A wealth of expertise in a mixed-bag package.

Coaches set out the reasons for their achievements.

As a popular face of ESPN and a respected sports journalist, Smith, author of Never Settle, has the prestige and connections to line up interviews with 20 championship coaches, from Nick Saban to Doc Rivers. The author examines their methods to draw out the common factors and then apply the lessons to broad leadership challenges. He organizes the discussions around themes such as building trust, effective communication, delegation, and developing the right culture. Effective leadership often involves painful choices, and the right decisions might not be popular. See it through and wear the consequences, say the coaches; someone has to, and there is no place for excuses. The same is true with off-field crises, and it is often here where years of team character building pay off. Coaches must also apply ruthless self-evaluation, recognizing that what worked yesterday might not work today—and likely won’t work tomorrow. This can be a difficult process, especially for coaches who have built their success on a signature style. The comments of the coaches are interesting enough, but the problem is that Smith doesn’t balance their insights with sufficient analysis. At least 70% of the book is interview material, and there is a good amount of repetition, which makes the text feel like a collection of disparate pieces rather than a cohesive whole. Although Smith brackets each chapter with summaries, it’s unclear how the leadership lessons of the coaches could be transferred to other fields. He obviously put a great deal of time and energy into compiling the interviews, but this one is for hardcore sports fans. Other contributors include Roy Williams, Kim Mulkey, Frank Beamer, John Calipari, Lane Kiffin, Nancy Lieberman, Mack Brown, Joe Gibbs, and Tom Izzo, and Tim Tebow provides the foreword.

A wealth of expertise in a mixed-bag package.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9781538758380

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023


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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Close Quickview