A useful, pragmatic approach that should ultimately lead to better strategic decision-making.



In this business book, a consultant promotes a scenarios-to-strategy planning process.

With four decades of experience, Brummell is a credible expert when it comes to strategic planning. His focus in this executive-level volume is “scenario thinking,” which is intended “to create understanding of a broader range of possible future outcomes, and to enhance the ability to adapt.” In five terse parts the book covers the logic of scenarios; how to develop them; how they are utilized in strategy development; strategy implementation; and the author’s own application of the planning process. Part 1 lays the groundwork by detailing the attributes of scenarios, or “stories describing a range of different futures.” Brummell makes an important distinction between forecasting and scenarios. Forecasting, widely used by business managers, attempts to specifically predict the future, while a scenario focuses on uncertainties that suggest different potential outcomes. As Brummell writes, “Scenario thinking does not try to reduce uncertainty but to embrace it. As a result, scenarios are most appropriate during periods of turbulence and uncertainty.” In Part 2, the author outlines a five-step method for developing focused scenarios in a workshop environment, which he finds most conducive for the process. Enough detail is provided to comprehend, if not implement, scenario development. Along the way, Brummell offers helpful examples of types of scenarios. Part 3 concentrates on strategy development, demonstrating how scenarios can lead to strategies. Here, the author includes a useful road map to help readers visualize a five-step process. Three pertinent examples of strategy development are described in this part. Implementing strategy is the subject of Part 4, which includes an excellent discussion of the criteria for success. Part 5 examines the author’s personal experiences, from his introduction to scenario planning through trials and tribulations associated with the process. He cites several intriguing cases in which he was involved, including global scenario planning for the future of Africa, Latin America, and even the Soviet Union. The book concludes with Brummell’s insightful assessment of “three major themes” that emerged from scenario projects. Numerous charts, graphs, and sidebars enhance the main text.

A useful, pragmatic approach that should ultimately lead to better strategic decision-making.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2023

ISBN: 978-1039156029

Page Count: 248

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2023

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Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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