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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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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