A holistic and refreshingly human approach to interpersonal communication.



A briskly presented program for improving the ways individuals speak—and how they’re heard by others.

CEO Harbridge (Your Professionalism Is Killing You, 2008) produces a management handbook with far broader applications, a manual for interacting that stresses sensitivity over pronouncements. “Influence is not only based on how we talk,” she writes, “but also on how we listen and how we make people feel understood.” This axiom is at the heart of her Context Model, a method of carefully gauging how you speak by meticulously evaluating your listeners. One of the central tenets of the Context Model is honesty, which Harbridge recommends in both ethical and practical terms. “Most of us just aren’t good enough at being fake in the long term,” she points out. “We call this natural inclination our ‘operating system.’ ” Mapping this system onto the values and viewpoints of others is key to the Context Model—the realization that a person’s core message radiates outward in steadily thinning and simplifying waves, moving from the isolated and specific to the general. This model—and the many stories Harbridge uses to illustrate her points—emphasizes the overriding importance of context, both sensing it and providing it. Harbridge repeatedly reminds her readers that mastering the nuances of context in order to increase your influence on others is a gradual process of trial and error. “Do not expect rainbows and unicorns to suddenly appear around you,” she writes. “Influence is iterative: The results will be inconsistent because every human is different.” By reminding her readers of clear-minded actions like “be a student” or “stay open,” Harbridge actually broadens the applicability of her precepts beyond the business world that is her obvious main concentration. Her writing is clear and full of easy, readable dictums. Perusers of business manuals should find some old paradigms offered in vigorous new ways. And general-interest readers will likely find much in these pages to improve their own daily dealings with colleagues and others.

A holistic and refreshingly human approach to interpersonal communication.

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9972962-4-2

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Nothing But The Truth Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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