STREET SMART DISCIPLINES OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE

Wise business counsel from guys who got there the hard way—and who want to help the reader forge an easier path.

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Two entrepreneurs impart no-nonsense advice in a blunt business book that hits the mark.

You’ve got to hand it to Kuhn and Mullins. The pair started a company with $1,000, built it into a multimillion-dollar business and then sold it to a large corporation. They say their success was based on “the flawless execution” of seven disciplines they identified and followed. In some ways, their business guide is typical for the genre: Each chapter includes real-life examples, quotes from famous people, sidebars to break up the text and plenty of bullets for easy skimming. Nothing new there. But what distinguishes it is its tone of blunt honesty. They tell it like it is. The result is refreshingly different business writing. For example, in Discipline Three, “Deal with People,” the authors write, “The secret is to downsize your expectations of people. They are the way they are, whether we like it or not, and we must accept that. The wise person fights nothing. Acceptance frees us from having to confront feelings of frustration and disappointment when dealing with others.” In a chapter devoted to getting more business, they discuss the use of social media marketing, urging the reader: “Be honest with yourself. Don’t let the excitement of new technologies get in the way of current business goals.” Whether it’s “street smart” or tough love, the authors’ style commands attention. There may not be anything earth shattering about their advice, but it’s packaged in easily digestible chunks. A nice extra is the “Street Smart Workshop” included at the end of the book—a self-paced walk-through of exercises designed to help accomplish “breakout success.”

Wise business counsel from guys who got there the hard way—and who want to help the reader forge an easier path.

Pub Date: June 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-1466335691

Page Count: 300

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

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

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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

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