by Lauren Sergy ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 21, 2021
A punchy, indispensable manual for the video-call era.
Awards & Accolades
A guide offers advice on improving teleconferences.
Communications expert Sergy discovered a whole new need for her skills once Covid-19 struck and suddenly large chunks of the world’s workforce were in some kind of pandemic lockdown. Once “the virtual meeting genie was out of the bottle,” she was sought out by corporate clients who either knew nothing about how to manage the new ubiquity of video meetings or else were dealing with managers and customers who didn’t know how to deal with it (or both). In the nearly two years of rolling pandemic lockdowns and quarantines, these people have had to cope with the new realities of Zoom calls. In this short book, the author discusses almost all of these thorny realities—starting with what she acknowledges was the hilariously naïve, mistaken first impression that most folks would be able to figure out this process without much trouble. It turns out most people failed to deftly handle virtual meetings—hence communications experts and hence this guide, which is written in a direct, lively tone and adorned throughout with helpful “do this” and “don’t do this” diagrams and uncredited illustrations. Sergy covers everything from vocal range and speech patterns to lighting, backdrops, and basic postures. She laces everything with very effective, dry humor (“Virtual meetings are to in-person meetings what gluten-free baked goods are to regular baked goods: a dense, slightly rubbery version of what you really wanted, with a weird aftertaste”). Her manual is surely the first corporate etiquette book to feature the line “Always wear pants.” Every person who has ever called a Zoom meeting or endured one should read this invaluable guide for the sake of humanity.A punchy, indispensable manual for the video-call era.
Pub Date: June 21, 2021
Page Count: 156
Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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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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by Matthew Desmond ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2023
A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.
A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.
“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.
Pub Date: March 21, 2023
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023
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