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Notes from the Book Desk

Just received a copy of John C. Bogle’s The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism (November, Yale University Press). The Pitch: “There is no one better qualified to tell us about the failures of the American financial system and the grotesque abuses that have taken place in recent years…” Bogle smiles warmly from the inside jacket.

Now, this isn’t the kind of irony that flies in the face of all reason, but the fact that this one small book (1″x6″x9″) came in a box big enough to fit six copies (the rest of the space filled with marketing info and air-filled plastic packing material) strikes me as silly. Especially coming from a book that espouses “prudence” while railing against “overreaching” and “grotesque abuses” in the financial system.

None of this is to say that the writing between the covers isn’t any good. And maybe I’m just cranky today, but other books (even flashy marketing books) aren’t too good for a plain old envelope – why the waste of materials, manpower, space and funds on extravagent packaging for a book that preaches discretion and thriftiness? It appears that the dark, underlying (unintentional) message is that the soul of capitalism comes cocooned in marketing materials, pressed cardboard and hot air. Nicely draped – like a coffin – with an American flag. (sigh)

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