A valuable, humanistic perspective on leading projects.

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In this debut business book, an executive applies leadership strategy to project management.

Pham, who advanced from an information technology consultant to a vice president of product management, has seen project management from the middle and the top. In this well-crafted work, she is highly supportive of those project leaders who “act as the glue that binds teams together, filling gaps in process and communication wherever there is a need.” From the outset, the author makes it clear that her book is not about the processes associated with project management but rather the leadership abilities necessary to become a capable project supervisor. In Part 1, Pham identifies fundamental leadership skills, including techniques for building rapport quickly, running productive meetings, asking the right questions, and documenting/synthesizing information. While this content is basic, it is actionable—and it will undoubtedly assist middle managers who have yet to develop leadership expertise. Parts 2 and 3 are much more project specific. In the second part, for example, the author shares sensible advice about setting measurable goals, managing project teams, and establishing road maps. One memorable methodology she highlights is “CALM,” an acronym for “Closely Aligned, Loosely Managed.” A chapter on preempting risk in this section is especially helpful. Part 3 addresses project implementation; here, Pham cites some excellent examples of how best to encourage cooperation and explains how to manage each of the elements of the well-known time-scope-resources triangle. She closes this portion with a frank acknowledgment: “There is no project I’ve ever led that has gone as planned. No matter how hard you try to manage or control them, change will happen.” This should be comforting news to novice project leaders. Part 4 consists of just a single chapter yet it is one of the most powerful; with sincere words, Pham urges project leaders to create bonds that transcend the office and turn co-workers into friends. The best project leaders, she writes, “are the ones who—with appreciation, empathy, encouragement, trust, loyalty, and strength—from plans and goals, create work friends and work families.” The author is at her best when inspiring others.

A valuable, humanistic perspective on leading projects.

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72251-065-7

Page Count: 242

Publisher: G&D Media

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022



Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


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

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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