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THE EXPERIENCE OF LEADERSHIP

PROVEN EXAMPLES FROM SUCCESSFUL LEADERS

While skewed toward the military and business world, this work delivers solid leadership insights.

In this guide, a group of successful individuals offer perspectives on leadership.

As a former quarterback for the United States Naval Academy’s football team, a naval officer, and a thriving entrepreneur, Stuvek epitomizes success. In this work, he moves “beyond inspiration” and the fluff delivered by many books in the self-help genre and instead focuses on “the nitty-gritty details of how to obtain the experience and skills that great leaders display.” Each of the manual’s 15 core chapters presents a first-person narrative written by a man or woman who has excelled in a field and who uses personal anecdotes to illuminate particular leadership traits. Given the author’s background, it is not surprising that many of the chapters are written by veterans whose leadership skills stand out given the life-and-death nature of their decisions, the military’s emphasis on teamwork, and their “ability to adapt and change as circumstances change.” Albert M. Calland III, who spent three decades as a Navy SEAL prior to his appointment as deputy director of the CIA, writes a particularly illuminating chapter that provides behind-the-scenes stories and lessons learned from the “war on terror.” Business and education figures are also well represented, including entrepreneur Jackie Freedman and former Arizona State University engineering professor Jacob Kashiwagi, who reminds readers that there is no single model of leadership. The book concludes with a chapter by Stuvek that supplies useful tips on how would-be leaders can motivate young people, whose upbringings may not resonate with the management styles of previous generations. Replete with intriguing success stories, useful acronyms, and practical tips, this is an uplifting yet pragmatic book. Though the volume is written in an apolitical style, some readers may be put off by its disproportionate emphasis on military and business leaders and its inclusion of several of President George W. Bush’s appointees and members of right-wing organizations like the Rumsfeld Foundation. Still, the guide’s contributors are diverse regarding gender and race.

While skewed toward the military and business world, this work delivers solid leadership insights.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73230-607-3

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Triumvirate Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2021

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THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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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UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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