Can today’s nuclear family survive the demands of a two-career household? Journalist Hirshberg knows firsthand and explains how it’s done.

A columnist for entrepreneur-friendly Inc. magazine, the author consulted with more than 200 business professionals and their family members, investigating how the condition of their work-life situation affected domestic stability and what they’ve done to successfully achieve a satisfactory balance. Spliced throughout these stories is the engaging chronicle of her own 25-year “entrepreneurial marriage,” which began with laborious farm work and financial instability in the mid-1980s on her husband Gary’s then-struggling New Hampshire company, Stonyfield Yogurt (now a $370 million-dollar success). Hirshberg ably negotiates sticky subjects like borrowing business seed money from friends and family, angst-prone couples working together at the same company and how to run a home-based business with young children underfoot. She includes a colorful cast of driven entrepreneurs boasting effective reparative techniques, some as simple as turning off the BlackBerry during family time. The author incorporates effective, applicable chapter summaries and fairly balances the many sugarcoated successes with the pitfalls of divorce, destructive egotism, jealousy and unfortunate illness. Hirshberg reiterates that the process is participative as both partners have an equal stake in the future happiness of both their businesses and their family lives, and that compromise and communication are key. This is especially evident in Gary’s introspective concluding essay reflecting on a marriage delicately weighted with equal parts corporate accountability, domestic maintenance and familial bliss-keeping. Easiest to overlook yet perhaps most important is the frequency of vacation breaks—a necessity, he suggests, that should be indulged regardless of cost: “Find economies elsewhere. Take those trips.” An immensely beneficial, contemporary analysis of what makes modern-day working families really work.    


Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9839340-0-4

Page Count: 260

Publisher: An Inc. Original

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012


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


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

“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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