A savvy psycho-communicative guide to finding authentic partnerships at work.


A hands-on approach to finding dignity, meaning, and success in the workplace.

Silver is an independent business and leadership consultant who holds a doctorate in education, and Franz, a former human resources consultant, is an industrial and organizational psychologist at St. John Fisher College. In this collaboration, the authors propose a methodical system to enable transparent, collaborative, and mutually beneficial partnerships between managers and their teams. Dysfunctional workplaces, they write, are plagued by the “Dreaded 4 Ds (dissatisfaction, disengagement, despair, departure),” and the authors present a three-part approach to combat these problems. The first part involves cultivating the correct mindset, one that strives for coordination, coequal responsibility, and mutual accountability. The second part is a model referred to as ERTAP—empathy, respect, trust, alignment, and partnership—which serves to create and maintain the system’s positive effects and workplace satisfaction. Finally, the authors discuss the “Workplace Covenant,” a signed document that delineates obligations and expectations, including personal integrity and regular dialogue; importantly, the document is subject to periodic review. The authors draw on years of research, both their own and that of others, to create a program that can improve “the manager’s leadership, the maturity and self-management of the team, and even the culture of the organization.” Though the book is not designed for a general readership, Silver and Franz write with common sense and empathy, prizing decency over power in order to break down barriers to communication in a hierarchical context. Both managers and employees should experience common support, a sense of appreciation, and viable avenues for success. Some readers may quail at the suggestion to sign their names to a written covenant, but the authors make it feel like putting one’s name to a petition or declaration one believes in—just as they understand it will take time and observation for the process to gain traction with some participants.

A savvy psycho-communicative guide to finding authentic partnerships at work.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-03-202011-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Routledge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 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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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.


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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