A useful and entertaining map for companies looking toward a creative future.

TALENT

HOW TO IDENTIFY ENERGIZERS, CREATIVES, AND WINNERS AROUND THE WORLD

Why recruiting creative people is the primary difference between a company that thrives and one that merely survives.

Cowen, a professor of economics and bestselling author of The Great Stagnation and other bestsellers, and Gross, a venture capitalist in the tech field, have been consulting on this issue for many years. Establishing the creativity of a job applicant is different than determining technical skills, and the authors provide advice about interview questions. They suggest focusing on what the person does in their nonwork time. Personality, they note, is revealed during weekends. Another good one: “What are the open tabs on your browser right now?” The aim is to assess the applicant’s thought processes and willingness to embrace new thinking. In fact, the interview should be more of a free-flowing discussion then a structured Q&A. In an intriguing chapter on the use of IQ and personality tests, the authors point out that such metrics can be helpful, but their limitations should be understood. Creativity appears in odd places, and Cowen and Gross advise employers to cast a net wide enough to catch candidates from historically marginalized communities. Some creative people can be cantankerous, even anti-social, so there might be a need to design work-from-home or similar arrangements. Fit the person to the job and sometimes the job to the person. Along the way, the authors offer an interesting exploration of how recruiting talented women differs from recruiting talented men—and how male interviewers should allow for their own biases. In the concluding chapters, the authors deal with the issues of retaining creative people. The key is to keep them stimulated and challenged, with rewards and recognition that are appropriate to each individual. All this takes effort and time for the employer, and recruiting and managing creative people can be more art than science. But in the end, as the authors show, the returns are often well worth the investment.

A useful and entertaining map for companies looking toward a creative future.

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27581-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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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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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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