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The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of the War on Terror Paperback – June 26, 2007
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"It is hard to deny [Soros'] thorough familiarity with today's profoundly interdependent world." -- The St. Louis Post Dispatch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Age of Fallibility is very well written and presents very complicated theories in an easy to grasp from. Soros writes with the mentality of someone that really wants to get his point across: He tells you what he is going to talk about, talks about it, and then tells you what he just talked about. This has the affect of seeming a bit repetitive, but at the same time, you realize that the ideas are actually sinking in.
The first half of the book is dedicated to Soros' theory of reflexivity. Basically, reality isn't a fixed thing that we work around, it is constantly changing because of our actions and our thoughts. The idea of an open society is one that accepts that we will never reach a "perfect" solution to anything and so we must always work together to improve what we are doing, understanding that each improvement we make will require additional improvements.
The second half of the book is geared towards asking what is currently wrong with America, what is wrong with the world, and what we can do to fix it. Soros gives an in depth look into all three topics and makes some very good points.
To say that George Soros is anti-American is just silly. He merely points out the ways in which Americans can improve in our domestic and foreign policies. This is part of the open society model. There is always room for improvement. Pointing out that something can be improved is not the same as being against it.
The book got over my head a bit towards the end. I don't know enough about Russia to follow a lot of the points made there. Overall, this is a great book for someone who is interested in what is currently happening in this country and the world and would like to know more.
With geniuses like Gandhi, Roosevelt, Einstein, and Popper now passed away, Soros has emerged as one of the smartest still living people on the planet. Soros has made billions of dollars by simply predicting trade imbalances and trading on the side of them as they corrected. His theories, while not infallible, have a predictive and reliably accurate quality that is unsurpassed by the statements of any other living human being.
Soros teaches us to always ask questions.
Namely ... how "free" is the family cowering in their basement with their children awaiting death as their city is being bombed by "freedom fighters"?
Interesting ideas, but too quickly drawn. What are the advantages and disadvantages of open and closed society? What kind of people gravitates to one or another? How do shock events like 9/11 affect peoples' preferences? Different segments of society will have different preferences, what is the tipping point that pushes society as a whole one way or another?
The second half is a survey of Soros' foundation work, and his going forward concerns such as global warming and a general energy crisis. It didn't engage me. I wish this latter section had been discarded and the first half expanded.
Recommended for the first half.
If you've read his earlier books, in particular The Alchemy of Finance, you already know his philosophy and can quickly scan the first 70 pages of this book for new nuggets and then go on to his take on the current situation in America. Even if you're new to his blend of theory and practice, you may be better off skipping the passages that don't mean much to you. There's something useful for everybody here, so don't get bogged down, go ahead and piece together the good bits.
What particularly appealed to me is the application of his conceptual framework to the American political scene. The framework is about the two-way interaction between thinking and reality: We can't know what's going to happen, whether in markets, elections or wars. But our thoughts direct our behavior thereby shaping reality, which boomerangs back to our minds.
A simple example: people think [...] stock will rise so they buy it and it does and people think it will rise even more. Such is the stuff of market bubbles. Misconceptions become reality.
Soros applies this dynamic, arguing that Americans went along with Bush feel-good nostrums because they don't like to face unpleasant facts. Political reality was re-made in the same sense as demand for [...] causes a real bubble. Soros argues for a change in attitude.
The odds are probably against him. However, as he writes, one trades in order to win but one takes political positions because one believes in them. Now that's not really correct--plenty of people mouth political messages because they're paid to do so. But not Soros, more glory to him. All this is an overly simple sketch; read the book at least in part to get the flavor.