An informative and creatively multilayered Google guidebook from the businessman’s perspective.

HOW GOOGLE WORKS

Two distinguished technology executives share the methodology behind what made Google a global business leader.

Former Google CEO Schmidt (co-author: The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business, 2013) and former senior vice president of products Rosenberg share accumulated wisdom and business acumen from their early careers in technology, then later as management at the Internet search giant. Though little is particularly revelatory or unexpected, the companywide processes that have made Google a household name remain timely and relevant within today’s digitized culture. After several months at Google, the authors found it necessary to retool their management strategies by emphasizing employee culture, codifying company values, and rethinking the way staff is internally positioned in order to best compliment their efforts and potential. Their text places “Googlers” front and center as they adopted the business systems first implemented by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who stressed the importance of company-wide open communication. Schmidt and Rosenberg discuss the value of technological insights, Google’s effective “growth mindset” hiring practices, staff meeting maximization, email tips, and the company’s effective solutions to branding competition and product development complications. They also offer a condensed, two-page strategy checklist that serves as an apt blueprint for managers. At times, statements leak into self-congratulatory territory, as when Schmidt and Rosenberg insinuate that a majority of business plans are flawed and that the Google model is superior. Analogies focused on corporate retention and methods of maximizing Google’s historically impressive culture of “smart creatives” reflect the firm’s legacy of spinning intellect and creativity into Internet gold. The authors also demarcate legendary application missteps like “Wave” and “Buzz” while applauding the independent thinkers responsible for catapulting the company into the upper echelons of technological innovation.

An informative and creatively multilayered Google guidebook from the businessman’s perspective.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1455582341

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Business Plus/Grand Central

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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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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