A mind-stretching book for business leaders who are tired of being victims of uncertainty.




In his debut, business psychologist Chitta says that change can be a competitive advantage for the nimble-minded.

This nonfiction book focuses on helping people and organizations harness the power of change. The author says that we all live in a “VUCA” world, in which “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” are part of global transformation. How do leaders navigate such an environment? Chitta sums it up with one word: agility. Businesses that go from “fragile to agile,” he says, can seize growth opportunities that often come with market upheaval. However, his model is more robust than conventional change management; instead of simply minimizing disruption, Chitta suggests removing fragility by building an organization’s capacity for change. His holistic, purpose-driven approach taps four dimensions of human performance: behavioral, rational, emotional and spiritual. Its goal is to foster a culture that prizes curiosity, experimentation and active learning. He underscores the importance of change with brief case studies, many featuring high-profile corporations: The evolution of Netflix from a DVD-by-mail service to a streaming-media provider acutely illustrates how a change-agile mindset can mean the difference between survival and extinction; one of Netflix’s rivals, Blockbuster Entertainment, failed to adapt and went bankrupt. The case studies bring a real-world feel to a book that’s otherwise heavy with abstract ideas. The prose is stiff and verbose (“Our experience suggests that many more employees are naturally open to being agents of change than are change resisters if they are treated with the respect they deserve”), but the book’s explanatory diagrams make the concepts easier to grasp. Indeed, the book contains many stimulating, forward-thinking ideas, which can be overwhelming at times. Fortunately, the sections are methodically organized, smoothly transitioning from theory to practical tips. Chitta also makes it a point to include examples from emerging markets, such as China, Singapore and the Middle East, which are expected to be major contributors to future global economic growth; there, change agility may yield its greatest rewards. To thrive in these dynamic, risk-laden markets, Chitta, says, mastering change isn’t merely a virtue—it’s a necessity.

A mind-stretching book for business leaders who are tired of being victims of uncertainty.

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1497505476

Page Count: 242

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

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


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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