A short, amusing, and practical guide to workplace dynamics.

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EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR YOU LEARNED IN HIGH SCHOOL

Becker takes the reader back to high school in order to learn how to be a more effective worker in this debut guide to getting ahead.

In his 35 years working in HR departments for companies large and small, Becker learned something interesting: Adults in the workplace don’t behave demonstratively differently than teenagers in a high school. “Organizational behavior, at all levels, is best defined as adolescent,” writes Becker in his introduction, “and the behavior patterns within the business environment are deeply rooted in the volatile period of our teenage/high school years.” While the fact that human behavior doesn’t really mature after senior year is a bit disheartening, there is good news: If a 16-year-old can thrive in such an environment, so can you! Becker shows how the dynamics of high school society still apply in the workplace, from earning varsity letters and superlatives to making friends and dealing with bullies. The first chapter, for example, asserts that the in-group dynamic of “the cool kids” from high school holds true in adult human organizations, and, just as in high school, there are plenty of sycophants attempting to schmooze their way into the higher ranks. The guide helps the reader identify these familiar structures and work around them, thereby succeeding without actually descending to the emotional level of a teenager. Becker’s prose is conversational and humorous, and he delights in examining the minutiae of social situations like a table meeting: “It is clear that there are two distinct power seats at each end and senior people occupy these seats 98% of the time. Interestingly I have observed that when the two power seats are occupied the seat holders are often times of dissenting points of view which makes for excellent corporate theater.” Becker doesn’t claim to be an expert in human psychology, and he frequently admits that he has no idea why people behave the way they do. He relies mostly on his own personal experience and has no compunction about quoting song lyrics or the website Urban Dictionary. Even so, his advice mostly rings true, and his common-sense perspective makes for a memorable read.

A short, amusing, and practical guide to workplace dynamics.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2019

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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