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An interesting subject, a tedious and difficult book.
on October 20, 2008
The subject of "Trust" is particularly relevant today especially since in the United States, we are a scant 2 weeks away from a Presidential election at the time this review was written. As I've watched the debates, the issue of trust is foremost on my mind. I continually ask myself, "Is this person telling the truth; can I trust what they are saying."
The world is embroiled in a financial market meltdown the likes of which few of us have ever experienced. Can we trust our governments to use the hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayers money to deftly handle this financial crisis?
And yes, trust is implicit in personal relationships as well. Can you trust your best friend, wife, husband, child?
For these reasons I chose to read the book "Trust. Self-Interest and the Common Good" by Marek Kohn. The author is clearly intelligent and has formulated aome good ideas on this subject. However I felt like I was reading a college textbook the entire time I was reading this slim volume. It has been said that the writing style is "scholarly" and it most definitely is. This is not a book to pick up and expect to enjoy during a brief period of reading. This book requires dedication to read and some real concentration to breakdown the dense and difficult to read paragraphs into chuncks that you can process.
To be honest, I had some disagreements with the book beginning with the very first sentence in the Preface which reads, "Now that agreement has been reached about how humankind can best make a profitable living, with a single economic orthodoxy established around the world, an increasing number of scholars and commentators have turned their attention to the questions of how people can live well." Whew! not only is that one long sentence, but I don't agree with it. Please explain to me in what way "agreement has been reached about how humankind can best make a profitable living." If this has been agreed upon it is certainly news to me. Just look at the world right now and re-read that sentence. I can't trust the rest of the information in this book based on the very first sentence in the Preface.
It could be that some would find this particular book fascinating to read but sadly I did not. It was truly difficult to maintain interest in the subject matter because of the way in which it was written. I cannot recommend this book to most readers and although it it may have its niche I am compelled togive it a 2-star rating.