Sound—if self-promotional—advice on creating a sturdy organizational culture.

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THE HEART AND SOUL OF CULTURE

HOW TO SAVE YOUR BOTTOM LINE BY MAKING THE TRANSFORMATION TO A CONSCIOUS BUSINESS

Two business consultants make the case for having a strong, principled corporate culture.

Hinton and debut author Yager draw on their own research and experience as they promote their firm’s disciplined approach to helping organizations transform their cultures and become “conscious” businesses. Despite the underlying sales pitch, their book could prove quite helpful to senior executives, beginning with its definition of a “Culture”—“that inexplicable element called energy that attracts customers to your stores or website.” The first chapter explains why it’s important to have a positive culture and what can happen if an organization has a toxic one. As examples of the harmful effects of dysfunction, the authors cite well-known organizations and their missteps—USA Gymnastics (sexual abuse convictions by the team doctor), the Catholic Church (pedophile priests), and Facebook (exposed user data)—along with a smaller number of positive cultures. Such missteps reflect the authors’ belief that “unconscious companies and organizations pay when their leaders’ thoughts and actions are corrupted by greed, self-indulgence, neglect, bad decision-making, arrogance and plain old stupidity.” The remainder of the book lays out the fundamentals of a positive culture, relying largely on concepts used by the authors’ the San Diego-based firm, CRI Global CAPS, which they plug frequently. Those concepts include the “Culture Spectrum” (a four-quadrant analysis of corporate cultures); “The Five Ps of Culture” (“Purpose,” “Principles,” “People,” “Processes,” and “Performance,” each covered in a separate chapter); and a “Culture Playbook,” a term the authors always italicize. The playbook is perhaps the most intriguing element; it uses the Five Ps to build “a roadmap for managing risk,” with an assessment of the organization’s culture as a first step. The book closes with “A Leader’s List of Conscious Business Principles,” 22 tips and observations that include “Encourage people to carry the message to the top, regardless of whether they bear good news or bad news.” Recommendations like “Share the credit when you succeed, but not the blame when you fail” may be overfamiliar to avid readers of guides for managers, but others may see them as needed reminders of the basics of good business practice.

Sound—if self-promotional—advice on creating a sturdy organizational culture.

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9835032-7-9

Page Count: 217

Publisher: Blue Carriage Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: March 17, 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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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

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