A well-considered business primer with feeling.

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An entrepreneur shares his guiding principles in this debut.

The CEO of a facilities management firm, Kurland adopted the mantra “Be Better” when he launched his company in 2014. He embedded that notion into the corporate culture, distilling it into 13 principles that he discusses chapter by chapter. His goal, writes Kurland, is to help the reader “lead with emotional intelligence.” The principles themselves are far from unique; for example, “Be Fearless,” “Be Purposeful,” and “Be Inspiring” aren’t exactly breakthrough exhortations. As Kurland admits in the introduction, the content “may seem like common sense,” and the result is a book that is clearly geared to those who are thinking about or just starting a business. Still, Kurland puts a positive spin on each principle, writing with an enthusiasm that is infectious. His candid advice, based on his own experience, is steeped in practical wisdom. “Following up is both an often-forgotten activity and the primary reason why business deals fall through,” he counsels in the first chapter. “Understanding which of your tasks need to be delegated is the initial step in figuring out who you should hire first,” he advises in a principle he terms “Be People-Centric.” Regarding purpose, Kurland proclaims, “The single most important thing you can do as a business owner and CEO is to define the core values of your company.” While some readers may regard these as platitudes, such statements have intrinsic value for budding entrepreneurs who doubtlessly need the most basic form of guidance. Kurland’s writing style is personal and direct; the brief chapters and clearly marked subsections facilitate scanning; and the plentiful tips throughout the book lend themselves to highlighting and notations. Ever the marketer, Kurland cleverly wraps up each chapter/principle by referencing a specific relevant episode of his podcast series. Kurland’s aim to build a cadre of caring business owners may be best expressed by these thoughts in the final chapter: “Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Be gentle when you’re delivering hard messages. Be kind.”

A well-considered business primer with feeling.

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5445-2972-1

Page Count: 162

Publisher: Houndstooth Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2022



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


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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