A searching and cleareyed leadership blueprint for the 21st century.

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FOCUS IN ACTION IS GREAT LEADERSHIP

An author and associate professor provides an in-depth breakdown and study of executive-level leadership in the business world.

White (Leadership and Professional Development, 2012) opens her work with a simple question: why another business leadership tome to add to the towering pile already in print? And her answer is astonishing: “There is not a book that blends into one whole the what, when, how, and why of leadership and professional development for emerging leaders and shares the secrets of executive-level leadership.” There are literally thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of volumes that do exactly this, and since White must know that, readers must search elsewhere for justification for the guide’s existence. They won’t have to look far: White is a very open and engaging writer, and she presents readers her concept of “motiva-cation”—a blend of motivation and education—as a series of elaborations on the system she has devised, the Johnson White Leadership Model. The JWLM is organized around three “modules”: Focus, Action, and Great Leadership. White—who worked at IBM in marketing, sales, and training—moves straight to the details of each one and how they interrelate. In this scheme, Focus examines the inner person and the ability to sell oneself; Action addresses interpersonal elements such as character and self-expression; and Great Leadership brings together these threads and directs them outward, concentrating on team building and thinking on the organizational level. White walks her readers through all of these larger categories and refreshingly grounds them in both a wide array of business writings by contemporary authors (and not so current: the great Dale Carnegie gets his due) and some very nuts-and-bolts analysis of modern corporate culture—differentiating, for instance, among sponsors, mentors, coaches, advisers, and role models. The author rounds everything off with a very approachable personal tone. White, a business instructor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, mentions early on that the book is suitable for seminar and academic use, and its complexity bears this out. Business students should find a great deal to interest and challenge them in these pages.

A searching and cleareyed leadership blueprint for the 21st century.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-7101-5

Page Count: 338

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2017

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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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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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