A lively history with relevance to every worker.

THE END OF LOYALTY

THE RISE AND FALL OF GOOD JOBS IN AMERICA

A sharp-edged examination of why large American employers shifted from loyalty to their workers to loyalty focused primarily on stockholders.

Through deep reporting and anecdotal storytelling, former Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times writer and editor Wartzman (What Would Drucker Do Now?: Solutions to Today’s Toughest Challenges from the Father of Modern Management, 2011, etc.), a senior adviser at the Drucker Institute, delineates the often shameful evolution of policies by concentrating on four of the biggest corporations in the world: Coca-Cola, Kodak, General Motors, and General Electric. The contrast between relatively beneficial employee-employer relations during the 1950s and today’s lopsided relationship hangs over the lengthy narrative. The author pinpoints the rise and gradual decline of large labor unions within American industry as one of the major causes of employers cutting benefits for some workers and firing others. Wartzman wisely emphasizes how judges favoring corporate rights also played a significant role; he cites a 1998 federal appeals court ruling that, as an employee-oriented lawyer said, “decided that American industry no longer needed to keep its promises.” Many of those broken promises involved reducing or eliminating pension funds and subsidized health insurance, leaving both current and retired employees desperate to find alternatives, often without success. In the meantime, high-level corporate executives increased their own pay and benefits, usually without objections from shareholders. At the close of the book, Wartzman devotes space to his well-informed opinion that the social contract between employers and employees may never be reconstructed, due to consistent emphasis on maximizing profits, the globalization of production, advances in technology, and the demise of counterbalancing labor unions. Wartzman suggests government intervention would be needed to repair the imbalances, including policies that could revive labor union organizing, make remaining benefits portable from job to job, crack down on wage theft by employers, and more.

A lively history with relevance to every worker.

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58648-914-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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 timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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