of Great Leaders

In Comey’s pantheon of leaders, Barack Obama deserves a high place, because, for all his faults, he did have a fair amount of almost each of the six essential traits of great leaders.

In Comey’s opinion, a great leader should have:

#1. A sense of decency and integrity;
#2. Humility;
#3. Balance;
#4. Transparent motivations;
#5. An awareness that people like to live meaningful lives; and
#6. An understanding that while words matter, actions matter even more.

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“A Higher Loyalty Quotes”

Do that good as long as ever you can. Click To Tweet

Evil has an ordinary face. It laughs, it cries, it deflects, it rationalizes, it makes great pasta. Click To Tweet

I know I can be wrong, even when I am certain I am right. Listening to others who disagree with me and are willing to criticize me is essential to piercing the seduction of certainty. Click To Tweet

Ethical leaders do not run from criticism, especially self-criticism, and they don’t hide from uncomfortable questions. They welcome them. Click To Tweet

Everyone lies at some point in their life. The important questions are where, about what, and how often? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Even before its release, “A Higher Loyalty” met with criticism from the Republican National Committee which even launched a website in an attempt to discredit Comey.

Even so – or possibly because of it – the book became a bestseller on presale orders only.

And, really, it doesn’t disappoint.

Let’s leave it at that.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The World as It Is PDF Summary – Ben Rhodes

The World as It Is PDFA Memoir of the Obama White House

Do you want a look behind the doors of the Obama administration?

Well, who better to offer you one than Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s most trusted advisors?

Rhodes tells it all in his 2018 memoir, “The World as It Is.”

Who Should Read “The World as It Is”? And Why?

The World as It Is,” in the words of “The New Yorker” reviewer George Packer, is “the closest view of Obama we’re likely to get until he publishes his own memoir.

So, if you want a behind-the-scenes account of Obama’s presidency, this is the best book you’ll find on the market.

Which means – it’s perfect for people interested in American history and the current state of US politics. Especially in the evolution of its foreign policy views.

Ben RhodesAbout Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes is a former White House staffer and American political adviser.

During Obama’s presidency, Rhodes served as the Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting.

He was considered one of Obama’s most trusted aides and was featured in Time’s 40 Under 40 list in 2011.

With Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Rhodes has authored one more book, “Without Precedent.”

“The World as It Is PDF Summary”

You certainly remember Barack Obama “Hope” poster.

Well, that’s what Obama represented to many people back in 2008: a beacon of hope.

And Ben Rhodes certainly wasn’t an exception!

A member of his team since 2007, Rhodes was especially involved in Obama’s 2008 global campaign tour, during which Obama first presented his against-the-grain foreign policy stance.

And he was immediately taken by it, since it offered a promise for change, differing significantly from the foreign policies of former presidents and then-current politicians.

For example, as early as 2009, the second year of his presidency, Obama tried to address directly the Muslim world, something no president before him had even attempted.

(Read: Israel. Also read: in 2017, an Israeli private intelligence firm tried to manufacture incriminating information about the author of “The World as It Is” and his wife, in an attempt to blackmail supporters of the Iran nuclear deal).

So, he went to Egypt, “the heart of the Arab world,” and, at Cairo University, he delivered a speech which was hailed by the Muslim world as balanced and vision-offering.

In it, Obama emphasized how the Western world must re-educate itself about the Arab world’s contributions and how the Muslim world must accept the universality of Western notions about human rights and revert to a more liberal form of Islam.

The bottom line: both sides knew too little about each other (or even themselves), and all problems stemmed from this misunderstanding.

Obama’s speech energized the need for change.

Just a year later, the Arab Spring began:

In just two months, the world had turned upside down. We’d seen a regime fall in Tunisia, broken from a longtime U.S. ally in Egypt, and intervened in Libya. History, it seemed, was turning in the direction of young people in the streets, and we had placed the United States of America on their side. Where this drama would turn next was uncertain—protests were already rattling a monarch in Bahrain, a corrupt leader in Yemen, a strongman in Syria.

At first, it was difficult to understand what was happening in Egypt – the country where it all started – and if reiterating the positive vision of the Cairo speech was the right political decision.

For example, Hillary Clinton believed that there was a lot of sense in standing beside Hosni Mubarak’s government, which had been both stable and pro-US for years.

However, privately, Obama’s sympathies lay with the people of the street. “If it were up to him, he told McFaul, he’d prefer that ‘the Google guy’ run Egypt, referring to Wael Ghonim, a prominent activist who was helping to lead the protest movement.”

In time, the situation crystallized and Obama eventually called Mubarak telling him that it’s time for a new government.

