A valuable, humanistic perspective on leading projects.

GLUE

HOW PROJECT LEADERS CREATE COHESIVE, ENGAGED, HIGH-PERFORMING TEAMS

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

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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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