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An intriguing and useful, if not entirely original, self-improvement system.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
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A business executive focuses on personal development in this debut guide.

An epiphany about his own direction in life led Thurgood to create “REACH,” which he describes as “an intentional, purpose-driven personal growth and development framework.” The author’s concept includes “Five Focus Areas”: “Relationships, Career & Finances, Health & Fitness, Intellectual & Spiritual, and Service.” Curiously, Thurgood chose to devote a single chapter to an overview of these five areas and then append at the end of the book detailed descriptions of each one. Despite this somewhat odd organizational construct, the overview chapter clearly defines the areas in a concise text accompanied by helpful, bulleted sidebars. The descriptions at the end of the work do a very good job of elaborating on each area, providing proactive, if obvious, suggestions, such as “Connect with Your Colleagues” (Relationships), “Keep a Budget” (Career & Finances), and “Reduce Stress” (Health & Fitness). One intriguing technique Thurgood explains is “Bursting,” in which an individual aggressively pursues a major objective “that might have otherwise taken far longer or that you may have never achieved at all.” Another creative idea the author proposes is gamification. Thurgood suggests that making a game out of achieving goals and adding “rewards, punishments, and visual trackers” could prove to be motivational. Noting the importance of peer relationships, the author devotes two chapters to the formation and management of a “REACH group.” This aspect of the REACH framework is critical, in Thurgood’s view, so he shares a handy, eight-step process for selecting group partners and also discusses how best to manage the band. While some readers may find the idea of “weekly check-ins,” “monthly meetups,” “REACH Retreats,” and “one-on-one meetups” to be overly intense, the REACH group concept seems generally sensible and well thought out. The “Additional Materials” section after the final chapter is unusually comprehensive. Along with the descriptions of the five areas, the segment includes a valuable self-assessment, goal planning worksheet, quarterly report, group overview, and sample REACH Retreat agenda. All of these items enrich the book’s content.

An intriguing and useful, if not entirely original, self-improvement system.

Pub Date: May 15, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9855039-1-3

Page Count: 164

Publisher: Ledgefork Media

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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