There’s nothing overly challenging here, but Berger’s approach might prime the pump for deeper inquiries.

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THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS

THE POWERFUL QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP YOU DECIDE, CREATE, CONNECT, AND LEAD

The right question at the right time can inspire business empires, scientific insights, revolutions—and, of course, books such as this one.

In a book whose title is rather more elegant than its contents, business guru Berger builds on a predecessor, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (2013), to examine ways in which being an ardent, avid, active questioner can presumably build businesses, inspire ideas, and otherwise lead to good things in the world. The argument seems—well, inarguable, even if the author, who calls himself a “questionologist,” does allow that an all too common response on the part of the managerial class is to demand, “don’t bring me questions; bring me answers.” What to do with such people? That’s a good question, to which the answer is to understand that “having a curious, engaged, and inquisitive workforce presents challenges.” Questioning authority is one thing; questioning how and why things are done is another, an exercise that Berger puts in the lap of none other than Steve Jobs, who was in the discomfiting habit of asking why things were being done the way they were at every stop on his round of Apple’s offices. “As Jobs took on the role of the inquisitive four-year-old wandering the company,” Berger writes, “it had a powerful effect on him and those around him—forcing everyone to reexamine assumptions.” Alternating among case studies, series of model questions set within sidebars (“Why do I want to lead this endeavor?”; “Where will I ever find an original idea”; “How can I come up with an idea that will make money?”), and cheerleading, Berger makes a good case for building questioning into work culture and work flow. But a question emerges: Just how many books can this questionology business sustain?

There’s nothing overly challenging here, but Berger’s approach might prime the pump for deeper inquiries.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63286-956-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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