In 2011, Obama delivered on one of his most important promises: getting Osama bin Laden.

On his orders, USA’s No. 1 enemy was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad on May 2, during a covert operation.

“We got him,” said Obama back then, telling the nation that justice had been done.

During the last few years in power, the President normalized relations with Cuba, refused to take military action in Syria and pushed through the Iran nuclear weapons deal, despite strong opposition.

He also lost the Information War with Russia, accepting the fact that fighting against fake news using the same means leads to a worse, and not a better world.

Key Lessons from “The World as It Is”

1.      Obama Would Have Inadvertently Quoted Hitler Once… in Berlin!
2.      Obama’s Unique Upbringing Profoundly Influenced His Views
3.      Obama Was Surprised When America Chose Trump

Obama Would Have Inadvertently Quoted Hitler Once… in Berlin!

The highlight of Barack Obama’s foreign policy tour of 2008 was a July 24 speech in Berlin, delivered before the Berlin Victory Column.

A call for peace and an apology of globalization given in front of a monument of a war victory, the speech was an enormous success, and some parts of it you can find engraved on the floor of one of Berlin’s most attractive malls even a decade later.

However, everything could have ended a lot worse if Obama wouldn’t have double-checked one of the ending lines of the speech just hours before the event.

While doing that, he discovered that the word “Shicksalsgemeinschaft” (meaning “community of fate”) – one which he initially wanted to quote in German – had, in fact, been the title of one of Adolf Hitler’s best-known speeches!


Obama’s Unique Upbringing Profoundly Influenced His Views

Obama was born in Hawaii, a former US colony, to a white mother of mostly English descent and a black Kenyan father.

During the second half of the 1960s, he lived in Indonesia, where a US-sponsored coup led to a violent government purge which, according to today’s estimates, resulted in the death of at least million people, mostly communists.

Obama’s great-uncle, on the other hand, was one of the people who liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.

All this, combined, resulted in Obama’s unique understanding of American exceptionalism, which, to him, meant much more than a list of ideals.

Case in point: when in Turkey, he tackled the controversial issue of Turkey’s treatment of minorities by talking about America’s treatment of Native and African Americans in the past.

However, this was met with criticism back in the United States, where his stance on the Muslim detainees in the Guantanamo Bay prison (stuck in a “legal black hole”) led to a widespread belief that Obama was a Muslim.

And, if we recall well, Trump was not above correcting his voters that this is entirely untrue.

Obama Was Surprised When America Chose Trump

It seems that Obama naively believed in truth and globalism, so he was astonished to find that the United States chose Trump to be its President.

A serious problem since, basically, the only thing Trump wanted to talk about with Obama a week after his election was the size of his campaign rallies.

Obama’s advice on how to deal with Trump:

Find some high ground and hunker down.

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“The World as It Is Quotes”

You can’t change things unless you change the people making the decisions. Click To Tweet

My being president appears to have literally driven some white people insane. Click To Tweet

People didn’t just see Obama but felt seen by him. Click To Tweet

This is how the White House learned that Tripoli was about to fall: on Twitter. Click To Tweet

Holding out for a better deal (with Iran) was not going to work. It was diplomacy or war. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The World as It Is” was always going to be somewhat biased – after all, Rhodes is Obama’s friend – but it’s surprising how candid it is regardless of that.

Joe Klein is right when he says in “The New York Times Book” review that Rhodes’ “achievement is rare for a political memoir: he has written a humane and honorable book.”

Also – at least in our opinion – one that makes us long for a new president.

There, we said it.    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

The Restless Wave PDF Summary

The Restless Wave PDFGood Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations

As his life is nearing to its inevitable end, John McCain feels the pressing need to cast a candid eye on all the good he had the privilege of experiencing and all the mistakes that he, unfortunately, made.

The result?

The Restless Wave,” possibly his final memoir.

Who Should Read “The Restless Wave”? And Why?

Writing for “The New York Times,” Senator Lindsey Graham remarks that “The Restless Wave” “should be required reading for anyone who wants to lead in a democracy.”

Yes, that means especially you, Donald!

John McCainAbout John McCain

John McCain is the senior US Senator from Arizona and the 2008 Republican nominee for President of the United States.

McCain served in the United States Navy from 1954 to 1981, a period during which he spent six years as a Vietnamese prisoner of war (1967-1973). In 1982, he was elected to the US State of Representatives, and four years later, he joined the Senate.

