A combination of workbook and fable that offers managers a road map to happily-ever-after.

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LEADING IN THE JUNGLE

A FABLE OF A CHIMP'S QUEST TO LEAD LIKE A GORILLA

Apes and chimpanzees lead by example in Garcia’s (Talk to the Hand, 2012, etc.) third book on being a successful manager.

Garcia uses a tale about advanced societies of apes and chimpanzees to examine the stresses and mistakes that lead to burnout among leaders—and to offer clear ways to avoid them. Drawing on his rich experience at federal agencies and in the U.S. Air Force, the author spins a tale that begins when an ape named Charles recognizes that something is out of balance. (“I must really be worn out, Charles thought. I never fell asleep in a meeting or certainly in my office.”) A chance encounter with the giant, wise ape Gregory, leader of the Modern Jungle Construction Company, results in a tour of Gregory’s world. Here, Charles is exposed to basic concepts of good leadership, including that “A leader cannot take himself too seriously” and should say “I” only in a phrase such as, “I assume full responsibility.” Charles also discovers useful acronyms and charts gained from experience or through Edna, wise leader of the elephants. He returns home and applies his new knowledge; his success in learning to lead, delegate and plan is confirmed in an epilogue. Animal photos and GQ (Gorilla Quotient) Reflections break up the story; these help to clarify points and offer a workbooklike moment to consider the lessons and their applications for human leaders. Advice may occasionally drift toward hackneyed (“I see the future when I look into their eyes,” notes the sage Gregory), and the book has some odd phrasing (“He was always fond to see his long-standing comrade”). The overall tone, however, is knowledgeable, clear and entertaining. Those who are starting out on a leadership track or struggling to find a more humane approach to managing may be the most open to Garcia’s method and message; the more entrenched and traditional may find it less appealing.

A combination of workbook and fable that offers managers a road map to happily-ever-after.

Pub Date: July 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1458216540

Page Count: 154

Publisher: AbbottPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2014

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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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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