by Laila Marouf ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 3, 2023
A smoothly readable argument for deeper and better thinking in a chaotic world.
Marouf sounds a motivational call for using the whole of your knowledge in this business guide.
In her nonfiction debut, the author, a professor and researcher, insists that her readers have more potential than they may realize, if only they would access what she refers to as the “totality” of their knowledge, which, she asserts, is multiplicative, not merely additive. Accessing this totality of knowledge, she writes, is “as transformative as knowing the meaning rather than just the sound of the words you use.” In both personal and professional life, she argues, “both rational and intuitive knowledge are vital.” All of this advice is in service of thriving in what she refers to (borrowing from military usage) as “the VUCA world,” one that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Citing such recent events as the Covid-19 pandemic, she notes that dealing with such disruptions is difficult enough for anyone and is even harder for organizational leaders. In a series of well-designed and well-illustrated chapters featuring plenty of insets and illustrations, Marouf expands on the elements of emotion and psychology that go into forging a more global consciousness optimized for dealing with a world full of uncertainty. As in so many books of this kind, readers should brace themselves for banalities like: “To chart a way forward as both leaders and individuals, we need to work first on understanding the world we are living in.” Likewise, the author makes contentions that aren’t supported by psychological research, as when Marouf asserts that the more a person uses their intuition, the stronger it becomes. But her calm, global vision of personal development is consistently reassuring, and her overriding goal, to help people (and especially corporate leaders) become “personally wiser,” compensates for the more predictable elements of her book. Readers seeking to break out of old, stale ways of thinking will find much food for thought in these pages.A smoothly readable argument for deeper and better thinking in a chaotic world.
Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2023
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: Aug. 23, 2023
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Jonah Berger ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2023
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
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023
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by Daniel Kahneman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011
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
Page Count: 512
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011
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