A book that will be useful for employers who are truly interested in improving worker productivity and company profits.

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Safety and Workers' Compensation Strategies

TO UNLEASH PRODUCTIVITY AND 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

ISBN: 978-1-5304-4981-1

Page Count: 170

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE

A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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