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

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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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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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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