A lively plot and brief chapters will evoke CEOs’ and business managers’ memories of bedtime stories—and make them want to...

READ REVIEW

No More Magic Wands

TRANSFORMATIONAL CYBERSECURITY CHANGE FOR EVERYONE

An imaginative fairy tale that also acts as a primer on cybersecurity.

In a world where cyberattacks are a very real and frightening threat to most businesses, Finney offers an authoritative instruction manual, tucked into a world of fantasy in which characters all work together to learn important life lessons. Harmony Evergreen is an elf whose father, Honest, is the CEO of a magic wand company that finds itself under attack from competitors who sell knockoff wands. After a security breach results in a leak of the company’s customer information, an angry witch turns Harmony’s father into a statue. Harmony decides to use the last remaining magic wand to go back in time and try to prevent the leak from happening. She learns through trial and error how to form a culture of security among her employees, and readers will learn along with her. She must figure out who to hire for her security team, how to train her employees to spot “phishing” emails, and how to create redundancies in duties that prevent a single employee from stealing money or data. The central lesson of the book is that all of a company’s employees must work in tandem to enable cybersecurity’s success—from elf CEOs to groundhog midlevel managers and beyond. The lessons are driven home in chapter summaries that translate Harmony’s fictional quest into real-world challenges. Finney is the chief security officer at Southern Methodist University in Texas and has worked in cybersecurity for more than 15 years, so his words ring true when he advises his target audience about the cultural changes that can protect a company against attacks. He’s also written screenplays and novels, so his manual is dotted with numerous plot and character details that have nothing to do with cybersecurity but simply make for a good read. For example, the cast not only includes elves, wizards, and gnomes—it also has talking pigs, groundhogs, and rabbits. At not quite 130 pages, it’s a short book as well—one that would make an ideal accompaniment to a cybersecurity seminar for people who are new to the subject.

A lively plot and brief chapters will evoke CEOs’ and business managers’ memories of bedtime stories—and make them want to learn more about preparing for cyberthreats.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5355-3892-3

Page Count: 130

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more