A passionate, well-informed insider’s account of one of the most controversial bankruptcies in U.S. history.

UNSETTLED

HOW THE PURDUE PHARMA BANKRUPTCY FAILED THE VICTIMS OF THE AMERICAN OVERDOSE CRISIS

An opioid-victims’ advocate vents his fury about the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy that allowed the Sackler family to avoid prison and keep most of their fortune.

Several years into his recovery from opioid addiction, Hampton had a modest knowledge of the law when the Department of Justice appointed him to the official Unsecured Creditors Committee in the Purdue bankruptcy case. He soon became co-chair of the nine-member group, which included four private citizens as well as institutional heavyweights like CVS Pharmacy and which had a fiduciary duty to thousands of claimants against Purdue. The author combines the sarcasm of an early Bill Bryson travelogue with the disbelief of Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in this breezy but informative memoir of his falling down a rabbit hole of negotiation, mediation, and Zoom calls as he pushed for a fair shake for victims. Many of his frustrations involved the Sacklers’ army of nuclear-strength law firms like Jones Day, “the firm that had previously represented such stand-up characters as the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the bin Laden family.” Other maddening setbacks involved cash grabs by states that hadn’t spent much of the federal money they’d already received to fight the opioid crisis, power plays that deprived victims of urgently needed financial help. Hampton finds it small comfort that Purdue ultimately pleaded guilty to multiple felonies and agreed to pay about $750 million to victims, or up to $48,000 per death from a Purdue product. “This wasn’t a bankruptcy,” writes the author, “it was a heist.” Hampton recaps some of the background on the opioid crisis found in stellar books such as Chris McGreal’s American Overdose and Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain, but he offers a unique firsthand perspective on a bankruptcy he credibly portrays as yet another injustice to Purdue’s victims.

A passionate, well-informed insider’s account of one of the most controversial bankruptcies in U.S. history.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-27316-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

MY BODY

The international model embarks on a nuanced investigation of her body and identity.

Ratajkowski’s exploration of fame, self-identity, and what it means to be a “beautiful” woman is surprisingly engaging. Originally thrust into the spotlight in 2013 due to her scantily clad appearance in the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the author eventually became known for her stances about beauty and sexuality and how they are commodified. Now that she is a wife and mother, she writes, “I feel a tenderness toward my younger self. My defensiveness and defiance are palpable to me now. What I wrote and preached then reflected what I believed at the time, but it missed a much more complicated picture. In many ways, I have been undeniably rewarded by capitalizing on my sexuality….But in other, less overt ways, I’ve felt objectified and limited by my position in the world as a so-called sex symbol.” This short book includes the juicy tidbits that avid celebrity-memoir readers seek, and the author shares how she really felt about the video shoot and how the aftermath affected her. Beyond that, the book is a reflective coming-of-age-in-the-industry tale, a story that is never maudlin but contains a few thick, murky sections. Ratajkowski attempts to break down the construction of her identity and sexuality in relation to the ever present male gaze as well as her relationships with the women in her life. The charm of this book lies in the author’s largely relatable writing, which shows the complex emotions and confusion of a young woman experiencing her sexual development and maturation into a capable adult. Admitting that the “purpose of the book is not to arrive at answers, but honestly to explore ideas I can’t help but return to,” Ratajkowski grapples directly with a host of thorny issues.

A refreshingly candid, fearless look into a model’s body of work and its impact on her identity and politics.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-81786-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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