An honest, engaging work of management wisdom.

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LEAN BUT NOT MEAN

A software company CEO makes an impassioned case for kinder, gentler business management.

Singhal runs a successful, publicly traded company, NetScout, and his debut proves that success doesn’t always imply ruthlessness. His business philosophy, “Lean But Not Mean,” is as much about everyday living as it is about management. Singhal’s fundamental point is that it’s quite possible for a leader to run an efficient and profitable enterprise without being unfeeling. In short, well-crafted chapters, Singhal uncovers the various aspects of LBNM in a clear, conceptual discussion augmented by simple, straightforward examples. Much of what he says flies in the face of conventional wisdom. For example, although many CEOs put shareholder value above employees’ needs, Singhal believes the organizations run by such leaders “have their priorities backwards”; he asserts that excited, motivated employees create loyal customers who, in turn, lead to more profitable companies. Indeed, he says, the best way to build a successful enterprise “is to get as many of your employees as possible involved as shareholders.” He also expresses his deeply held belief that trust is the bedrock of business. One of his more provocative LBNM practices, “The 5 Percent Rule,” was first used for corporate acquisitions, but he says that it’s appropriate for “most consequential decisions”; he explains that he involves himself in major decisions or actions only during the first and last five percent of the process, trusting his staff to execute the remaining 90 percent. Throughout this discerning book, the author employs a personal writing style that adds an element of informality but never diminishes the importance of his overall message. For example, in an epilogue, Singhal candidly observes that, while writing the book, he realized he was “unconsciously practicing” LBNM across all aspects of his company—and that he came to believe that LBNM transcended management to be “a way of seeing the world.”

An honest, engaging work of management wisdom.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 184

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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