An outstanding performance playbook.



A debut business book offers advice from business leaders and athletes on achieving peak performance.

There is an elegant simplicity to this work that belies its depth. Beneath the surface of what seems to be a straightforward guide relying on an acronym is rich content deserving of serious consideration. Gillette’s own intriguing experiences as an endurance athlete, coupled with words of wisdom from over 100 fascinating people, make for compelling reading. The author’s credentials as a past human resources professional and current performance coach add to the volume’s veracity. The book is divided into five “pillars,” four of which are represented by the acronym EPIC (“Envision, Plan, Iterate, Collaborate”); the fifth one is “Perform.” Each pillar is succinctly summarized at the beginning by Gillette, who also helpfully includes synonyms, such as Dream and Conceptualize for Envision. Each pillar comprises three chapters, or “behaviors.” This structure cleverly provides continuity across the pillars, and it enhances the readability by breaking the text into manageable bites. Chapters are equally consistent; each one starts with a relevant quotation and ends with “Questions To Ask Yourself” and “Exercises,” helping readers to engage with the material and maintain focus. The author often refers to his remarkable athletic challenges—such as running races that were hundreds of miles—using them metaphorically to relate to personal and business leadership. These anecdotes are integrated with descriptions of business leaders’ challenges as well as their observations, all nicely fitting into the appropriate pillar. The Iterate pillar is particularly absorbing because it focuses on “trying, failing, tweaking, and trying again until you get it more right and then moving on.” The counsel conveyed in this section is especially valuable, including “Practicing when it doesn’t matter pays dividends when it does matter”; “You get what you inspect, not what you expect”; and “Big problems are easy to see but hard to fix, while little problems are hard to see but easy to fix.” These are a few examples of the meaningful, memorable lines that frequently appear in the work and should resonate with any high achiever.

An outstanding performance playbook.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63755-217-9

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Amplify Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“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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