Eloquent tough love for nonprofit leaders.

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GOOD WORK DONE BETTER

IMPROVING THE IMPACT OF COMMUNITY-BASED NON-PROFITS

A Canadian executive delivers a clarion call for community-based nonprofit organizations to up their games.

The mission of community-based nonprofit organizations is often to serve the most vulnerable groups of people in a local or regional area. Watts, the executive director of a Montreal-based CBNP, acknowledges that these organizations pursue a noble cause but “may be metaphorically stuck in the mud.” This provocative premise is explored in a sensible, forthright way in a debut book clearly intended for CBNP CEOs and board members. The volume begins with a discussion of why and how the good work CBNPs do can be made better. Next, the author debunks four myths about the typical recipients of care and support provided by CBNPs. For example: “Emergency shelters are an entirely reasonable response to the challenge of homelessness. Reality: Emergency shelters are just a patch and can contribute to the creation of a lifestyle of homelessness.” Here, Watts demonstrates a keen awareness of the complexities of serving a socially disadvantaged constituency. Following the myths is an insightful, high-level discussion of “misunderstandings” about CBNPs and “indicators” that suggest whether or not an organization “is likely to deliver a return on investment.” A chapter on leadership helpfully identifies four styles of leadership typical in CBNPs. A subsequent chapter, perhaps one of the most valuable, thoroughly examines the responsibilities and typical deficiencies of CBNP boards. The chapter includes an authoritative overview of governance, the strengths and weaknesses of various board types, and a highly instructional discourse that covers five symptoms of board “dysfunctionality.” The volume’s final two chapters concentrate on forward-looking content. One chapter challenges CBNPs to become “the disruptors rather than the disrupted.” The second provides a kind of road map to reinvention by outlining four specific opportunities CBNPs can pursue to go beyond traditional thinking. As Watts suggests in his afterword, “rather than trying to do more of what they have been doing,” CBNPs “must aim to achieve better outcomes for the people they serve.” Recognizing good stewardship but with an eye toward continuous improvement, the author articulately challenges his CBNP compatriots to strive for excellence.

Eloquent tough love for nonprofit leaders. (appendices)

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 97

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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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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Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

THE GUCCI MANE GUIDE TO GREATNESS

A hip-hop star who went on his first international tour wearing an ankle monitor explains how to succeed.

“The words you are about to read can help you,” writes Gucci. “That’s because there is truth in them. These are words of wisdom, like the Bible and its proverbs.” Unquestionably, Gucci likes to aim high, as many of his proverbs attest: “Stop Underestimating Yourself”; “Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger”; “Nobody Cares. Work Harder”; “When They Sleep, I’m Grinding”; “Do More, Get More.” And never forget, “Women Are Brilliant.” Gucci not only shares his recipes for success. As in a cookbook that shows pictures of the end result, the author includes dozens of dazzling photos of himself and his beautiful wife, among them a series on his surprise wedding proposal at an Atlanta Hawks game. After the success of his bestselling debut, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Gucci has realized there is money to be made in the book business. In addition to the Bible, he has his eye on Malcolm Gladwell and his reported $5 million advances. While he is “cool with Malcolm Gladwell being more celebrated than me as an author…the difference between Malcolm Gladwell and me is that I’m going to make more money because I’m going to make so many books for my following….You can enjoy this book or not, but I’m going to make my fifty-second book, my hundred and eighth book.” Many readers will hope that one of them will be a diet book, as the 100-plus pounds Gucci has lost and kept off are a frequent topic—alas, he doesn’t reveal his weight loss secrets here. Until the next book, try to live the Gucci Mane way. “Avoid lazy and miserable people,” and “Find something to be excited about every day.”

Gucci demonstrates all the bravado and ferocious self-confidence that he counsels—and the photos are a nice bonus.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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