A smartly observed, important work by an IT expert with a keen eye on the future.

Inflection Point

HOW THE CONVERGENCE OF CLOUD, MOBILITY, APPS AND DATA WILL SHAPE YOUR FUTURE BUSINESS

A timely, insightful exploration of the transformational change occurring in information technology.

Simply look at the ways we consume media, buy things online, and maintain always-on connectivity to see the impact information technology is having on contemporary life. IT is having an equally dramatic effect on business, suggests debut author Stawski, through an “inflection point” that is based on “the convergence of cloud, mobility, software as a service (SaaS), and data.” Stawski, an executive and global area sales leader for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is eminently qualified to write about this convergence, and he relies on his experience with large clients as well as other pertinent examples to add texture and context to his visionary treatise. Perhaps Stawski’s most forward-thinking notion is his belief that IT in a typical business needs to undergo significant reformation. “I estimate that enterprises are overspending on IT by as much as 40 percent,” he writes, proposing rather boldly “that a company should never purchase IT hardware or software licenses again.” He chides companies mired in the past for generally being behind the consumer curve when it comes to technology adoption, and he makes a strong case for abandoning traditional IT infrastructure in favor of cloud-based services. “Companies need to think of computing as a utility, which requires cloud or cloud-like infrastructure and payment mechanisms,” the author says. Along the way, Stawski provides an excellent overview of cloud computing, an often cited but frequently misunderstood concept. Despite the occasional sales pitch for Hewlett Packard, he offers equally cogent discussions of mobile computing and big data. Informative as these sections are, though, it is Stawski’s future-think perspective on “the era of the IT department as a service broker” that is the compact treatise’s most compelling and intriguing concept. Not surprisingly, Stawski says it will take “transformative CIOs” to fully understand and embrace the new IT reality as he sees it.

A smartly observed, important work by an IT expert with a keen eye on the future.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-13-438704-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pearson FT Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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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