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1. The Paradox of Choice: Why More
2. The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl,
3. The Time Paradox: The New Psychology
4. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political
5. The Abilene Paradox and Other
6. The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding
7. Paradoxes of Catholicism
8. The Adversity Paradox: An Unconventional
9. The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men
10. The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration
11. Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls,
12. The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women
13. The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind
14. Paradoxes of Group Life: Understanding
15. Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox,
16. The Paradox of Success
17. The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms
18. Environmental Policy Paradox-
19. The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama
20. The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing

1. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
by Barry Schwartz
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$4.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060005696
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the spirit of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction and regret. This paperback includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested readings, and more.

Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions--both big and small--have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

We assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice--the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish--becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice--from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs--has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (131)

5-0 out of 5 stars great buy
a "best price" great book (cheapper than european countries)is sent to me in the smaller time

3-0 out of 5 stars Captures the American Mentality
The author isn't saying too much is bad, but that there are things to consider with our choices we make everyday.
This may help those who are overwhelmed by choice make sense of the feelings they may have about making decisions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why Less is More: Another Explanation
A group of us (men and women) read THE PARADOX OF CHOICE for a book discussion group.We liked the book's thesis.Most of us have gray hairs on our head and felt that the conclusions drawn by the author were validated by our own experiences, insights, and conclusions.It was interesting, however, seeing some of the science behind the insights.At times the book is repetitous or goes on too long about the obvious, but all in all a worthwhile addition to literature about how much our subconscious and conditioned behavior control our actions.

1-0 out of 5 stars Why did I read to the end?
The true Paradox of Choice is why did I continue to read this book through to the end?This book is tedious and repetitive.The author reiterates the same logic in chapter after chapter using the format of summarizing a study (that's not cited or referenced) and then offering his opinion.

Summarizing the book: Choice is good;Too much choice is bad.Hmm... sounds like we could chart that on a bell curve.I'm sorry the author had such a difficult time buying blue jeans - but don't waste your time on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars We would be better off if many decisions were made for us
The first time I heard about "The Paradox of Choice" was while watching Michael Moore's documentary "Bowling for Columbine." Readers who keep up with these things would know that it was several years ago. Over the years, despite my best efforts to read the book, I failed. It's not a judgement on the quality of the book, but that the book was competing for my attention with other publications namely the works of Philip Roth, Graham Greene and articles from The Times, The Washingtonpost, The Journal, The New Yorker and National Affairs magazine. Now, after finally having read the book, I can say that this book was a revelation. Its premise is that having too many choices makes for an unsatisfactory life; the more choices the less satisfaction. The book introduces two categories of people maximizers and satisficers. Maximizers look for and accept only the best in whatever they buy and are willing to spend hours comparing all the available choices. Satisficers, on the hand, are happy with good enough. For example, to buy a pair of jeans satisficers may visit a few stores and make their selection. Mr. Schwartz tells us about "sunk costs" meaning accessories or clothing we don't wear, but don't throw out either because it would mean a loss. He asks when making a decision whether it's better to buy stock in a company and lose money or stay put and see the stock gain value. He tells us why many of us are risk averse and constantly compare ourselves to others. Other interesting topics in the book relate to regretting over decisions and dissatisfaction that "what ifs" cause. Skillfully, he enlightens us about benefits of tempering the impulse to get the best deal in a market flooded with options. He tells us in a competition why coming second feels worse than coming third or tenth and why failing an exam by a single point is much more disappointing than failing it by several points. Lastly, he explores the relationship between being a maximizer and depression and having fewer choices and happiness. The last chapter offers suggestions to people who have difficulty coping with ubiquitous choices. One of the simple suggestions he offers is being grateful for what one has and the things that are going right than ruing missed opportunities. Curiously, the older we get the more likely we're to be satisficers. It would be apt to sum up this book as low expectations and availability of fewer choices make for a happy life. ... Read more

2. The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, Book 6)
by Eoin Colfer
Hardcover: 432 Pages (2008-07-15)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$3.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001IWO87A
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Artemis's mother has contracted a deadly disease--and the only cure lies in the brain fluid of African lemurs. Unfortunately, Artemis himself was responsible for making the lemurs extinct five years ago. Now he must enlist the aid of his fairy friends to travel back in time and save them. Not only that, but he must face his deadliest foe yet...his younger self. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (115)

5-0 out of 5 stars funny
very humorous beginning not my favorite my favorite is probably the lost colony for various reasons but i love the beginning it is really funny when i am upset or cant sleep i pull out this book read the 1st chapter and burst out laughing no matter how upset i am or however many times I've done it. this is very funny and i know how hard it is to make a book funnyanother book that is hilarious is the true meaning of smekday by adam rex see my review on that too.