Together with his “alter ego,” Mark Salter, McCain has co-authored seven books: “Faith of My Fathers,” “Worth Fighting For,” “Why Courage Matters,” “Character Is Destiny,” “Hard Call,” “Thirteen Soldiers,” and “The Restless Wave. “

“The Restless Wave PDF Summary”

On July 14, 2017, John McCain, the senior Senator from Arizona, went to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

The surgical procedure went well, but the laboratory results announced five days later left a bitter taste in the mouth of many: John McCain was suffering from a very aggressive brain tumor, the one which eventually claimed the life of his one-time opponent and long-time friend, Ted Kennedy.

Unfortunately, even with treatment, the average survival time for cancers of the kind is about 14 months.

One year later, McCain is still around, fully aware of his own mortality and overwhelmed with feelings and “accumulated memories.”

“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here,” writes the 82-year old one-time President nominee in “The Restless Wave,” just published:

Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable. But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may.

And talk he does.

About everything from the aftereffects of the September 11 attacks through his losing campaign against Barack Obama in 2008 to Donald Trump and the supposed interference of Russia in the American 2016 elections.

And one gets the feeling that none of this is done with an intention to share the wisdom of old age and the insights of a life-long political career; it seems as if “The Restless Wave” exists solely for the sake of memories and for the likely benefit of future generations.

Bearing in mind that it’s McCain we’re talking about (the son and grandson of four-star admirals, and a Vietnamese prisoner of war for six years), unsurprisingly – albeit probably unintentionally – the one idea which pervades the book is his love for America and his belief in its values.

In a way, some episodes of the book read as if John McCain is trying to give an answer to Samuel Huntington’s still thought-provoking question “Who Are We?”

Take, for example, the 9/11 attacks.

McCain was in his office when one of the planes crashed into the Pentagon and, being a war veteran himself, fully understands the anger which followed, and even the logic behind the authorities’ decision to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EIT) to obtain relevant information from captured terrorists.

However, understanding the logic of something doesn’t mean agreeing with it.

Having experienced severe torture as a POW himself, McCain was one of the people on the frontline in the fight against the use of EIT for detainees in the War on Terror.

In “The Restless Wave” he explains succinctly why the matter was so important to him:

Some might read this and say to themselves, “Who gives a damn what happened to a terrorist after what they did on September 11?” But it’s not about them. It never was. What makes us exceptional? Our wealth? Our natural resources? Our military power? Our big, bountiful country?

No, our founding ideals and our fidelity to them at home and in our conduct in the world make us exceptional. They are the source of wealth and power. Living under the rule of law. Facing threats with confidence that our values make us stronger than our enemies. Acting as an example to other nations of how free people defend their liberty without sacrificing the moral conviction upon which it is based, respect for the dignity possessed by all God’s children, even our enemies. This is what made us the great nation that we are.

McCain has a point when he talks about the War in Iraq as well.

In a nutshell, he firmly supported the necessity of a war against Iraq – and one which will lead to a successful conclusion – once intelligence reports had demonstrated that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

However, once that turned out to be untrue, it’s only fair to say that the US made a big mistake starting the war.

And if one mistake wasn’t enough – goes on McCain – Obama made another when he decided to pull all American troops out of Iraq.

This, however, meant regional insurgencies, a new wave of terrorist attacks and the revival of Iran’s interest for Iraq.

True, McCain is optimistic about the future of the Asian country, but one feels that his very own analysis is too pessimistic for his positivity to make any sense.

But, then again, we hope that we are in the wrong.

Key Lessons from “The Restless Wave”

1.      The Overwhelming Burden of Accumulated Memories
2.      Know Thyself: America’s Exceptionalism
3.      Know Thine Enemy: Russia’s Interference

The Overwhelming Burden of Accumulated Memories

When John McCain found out that he was suffering from terminal brain cancer a year ago, he started feeling the weight of his accumulated memories.

Neither back then nor today he has any idea of how much time he has left ahead of him.

But once he dies, as the replicant Roy Batty movingly remarks in the final scene of “Blade Runner,” all the remarkable moments of his life “will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

Fortunately, books can help us save at least some of them.

Hence “The Restless Wave.”

Know Thyself: America’s Exceptionalism

America, the first new nation of the world, is exceptional.

It is the leading country of the world in many aspects, and the one many Western countries look up to.

So, it must act in accordance with this reality.

In other words, there should be no episodes of torture (Guantanamo Bay) or faked intelligence (the Iraq War) in the grand story of America.

These are disastrous “breaches of American ideals” and have already stained its reputation.

We must not allow others to even think of repeating them in the future.

