Especially following a historic banking crisis, this is a timely lesson on the importance and commercial value of ethical...

READ REVIEW

Non-Negotiable

THE STORY OF HAPPY STATE BANK & THE POWER OF ACCOUNTABILITY

A practical business guide that advocates a correlation between success and integrity.

Author Silverstein (No More Excuses, 2015) has devoted his career to building successful corporate cultures centered around the principle of accountability—his previous works are all attempts to catalog and systematize his life’s labor. In his latest book, he documents the extraordinary success of the Happy State Bank, headquartered in a tiny town called Happy in the Texas Panhandle. The work is the result of interviews he conducted with the bank’s CEO, J. Pat Hickman, who attributes its success—even during the recent dark days for banking—to a belief system built around what he calls “non-negotiables,” basic moral principles unconditionally held. “Some people use the word belief as though it’s a moving target,” says Silverstein. “I believe that hidden deep within the deepest meaning of the word belief are the words conviction, trust, and faith. That kind of belief means you don’t sway when something or someone pulls at you.” Rather than merely moral prohibitions, Hickman interprets nonnegotiables as instruments of greater control and freedom, premised upon a reflection on which parts of life can be mastered and which are matters of chance. For all its inspirational rhetoric, the book maintains a healthy pragmatism regarding its message: “You can’t have a non-negotiable for something you can’t control.” The underlying moral of Silverstein’s examination is that an uncompromisable moral worldview is necessary to achieve true accountability and is, therefore, an indispensable ingredient in prosperity. The culmination of the work is the list of Hickman’s own nonnegotiables, some of which might be too vague to be all that helpful (“Do what’s right”), while others seem especially timely in an age of notorious malfeasance (“Don’t forget that it’s other people’s money”). Silverstein’s writing is clear and straightforward, making this both an accessible and actionable book.

Especially following a historic banking crisis, this is a timely lesson on the importance and commercial value of ethical commitment.

Pub Date: May 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-0768407242

Page Count: -

Publisher: Sound Wisdom

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

CAPITAL AND IDEOLOGY

A massive investigation of economic history in the service of proposing a political order to overcome inequality.

Readers who like their political manifestoes in manageable sizes, à la Common Sense or The Communist Manifesto, may be overwhelmed by the latest from famed French economist Piketty (Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century: Inequality and Redistribution, 1901-1998, 2014, etc.), but it’s a significant work. The author interrogates the principal forms of economic organization over time, from slavery to “non-European trifunctional societies,” Chinese-style communism, and “hypercapitalist” orders, in order to examine relative levels of inequality and its evolution. Each system is founded on an ideology, and “every ideology, no matter how extreme it may seem in its defense of inequality, expresses a certain idea of social justice.” In the present era, at least in the U.S., that idea of social justice would seem to be only that the big ones eat the little ones, the principal justification being that the wealthiest people became rich because they are “the most enterprising, deserving, and useful.” In fact, as Piketty demonstrates, there’s more to inequality than the mere “size of the income gap.” Contrary to hypercapitalist ideology and its defenders, the playing field is not level, the market is not self-regulating, and access is not evenly distributed. Against this, Piketty arrives at a proposed system that, among other things, would redistribute wealth across societies by heavy taxation, especially of inheritances, to create a “participatory socialism” in which power is widely shared and trade across nations is truly free. The word “socialism,” he allows, is a kind of Pandora’s box that can scare people off—and, he further acknowledges, “the Russian and Czech oligarchs who buy athletic teams and newspapers may not be the most savory characters, but the Soviet system was a nightmare and had to go.” Yet so, too, writes the author, is a capitalism that rewards so few at the expense of so many.

A deftly argued case for a new kind of socialism that, while sure to inspire controversy, bears widespread discussion.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-674-98082-2

Page Count: 976

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more