1-0 out of 5 stars Booo
This is.. Terrible. It lost the magic it used to have. Ha, i made a funny.

Anyway, bad book, the ones before it were clever and fun to read. This? Doesnt feel like there is much of any of what the other books had. Very very sad, the other books were good.

5-0 out of 5 stars series continues to be terrific
My grandson is the reader and has read the entire series and has even donated copies to his teacher

4-0 out of 5 stars Fast paced action
Really enjoyed another fast paced read in this series.Eoin Colfer does a great job creating layers of suspense for young readers

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a very fun book!
This is a fun book full of twists and turns and full of adventure. I highly recommend this book as well as all the other Artemis Fowl books in the series. ... Read more

3. The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life
by Philip Zimbardo, John Boyd
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-07-07)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$1.99
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Asin: 1416541993
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Your every significant choice-- every important decision you make -- is determined by a force operating deep inside your mind: your perspective on time -- your internal, personal time zone. This is the most influential force in your life, yet you are virtually unaware of it. Once you become aware of your personal time zone, you can begin to see and manage your life in exciting new ways.

In The Time Paradox, Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd draw on thirty years of pioneering research to reveal, for the first time, how your individual time perspective shapes your life and is shaped by the world around you. Further, they demonstrate that your and every other individual's time zones interact to create national cultures, economics, and personal destinies.

You will discover what time zone you live in through Drs. Zimbardo and Boyd's revolutionary tests. Ask yourself:

• Does the smell of fresh-baked cookies bring you back to your childhood?

• Do you believe that nothing will ever change in your world?

• Do you believe that the present encompasses all and the future and past are mere abstractions?

• Do you wear a watch, balance your checkbook, and make to-do lists -- every day?

• Do you believe that life on earth is merely preparation for life after death?

• Do you ruminate over failed relationships?

• Are you the life of every party -- always late, always laughing, and always broke?

These statements are representative of the seven most common ways people relate to time, each of which, in its extreme, creates benefits and pitfalls. The Time Paradox is a practical plan for optimizing your blend of time perspectives so you get the utmost out of every minute in your personal and professional life as well as a fascinating commentary about the power and paradoxes of time in the modern world.

No matter your time perspective, you experience these paradoxes. Only by understanding this new psychological science of time zones will you be able to overcome the mental biases that keep you too attached to the past, too focused on immediate gratification, or unhealthily obsessed with future goals. Time passes no matter what you do -- it's up to you to spend it wisely and enjoy it well. Here's how. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential perspective
The central concept to balance our perspective between past positive, present hedonistic and future, is essential to being healthy and happy.
Like the authors I've spent much of my life preparing for the future and need to let go of some of this and be more present now. As well as telling you how to change, the book brings a wealth of knowledge of current findings about psychology and personal development. It links Mindfulness meditation with mainstream psychology.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too much time required to learn about our attitudes toward Time
The authors argue that Time is the most valuable thing in the world since it is irreplacable. They provide an analysis of different kinds of people according to their orientation to Time. They provide tests by which the reader can assess themselves. I learned from the book the non- surprising information that future- oriented people tend to be more successful than past or present oriented people.
In general however I would agree with another reader who suggested that the book is too long, and too time- consuming for what it gives.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid Groundwork For A Fascinating New Subject
This is my first psychology book on the subject of time, so unfortunately, I have nothing to compare it to, in terms of subject matter.

Contrary to some of the other reviewers, I did not find it difficult to read this book. It felt extremely similar to all other psychology books I've read, (if anything, more simplistic than most) and don't think anyone well-read in non-fiction science books will have any problems getting through it in a relatively short amount of time.