Know Thine Enemy: Russia’s Interference

Some time ago, McCain had an intimate discussion with a former British diplomat with links to Putin who told him that a retired British intelligence officer has information which conclusively proves that the Russians have a dossier of Trump with data which can be used to blackmail him.

After obtaining the “dossier,” McCain, always the fervent (but also the naïve) believer in the integrity of American institutions, handed the files to the FBI.

He believes that FBI and Robert Mueller will do the right thing.

Our intuition says: “Nyet.”

Though we would like to be wrong on this one as well.

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“The Restless Wave Quotes”

We have made mistakes. We haven’t always used our power wisely. We have abused it sometimes and we’ve been arrogant. But, as often as not, we recognized those wrongs, debated them openly, and tried to do better. Click To Tweet

The good we have done for humanity surpasses the damage caused by our errors. Click To Tweet

We have sought to make the world more stable and secure, not just our own society. We have advanced norms and rules of international relations that have benefited all. Click To Tweet

For reasons of basic self-interest we must continue to lead the long, patient effort to make the world freer and more just. Click To Tweet

We live in a land made from ideals, not blood and soil. We are custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

John McCain’s “The Restless Wave” is a deeply personal book, casting a nostalgically critical eye on the past and a hopeful one to the future.

Part memoir, part autobiography, “The Restless Wave” may be McCain’s “final public act,” one that will hopefully serve as “a self-help manual for a country that has, at least for the moment, lost its way.” (“The Washington Post”)    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF:   

Democracy for Realists PDF Summary

Democracy for Realists PDFWhy Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government

Hey, remember when we told you that the Ancient Greeks believed democracy to be the second worst way to organize a country?

And, then, when we took, with Condoleezza Rice, the very opposing view, according to which it is humanity’s best way to counter totalitarianism.

Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels are here to diligently compare both sides of the argument.

What they end up with is a new theory of democracy, a “Democracy for Realists.”

Who Should Read “Democracy for Realists”? And Why?

In “Democracy for Realists,” Achen and Bartels do their best to transform the popular understanding of democracy.

And, according to none other than Robert D. Putnam, they do this so well, that “anyone interested in democratic theory and American politics” should be all but obliged to read it.

We share his conviction.

About Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels

Christopher H. Achen Christopher H. Achen is a professor in the Politics Department at Princeton University, primarily interested in democracy, elections, and public opinion.

He has (co-)authored few highly regarded books, including “The Taiwan Voter” (with T. Y. Wang).

Larry M. BartelsLarry M. Bartels is an American political scientist.

He holds the May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science at Vanderbilt University.

He has also authored “Unequal Democracy.”

Both Achen and Bartels are members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Democracy for Realists PDF Summary”

Whether direct, representative or constitutional, democracy is always about the value of the individual citizen, i.e., about his right to exercise his power by voting.

As such, it is, by popular opinion, the best political system there was, is and can be.

How can it not be?

It is basically the only system where the individual citizen matters and in which, even if merely by proxy, he actually governs.

And regular people – or so the popular opinion goes – should have this power, since almost every political decision affects them directly.

Unfortunately, if there’s one thing that history has taught us, it is certainly this: popular opinions are often little more than delusions!

And according to Christopher H. Achen and Larry M. Bartels, the aforedescribed “folk theory of democracy” is just another example of them.

In fact, the strange thing is – but isn’t it so with every delusion – how nobody seems to be aware of this.

Because you don’t need a study (though the authors provide thousands of them) to realize that democracy has just about never worked in practice:

The folk theory of democracy is like the ether theory of electromagnetic and gravitational forces: It is based on 19th-century intellectual foundations, and the empirical evidence has passed it by.

Yes, you’ve read that right:

Believing in democracy is not much different from believing that all matter is composed of the four classical elements or that the Earth is flat!


Well, to get straight to the main problem, let us quote (with an even lengthier excerpt) an author Achen and Bartels quote themselves, Robert Luskin:

There now seems to be near consensus that by anything approaching elite standards, most citizens think and know jaw-droppingly little about politics…

The average American’s ability to place the Democratic and Republican parties and ‘liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ correctly on issue dimensions and the two parties on a liberal-conservative dimension scarcely exceeds and indeed sometimes falls short of what could be achieved by blind guessing. The verdict is stunningly, depressingly clear: most people know very little about politics…

In other words – and this is, once more, according to verifiable studies and statistical data – in most cases (which means, more than 50%), voters don’t know what they are voting for or against.

Rational thinking has nothing to do with either politics or democracy: Democrats are Democrats because their parents and grandparents had been Democrats; Republicans are Republicans because their parents and grandparents had been Republicans.

It’s basically as simple as that!

