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Döpfner issues a sharp warning about the danger of appeasement and charts an alternative path forward.

When high-minded rhetoric about trade meets dictators, the dictators always win.

The idea that trading with a country ruled by a dictator will lead toward democracy has always been flawed. Döpfner, CEO of the Berlin-based Axel Springer SE, a global media and tech company, notes that there is even a common German phrase for it: “wandel durch handel,” meaning “change through trade.” The main problem with this concept is that it does nothing but embolden the dictator. In this book, the author focuses mostly on China, but he also offers plenty of insight on Russia and how the invasion of Ukraine altered the geopolitical landscape. In fact, it was the willingness of Western companies and governments to continue trading with Russia after the takeover of Crimea that made Putin think that there would be no consequences for further aggression. Döpfner notes that the situation with China was even worse, with American and European companies rushing in when China joined the World Trade Organization, willfully ignoring the long catalog of human rights abuses and Xi Jinping’s authoritarian rule. By the time the real costs were realized, there was a high degree of enmeshment—although in the past few years, some companies have started to withdraw. Dictatorships often use the language of free trade while manipulating the rules for their own benefit, and for this reason, Döpfner argues strongly against the WTO, suggesting a new alliance based on the rule of law, human rights, and sustainability measures. Tariffs would be applied to countries that reject these principles. It’s an intriguing idea, but the details would be tricky. The author punctuates the book with accounts of his meetings with leaders such as Putin, Helmut Kohl, and German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock. He presents a clear-minded, thought-provoking book, and he pulls no punches.

Döpfner issues a sharp warning about the danger of appeasement and charts an alternative path forward.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2023

ISBN: 9781668016251

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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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

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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