by Adam Friedlander ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 26, 2016
A book that will be useful for employers who are truly interested in improving worker productivity and company profits.
A workers’ compensation consultant interviews business executives, lawyers, and others to show employers how to boost worker safety and the bottom line.
Friedlander (How to $ave Big on Workers’ Compensation, 2011), a workers’ comp expert who runs a consulting business in Purchase, New York, interviews corporate and insurance executives as well as attorneys and consultants about safety on the job and about the workers’ compensation system in general. He presents seven interviews in question-and-answer format with brief biographies of their interviewees. Paul O’Neill, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and former CEO of Alcoa, whom Friedlander credits with vastly improving worker safety there, says that such protection from danger should be paramount in any business. Bill O’Rourke, another former Alcoa executive, describes how he improved conditions at a giant plant he headed in Russia. Stephen Newell, a consultant, discusses the difficulty of measuring and even defining job safety and says that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have “the faintest idea about the accuracy or inaccuracy of the OSHA data.” Although many companies view worker safety measures as costly overhead, Newell says, they should instead regard them not only as the right thing to do, but as a way to cut losses from workers’ comp claims and increase profits. In fact, one lawyer points out, workers’ compensation originated as a way to save companies money, because it protected them from costly lawsuits by injured workers. Interviewees discuss fraud by employees who fake injuries to collect payments and the problem of companies that underreport injuries or just pay “lip service” to safety. This book will be most useful to corporate executives and business owners, as it looks at workers’ compensation mainly from their perspectives. This isn’t a primer for those new to the field; for example, it doesn’t explain such concepts as nurse triage and self-insurance. Although Friedlander asks thoughtful questions, he sometimes could have probed further; for instance, he could have asked one interviewee, Jeffrey R. Fenster of AmTrust Financial Services, to explain the “pretty significant technology” that he predicts will change workers’ comp in New York state. This brief book necessarily covers only generalities given the broad range of injuries possible in different fields. Still, Friedlander’s overall thesis is sound: “The solution is for leaders to put people’s safety first.”A book that will be useful for employers who are truly interested in improving worker productivity and company profits.
Pub Date: May 26, 2016
Page Count: 170
Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...
A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.
The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.
It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.
Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019
Page Count: 432
Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019
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