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

THE EXPERIENCE OF LEADERSHIP

PROVEN EXAMPLES FROM SUCCESSFUL LEADERS

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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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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INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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