An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.

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ROOKIE SMARTS

WHY LEARNING BEATS KNOWING IN THE NEW GAME OF WORK

Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits.

The author poses a fundamental question: “If the amount of information in science doubles every nine months and decays at 30 percent a year, how long does one's expertise last?” She contends that as technology continues to advance, the time frame dramatically shortens. People will be lucky to be current on just 15 percent of what they knew after five years. Therefore, the premium on new knowledge, as opposed to experience, is growing. Wiseman presents an array of case studies, including those from her own experience with Nike and her organization of Oracle's in-house university. These demonstrate that leaders who understand how to unleash the potentials of their rookies and junior people can reap outsized results. At Nike, rookies were given the task of educating a conference of executives on their views of the future. They performed so well that they were organized into an informal group called the “New Crew.” The group is now formalized and contains 300 members, “with top-performing employees contributing and then rotating out of the group after one year, making way for other fresh talent.” Wiseman points to global organizations that are opening up their leadership ranks to younger people, and she highlights studies about how, in certain nations, when “ruling elites have pulled up the ladder and kept newcomers from getting a foothold, their economies have suffocated and died.” The author views rookie smarts as a “state of mind” characterizing open-minded love of inquiry into the new. She examines four different profiles of this state of mind, each of which encompasses its own set of defining characteristics, and she highlights how they may be encouraged and strengthened.

An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0062322630

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 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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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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