An inspirational but disjointed autobiography best suited for neophyte designers, budding fashionistas, and Chanel devotees.

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BEYOND THE LABEL

WOMEN, LEADERSHIP, AND SUCCESS ON OUR OWN TERMS

A conversational memoir charting the rise of the former global CEO of Chanel.

Coached by her aesthetically aware mother to develop “a sensitivity and curiosity to see and discover more of the world,” Chiquet was only 16 when she began envisioning an escape from the conservative confines of her suburban St. Louis childhood to “take in the immense beauty of a new picture.” She instantly fell in love with France after spending time in Provence, allured by pungent cheeses, liberating nudity at beaches, and a total immersion in the elegance of Parisian culture. After college at Yale, complete with semesters abroad, Chiquet began her remarkable managerial ascent at a succession of reputable companies. She sweeps readers inside her young, driven world as a fledgling marketing intern at L’Oreal Parfumerie in 1985, a stint at The Gap, and her role launching the Old Navy brand in 1994. All the while, she cultivated controversial trends and gained credibility as a businesswoman and a fashion-forward style forecaster. The book is bolstered with the author’s frequent asides on how striving for uniqueness can lead to dynamic achievements in business. Aiming for a crisp amalgam of memoir and motivational guide, her declarations oscillate from the classically platitudinous (“no opportunity is ever too small to show you what you can accomplish”) to the practical. Though Chiquet is frank and cleareyed about her career trajectory and openly shares opinions and insights on leadership, personal growth, and embracing change, the memoir drags with excess anecdotal material leading up to her celebrated tenure with Chanel. Readers hoping for the juicy inside story on the boardrooms and catwalk action of the fashion house may be disappointed with the book’s cursory closing chapters. Resigning from Chanel in 2016, she reflects on her time as a brand leader, imparting the sage wisdom she has gained through her impressive career and as a mother. The challenge she faced after Chanel was how to reinvent herself and forge ahead in new directions.

An inspirational but disjointed autobiography best suited for neophyte designers, budding fashionistas, and Chanel devotees.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-265570-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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