A valuable handbook for leaders and decision-makers at any level of the organizational chart.

LEADERSHIP STRATEGY AND TACTICS

FIELD MANUAL

Leadership lessons from the front lines, just where leadership is most needed.

As the title suggests, Willink (The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership To Lead and Win, 2018, etc.), a retired Navy SEAL, views the world from a military point of view. That said, the lessons he offers here are of universal application, for, as he notes, “what makes leadership so hard is dealing with people, and people are crazy.” Fair enough. The practice of leadership is therefore a fluid thing that has to be tailored to the people at hand, and that requires the ability to observe and listen quietly, sometimes when your head is about to explode. The author has a lesson for that, too, and it’s a highly useful one: Lift your chin, “which elevates your vision and compels you to look around,” breathe deeply, and try to give your brain a chance to catch up to your emotions. Throughout, Willink is tough-minded—one of his lessons suggests that the leader not be too quick to praise or too effusive with it since the natural tendency of folks being praised is to slack off—but he’s also fair-minded: A lesson that will be hard for micromanagers to assimilate is to back off and give people a chance to figure out how to do things for themselves, the paradox being that the person who leads the most actually leads the least. The sitting president might take a lesson or two from the author’s eminently useful manual, especially when it comes to throwing other people under the bus in order to save your own skin. “When people notice that,” Willink writes, “they will not follow you for long.” There’s plenty of psychology at play here but, thankfully, not much in the way of Machiavellian machinations: When things aren’t working the way they’re supposed to, Willink counsels, the first direction to look is inward, not at others to point the blame.

A valuable handbook for leaders and decision-makers at any level of the organizational chart.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-22684-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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