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. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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


“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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