A straightforward presentation that promotes values of conduct most of us would be proud to share.

SPARK

HOW TO LEAD YOURSELF AND OTHERS TO GREATER SUCCESS

Three former U.S. military officers advocate for transferring military leadership methods into the civilian business sector and beyond.

Along with Sean Lynch, Morgan and Courtney Lynch (co-authors: Leading From the Front: No-Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women, 2006) run Lead Star, a corporate consulting firm that counts among their well-known clients Facebook, Accenture, Best Buy, and the United Way. The authors take issue with some widespread views about leadership and misinformation about the military and its culture. As Morgan writes, “most people think of leadership as a title, not as a set of behaviors, so they don’t see themselves as leaders.” While uniformed leaders are widely viewed as top-down rather than laterally distributed, the authors contend that the same qualities of high-level military leaders can be found at all levels of any institutional enterprise. Unfortunately, society values such leadership but does not teach it. Using what they have learned, the authors explore how to lead through the exercise of influence. They focus on the choices individuals make when they accept certain responsibilities, and they offer examples of how they came to grasp the significant principles involved in their own training and careers. Morgan relates how an officer she was terrified of went out of his way to help her deal with loss in her family, and Sean recounts how he found the courage to speak up for what he believed in. The capacity to influence grows from the values and principles many people hold dear, including self-control, a dedication to service, accountability, intentionality, and trustworthiness. Ultimately, though, true leaders must first learn to lead themselves before taking responsibility for others. Many of the qualities the authors espouse are those that many readers aspire to, no matter what their backgrounds.

A straightforward presentation that promotes values of conduct most of us would be proud to share.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-71618-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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