Heuristic advice and life-affirming direction form a gratifying combination in this motivational handbook.

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THE POWER OF MOMENTS

WHY CERTAIN MOMENTS HAVE EXTRAORDINARY IMPACT

How significant moments have the capacity to redirect our future endeavors.

“Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen” write co-authors Chip and Dan Heath (Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, 2013) in their encouraging text, which analyzes the aha instances that have the underestimated ability to change lives. While acknowledging that some moments are naturally more memorable than others, the authors use a wide array of real-life situations as examples to identify the common denominators these meaningful experiences share. Their extensive research brought forth four elements that have the most impact: the elevation of moments using sensory influences, personal insight into our place in the world, pride in the things we do and for the people we love, and the valuable connections made in the business and personal arenas of our lives. An in-depth examination of these four elements makes up the foundation of the narrative, providing a sincere introduction to how readers can shape and improve the peaks in their own experiences. Infused with positivity and enthusiasm, the Heaths believe that whether your keepsakes include love letters, report cards, newspaper articles, or family photos, collectively they all define and represent the strongest and most significant moments in our lives. Using customer experience research, personal stories, professional profiles, and a series of situational “clinics” in which readers can apply the techniques provided, the authors offer simplified input into the process of shaping everyday moments into mightier ones using a wealth of practical strategies. Maximizing the frequency and intensity of these electric instances is the key, the authors insist, to improving life by creating a more satisfying professional and social world, preserving and commemorating one’s milestones, and capitalizing on the opportunities to create them. Readers hungry for a bigger slice of life will find this book valuable.

Heuristic advice and life-affirming direction form a gratifying combination in this motivational handbook.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-4776-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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