by Jane McGonigal ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 22, 2022
A wealth of interesting ideas combined with practical guidance for new thinking.
A fascinating book about how the future does not have to be an undiscovered country.
McGonigal, a future forecaster, game designer, and bestselling author of Reality Is Broken and Superbetter, firmly believes that it is possible to consider the possibilities of the future in a systematic, disciplined way, and her narrative draws on a large body of personal experience, research studies, and knowledge gleaned from her work as a game designer. A good place to start is to imagine the world at a specific future date; McGonigal suggests that 10 years from now is often appropriate. Some things might be the same, and others might be different; the issue is how the pieces will fit together. There are several levels to think about, ranging from the impact on one’s life to the broader social picture. This process can be the basis for more serious modeling to determine the challenges and opportunities of the imagined future and what might happen on the way there. Some changes can begin small and grow into revolutions: Think about how the internet started, for example, and then how it grew to dominate our lives. McGonigal sets out a number of ways to detect emerging trends and then extrapolate them. Her case study on the impact of facial recognition software is particularly interesting—and a little scary. But she emphasizes that you should allow yourself, when constructing an imagined future, to be a bit ridiculous. In fact, the more detail you add, the less crazy the scenarios will seem. Some of the games she describes are for individuals, and some are for groups; the latter can be useful for team bonding, generating ideas, and, of course, having fun. The author includes a number of scenarios as the basis of gaming and discussion, but many readers will find that making up their own is more enjoyable and productive.A wealth of interesting ideas combined with practical guidance for new thinking.
Pub Date: March 22, 2022
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022
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by Jonah Berger ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2023
Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.
By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.
Pub Date: March 7, 2023
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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