A comprehensive, thought-provoking call for emphasizing the humanity in management.

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LIVING YOUR LEADERSHIP

GROW INTENTIONALLY, THRIVE WITH INTEGRITY, AND SERVE HUMBLY

Ewing’s management manual focuses on the service element of leadership.

“Leadership is the bedrock of organizational effectiveness,” writes Ewing in his nonfiction debut, but too often people in leadership positions settle for merely managing their followers, moving them around like cogs in a mechanical design. “Your followers are people,” Ewing’s book reminds its readers, “complete with messy emotions, backstories, families, friends, hobbies, and lives outside of the workplace.” Ewing advocates the kind of involved, detailed, hands-on practice of management that’s exemplified in the phrase “going to gemba” (gemba is a Japanese term for “the real place”); i.e., successful managers walk around, make contact with their employees where the work is actually getting done, and witness potential problems firsthand. The end goal, according to Ewing, is managers who display “deep personal humility with intense professional will.” In concise, well-illustrated chapters, Ewing breaks down the tactics and strategies of truly inspired group guidance. The key characteristic that crops up repeatedly is humility. A good leader will manage people, but a great one will serve them, inspiring great loyalty and output. Citing Disney’s often repeated slogan “gratitude improves attitude,” Ewing stresses that insightful leadership will be always be based on others, not oneself, reflecting the “necessary reciprocal relationship” between leaders and followers. Although some readers, particularly those who’ve had experience in corporate power structures, will raise an eyebrow at Ewing’s contention that humility is essential to really effective leadership (nearly all of the famous business leaders he name-checks are well-known to be ferocious despots to their subordinates), anyone encountering this book will be impressed not only by its thorough research—every page is buttressed with footnotes—but by its earnest presentation. There’s much food for thought here, particularly for middle managers aspiring to improve their work ethic.

A comprehensive, thought-provoking call for emphasizing the humanity in management.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-4001-6

Page Count: 202

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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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 deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

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

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