A fresh rethinking of a crucial process in today’s world.

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FRIEND OF A FRIEND...

UNDERSTANDING THE HIDDEN NETWORKS THAT CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER

A self-help business book that challenges conventional wisdom about networking.

As a business professor and contributor to TED and the Harvard Business Review, Burkus (Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual, 2016, etc.) has compiled plenty of anecdotes and case studies about how successful people have networked to form successful alliances, and he backs these stories with some theoretical underpinnings from the social sciences. Perhaps the most counterintuitive but convincing advice he offers is that your network’s weaker ties, the people with whom you have rarely connected for years or even decades, might prove more valuable than your closest connections. The reason? The people you know best usually know the same people and also know what you know. “Our weak ties often build a bridge from one cluster to another and thus give us access to new information,” writes the author. “Even though the strong ties in our life are more likely to be motivated to help us, it turns out that our weak ties’ access to new sources of information might be more valuable.” Each chapter ends with a set of exercises, “Practicing Online,” including a link to a template to download. In providing an overview of “how social networks operate and how they create opportunities in work and in life,” Burkus stresses the fluidity that a business landscape that changes so rapidly requires: how teams work best when they have a short shelf life, how positioning yourself to connect seemingly disparate camps pays dividends, and how important it is to know how to work inside your silo and when to step outside. The author extends his argument beyond career pragmatism, suggesting that networking events with the goal of expanding those networks are less effective than opportunities to do something together and really get to know each other. Furthermore, many prosperous business relationships begin as personal friendships, with those who like and trust each other looking for something they could accomplish together.

A fresh rethinking of a crucial process in today’s world.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-97126-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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 readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

REIMAGINING CAPITALISM IN A WORLD ON FIRE

A well-constructed critique of an economic system that, by the author’s account, is a driver of the world’s destruction.

Harvard Business School professor Henderson vigorously questions the bromide that “management’s only duty is to maximize shareholder value,” a notion advanced by Milton Friedman and accepted uncritically in business schools ever since. By that logic, writes the author, there is no reason why corporations should not fish out the oceans, raise drug prices, militate against public education (since it costs tax money), and otherwise behave ruinously and anti-socially. Many do, even though an alternative theory of business organization argues that corporations and society should enjoy a symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit, which includes corporate investment in what economists call public goods. Given that the history of humankind is “the story of our increasing ability to cooperate at larger and larger scales,” one would hope that in the face of environmental degradation and other threats, we might adopt the symbiotic model rather than the winner-take-all one. Problems abound, of course, including that of the “free rider,” the corporation that takes the benefits from collaborative agreements but does none of the work. Henderson examines case studies such as a large food company that emphasized environmentally responsible production and in turn built “purpose-led, sustainable living brands” and otherwise led the way in increasing shareholder value by reducing risk while building demand. The author argues that the “short-termism” that dominates corporate thinking needs to be adjusted to a longer view even though the larger problem might be better characterized as “failure of information.” Henderson closes with a set of prescriptions for bringing a more equitable economics to the personal level, one that, among other things, asks us to step outside routine—eat less meat, drive less—and become active in forcing corporations (and politicians) to be better citizens.

A readable, persuasive argument that our ways of doing business will have to change if we are to prosper—or even survive.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5417-3015-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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