THE REDNECK MANIFESTO

While Goad's defense (and overview) of redneck culture past and present is sure to infuriate the liberal reader, he is also...

An often reactionary diatribe on reverse discrimination by the editor of the 'zine Answer Me!, redeemed in large part by its author's phenomenal sense of humor.

Goad disavows both the political right and left, but he's most likely to be tagged as a conservative. He's most lucid when characterizing the centuries-old race struggle in our country as a smokescreen for what should really be a class struggle. The poor have been enslaved, persecuted, and exploited by the upper class regardless of skin color, Goad maintains. That words like "redneck'' and "white trash'' are deemed acceptable while the "N-word'' is not is proof that as Americans, by and large, we have been duped by rich folks into playing the race card. The author is at his best when using humor to elucidate a point, as when he argues that both black slaves and some disenfranchised whites were cheated and lied to by society in the same manner. Ex-slaves were offered 40 acres and a mule (which they never saw); whites in 18th-century America who had been bonded servants (in effect, white slaves) were promised "two suits, an ax, and two hoes.'' The hoes, "we are to presume, were gardening tools instead of prostitutes, unless `weeding' and `grubbing' were sexual euphemisms in colonial America.'' Goad's astute command of history and his sharp wit make for a volatile combination, and one that could be misread. A truly bigoted reader may take Goad's remarks about Lincoln not really intending to free the slaves, or about there being other Holocausts besides the Jewish one, out of context and use them to buttress their racism or anti-Semitism—views that Goad clearly does not sympathize with. But, of course, ideas that have value are also often dangerous.

While Goad's defense (and overview) of redneck culture past and present is sure to infuriate the liberal reader, he is also likely to make that same reader laugh ruefully, and often.

Pub Date: May 14, 1997

ISBN: 0-684-83113-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1997

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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