A well-crafted, personal tale of business gone bad.



A true corporate David-and-Goliath story from an insider’s perspective.

Tales of Wal-Mart’s unsavory business practices (witness the class-action suit currently before the Supreme Court) are fertile ground for business books, television and film documentaries and the like, and this book is one more entry into the field. What makes Hood’s tale different is the fact that he owned a business that was literally driven into bankruptcy by the retailing behemoth. The story revolves around a product Hood’s company devised called the “Shopper’s Calculator,” which attached to a shopping cart, helping shoppers determine what they were spending. The product could also serve up advertising for various name brands as well as for Wal-Mart’s store brands. Through a detailed account that includes references to letters, phone calls and meetings, Hood documents the sorry story of how Wal-Mart management, at best, ineptly implemented a promotional program that they agreed to support, and, at worst, sabotaged it because of a perverted ego- and profit-driven arrogance Hood calls “egonomics.” In diary-like entries, Hood presents dates of specific occurrences and includes copies of documents that are hard to dispute, resulting in a uniformly unfavorable view of Wal-Mart’s way of doing business. In fact, the story culminates in Hood’s company filing a $40-million lawsuit against Wal-Mart, which he says was settled for “the discounted amount of $23.5 million.” Even after the lawsuit, however, Hood’s company continued to do business with Wal-Mart and, remarkably, the same people who initially undermined the relationship, says Hood, held “very cooperative and productive meetings” over the next two years. Nevertheless, Hood suggests Wal-Mart’s decision to cancel the contract after three-and-a-half years was premeditated and vindictive, as research proved the program did work. Clearly, Hood is anything but an objective observer and occasionally his emotion gets the better of him. But he writes well and tells his story with equal doses of irony and outrage. It will likely be difficult for the reader not to accept the author’s claim that Wal-Mart is a corporate villain after reading this book.

A well-crafted, personal tale of business gone bad.

Pub Date: April 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456456009

Page Count: 254

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2011

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?

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet