A commendable, if rather overwhelming, management roundup.

Fundamentals of Project Sustainability


An analyst provides an overview of project management concepts, principles, and techniques in this business textbook.

Morfaw (Project Sustainability, 2011, etc.) begins this book by noting that the term “sustainable development” arose in the 1980s, with a United Nations–mandated commission defining it as “development which meets the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” He then segues into how one must have projects with “a concrete plan for its long-term viability and ultimate sustainability in the very competitive marketplace” and that his idea of Project Sustainability Management can address such implementation issues. The book then breaks down the key elements of PSM, which include feasibility studies, risk management, benchmarking, audits, marketing plans, and the roles played by various teams and top management. As part of his discussion, Morfaw also reviews an array of related management practices, including Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Knowledge Management, Project Portfolio Management, and S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) Analysis. He concludes with excerpts of published sustainability plans from Wal-Mart and Costco, several project-planning checklists and templates, and a glossary of terms. Morfaw has published on this topic before and does an admirable job of trying to provide a high-level overview of several different project-management methods. The resulting narrative, unfortunately, is a dizzying tour of very closely related concepts, and PSM itself is not particularly clear or distinctive in the mix. The text itself is also organized in a similar fashion to a project plan, including numerous subsections (such as “Chapter 5:18”) as well as many bullet points and lists; the latter are helpful for scanning purposes, but they don’t make for especially engaging reading. Still, this compilation may serve as a starting point for students and managers as they begin to explore project management.

A commendable, if rather overwhelming, management roundup.

Pub Date: July 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5005-5586-3

Page Count: 250

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 9, 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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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.


Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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