A worthwhile, if overly structured, primer that covers all the bases for new recruits and the soon-to-be employed.


(Aspiring Professionals) How To Enhance Your Professional Performance and Productivity


Solid, succinct advice for aspiring professionals, delivered in the form of a “personal operating system.”

Dickens, who’s had a varied business career of 30-plus years, relates a computer’s operating system to one’s personal operating system for achieving success in a work environment, though the metaphor works to a point. In his debut, Dickens identifies 10 specific attributes as operating systems—e.g., “The ‘Be Trustworthy’ Operating System,” “The ‘Strive for Excellence’ Operating System,” “The ‘Be Adaptable to Change’ Operating System”—the most important of which, he says, is “The ‘Develop Self-Discipline’ Operating System,” since it “is the foundation that everything else in our lives is built on or revolves around.” In brief chapters, he offers sensible advice related to each of the 10 elements; the chapter on self-discipline, for instance, includes sections on character, work ethics, initiative, endurance, establishing a good reputation, separating the personal from the professional, and sound decision-making. At the end of each chapter, Dickens details “critical points of emphasis” in bulleted form—essentially, checklists for action. In clear, concise and engaging writing, Dickens’ well-intentioned advice is likely to lead the novice worker down a path that could indeed enhance both professional performance and productivity. He uses examples from his own life experiences and career and includes information valuable for readers just entering the workforce, such as “median annual earnings” graphs and tables, and a checklist on how to prepare for a presentation. The structure of the book, however, pushes the operating-system concept to the extreme and may, in fact, get in the way of otherwise useful content. At times, the book can unnecessarily fit function into a form that seems to unintentionally imply that the reader should choose among operating systems, when, in fact, all the attributes Dickens discusses should be viewed as equally important to personal success. Still, despite this organizational deficiency, readers who take Dickens’ advice to heart will find much to gain from it.

A worthwhile, if overly structured, primer that covers all the bases for new recruits and the soon-to-be employed.

Pub Date: May 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482030358

Page Count: 184

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet