A major contribution to the literature of business success.

THE THREE RULES

HOW EXCEPTIONAL COMPANIES THINK

A rigorous and lively study of excellence in business performance.

Working from a multiyear database of 25,000 corporations, Deloitte Consulting officers Raynor (The Innovator's Manifesto: Deliberate Disruption for Transformational Growth, 2011, etc.) and Ahmed have narrowed down the data to identify the qualities of three tiers of performance, across nine economic sectors: “miracle workers,” “long runners” and “average Joes.” The authors’ results run counter to the current prevailing wisdom, which favors return-driven, short-term interest over long-term concentration on building a lasting business. They base their three rules—“better before cheaper,” “revenue before cost” and “there are no other rules”—on the performance of the 27 companies that comprise their grid, and their data shows that companies that can build an advantage based on nonprice factors tend to outperform companies that attempt to grab market share by competing on price alone. Businesses that successfully build revenue as a first priority also outperform those that focus mostly on controlling costs. Since there are multiple ways of evaluating both “better” in nonprice terms and the relationship between revenue and costs, based on the particular situation, their first two rules define a substantial area for the application of managerial talent over time. The authors argue for a fundamental shift in point of view, which is more valuable than many other specific recipes for business success. Their rules make possible “a widespread and shared consistency of action that is all but unachievable otherwise” and permit a balance between short-term and longer-term considerations. Raynor and Ahmed provide a way to separate exceptional performance from the noise of day-to-day statistical variation.

A major contribution to the literature of business success.

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59184-614-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more