Highly useful for diversity officers, HR workers, CEOs, and activists in the business community.

Diversity scholar Washington delivers meaningful stories on how companies have—and have not—done the hard work of becoming equitable and inclusive.

An organizational psychologist and business professor at Georgetown, the author began this wide-ranging survey when, after George Floyd’s murder, CEOs and human resources officers expressed concern that their companies were not doing enough to promote diversity. Arguing that the effort properly falls under the threefold rubric DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—Washington notes, “DEI is a journey. It includes programs, yes, but also making cultural changes, finding new ways to influence people, making difficult decisions, and more.” Some of her case studies are impressively positive even if the journeys are never quite complete. For example, Slack, the technology company, began to “shape equity and inclusion into its culture from the start,” with a workforce that has large minority representation, numbers nearly 45% women in management positions, and is committed to coaching to advance employees equally. Some companies talked the talk but fell short in reality: Nike did noble work in advancing the idea of diversity publicly but had a workplace culture that sometimes seemed hostile or indifferent to that idea. “To get past this tactical part of the journey,” writes the author, “organizations must create alignment between their DEI efforts internally and externally, and it must come from the top down and emerge from the bottom up.” Many of those alignments come from executives who themselves embody DEI’s goals: A Black woman, for example, has led her spirits company to a strong position in the sector by “doing something that other spirit brands haven’t figured out how to do, which is to market to everyone.” Similarly, Denny’s, after having been legally enjoined to commit to compliance, became a model in working toward such things as recruiting minority businesses into its supply chain and encouraging minority employment in and ownership of its restaurants.

Highly useful for diversity officers, HR workers, CEOs, and activists in the business community.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64782-128-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022



Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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