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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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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