A remarkable business manual that delivers useful advice based on biblical passages.

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ZEBEDEE AND SONS FISHING CO.

BUSINESS ADVICE FROM THE BIBLE

A debut business guide and memoir applies Judeo-Christian philosophy.

For the organizing focal point of his manual, small business owner Struble has chosen one of the least likely parts in the entire New Testament: the Galilean fisherman Zebedee. He’s mentioned glancingly in the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Matthew as, in Struble’s words, “the proud owner of a small fishing company that operated several fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee and employed at least four men.” Zebedee’s partners were Simon Peter and Andrew, and his fellow fishermen were his sons James and John—and all four of them left the business to follow Jesus, presumably leaving Zebedee high and dry. “I imagine him smelling of fish and sweat while staring off at the backs of five men walking away,” Struble writes, in the kind of charming detail that fills this book. The author muses that Zebedee was thus forced to rethink his careful business plans completely. On such a slender foundation, Struble manages to construct a dense and consistently thought-provoking treatise on team building, accountability, employee discipline, negotiation, and dozens of other aspects of the modern business world. The author has absorbed a wide variety of the most popular business books written in the last 20 or 30 years, but from the start, he stresses that the orientation of his own work stems from a far older source. “Instead of looking at Fortune 500 companies or other twenty-first-century business studies that evaluate employee impacts on business success,” he writes, “I will look at that twenty-first-century issue through the lens of the Bible.” He deftly examines a wide spectrum of Scripture to draw lessons that can be applied to contemporary businesses. But his emphasis always returns to poor Zebedee, suddenly left with no partners or employees, marvelously dramatized by Struble as a template for small business owners everywhere. “As employers and employees, we are first and foremost the children of a gracious and loving God,” the author reminds his Christian readers and fellow professionals.

A remarkable business manual that delivers useful advice based on biblical passages.

Pub Date: May 22, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-8335-3

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 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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A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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