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Fodder strictly for the if-you-want-to-believe-it-it’s-true crowd.

Indefatigable seventh-sense investigator Sheldrake mines his earlier works on prescient and telepathic abilities to update followers on his latest data and theories.

Never had a sense of being stared at? According to Sheldrake (Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home, 1999, etc.), this puts you in a minority—along with those who shrug off déjà vu experiences as coincidence, can recall many times when they thought of a long-lost friend who didn’t telephone soon after, or do not find Fido waiting patiently at the door when arriving at an odd hour. This is not to say that there aren’t seemingly paranormal events worth studying. Some animals do display disturbed behavior before earthquakes; herd/homing/flight formation and migratory behaviors of many species are impressive; social insects do seem to act as one body. However, science can explain at least some of these behaviors by detailing the exquisite sensory mechanisms of various species, including an awareness of magnetic fields, and acute olfactory, vibratory, or infrared sensibility, and probably more to be discovered. One does not have to resort, as Sheldrake does, to “morphic fields” that stretch out from one body to co-mingle with another (especially among people who are emotionally close) or invoke a new (actually old) theory of vision that recognizes the role of light entering the eye but goes on to assert that the eye then projects outward to create the visual world as we see it, a notion that affords the eye power to exert malignant influences (as in the “evil eye”). As always, there are reports galore of positive responses to questionnaires on what people believe, countless controlled experiments where the probability of the positive result occurring by chance is one in a zillion, and the favorite caveat is that if, for example, a staring experiment didn’t bear fruit it was because the starer was not very good.

Fodder strictly for the if-you-want-to-believe-it-it’s-true crowd.

Pub Date: March 11, 2003

ISBN: 0-609-60807-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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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. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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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

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