A thoughtful work for corporate leaders that offers an intriguing shift in business philosophy.



Technology executives call for a new way of doing business that reframes success in terms of providing positive experiences.

In this debut business book, Bates, the chairman and CEO of software company Genesys, and Petouhoff, a senior customer experience strategist and business consultant at the same firm, argue that 21st-century businesses need to undergo a fundamental shift. Instead of focusing solely on the metrics that appeal to investors and analysts, they assert, they should convert to a customer- and employee-centric model of measuring and evaluating performance. The book places its new business framework in the context of the latest technological developments, while positing that only the businesses that create positive customer and employee experiences will be able to take advantage of opportunities for major, exponential growth. Bates and Petouhoff make a case that this focus has a positive impact on the bottom line, although they also note that holistic metrics are necessary to get an accurate understanding of its results. They also explain how to achieve the shift, often using technology that employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze customer interactions on a massive scale. They discuss the importance of building diverse teams and employing processes that incorporate and respond to employees’ feedback. The book cites examples of specific companies, such as mattress firm Casper and coffee giant Starbucks, which have both succeeded in creating customer experiences that go beyond mere transactions with positive financial results.

The book provides a skillfully written call for a reevaluation of the definition of business success. Its frequent acronyms are kept in check by straightforward prose (“It’s impossible to deliver exceptional experiences and build trust, inspire loyalty, or deliver the brand’s promise when relying on ineffective or outdated tools”), making it easy to follow its core arguments. Bates is also a former top executive at Cisco Systems and Skype, and the text is shaped by both authors’ extensive experiences in the tech industry. The book does an excellent job of building on existing management research, which it cites, and reframes it in the context of empathy. Historical asides, such a quick tangent about how the technology behind early telephone exchanges evolved to make customer service hotlines possible, add moments of lighthearted interest while also supporting the book’s thesis. Infographics and callout boxes also make for effective presentation, highlighting key points in multiple formats. The target audience is primarily senior corporate leaders who are in positions to make structural changes, but much of the information will be useful, if not as directly applicable, to those in more junior positions. The book makes brief mention of privacy and data protection issues but generally takes a positive approach to technological developments. Readers may wish for more specific detail about how to ignite an industrywide shift away from short-term cost metrics, but on the whole, it makes a solid argument and helpful advice for placing customers and employees at the core of strategy decisions.

A thoughtful work for corporate leaders that offers an intriguing shift in business philosophy.

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64687-043-1

Page Count: 195

Publisher: Ideapress Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2022

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


“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. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.


Everyone’s favorite avuncular socialist sends up a rousing call to remake the American way of doing business.

“In the twenty-first century we can end the vicious dog-eat-dog economy in which the vast majority struggle to survive,” writes Sanders, “while a handful of billionaires have more wealth than they could spend in a thousand lifetimes.” With that statement, the author updates an argument as old as Marx and Proudhon. In a nice play on words, he condemns “the uber-capitalist system under which we live,” showing how it benefits only the slimmest slice of the few while imposing undue burdens on everyone else. Along the way, Sanders notes that resentment over this inequality was powerful fuel for the disastrous Trump administration, since the Democratic Party thoughtlessly largely abandoned underprivileged voters in favor of “wealthy campaign contributors and the ‘beautiful people.’ ” The author looks squarely at Jeff Bezos, whose company “paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.” Indeed, writes Sanders, “Bezos is the embodiment of the extreme corporate greed that shapes our times.” Aside from a few passages putting a face to avarice, Sanders lays forth a well-reasoned platform of programs to retool the American economy for greater equity, including investment in education and taking seriously a progressive (in all senses) corporate and personal taxation system to make the rich pay their fair share. In the end, he urges, “We must stop being afraid to call out capitalism and demand fundamental change to a corrupt and rigged system.” One wonders if this firebrand of a manifesto is the opening gambit in still another Sanders run for the presidency. If it is, well, the plutocrats might want to take cover for the duration.

Even if they're pie-in-the-sky exercises, Sanders’ pitched arguments bear consideration by nonbillionaires.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2023

ISBN: 9780593238714

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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