Aug

14

I have to spend a little more time reviewing the concept in my head but I may have just read one of the best books I have ever read. Present Value, by Sabine Willet (a lawyer of all things), is sort of post 9/11 Bonfire of the Vanities that raises some intriguing and perhaps necessary questions. The story follows the travails of a couple, this time she is the hard driving over achieving spouse and he is a senior member of management with a large toy company who should have risen higher but prefers sailing and running to actually caring about business and finance. He is adequate, fairly compensated but not driven by any means She out earns him by 10 to 1 and unlike most North American males, he doesn’t seem to give a good crap. The bottom of course has to and does fall out of their world with some Enron style shenanigans and the book covers what happens to them each as the world falls apart. Sabine uses the artful device of a economics professor appearing in flashback to set the central tome and ask the critical questions. It is easy in one of these books to make the business world the bad guy and make it entirely touchy feely business is bad. Sabine avoids that by having the clever professor raise the questions. We all know that the supply and demand set the value of damn anything and that the marketplace is the final arbiter. Most of us on this list live are lives by these precepts and rightly so. Ultimately at the end of the day they are true. But are commerce and marketplace the only measure of value in the world or are their perhaps others? And if they are, asks the professor, can you run on two tracks at once. Ordinarily these books break down right here and insist that only some nebulous concept of true love is worthy and you must be poor as a church mouse to experience it. The book allows you to draw different conclusions if you so desire. The use of satire and rollicking humor helps tell the story and ask the questions that we all should ask ourselves from time to time. a good read that is also fun and thought provoking. A rare combination.


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