A colorful and conversational manual that should help readers—personally and professionally—to better assess themselves and...




From the I in Team series , Vol. 1

An anecdotal guide delivers recipes for success in life and business.

Smith’s debut book focuses on self-realization, with the goal of creating for each reader an epiphany “about how your own individual advantages will affect the advantages of other individuals.” The author is the founder of Individual Advantages, “a company that helped other companies understand the correlation of people, process, and technology.” The bedrock of his approach is that every organization is made up of individuals, each one of whom brings unique strengths to the mix, whether they be physical, charismatic, personal, or a host of other things. These advantages have the ability to push people forward in life, but, as Smith points out, they can also pull individuals back if they’re not understood and handled well. The author has a long history as a professional consultant. He’s seen various staffs and managements in many different states of disarray and draws a series of lessons from all of them, here presented with clarity and fleshed out with ample tales from Smith’s own life and experiences. He talks about growing up poor, entering the military, and pursuing his gradually developed ambition to help people work better in teams, reminding his readers that “who you want to be is not about some physical job or position.” Throughout his book, the author puts forward some very simple concepts, like the virtues of slowing down and taking stock of things around you, honing individualism for personal strength, and determining what your real priorities are. Being self-aware, he asserts, is a basic key to forging your own individualism (and ultimately using it to enhance the individualism of others). When you can set aside your own ego and be honest about yourself, you construct a firmer foundation for becoming a leader. Smith uses clear, encouraging prose to elaborate on these basic underpinnings, and he overcomes the simplistic nature of his points by using a winningly self-deprecating tone. When talking about slowing down, for instance, Smith admonishes against immediate gratification, extols the virtues of living in the present, and uses himself both as a “before” and “after” example (“I was the stereotypical man who wouldn’t ask for directions,” he writes, before he changed his ways). The author’s truisms—sentiments like “If you really want to grow, then you need to face your own demons”—take on a greater degree of believability when he links them to his own story of self-improvement. He tells tales of the early days in his career when he let his emotions rule his reactions in tense business situations, usually to his detriment. These personal anecdotes make the resulting lessons (“There is no human on earth who has earned the right to treat another human being poorly,” for instance) feel far more meaningful.

A colorful and conversational manual that should help readers—personally and professionally—to better assess themselves and to build richer relationships with others.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5439-4634-5

Page Count: 194

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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


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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