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WHAT YOU NEED FOR SUCCESS IN BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, AND LIFE

A likable and engagingly presented program for simplifying approaches to life.

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A wide-ranging guide focuses on the basics of business and life.

A great number of business-oriented self-help books, Contento notes at the beginning of his own work, tend to aim advice at the small percentage of managers who have already figured out the fundamentals of corporate culture and advancement. He intends his own manual to address the great majority of people who perhaps haven’t grasped quite so much. His guide, he contends, is not only for managers who have become indifferent or burned out, but also for the unemployed adolescent dreaming of success and the recent business graduate looking for a job. The precepts he lays out for such readers are the opposite of the multilayered complexity that’s common in other business motivation books—he believes that the key to success in business and life is to “deliver simplicity.” He proceeds to apply this basic idea to many different practical aspects of working life, always keeping things very direct and straightforward. “Success is positive; failure is negative. Simplicity is positive; complexity is negative,” he writes in one such passage. “Your job is to be positive and to deliver simplicity. By telling your boss you ‘can’t’ do something, you’re introducing complexity into her life.” He gives in-depth coverage to subjects that many of his readers may mistakenly consider obvious or self-evident, things like productivity, mentoring, networking, and punctuality. Contento is a very engaging writer, and he rounds off each of his fast-paced chapters with convenient summaries. His decision to stir in ample stories from his own experiences adds a palpable sense of unguarded authenticity to what are, after all, reductively simple observations about personal responsibility. Readers need not be planning careers as entrepreneurs to find a great many worthwhile reminders in these pages.

A likable and engagingly presented program for simplifying approaches to life.

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-228-84216-3

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Tellwell Talent

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2021

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

POVERTY, BY AMERICA

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

A thoughtful program for eradicating poverty from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted.

“America’s poverty is not for lack of resources,” writes Desmond. “We lack something else.” That something else is compassion, in part, but it’s also the lack of a social system that insists that everyone pull their weight—and that includes the corporations and wealthy individuals who, the IRS estimates, get away without paying upward of $1 trillion per year. Desmond, who grew up in modest circumstances and suffered poverty in young adulthood, points to the deleterious effects of being poor—among countless others, the precarity of health care and housing (with no meaningful controls on rent), lack of transportation, the constant threat of losing one’s job due to illness, and the need to care for dependent children. It does not help, Desmond adds, that so few working people are represented by unions or that Black Americans, even those who have followed the “three rules” (graduate from high school, get a full-time job, wait until marriage to have children), are far likelier to be poor than their White compatriots. Furthermore, so many full-time jobs are being recast as contracted, fire-at-will gigs, “not a break from the norm as much as an extension of it, a continuation of corporations finding new ways to limit their obligations to workers.” By Desmond’s reckoning, besides amending these conditions, it would not take a miracle to eliminate poverty: about $177 billion, which would help end hunger and homelessness and “make immense headway in driving down the many agonizing correlates of poverty, like violence, sickness, and despair.” These are matters requiring systemic reform, which will in turn require Americans to elect officials who will enact that reform. And all of us, the author urges, must become “poverty abolitionists…refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Fortune 500 CEOs won’t like Desmond’s message for rewriting the social contract—which is precisely the point.

A clearly delineated guide to finally eradicate poverty in America.

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593239919

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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