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Narrow in scope, uninteresting in execution.

Dispatches from the frontal lobe of a Web consultant: collection of personal essays originally published and distributed online.

Locke was named one of the “top 50 business thinkers in the world” in a 2001 Financial Times Group survey and is the author of other business titles on professional tactics in the New Media age. As for the personal, Locke channeled his opinions into a webforum with the help of an e-zine called Entropy Gradient Reversals and the nom de cursor “RageBoy.” More than three-dozen stream-of-subconsciousness jeremiads form this print collection, with a range that encompasses a great deal of the overrated Dionysian trinity of decadence: sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. In his five purple decades, Locke has ingested or indulged in a considerable amount of all three, along with substantial helpings of literature and philosophy. The opinions spew forth in a voice that reads like a cross between the most subject-specific riffs of John McPhee and the Attention Deficit Disorder–solipsism of Dave Eggers. Those looking for worthwhile content will have a difficult time extracting it from the formlessness of the pieces, and the relentless tumble of the Whitman-meets-Pynchon (!) associations will quickly have the most excitable readers reaching for something more soothing. If there is any there there in the pages, it has to do with a moment in the dot-com boom that as of late seems especially dated, quaint, even irrelevant. On an individual basis the pieces might have a Delbert-goes-to-Microsoft appeal, but to the general reader, there is the unshakable awareness that, like still images from music videos, they were better suited to their original medium of publication and dissemination.

Narrow in scope, uninteresting in execution.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-7382-0633-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Perseus

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2001

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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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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