A cautionary but ultimately uplifting business book.

RUNNING WITH MY HEAD DOWN

AN ENTREPRENEUR'S STORY OF PASSION, PERSEVERANCE, AND PURPOSE

An entrepreneur shares the trials and tribulations of building his softball-related businesses.

Fiume’s debut is broken into four parts, roughly equivalent to the developmental phases of building a business. Part 1 traces the author’s traumatic childhood, which included his parents’ divorce and a period of poverty. The author’s love of baseball sustained him, but his father’s influence pushed him into an unwanted career in medical industry sales. Still, Fiume’s passion was for sports, which led to the development of his first business, the Amateur Ballplayers Association Softball League. In Part 2, he tells of how the league became a regional success and how he decided to go to the next level by starting a franchising company called i9 Sports. In this part of the book, the author clearly reveals some of the most challenging aspects of running a franchise business, and it will be particularly valuable to anyone considering becoming a franchisor or a franchisee. The evolution of the business is recounted in Part 3; Fiume realized the necessity of hiring a president for the company while he struggled with his changing role in the business. The author also writes frankly of his struggles with diet pill addiction and burnout. Part 4 effectively demonstrates the somewhat chaotic ups and downs of his business: “Never solve a problem by creating a new, bigger one,” he warns. Readers also learn of the author’s “persistent feelings of deep discontentment” despite i9’s success. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this final part is Fiume’s account of the wrenching process of selling a company. Throughout this memoir, the author observes his own behavior with a critical eye, exhibiting candor and humility. He’s bravely unafraid to admit his flaws, and his tale sometimes depicts the unsettling effects that his work had on him and his family members.

A cautionary but ultimately uplifting business book.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62634-641-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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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