Punchy, concise, and reality-based; provides solid ground for the concept of supervision and should act as a day-to-day...

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SUPERVISION MATTERS

100 BITE-SIZED IDEAS TO TRANSFORM YOU AND YOUR TEAM

A debut compendium offers tips for employee supervisors.

Early on in her book, organizational and human resources consultant Sever makes a key distinction: “Supervision is a part of management, but it is not the same thing….Similarly, leadership is a part of supervision, but it is not the same thing.” Management involves broader issues than just personnel, and leadership can occur throughout an organization. But supervision, writes Sever, is specifically the management of people. With this notion driving the singular concept of the book, the author keeps her laser focus on the ups, downs, and intricacies of supervision and the interrelationships of these particular managers with their teams. Twelve chapters key into a supervisor’s major areas of responsibility. For example, “How You Act” addresses trust, power, taking action, communication, bad versus good practices, kindness, and self-discipline. “How You Are Part of the Organization” reveals important lessons about the role of the supervisor, including intriguing insights into office culture, the importance of policies, and bullies in the workplace. Each chapter is broken into short, discrete segments (the common-sensical book’s subtitle aptly refers to them as “bite-sized ideas”) that are a breeze to read but are riddled with observations and advice based on experience. Sidebars highlight examples and on-the-job scenarios to bring relevancy to the text. “A Sample Coaching Conversation,” for instance, illustrates how a supervisor helps an employee problem-solve a missed deadline while “Approaching Conflict: Ten Steps” enumerates and describes actions to take to reduce the negative effects of conflict. Particularly helpful are the occasional interspersed “Coaching Corner” snippets in which the author poses thought-provoking questions to engage readers. A cleverly structured Appendix classifies sections of the volume by reading time based on word count. But, an index, which is missing, would have been useful in locating the sections by page number. Sever’s contention is “the role of supervision is hugely underappreciated in most organizations.” This handy guide is an effective antidote to that unfortunate attitude.

Punchy, concise, and reality-based; provides solid ground for the concept of supervision and should act as a day-to-day manual for both veterans and novices.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63152-145-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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