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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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