Tough-love business management advice that never loses sight of the big-picture economy.

Manage It Right!

INTRAPRENEURIAL SKILLS TO SUCCEED IN ANY ORGANIZATION

A demanding road map for turning around a failing business.

Fifty years of corporate management experience are distilled in this practical handbook for business managers, especially for those tasked with saving a business that is bleeding revenue and fending off bruising publicity. In their debut volume, the Zoreas—father and son—coach middle managers on fixing internal management problems. The senior author’s engineering background is evident in the book’s clear, methodical approach to information gathering and analysis, all succinctly summarized in a questionnaire included as an appendix. The basis of good management, according to the Zoreas, is the unglamorous but necessary business of “problem finding, problem solving, implementation, monitoring, and control.” In turning around a failing business, accurate profit-and-loss accounting matters more than charismatic leadership, the authors write. The handbook is filled with tables showing, for example, how to keep track of action items and how to create “change design” dashboards. Offering coaching tips on communicating effectively with higher-ups, selecting project management software and conducting productive meetings, the book has an explicit bias against employees with advanced degrees who lack multidisciplinary business skills, despite their MBAs. It also takes aim at conflict-of-interest practices among corporate executives. Some executives who are compensated for meeting performance benchmarks are setting goals and objectives that are too easy to reach, thereby causing their companies to stagnate and lose market share. It’s hard to imagine a more disciplined regimen for business recovery than the one outlined by this coaching duo, who demand a seven-days-a-week commitment of time and thought for a stretch of two to three years. Although the book follows a fictional midcareer business manager through two years of coaching, many of the narrative details—e.g., “Chuck took a sip of his mineral water”—aren’t great additions to the book’s valuable business insights, including those related to outsourcing. Chuck criticizes managers who, instead of learning how to manage complex business challenges, become “addicted” to outsourcing: “Maybe that’s okay for the retiring generation, but what about the younger generations who need to work and feed their families?”

Tough-love business management advice that never loses sight of the big-picture economy.

Pub Date: March 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0991392704

Page Count: 346

Publisher: Manage It Right! Press

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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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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