PRINCIPA THE PLEASURE OF COMMON SENSE

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Walker’s debut posits that the key to personal enlightenment and happiness lies at the crosshairs of psychology, science and rational thought.

As a philosopher, Walker doesn’t resemble a wayward new-age religious leader, a trained psychiatrist or a noted scientist. Yet his understanding of such topics forms a workable theory of enlightenment, one that is best utilized one strand at a time. The author begins by asserting the importance of rational thought in harnessing control over one’s life and in achieving global understanding. Walker urges the reader to be open-minded as he advises against proceeding further if you aren’t open to a variety of possibilities. Having laid his logical foundation, Walker next takes up the metaphysics of existence, relying equally on philosophical tenets and quantum mechanics as a guide. A road map of the human experience starts as a simple collection of spheres marked for physical, emotional and mental states of being. As the chapters pass, the map morphs into a well-illustrated diagram of a challenging, typical life. Walker deconstructs the thinking of such luminaries as Einstein, Plato, Freud and Darwin, among others, in an attempt to illustrate a “unified theory” of how all the divergent parts of existence come together. He also makes allowances for morality and religion, and uses technology as a great comparative device to discuss emotional and physiological responses. The book is written in matter-of-fact and easily accessible prose, considering its heady nature. Although the author repeatedly insists that this work is not a self-help guide, readers will be unable to deny Walker’s good-natured attempts to encourage the implementation of his useful system of beliefs. An inspiring read for those looking for enlightenment beyond the standard questions and answers. 

 

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1467902854

Page Count: 500

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2012

Categories:

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

THE CULTURE MAP

BREAKING THROUGH THE INVISIBLE BOUNDARIES OF GLOBAL BUSINESS

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

Categories:
Close Quickview