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1998 is the summer of La Nina, Bill Gates triumph over the Department of Justice and the lowest unemployment in three decades, yet not everything is rosy. Here we've come up with a few fascinating books to take with you on vacation. While you ponder whether the Dow will hit 2000 or the Asia question or how long the good times will last, enjoy cool breezes and sweet sunshine.

You can see previously recommended selections Here.


Closing : The Life and Death of an American Factory by Cathy N. Davidson, William L. Bamberger .       "Here is a stupendous book, a complete answer to any who believe that all that counts in a company is its bottom line, and that the only people with a stake in it are its shareholders." - The Economist

"Davidson...offers thoughtful commentary, including interviews with six individuals, and Bamberger supplies probing photographs; together, they create a telling portrait of the last six months of the White Furniture Company of Mebane, North Carolina. A 111-year-old firm specializing in high-quality reproduction antiques, White was family owned until 1985 and employed more than 200 people. Davidson researched economic factors and the furniture industry and talked with a range of former White employees (a mill worker, shop-floor supervisors, an executive assistant, and the CEO who decided to close the plant). Bamberger spent days at the factory in its final months, capturing on film the commitment and skill of these six and other workers, as well as their reactions to the elimination of jobs many had held for decades. An eloquent essay on the human cost of downsizing and globalization." - Mary Carroll, Booklist

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Accidental Theorist : And Other Dispatches from the Dismal Science by Paul Krugman.       When economics and ideology mix, the results often sound plausible, but in fact can be terribly wrong and lead to ill-conceived and sometimes dangerous economic policy. For several years, Paul Krugman, author of The Accidental Theorist and one of the most celebrated economists of the '90s, has been punching holes in fashionable ideas such as the logic of supply-side economics and the evils of globalization. The Accidental Theorist is a collection of Krugman's best published and unpublished essays that cover everything from the Asian financial crisis to inflation in America.

Krugman's cause is neither left or right; rather it's the pursuit of clear thinking about economics that's unfettered by ideology. He writes, "But we should never be surprised when prominent people say foolish things about economics. The history of economic doctrines teaches us that the influence of an idea may have nothing to do with its quality--that an ideology can attract a devoted following, even come to control the corridors of power, without a shred of logic or evidence in its favor."

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The Secret Diary of Bill Gates by Bill G., Matthew Lombardi.       The Secret Diary of Bill Gates is a totally cool and outrageously funny parody that details the daily doings of America's greatest computer nerd/robber baron. This full year of diary entries touches on Bill's many supposed obsessions, from crushing competitors to doting on Baby Jennifer to ogling the Spice Girls.

The book is based on the enormously popular "Secret Diary of Bill Gates" web site, which has been appearing on the World Wide Web since 1996 and receives over a million hits a month. It has garnered countless "hot site" listings, including Microsoft Network's own WebPick.

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Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.       Originally written in 1952 and reissued in 1997, Player Piano is Kurt Vonnegut's first novel in which he spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. It's popularity at the time reflected a growing wariness about technology and the growth and power of high-tech corporations. What goes around comes around.

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