DAVE'S WAY

A NEW APPROACH TO OLD-FASHIONED SUCCESS

Dave, of course, is the founder of Wendy's International and is familiar to millions of TV viewers as the hamburger vendor's plain-spoken pitchman. In the text at hand, his way is to combine a modicum of aw-shucks autobiography with a full measure of by-the- numbers advisories on how to succeed in business. The resultant fare is longer on down-home appeal than genuine sustenance. An adopted child who had a knockabout boyhood in the Midwest and Southeast during WW II, Thomas knew early on that he wanted to make a career of the restaurant industry. After dropping out of high school, the author enlisted in the Army shortly after the start of the Korean War. Posted to West Germany, he had a chance to work at his trade as assistant manager of an enlisted men's club near Frankfurt. Back home again in Fort Wayne, Ind., Thomas resumed his old job. Given an opportunity to turn around four failing Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Columbus, Ohio, during the early 1960's, he never looked back. A millionaire at 37, the author went into business for himself, opening the first Wendy's on November 15, 1969. The chain has prospered, by Thomas's account, as a quick- service rather than a fast-food enterprise. Although he has much to say on quality, consistency, limited menus, personnel relations, philanthropy, perseverance, marketing, and allied subjects, Thomas stands largely mute on matters fiscal. What he does do is lard his anecdotal narrative with seemingly endless series of personalized pointers, e.g., ``Dave's Yardstick for Measuring People,'' ``Dave's Tips on Bumping Bellies with the Big Guys,'' and ``Dave's Rules for Making a Good Ad.'' Notwithstanding his just-folks image, he also settles some old beefs with, among others, McDonald's, Madison Avenue, and critics of red meat. For fans of the shoulder-to-the-wheel, nose-to-the-grindstone, eye-on-the-ball, and ear-to-the-ground approaches to commercial achievement. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1991

ISBN: 0-399-13678-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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 declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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