An affable and engaging management guide.

LEADERSHIP TWO WORDS AT A TIME

SIMPLE TRUTHS FOR LEADING COMPLICATED PEOPLE

Consultant Treasurer’s latest business book offers concise tips for developing leadership skills.

The author, currently the chief encouragement officer at Giant Leap Consulting, builds on his previous books, including Leaders Open Doors(2014), by describing crucial concepts in two-word phrases. Unlike many other titles in the genre, this one explicitly addresses itself to young and midlevel corporate leaders—those who must guide and motivate employees but aren’t in a position to set the organization’s overall direction or shape its mission. The book is divided into three sections, focused on self-management, leading others, and understanding business concepts. Within each section, chapters (“Model Principles,” “Get Results”) and subsections (“Integrity Matters,” “Detonation Defused”) follow Treasurer’s minimalist two-word formula, with explanations of each concept in straightforward prose. The book explains the importance of being self-aware and disciplined, understanding the common challenges inherent in motivating others, and developing a knowledge of the company and the industry to produce results. Each chapter includes brief anecdotes from leaders with whom Treasurer has worked (such as Sara Blakely, the founder and CEO of Spanx), sharing their insights on how to apply leadership principles to specific situations; for instance, Kimberlee Curley, the vice president of workforce readiness at NTT Data, explains how trying and failing to mimic the behavior of her colleagues taught her the importance of authenticity and also how her colleagues were falling short as leaders. Chapters conclude with questions for readers to ask themselves (“Think Now”) and action items for developing skills and knowledge (“Act Now”).

Treasurer takes a coach’s approach to developing leadership skills—explaining why they matter, offering specific implementations, and assuring readers that they can learn and accomplish everything they need to achieve. The book’s tone is heartfelt without being cloying, and readers will find the narrative voice appealing. The book presents a solid mix of theory and anecdote, offering vivid examples of concepts, discussed in broad terms; for instance, Treasurer uses his own failure to remember the names of his employees’ children as a launching point for a discussion of how to manage employees as people rather than cogs in a corporate machine. The section on developing employees’ skills is particularly well done, drawing clear connections between giving employees the tools and freedom to get work done and having enough time to focus on the work of management: “After working with you, each of your direct reports should be somehow enhanced, better off for having been positively impacted by your leadership.” Although the book’s core message will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the business section of a bookstore, it’s well written and well organized, making it a solid addition to one’s shelf; it’s also an effective introduction to newcomers to the topic of building leadership skills. Treasurer’s two-word conceit never feels overdone, offering readers convenient mnemonics without feeling gimmicky. Readers will come away with a clear sense of what leaders need to do to effectively manage themselves and their organizations and a clear path to implementation.

An affable and engaging management guide.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5230-0317-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2022

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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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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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