A solid handbook for managers in government and public service.

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COACHING PUBLIC SERVICE LEADERS

SEVEN PRACTICES GOOD LEADERS MASTER

An executive coach guides managers in public service roles through leadership training.

Lybarger uses the structure of a coaching dialogue with a fictional client to explore areas of leadership and achievement applicable to government and other public service careers. Each chapter opens with a dialogue between the coach and the client followed by Lybarger’s more detailed exploration of the chapter’s themes (trust, accountability, strategic thinking) and ending with a list of recommended reading and tools for different types of assessments (including self-, team, and 360-degree assessments). The combination of fictional dialogue and theoretical discussion allows Lybarger to give concrete examples (for instance, the client struggles with leadership conflicts that result from his own insecurities) while also placing concepts in a broader context. The coaching advice includes both guidance on actions such as having a productive talk with an unmotivated employee as well as more internally focused tips, such as advice on practicing mindfulness. Lybarger, the co-author of Leading Forward (2014), is a thoughtful and patient guide, and his book covers a substantial amount of material on a wide variety of leadership topics in a relatively concise format. With its frequent references to other books and research, it is also a valuable tool for readers looking to expand their knowledge of coaching and leadership literature. The prose is sometimes laden with jargon from the business and counseling worlds: “We master aligned accountability by first fostering actionable trust—extending, strengthening, and rebuilding trust as necessary in all our relationships.” On the whole, however, the book is highly readable, and even mindfulness skeptics will find plenty of practical takeaways. The client’s evolution over the course of the text offers a plausible example of the benefits of improved understanding of oneself and others in a professional context. Appendices provide further resources and templates, including a list of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s 22 “leadership competencies” referred to throughout the text as well as coaching documents from the International Coach Federation.

A solid handbook for managers in government and public service.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-8000-5

Page Count: 210

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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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