Category: Book Reviews

For God and Profit“Gregg lays out a careful and detailed argument for the proposition that, done well, financial endeavors can serve the common good,” says Adam J. MacLeod in a review of Acton Research Director Samuel Gregg’s most recent book For God and Profit: How Banking and Finance Can Serve the Common Good. MacLeod’s review at The Public Discourse, gives praise to Gregg’s book saying that anyone who feels called to the finance industry “can get quite a lot straight by reading this fine book.”

The review starts out by noting how well Gregg is able to explain the ins and outs of the finance industry so anyone can understand it. MacLeod says:

A major barrier to seeing this possibility is widespread ignorance of how finance works. Clearing away misconceptions is a delicate task, especially in a book for a general audience. One wants not to assume too much knowledge but also not to insult readers’ intelligence or good will. Gregg strikes the right balance as he walks through the fundamentals of economics and finance.

He examines the historical foundations of zero-sum economic thinking (which was founded in ancient experiences with zero-sum and exploitative economies), and how the rise of capital during the commercial revolution of the Middle Ages enabled widespread participation in economic growth. He explains financial practices such as short trading, the role that a government’s monetary policy has on inflation and unemployment, and much else. Throughout, he probes financial practices for their underlying logic and purposes. Readers will benefit from his insights, no matter how much economic knowledge they possess at the outset.


51p8Haa6WpL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_“When robots are driving our cars, doing our shopping, writing our blogs and articles, cleaning our homes and providing medical care… what will be left for us to do?” asks Anthony Howard.

In the book Humanise: Why Human-Centred Leadership is the Key to the 21st Century, he argues “it won’t be a question of what we do, though, but of who we are, of what kind of people we are, of how we relate to one another, how we care for one another.”

This reminded me of Father Sirico’s closing address at Acton University in 2015 during which he said, “We know better how to form children, we know better how to care for the dying and sick and to tend to the lonely and the troubled […] precisely because we believe in the dignity of all human life.”

Sometimes the threats to humanising the culture come from attacks on the religious freedom of institutions. Other times, a properly human culture is threatened by a lack of reflection on leadership and ethics, particularly as these involve technology.