People vote for someone because spiritually and emotionally they feel like they belong in his or her party – not the other way around.

In layman’s terms, a large percentage of people decide who they are going to vote for on loyalty alone. And they become loyal to someone not because they’ve read their programs and know their policies, but because of the family they are born, because of the way the politicians speak and/or look like, or because of their beliefs on a single, sometimes utterly unimportant, issue.

Facts don’t matter one bit: especially not in the long run!

Because, just as in most other spheres, people are strangely myopic in politics as well – that is, they base their decisions not on long-term goals or serious analysis of a politician’s past behavior, but on short-range objectives and the politician’s results from the last half a year.

And sometimes, it’s even worse.

Way worse!

That is, more often than not, people vote against someone retroactively because of things he/she had no control over.

For example, back in 1916, a great white shark killed five people in New Jersey, and, suddenly, 10% of the people living in its beach communities lost their belief in the politics of then-president Woodrow Wilson.

Even stranger, almost a century after this, Al Gore lost 2.8 million voters because of the floods and droughts of 2000!

Ironically – since Al Gore won a Nobel Peace Prize seven years later exactly because of his climate change activism.

And here’s the worst part of democracy:

Because of all of the above, as stated in the subtitle of Achen’s and Bartels’ game-changing book, elections don’t produce responsive governments.

Why should they?

Incumbents are fully aware that their platforms don’t need to match their actions: either way, for their loyal voters, they’ll remain what they had been before (keyword: cognitive dissonance).

And even the most serious scandals will be forgotten or dulled in time.

So, is there a way out?


It starts with doing away with the outdated folk theory of democracy.

Ironically, as long as we believe that people have power in democratic societies, elites will profit, and people will be on the losing end of history.

Key Lessons from “Democracy for Realists”

1.      The Folk Theory of Democracy Has Nothing to Do with Experience or Reality
2.      In Democracy, Facts Don’t Matter: Gender, Religion, and Ethnicity Do
3.      Voters Suffer from Foolishness and Short Sightedness

The Folk Theory of Democracy Has Nothing to Do with Experience or Reality

The “folk theory of democracy,” rooted in the belief of the Enlightenment that people are rational beings, is “the idea that citizens make coherent and intelligible policy decisions, on which governments then act.”

However, in practice, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

As we can easily deduce from a simple historical analysis, people are incapable of making the right choices, allowing politicians to be utterly uninterested in working for their benefit.

Just think about this way:

Most of the bad governments you’ve heard about were chosen by people.

Yes, that includes Hitler!

In Democracy, Facts Don’t Matter: Gender, Religion, and Ethnicity Do

Voting has little to do with facts and platforms.

In fact, studies have shown that your voting behavior is largely already decided and there’s a little chance that it will ever change.

Cases in point:

True, the issue of abortion resulted in many women abandoning the Republic party, but most men merely (and quite suddenly) changed their views once their Party did: it just didn’t concern them personally.

Also, during the 1960s, people supported the Kennedys only if they had a good feeling about Catholicism.

Finally, whether Boston voters supported Roosevelt’s New Deal policies depended much on their ethnicity.

And little on their understanding of it.

Voters Suffer from Foolishness and Short Sightedness

Most voters, says Robert Luskin, “know jaw-droppingly little about politics.”

But, they still vote.

And, usually, they make a decision based on their experience from the six months leading up to the election.

An analysis of 16 US presidential elections uncovered a convincing correlation between income growth and voting behavior.

However, even economists don’t know why your wages increase sometimes. It turns out that if this happens while someone is in power, you’ll vote for him once again, forgetting about almost everything else during his/her rule, be it racial injustice or crimes against humanity.

Don’t believe us?

Well, that’s basically how Hitler won in 1932.

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“Democracy for Realists Quotes”

Elections are capricious collective decisions based on considerations that ought, from the viewpoint of the folk theory, to be largely irrelevant. Click To Tweet

Democracy is the justifying political ideology of our era. Click To Tweet

The history of democratic thought – including much contemporary political science – is marked by an addiction to romantic theories. Click To Tweet

For most ordinary citizens, ideology is – at best – a byproduct of more basic partisan and group loyalties. Click To Tweet

Most people make their party choices based on who they are rather than on what they think. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Democracy for Realists” aims to shatter the idealist myth of the always-perfect democratic system, showing convincingly that it is not backed by either history or science.

And, if you ask us, it does this in such a powerful way, that it is really not an exaggeration to say, with John Dilulio, that it’s “the single most important treatise on American democracy published in several decades.”    Take this summary with you and read anywhere! Download PDF: