Solid, well-structured support from someone who’s gone through the downsizing process.

Upsizing in a Downsizing World


Chau shares her own story and advice on getting back into the job market in this debut self-help guide.

“It happened so fast,” the author recalls about her termination, in her 50s, from the unnamed company where she’d worked for nearly 20 years. In this guide, she takes readers through her journey of receiving the news (“I cried, I couldn’t help it, but held myself together and went bravely down the elevator”), telling her family, using her company’s career-transition firm, networking, and, eventually, landing her next job. Chau organizes her narrative into 33 brief chapters, which relate her personal saga largely chronologically but also focus on specific, practical topics, including “Employment Lawyers—Do You Have a Case?,” “Creating a Personal Brand,” and “Going Back to School.” Other chapters acknowledge and address the emotional consequences of being downsized, such as “The Hurt That Never Goes Away.” Most end with several bullet-pointed “Lessons Learned,” including the necessity of talking with someone about one’s problems and of being honest about gaps in work history. She concludes the book with tips regarding the contents of one’s job-hunting “Toolbox”: a resume, a cover letter, a reference list, business cards, a prepared 90-second introduction for interviews, a marketing profile of skills and strengths, and more. Chau, a longtime personal journal writer, has crafted a clear, conversational guide that provides basic yet bracing advice on how to handle a job loss. Although many of the tips are obvious, such as to include contact information on one’s resume, the book does effectively walk readers through the routine yet important tasks of a job search. Best of all, Chau speaks with the authority of a survivor who, while offering few details about her own professional life, ultimately serves as an inspirational model of positivity and perseverance.  

Solid, well-structured support from someone who’s gone through the downsizing process.

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4620-6426-7

Page Count: 152

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: June 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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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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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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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