An intriguing learn-from-failure investment manual with a hard-edged practical side.

DISRUPTION GAMES

HOW TO THRIVE ON SERIAL FAILURE

A business book on the nature of startup failure and success.

As this work begins, entrepreneur Undheim, who previously wrote Leadership From Below (2008), immediately tackles the age-old idea that success breeds success, citing a much broader and more flexible notion of what leads to success in venture capitalism and startups. In these pages, he seeks to differentiate between simple failure—in which nothing is advanced, no attitudes are changed, and nothing is learned—and something he calls “reflexive failure,” an entirely richer and more fruitful process. For failure to be instructive, Undheim writes, “it must have a deep cost in time and energy.” People shouldn’t seek out failure, of course, but they should seek risks, which can very often not work out as intended. The author urges readers to get a feel for the rules of disruption while always keeping in mind the potential downsides of both failure and success. Building a startup demands a lot of attention—“sometimes more [than] you have to give,” Undheim writes. “The risk is high. Is it truly worth risking your kids’ college savings? Your job? Your ability to pay the mortgage?” In clear, engaging prose, the author offers many specific examples; the sheer number of unsuccessful startups mentioned in these pages is, in its own strange way, curiously uplifting. There’s also plenty of insightful generalization, as when the author reminds readers, for instance, that the process of innovation isn’t simply mechanistic, because businesses are social systems governed by many interlocking forces. Undheim’s book is very clearly not for beginners, but experienced venture capitalists will find much of his outside-the-box thinking to be thought-provoking.

An intriguing learn-from-failure investment manual with a hard-edged practical side.

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64764-728-5

Page Count: 226

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2020

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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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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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