Refreshingly absent of bulleted lists and sidebars, this is a welcome addition to the literature of business ownership. Read...

READ REVIEW

BOSS LIFE

SURVIVING MY OWN SMALL BUSINESS

Want to be your own boss? You might think twice after reading this large-hearted memoir from a frequently exasperated business owner.

New York Times “You’re the Boss” columnist Downs, the owner of a firm that builds custom furniture, notes at the outset that he doesn’t intend to offer any lessons of the sort that the usual how-to business book promises. At the end, though, he provides one guiding principle that might make a Chamber of Commerce I-built-this ideologue wince: namely, “get help.” Running a business is tough: that much readers who work through this longish but straight-spoken account will divine. Running it while having to reinvent every wheel is tougher still, though there are some things that a business owner must figure out himself or herself no matter how sage the advice. To trust Downs’ advice, hiring people is the toughest thing of all—and keeping the ones who work out and getting rid of the ones who don’t will take off years from a boss’s life span. The author recounts, pleasingly, that the best workers have been those who have come to him and announced that they wanted to work for him, not those who replied to a want ad or were pushed on him by well-meaning third parties. Cash flow is another thing: Downs’ ups and downs are dizzying, though in fairness to all concerned, it seems that he’s not the best money manager in the world. His solution, another reality of the being-the-boss world, is too often to deny himself a paycheck. But he’s nothing if not self-aware; as he writes, “it’s true that I make quick decisions and that I’m used to having my own way.”

Refreshingly absent of bulleted lists and sidebars, this is a welcome addition to the literature of business ownership. Read it—and then get help.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17233-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Critics Circle Finalist

CAPITAL IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

more