Succinct and skillfully written; an eye-opener for business leaders.

READ REVIEW

DO THE RIGHT THING

IN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT, INCLUDING PROCESS AND TECHNOLOGY

A debut book precisely defines a business improvement model.

Duryea, who spent three decades as an innovation specialist and worked on over 60 enhancement projects, clearly lays out a plan for implementing a strategy for business improvement. The author is nothing if not direct; he states that the common thread in every improvement project failure is “that leadership did not implement a project that empowered the organization’s most basic goal. The most basic goal is the organization’s core business model.” He goes on to discuss this model in detail but first defines “The Law of Business Reality—Organizations serve customers in a profitable way or cease to exist.” This description is typical of Duryea’s exceedingly lucid prose, one of the assets of the book. Equally strong is the volume’s tight organization into three parts with chapters that treat discrete aspects of a business improvement model, building one upon the other. Part 1 addresses three basics: the business reality law and core model as well as “influencers” of the model. Part 2 concerns business processes, smartly divided into two sets—one comprises courses generally applied to all businesses, and the other is industry-specific. Of particular interest in Part 2 are three industry examples: professional services, financial services, and manufacturing. Processes for these industries are described in text and illustrated in a useful chart that identifies similarities and differences. Part 3 discusses how processes are enabled within businesses. Describing implementation, this last part includes a discussion of internal and external resources and their applications as well as a particularly engaging commentary on technology enablement. Here, the author makes a key point: While technology is critically important, it “is not a core business model. More specific technology cannot fix a broken core business model or replace the need for a core business model.” At the close of each chapter of this impressive book, Duryea adds another step to his business improvement model so that, by the end of the work, it comprises a complete 15-step program—a nice technique.

Succinct and skillfully written; an eye-opener for business leaders.

Pub Date: July 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4908-8607-7

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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