An excellent resource for anyone tasked with the professional management of others.

It's My Pleasure

THE IMPACT OF EXTRAORDINARY TALENT AND A COMPELLING CULTURE

A blueprint for fostering a workplace environment that’s conducive to both success and moral development.

Debut author Turner has spent the last 30 years as the vice president of corporate talent at Chick-fil-A but prefers to describe herself as an “Opportunity Facilitator.” The underlying theme of her work is the creation and maintenance of what she calls a “compelling culture”—one that not only achieves profitability, but also keeps customers and employees fundamentally satisfied. She articulates what she considers “timeless principles”: ideas proven true by the arduous tests of history. These principles seem not only to be about efficient management, but also moral clarity; the four guiding ideas are excellence, integrity, generosity, and loyalty. In addition to a well-crafted business plan, she says, a company’s future success depends upon a well-defined sense of purpose and a list of core values. All of this is necessary, she asserts, to manage the single most important challenge any company faces: the recruitment and retention of talent. Turner goes even further, however, arguing that a company must sustain their employees by helping them find and maximize opportunities to advance. Her lessons draw heavily upon her own experiences at Chick-fil-A and are greatly indebted, as she often acknowledges, to the vision of the company’s founder, S. Truett Cathy. (The book’s foreword is written by Cathy’s son, Dan.) Turner provides specific, actionable advice on hiring and mentoring new personnel, starting with the initial review of applications. Her assertion that moral integrity and success are causally linked will be refreshing to readers who might be interested in a business iteration that doesn’t devolve into materialistic nihilism. Her invocation of biblical principles may not resonate with staunchly secular readers, but her overall position isn’t specifically sectarian. She offers her counsel in a breezy, anecdotal style that avoids business jargon or didactic proselytizing. Overall, this is a clearly written, sensible response to human resource issues that every company inevitably faces.

An excellent resource for anyone tasked with the professional management of others. 

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937498-88-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Elevate

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

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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 declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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