Hyun and Lee offer convincing evidence to illustrate how to enhance communication skills across various workplace divides.

FLEX

THE NEW PLAYBOOK FOR MANAGING ACROSS DIFFERENCES

With the assistance of Miller, executive coaches Hyun (Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Career Strategies for Asians, 2005) and Lee examine how “infusing cultural proficiency initiatives into company-wide values, policies and programs achieves a demonstrable effect.”

The authors report that the workforce is changing, growing more multicultural, younger and more female. These changes call for a much more nuanced response from corporate leaders to avoid pitfalls and achieve success. Hyun and Lee emphasize the importance of two requirements. The first, which they term “fluency,” is the ability to work across cultures; it is comparable to speaking multiple foreign languages. The second, “flex,” includes the skills required to work across “the power gap”—the distance that separates leaders from others in an organizational structure. However, the authors stress that sentiments like “let us respect each other” are insufficient. People in leadership positions need to face the problem of understanding how subtle cultural differences between people of different gender, ethnic and generational backgrounds can be critical for effective leadership—e.g., between more outgoing cultures, like Americans, and more reserved ones, like Asians. Problems also may arise from a failure to recognize more subtle differences between different age groups—baby boomers, Generation Xers and Yers and millenials—regarding how they communicate, as well as their goals and approaches to the dynamics of the workplace. The authors seek to show readers how to reduce losses of time and resources incurred when the potential contributions of well-qualified recruits or hires are lost because management doesn't fully understand how to bring them on board. They discuss many ways of overcoming the business consequences of such failures to flex across the gap. “[O]ur experience has taught us that interpersonal dynamics can change when people with a drive for making a difference take the initiative and then influence others to multiply the effect,” they write.

Hyun and Lee offer convincing evidence to illustrate how to enhance communication skills across various workplace divides.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-224852-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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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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