An engaging, unusual business book full of practical advice.

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THE LEADERSHIP GPS

YOUR TURN BY TURN GUIDE TO BECOMING A SUCCESSFUL LEADER AND CHANGING LIVES ALONG THE WAY

McLaughlin’s debut self-help guide offers an allegorical tale that intertwines the concepts of leadership and driving automobiles.

Brian Alden is a lead programmer at SBC Technology who recently received a promotion to manage the company’s small-business accounting software products. He’s a great coder but has no management experience, so he quickly finds himself adrift. On a whim, he types the phrase “SUCCESSFUL LEADERSHIP” into his car’s GPS device. To his amazement, his grandfather’s voice congratulates him on taking the first step to becoming a great leader. It turns out that his grandfather, who gave Brian the GPS after teaching him to drive, had also recorded a series of lessons to teach him leadership skills. His grandfather compares each stage of leadership to the process of driving a car: The first phase of leadership, Relationship, is like planning for a successful road trip; the second, Understanding, is like teaching someone else to drive; and the third, Knowledge, is like taking care of one’s passengers and driving defensively. Brian absorbs these lessons, applies them to his job and helps his friends with their own career struggles. Other characters represent various archetypes from the business world, such as visionary former manager Lloyd and ultraconservative boss Arthur. Although the book’s use of analogy can be heavy-handed at times, its leadership lessons are on point and lavishly illustrated with stories of great leaders past and present, from Michelangelo to Steve Jobs. McLaughlin’s storytelling format brings each stage of leadership to life as Brian applies them in common, real-world scenarios. Brian’s friends apply the leadership lessons to their own widely varying industries, demonstrating how they can succeed or fail in different situations. Although many business books fail to give readers a clear idea of how to apply their principles, this book provides readers with a solid template.

An engaging, unusual business book full of practical advice.

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1479263547

Page Count: 154

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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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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Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

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CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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