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 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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