A powerfully written dissection of thought leadership for the business world.


A business book offers a comprehensive, itemized look at the nature and practice of effective leadership.

Buday makes clear at the outset of his work that he’s well aware of the devaluation the term thought leadershiphas undergone in the last two decades. What he refers to as “the supply side of thought leadership”—“inventing revolutionary concepts that improve how businesses operate, marketing those concepts well, and attracting adulation and new business”—has been “slapped on blog posts, white papers, research reports, sections of websites and many other things that turn out to be (upon inspection) not highly thoughtful.” The author aims his own breakdown of these concepts at the business-to-business market and the executives and consultants in this sector, seeking to explain the nuts and bolts of such buzzwords as “customer loyalty management, disruptive innovation, blue ocean strategy, lean startup, and emotion intelligence, to name just a few.” He hopes to differentiate the key concepts from the “useless debris calling itself thought leadership” that’s now floating around in “the vast cosmos of business ideas.” He goes about this in ways that will be familiar to readers of business literature: categories and sub-categories, from “the 4 pillars of thought leadership” to “the nine hallmarks of compelling content.” He expands on a wide variety of business-related topics, from the perils of stressing marketing over content (“a marketing-centric view of thought leadership is guaranteed to confine a company to thought followership status, not thought leadership”) to the burgeoning prevalence of the whole thought leadership fad, fueled by things like TED Talks and national conferences.

Buday’s rhetoric about all of this is forceful and very readable. While trying to explain the explosion of thought leadership, he blames the escalating complexity of the business world. “Executives need to figure out their companies’ strategic direction,” he writes, “how to create demand and supply for their products and services, how to stage productive innovation, and how to attract and keep talented people.” Although it’s perhaps surprising how many of the author’s points revolve around not boardroom tactics but the generation of prose (“Writing, and writing, and writing some more,” as he puts it), what’s sometimes less than clear about his book is what, if anything, separates it from the ocean of “useless debris” he mentions at the beginning of his work. His volume, granted, is aimed at the kind of C-suite readers who a) think there even is such a thing as thought leadership (as opposed to simple, good business practices, which have been recognized in every consumer culture since ancient Sumer) and b) believe it’s intensely important to the running of their companies. Such readers will doubtless appreciate the difference between “business reengineering” and “massive layoffs,” for instance, and for that audience, Buday’s book should provide a bracingly no-nonsense series of clarifications about where B2B priorities should fall. If the author is right and the corporate world is more intricate than ever, this work should deliver some clear navigation.

A powerfully written dissection of thought leadership for the business world.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64687-100-1

Page Count: 258

Publisher: Ideapress Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


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.


“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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