A well-organized, nimbly written, and insightful book that should be a key resource for corporate leaders.

CLASH OF THE GENERATIONS

MANAGING THE NEW WORKPLACE REALITY

A useful playbook for managing an intergenerational workforce.

Corporate consultant Grubb (Planes, Canes, and Automobiles, 2015) draws on her management experience at numerous firms to focus on the challenge of employing people from different generations in the same company. She aptly points out, for example, that managers must respect each person as an individual rather than assigning him or her to a generational stereotype. She also mentions the phenomenon of baby boomers “prolonging their time in the workplace,” which can result in a “generational culture clash” with younger staff. Grubb delves deeply into distinct generational characteristics to provide managers with clear understandings of various age groups; the book’s chart of “Generational Influences and Attributes” offers a tidy overview of how baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials, and Generation Zers think, feel, and act in a workplace. For instance, boomers are said to be “team oriented,” “optimistic,” and “informal,” while Generation Xers are “self-reliant,” “cynical,” and “informal.” This kind of valuable insight from an executive who’s managed multigenerational teams brings a practical, hands-on perspective to the book as a whole. In addition to making a strong case for “creating an age-diverse culture,” Grubb offers specific advice for managing and motivating employees. Readers will find a portion of this material, including discussions of goal-setting, evaluating employee performance, and managing employee expectations and career development, to be familiar from more general management books, but the author does a solid job of slanting the content to address generational divides. Some of the more engaging sections address “managing workers older than you,” recognizing different styles of learning and communicating, and highlighting the difference between “work-life blending” and work-life balancing. Six case studies at the end of the book depict how specific companies have addressed issues surrounding company culture, recruitment, career development, and benefits as they relate to employees of all ages.

A well-organized, nimbly written, and insightful book that should be a key resource for corporate leaders.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-119-21234-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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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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