NonFiction: Getting Hired and Staying Hired, Becoming Smarter, Attitudes, and Helping the Poorby Larry Cox on Mar. 22, 2012, under Uncategorized
Better by Mistake: The Unexpected Benefits of Being Wrong by Alina Tugend (Riverhead Books, $16 softbound)
Alina Tugend writes the award-winning biweekly column “ShortCuts” for The New York Times. She is convinced that mistakes happen everywhere and when we acknowledge and identify them correctly, we can improve not only ourselves but the world around us as well. She adds that in this age of instability, almost everyone is under the gun to do better but if we can embrace our mistakes and learn from them then, and only then, can we achieve true excellence. Her book shows readers not just how to learn from mistakes but also how to craft a sincere apology when we do and then move on.
One of the most pertinent sections of “Better By Mistake” addresses the important role cultural beliefs and values play in our response to mistakes. Why learning cultural differences can be especially beneficial, particularly if we observe those in east Asia where mistakes are handled in an appropriate way rather than with a one-size-fits-all approach.
Tugend’s website is www.alinatudend.com or follow her on Twitter @atugend.
More Than Good Intentions: Improving the Ways the World’s Poor Borrow, Save, Farm, Learn and Stay Healthy by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel (Plume, $16 softbound)
It is rather startling that private citizens in America contribute more than $200 billion to charities annually, more than three times the sum of all corporations, foundations and bequests combined. Even with this incredible giving, more than half the world’s population struggles to live on $2.50 a day or less.
Dean Karlan, a professor of economics at Yale, and president and founder of Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), and Jacob Appel, a field researcher at IPA in Ghana, West Africa, where he studied microcredit, examine some of today’s most celebrated development approaches to see, for example, if microloans really do transform the lives of the poor. Their groundbreaking research could help empower the poorest people around the glove to farm, to engage, stay healthy, learn, and invest in their futures in more productive ways.
This Will Make Your Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking edited by John Brockman (HarperPerennial, $15.99 softbound)
John Brockman, publisher of the influential online think tank Edge.org, a site the UK’s Guardian newspaper called the world’s smartest website, asked 150 of the world’s brightest and most influential minds on the planet an intriguing question: What scientific concept would most improve everybody’s ability to think? The question triggered responses from such heavy-hitters as Nobel Prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman, Wall Street Journal columnist Jonah Lehrer, bestselling author Kathryn Schultz, and Donald Hoffman, cognitive scientist at the University of California at Irvine.
The contributors examined such concepts as controlling attention, the ingredients of well being, effective theorizing, temperament and the flow of thought. As Brockman points out, the “tools” in his book are like magic hammers in that they can help you now and through life to make the world better and to allow readers to see their biases more accurately.
Hiring For Attitude: A Revolutionary Approach to Recruiting Star Performers With Both Tremendous Skills and Superb Attitude by Mark Murphy (McGraw Hill, $28)
Mark Murphy, founder and CEP of Leadership IQ, a leadership training and managing consulting firm, claims that 46% of the people about to be hired this spring will fail within the first 18 months on the job. He adds that he real surprise in this statistic is that much of the failure is not due to a lack of skills but rather the lack of attitude.
Murphy points out that the labor market has changed dramatically and that companies aren’t just looking for people with the proper skills but workers with the right attitude. Put another way, an employee who is a good fit with the company’s culture.
Murphy reveals the five main reasons why new hires fail, two quick and easy tests to discover the attitudinal characteristics needed to succeed in a company, where companies find their best candidates, and six words most interviewers add to the end of behavioral interview questions that destroy their effectiveness.
By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, CoFounders of Gilt Groupe (Portfolio/Penguin, $27.95)
Sometimes the best business concepts happen by chance. One September night in 2002, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis reconnected at a student mixer for the new students at Harvard Business School. Alexis had just ended a four-year run at eBay and Alexandra was close to burnout after spending three years as an investment broker at Merrill Lynch. Four years later, they risked everything to cofound a startup company that catered to their own passions as shoppers. Their concept began with a bold idea, namely to bring sample sales online. That simple plan launched Gilt and changed the way millions shopped. The company is currently valued at $1 billion and this is the incredible story of how it all came about.