An articulate, passionate, and illuminating work that makes a sound contribution to leadership literature.

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BALANCED LEADERSHIP

A PRAGMATIC GUIDE FOR LEADING

A debut business leadership book emphasizes balance.

An overabundance of leadership books may evoke a jaundiced reaction from business executives to anything new, but Heflich’s effort is not a throwaway. His theme revolves around the notion that balance, in the broadest sense of the word, makes for effective leadership. The author recognizes the nuances of the word, suggesting: “Balance does not imply compromise or a middle-of-the-road approach.…Do you see the importance of balance and the trade-off of cost with benefit involved in each decision? The trade-off is inescapable, and the balance that you choose is defining!” With that premise in mind, the volume addresses balance in somewhat lengthy chapters that are, at least, nicely subdivided into manageable chunks of information. Each chapter concerns balance as it applies to leadership attributes, such as directing others, communicating, facing management challenges, and making decisions. Heflich, whose background is in manufacturing, offers astute observations that apply generally across all forms of business, and they are both well-founded and experience-based. The author draws on other sources, employs good examples, and writes with a keen sense of perspective. The advice he doles out to the individual leader is particularly on-target. The chapter “Balance in Leading Yourself,” while encompassing such traditional components as mission, vision, and values, speaks directly to an executive’s personal qualities. For example, Heflich writes eloquently about emotional intelligence, which he says “is about accepting responsibility for our behaviors.” His view of wisdom is also meaningful. While “smart” people may consider the facts, writes the author, “wise” ones size up “a situation by considering the facts on hand, but in addition, they consider their values and goals.” Other intriguing sections in this particularly engrossing chapter include “Risking Your Job to Save It,” “Adequacy and Inadequacy,” and “Work-Life Balance.” Throughout the well-conceived book, Heflich exudes a quiet competence and calmness, writing from the viewpoint of someone who has critically scrutinized the behaviors of himself and other executives. “The balance you strike,” concludes the author, “defines you as a leader and a person.”

An articulate, passionate, and illuminating work that makes a sound contribution to leadership literature.

Pub Date: June 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-4427-4

Page Count: 250

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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