Tightly structured and deftly delivered; an original take on change management.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A business consultant emphasizes effective communication in this debut book about managing change.

Change is a business topic of seemingly unending variations. Here, Marmon has managed to find a different perspective by connecting change to leadership communication. She does so through the commonly used technique of an acronym, in this case, “LESS (listen, empower, speak, solve).” The volume is divided into four parts, each centered on one of these elements. In some respects, “LESS” might also describe the content, because the work, at under 170 pages, is shorter than most business books. This is not to say the material is lacking; on the contrary, despite the abbreviated length, the author does an excellent job of providing both insightful observations and authoritative counsel on change management. From the outset, she is blunt about a leader’s responsibility: “If you lead an organization and people tell you they don’t know what’s going on, it is your fault.” Part 1 of the book offers several reasons why people may not be listening, client anecdotes that demonstrate the importance of “organizational alignment,” and a description of a change-management “Readiness Assessment.” Part 2 is largely focused on engaging others within the organization to help champion a leader’s cause. Marmon advises, perhaps surprisingly, “Your most valuable players are your middle managers.” Part 3 comprehensively covers communicating through a six-step channels strategy and offers valuable insights into such techniques as storytelling and slanting language usage to particular audiences. Part 4 concerns why and how to measure message effectiveness. The only part with just one chapter, this section seems somewhat light on details. It could have offered an opportunity to further reinforce the other parts of the volume. The author points readers to her website for additional resources, including checklists and articles, but perhaps a few of these items could have appeared in an appendix. Still, Marmon’s specific focus on the importance of communication in change management is a welcome shift from the more typical broad approach. Her own written communication skills make this book eminently readable as well.

Tightly structured and deftly delivered; an original take on change management.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0711-8

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020



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

Close Quickview