An accessible motivational guide for those feeling stuck or discouraged in their professional lives.

THE AVERAGE JOE'S GUIDE TO SUCCESS

Readers don’t have to be the smartest ones in the room to be successful; they just need to demonstrate a willingness to work hard, argues this self-help book.

C students, rejoice. Brilliant overachievers may get all the attention, but “average Joes and Josies” have a chance to triumph in business and their careers, contends Farrington (The Crystal Pendulum, 2016, etc.). “Yes, you may be average, but so what?” he writes. “It’s a matter of knowing your own capabilities and strengths and doing something about them.” A self-described average guy, Farrington knows from experience that it’s possible to live a good life even if you don’t become a CEO or millionaire. He managed to go from unexceptional student to a healthy career in the software business through ingenuity and grit. For readers to do the same, they must start with embracing that’s it acceptable to be average. A lack of exceptional skills might seem like a disadvantage, but even average folks can ask questions, use their imaginations, take on challenges, and focus on always moving forward, all relatively simple tasks that will help position them for success. All people have “God-given talents” that can help them get ahead, and it’s just a matter of identifying and deploying them. Throughout, the emphasis is on moving up the ranks of an organization and reaching professional goals. The advice tends toward the simplistic. There are no cute strategies or clever sayings here—just common-sense wisdom. At times, things are a bit too basic. In an always-connected era, does anyone need to be told that “Google is a great tool to use for research”? Nonetheless, Farrington’s point that being average needn’t hold people back is well-taken. The straightforward tips he offers may not be complex, but they cover basic truths that anyone, even an overachiever, would do well to remember: If you can show up on time, work hard, and stay positive, you’re already several steps ahead of many colleagues.

An accessible motivational guide for those feeling stuck or discouraged in their professional lives.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2018

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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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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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