A well-written handbook that provides an overview of management basics and may prove a useful tool for project managers...




A clear, concise overview of project management best practices, with a particular focus on what leads to project success in Africa.

For this guide to working effectively in Africa, Davies (co-author: Cracking the Success Code, 2012) draws on his years of experience managing technology projects on the continent. Much of the book deals with information that applies to businesses in any locale—the basics of certification, establishing a project’s scope and timeline, budgeting for all necessary elements, etc.—and it does so in clear prose that is mostly free of excessive acronyms and specialist jargon. Davies goes beyond these basics through examples from his own work with telecommunications companies, public-private partnerships and nongovernmental organizations, providing concrete examples of specific issues project managers must address while working in Africa. The overall theme of the book’s Africa-specific advice is the importance of developing knowledge of the factors that determine success in a given location. For instance, a telecommunications project in Lagos, Nigeria, suffers substantial disruptions when managers fail to realize that the city’s gangs play a role in the construction industry; they should have been counted among the stakeholders whose needs were addressed. Davies also addresses the challenges of project funding in African countries, as well as the inapplicability of standard risk management techniques. The book takes a pragmatic approach to the continent’s challenges, providing guidance for accommodating them without veering into indictments of corruption or prescriptions for reform. Readers will not find specifics—e.g., the names of officials who can get building permits approved in Nairobi, or average cost overruns of website development projects in Mbabane—but they will finish the book with an understanding of how vital such local information is to the success of any major business or public undertaking in Africa. Most importantly, they will understand how to incorporate it into the crucial planning and evaluation phases.

A well-written handbook that provides an overview of management basics and may prove a useful tool for project managers preparing to work in African countries.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1494285340

Page Count: 140

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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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. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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


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

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