Impassioned and thought-provoking leadership advice.



A guide offers a fresh perspective on business success as a function of life design.

According to entrepreneur and financial strategist Benaroya, leadership starts with designing one’s own life—a novel approach for a business book. Life design, writes the author, involves five sequential steps: “1. Ground stories with FACTS.” “2. Establish your PRINCIPLES.” “3. Harness ENERGY from the environment.” “4. Get in and stay in your GENIUS ZONE.” “5. Take ACTION.” Each of these steps forms a section of the volume, and every part includes detailed descriptions, examples, and exercises. All of these elements are standard fare in both self-improvement and business books, but this manual’s laser focus on life design is refreshingly unique. In fact, Benaroya labels as “Designers” the 12 entrepreneurs who are extensively quoted throughout the work; their candid, firsthand experiences help enrich the content. For example, when the author notes that many business owners revealed in conversation that they often fear “they are more lucky than good,” one of the Designers shares this related experience: “When I finally stopped trying to bang down the doors that were closed and lean into the doors that were open, things started to improve for me. I began to look at rejection as protection.” Similarly, Benaroya illustrates the importance of principles (step two) with another Designer’s insight. In rejecting an offer from a venture capital firm that she thought was too one-sided, she noted: “That moment helped me crystallize what I really valued. It was like it slapped me in the face and said, This is what I believe. And you know, sometimes we don’t know what we believe until our views are challenged in some way.” These observations come from founders of a diverse range of small companies, some of which are women- or minority-owned. Their candid comments reveal the kinds of difficult, complex leadership issues they face. Other material in the book is equally illuminating, such as the author’s excellent advice, along with an exercise, for how to find “your genius zone.” Benaroya builds a convincing argument that better life design produces more business success.

Impassioned and thought-provoking leadership advice.

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73707-390-1

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Shemoto Pres

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


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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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. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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