A visionary, engaging book that offers real insight into an exciting alternative method for operating a business.

The Invisible Organization

HOW INGENIOUS CEOS ARE CREATING THRIVING, VIRTUAL COMPANIES

In this forward-looking debut, a former CEO and business coach promotes a plan to transform traditionally run businesses into “virtual” organizations.

Some CEOs may balk at Russo’s premise that any company could essentially abandon traditional physical boundaries and run with greater efficiency and higher profitability. But the author’s own experience doing so warrants a serious look: as a CEO, Russo says that he operated a $25 million business with 300 home-based employees and thousands of clients from “my spare bedroom converted to a workspace.” Still, he recognizes that many readers are likely to have a great deal of skepticism about this idea, so in this intriguing book, he appropriately bolsters his argument with a section titled “Myths, Realities and Outcomes.” Here, the author addresses objections head-on (such as “I’ll Lose Control of My Company” or “I Can’t Transition Now. I’ve Just Invested a Fortune”) and tells how to develop leadership skills and spawn a company culture in an “invisible” organization without a central, physical office. He lays out a rationale for the transition, offering positive outcomes, such as encouraging “a new way of thinking” among home-based employees while also making them happier and more productive. A significant portion of the book deals with the logistics of how to build a virtual organization; not surprisingly, at the heart of this corporate structure are excellent systems. The details that Russo offers about customer-relationship management, automated training, and project management systems are especially useful. Perhaps most valuable is the in-depth discussion of how to optimize marketing and sales; it delves into strategy and tactics, includes a convincing pitch for the use of radio advertising, and outlines specific ways to recruit and compensate top salespeople. It also offers an ingenious plan for implementing an “expert network” of certified consultants—a concept that could be adapted by most any service company, virtual or not. Russo’s passion for his subject is infectious, and he sees virtuality as a pathway for the CEO who wants to “live the dream of freedom and have more of what you want.”

A visionary, engaging book that offers real insight into an exciting alternative method for operating a business.

Pub Date: June 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5122-3162-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Best Seller Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 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 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

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