CASEY'S LAW

IF SOMETHING CAN GO RIGHT, IT SHOULD

An agreeably upbeat and anecdotal memoir from the corporate executive who kept American Airlines flying during a period of notable turbulence. A Boston Irishman and proud of it, Casey (who turns 77 this year) worked his way through Harvard, returning after WW II service as a US Army officer to earn an MBA. Beginning his apprenticeship in Southern Pacific's Wall Street office, the author eventually moved on to what was then the Railway Express Agency; in the demanding post of chief financial officer, Casey gained first-hand knowledge of crisis management as the cash-strapped freight forwarder struggled to survive. Resigning over a matter of moral principle, the author joined Los Angelesbased Times-Mirror, the Chandler family publishing firm he helped make a multinational media colossus. Blocked from the top job (for lack of blood ties to the Chandler clan), the competitive Casey accepted an offer to become CEO of troubled American Airlines in 1974. Piloting the global carrier through an eventful era marked by deregulation, an oil embargo, and allied challenges (including the controversial move of corporate headquarters from New York City to Dallas/Ft. Worth), he bequeathed a prospering enterprise to an impressive successor (Robert Crandall). If anything, the author's retirement has been more active than his business career. Following a stint as postmaster general during the Reagan administration, he was recruited to head the Resolution Trust Corp. (the federal agency that liquidated busted thrift institutions). While not one to advance himself as a role model for aspiring captains of industry, Casey offers a wealth of low-key guidance on tricks of the managerial trade. As a recurrent theme, moreover, he details how, in both the private and public sectors, he has made it a point of honor to reverse the thrust of Murphy's Law. A good-humored account of an uncommonly productive life, which belies the notion that nice guys finish last. (16 pages photos, not seen) (First printing of 75,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-55970-307-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Arcade

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1997

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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 timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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