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The Art of Fact Investigation

CREATIVE THINKING IN THE AGE OF INFORMATION OVERLOAD

A brief but comprehensive and enthusiastic guide to conducting thorough, legal investigations.

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A manual for readers interested in tracking down facts that others might prefer to keep hidden.

In this debut work, Segal draws on his decades of experience in law and journalism to provide an introduction to basic investigative techniques. He impresses upon readers that investigation is a complex process in which researchers may be unable to draw absolute conclusions, requiring them to make judgments or pursue new avenues. The book uses modern art as a metaphor: “Just as we can stare forever at Picasso’s work and not know the number of pears there are, we can look all we want at databases and public records, but we may need to move on to interviewing relatives and neighbors.” Segal provides a list of commonly used subscription databases and offers strategies for maximizing their usefulness as well as advice on using Google and other, more familiar sources. Throughout, he emphasizes the importance of following relevant laws, particularly for investigators whose work will be used in court; he offers plenty of cautionary tales about cases that were thrown out due to illegal information-gathering. He also includes several anecdotes from his own investigative work, demonstrating how his team located a divorcing spouse’s hidden assets, why it’s necessary to explore alternate spellings of words, and how a small investment in an interview can save thousands of dollars during a lawsuit’s discovery phase. Throughout, Segal maintains an engaging, conversational tone (“Relying only on Google is like giving a carpenter just one tool—a sledge hammer—and saying, ‘Build me a house’ ”), and the text is never dull. Appendices provide guidance for conducting interviews, locating assets, and getting to know public-records systems. The result is a valuable resource for investigators of all sorts, from students to professionals.

A brief but comprehensive and enthusiastic guide to conducting thorough, legal investigations.

Pub Date: April 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9969079-1-0

Page Count: 130

Publisher: Ignaz Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

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

“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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