An enthusiastic road map for taking work outside the office.

REMOTE NOT DISTANT

DESIGN A COMPANY CULTURE THAT WILL HELP YOU THRIVE IN A HYBRID WORKPLACE

A management consultant advises companies to embrace remote work in this business book.

Razzetti, the author of Stretch Your Team (2018), counsels business executives on embracing a pandemic-driven shift toward doing work outside of an office setting: “Until recently, working from home was seen as the exception,” he notes. “Very soon, working from an office will be the exception.” If it’s done thoughtfully and deliberately, he argues, remote work can increase employee satisfaction and productivity while also strengthening corporate teams and a company as a whole. Razzetti explains how many of his clients, along with a growing number of business leaders around the world, have calculated that remote work is a net benefit and why many others will likely see the same results. The book addresses the mechanics of such work, with an emphasis on establishing frequent, asynchronous communication strategies that don’t require excessive real-time meetings, and then takes readers through a multistep process of developing a strong corporate culture when employees are working from a variety of locations. Razzetti offers advice on creating a robust knowledge base; avoiding meeting fatigue; giving feedback in a remote context; and building an environment of psychological safety in which employees can share ideas widely, make decisions effectively, and work efficiently. Each chapter concludes with a guided exercise intended to help readers understand how to make remote work compatible with their company’s needs. Razzetti is a remote-work partisan who understands that many in leadership are still unpersuaded, and the book successfully balances making a case to skeptics and giving practical advice to adherents, rendering it useful to a wide range of readers. (However, those who manage or work in location-dependent roles may feel frustrated by the book’s advocacy for a trend from which they’re excluded.) Plenty of specific examples—of companies that have succeeded at communicating across time zones, for example—allow the book to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

An enthusiastic road map for taking work outside the office.

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9990973-8-0

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Liberationist

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2022

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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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