The Reduction of Certainty

One should begin a review with a summation of a book and then of its author.  The reverse is warranted in this case.  James Grant is an extraordinary American, a financial expert whose mind is enriched by his knowledge of history.  His previous book was an excellent biography of John Adams.  It did not receive the recognition it deserves.  (But then, in these times and in this world, can one expect recognition from people who have little or no cognition themselves?)  Yet this true amateur of history is recognized as the author and editor of a most valuable newsletter, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, wherein his observations and obiter dicta rate considerable interest.

This volume consists of a series of articles from Grant’s, selected from those written during the last ten years.  Many of them deal with the names of the endlessly complicated, and often semiliterate, definitions of abstract financial instruments that have bespattered and crowded and clogged the “economy” during the last 30 years at least.  So why bother to review such a book for readers of Chronicles?  Because through almost all of these articles appears James Grant’s reasoning, his knowledge of history, and his common sense, which should be of interest to any literate conservative.  In one instance he describes

the difference between physics and economics. ...

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