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THE HUMAN HERD

AWAKENING OUR NATURAL LEADERSHIP

A vivid, offbeat, and thought-provoking look at ways of dealing with the stresses of life.

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A self-help book that taps into the wisdom of animals in an effort to improve readers’ emotional health and leadership skills.

“One of the casualties of a busy and technological modern life,” writes leadership coach Anstandig in this heavily autobiographical work, “is that we have lost our sensitivity to pressure as a central signal system for taking care of our needs.” One of her book’s many lessons details how she learned from the various animals in her life how to deal with these pressures and become “a pure and free version of me.” She relates many stories of having been, as she puts it, “raised by wolves,” referring to her childhood dog companions. Her narration of her deep emotional connections with these and other creatures, including horses, undergirds a greater discussion of a concept she calls “Natural Leadership,” which is based on “our innate signal systems as mammals and on phenomena that occur in the natural world.” There are various channels that all feed into the integrated awareness of Natural Leadership, Anstandig says, and she maintains that making an effort to truly listen to these signals give us “a more honest story about who we are.” Overall, the author’s decision to ground so much of her motivational insights in her friendships with members of other species turns out to be a compelling one, as it allows her to discuss the workings of pressure without getting distracted by the typical, everyday rationalizations that tend to stick to the subject when discussing human interactions. Her animals, she engagingly points out, insist that she meet them “where they live: in the present, in honesty, and in the body.” Her extensive passages describing these relationships—their “verve and aliveness,” as she puts it—are the high points of the book.

A vivid, offbeat, and thought-provoking look at ways of dealing with the stresses of life.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63195-693-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2022

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GREENLIGHTS

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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