With engaging examples and exercises, Shotton’s book will help reflective leaders reach new heights in self-awareness.

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LIFTOFF LEADERSHIP

10 PRINCIPLES FOR EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP

Businesswoman and pilot Shotton charts a course for helping leaders reflect on their character and conduct.

Each chapter represents one of Shotton’s 10 essential leadership qualities, which are illustrated through a smattering of short anecdotes and examples. To review and inspire reflection, end of chapter exercises have readers contemplating personal leadership through academic ranking and writing exercises. Although much of the book’s style and message will be familiar to readers who pursue the business self-help genre, the author’s use of flight analogies and anecdotes makes the book stand out. Flight and piloting stories are present in anecdotes, short stories and even reflected in the descending chapter-numbering system that mimics a space mission countdown. The flight anecdotes succeed in piloting the reader through the text, which is much needed in this genre characteristically deficient in narrative threads. Reading the book from cover to cover is a breeze, but leaders in the C-suite who are looking for a guide they can easily scan will find the book’s subheadings nondescript. The book may prove more useful to middle managers, interested in self-reflection and aspiring toward a higher position. Another issue is that the author does more to set up her authority as an airplane pilot than as a leadership expert, saying in the beginning only that she is a “business leader.” Flipping to the author bio and back jacket hardly satisfy the question of what experience makes the author credible to write a book on leadership. By the back third of the book, anecdotes on the author’s leadership become more illustrative, but future editions could use some of this discussion in the prologue. Despite these shortcomings, the author’s anecdotes and end of chapter exercises will entertain and should help self-reflecting leaders better understand their current leadership style strengths and shortcomings.

With engaging examples and exercises, Shotton’s book will help reflective leaders reach new heights in self-awareness.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0825306471

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Beaufort

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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