An intriguing mixture of challenging ideas and Utopian solutions to the broader issues regarding social welfare currently...

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CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE

HARNESSING THE POWER TO CREATE, CONNECT, AND INSPIRE

Former BusinessWeek assistant managing editor Nussbaum (Innovation and Design/Parson School of Design; Good Intentions: How Big Business and the Medical Establishment Are Corrupting the Fight Against Aids, 1990, etc.) makes the case that the future of American capitalism lies in unleashing creativity.

The author believes that students can be trained to become creative and that it is a skill that can be assessed. He combines lessons from the “personal growth movement of the 1960s and ’70s” and observations about how successful enterprises harness creativity and team effort (e.g., Google, Apple and Facebook). Nussbaum also proposes supplementing the standard IQ measure with what he calls a creativity quotient. In the author's view, today's dominant model of capitalism, based on the hegemony of “efficient market theory” (which makes short-term profit the main criteria for investment), was responsible for the recent recession and has “taken a devastating toll on innovation.” The author compares this to the period from 1933 to 1976, “a time when business leaders were responsible not simply to shareholders, but to many stakeholders.” The author believes that in order to compete globally, American business must pick up from the 1990s, when U.S. global hegemony was based on the inventiveness of Silicon Valley and futurists predicted major advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology. He offers a radical model for investment in technology startups based on local sources of financing and the possibilities of broad-based online social networking. Such an economy would embrace risk-taking, see uncertainty as opportunity and require minimal government intervention. Education would be transformed to emphasize hands-on creative activity, and students would be encouraged to wed ideas to their implementation.

An intriguing mixture of challenging ideas and Utopian solutions to the broader issues regarding social welfare currently under debate.

Pub Date: March 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0062088420

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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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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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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