An entertaining romp through corporate life that covers pithy truths in a sugar coating of funny, memorable anecdotes.

Looking Down On Leaders


An executive coach by trade, Martin, in his debut, takes a look at the lighter side of leadership.

As Martin explains in the first chapter, busy executives and business leaders don’t have time to plow through yet another dense academic tome about how to succeed as a coach or leader. Instead, Martin chooses to teach by storytelling. The book is a collection of strange-but-true tales collected during his years as an accountant, a manager and finally as an executive coach. While the names may have been changed to protect the guilty, the stories are, for the most part, too bizarre to be fictional. There’s Alfred Wang, the CFO who called to cancel a meeting because he’d just remembered he was getting married that day; Stefan the Spreadsheet King, who was bogging down a crucial labor negotiation, until the police arrived to arrest him for failing to pay alimony, car insurance and speeding fines; and Charlotte, whose passionate affair with a co-worker tanked her career when she emailed him a love letter and accidentally sent it to the entire company. Not meant merely as entertainment, the stories come packaged with a few words of wisdom for any executive. For example, Charlotte’s story emphasizes the importance of double checking every business email before hitting send. In Alfred’s case, he was a resident of Hong Kong, where marriage tends to include so many wedding ceremonies that forgetting one is a distinct possibility. Martin uses this anecdote as an example of what can happen when different cultures clash and there’s a lack of understanding on one or both sides. In each chapter, the parables provide a clear, and usually amusing, example of the business realities Martin is trying to impart. His nonlinear approach results in a book that can be picked up and put down and read in bits and pieces without losing any of the material’s benefits. As Martin puts it, “[R]eal leadership is much more of an art than a science....This book is just a gentle ramble through the buzzing, steamy global business jungle.”

An entertaining romp through corporate life that covers pithy truths in a sugar coating of funny, memorable anecdotes.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4905-4405-2

Page Count: 268

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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