However, I didn't particularly like the writing style of the authors. It felt very ''political'', in the sense that the authors seemed to be trying to convince their readers that, ''You need to be worried about this, and luckily, we have all the answers''. Quite frequently I felt that the authors were trying to qualify themselves, their knowledge, and their research, just in case the readers wouldn't automatically submit to their authority on the subject. I also think that it could have been shorter, and found myself scanning through & flat out ignoring some of the trivial content.

I also became slightly annoyed at the constant injections of their personal & religious beliefs and political opinions, as well as how stereotypical and black & white they were on categorizing how people think about time.

Maybe I'm just feeling some resentment because of how well I fit into a few of the categories :)

All of that being said, I am still fairly pleased with their knowledge of the subject. Just focusing on the subject of time seems to have many practical advantages, and I am glad that I read the book. If I was writing on this subject, I would have approached it a little differently, but I think this book lays solid groundwork for others to improve & expand upon, hopefully in a more detailed and scientific way.

I commend the authors for taking the time share their knowledge about this fascinating subject with us all.

2-0 out of 5 stars Would have benefited from a heavy-handed editor
While a lot of ground is covered, I find it reminiscent of a survey of cognitive psychology as it is taught in university classrooms.The discussion of hedonism is a central theme, and I found this to be insightful...for a few pages.In short, this book shares some good perspectives, but as a cohesive work, it fails to draw a reader in...and thus, the book is ultimately unremarkable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Phil Zimbardo is the current granddaddy of social psychology. I heard him speak at a conference and ever since then, wanted to get the book. It is very helpful in understanding my patients, my friends...and myself.

The copy I received was in excellent condition. ... Read more

4. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making, Revised Edition
by Deborah Stone
Paperback: 428 Pages (2001-07-20)
-- used & new: US$30.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393976254
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Since its debut, Policy Paradox has been widely acclaimed as the most accessible policy text available. Unlike most texts, which treat policy analysis and policy making as different enterprises, Policy Paradox demonstrates that "you can't take politics out of analysis." Through a uniquely rich and comprehensive model, this revised edition continues to show how real-world policy grows out of differing ideals, even definitions, of basic societal goals like security, equality, and liberty. The book also demonstrates how these ideals often conflict in policy implementation. In this revised edition, Stone has added a full-length case study as an appendix, taking up the issue of affirmative action. Clear, provocative, and engaging, Policy Paradox conveys the richness of public policy making and analysis. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Policy Paradox
This book was purchased for a required class toward my Master's degree in Higher Education Administration.And, although I did not have high expectations of reading enjoyment, I am finding Policy Paradox to be hugely informative, well-written, and very easy reading.Stone has understandable (sometimes comical) analogies which makes the book enjoyable to read.

I would recommend it to anyone in an academic administrative role.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very well thought-out book.
This is a splendid book for trying to understand the interaction between different parts of the policy-making process. The emphasis put on ideal types in most textbooks is certainly nice from the idealist perspective, but even if you could eliminate personal gain considerations from the agenda of most political entities, it would still say very little about the actual dynamics of decision formation/issue framing, etc., while this book does that in spades. I wouldn't go so far as to call Stone the Machiavelli of the 21rst century, but she's certainly trying for an empirical turn.
While I take issue with some of the normative statements/personal reflections she puts in the book (especially when it comes to the power/relevance of statistics, which she says she hopes will be of transient importance, and which just seems silly to me, as though she's confounding political uses of said things with actual uses they can be put to, given that people know how to interpret statements that contain 'facts'.. Although it does seem to be a feature of American politics that political people can safely choose to ignore any and all data in their considerations/deliberations without anyone reprimanding them for it; why everyone is allowed to invent his/her own truth is unclear to me, but it seems to me to come from some idiotic belief in 'relativism' and voter/media cynicism if anything. Anyway, continuing:) they're mostly minor quibbles that could easily be fixed in a new edition. On the whole I think this is a very useful book, though, especially for people who are hoping to gain some insight into the deliberative processes surrounding policy-making/setting. (Though it's probably not for people who can't look past the superficial shock value of the contents.)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you want to make policy...
I'm the director of the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) Program at University of Minnesota Duluth.Ours is a weekend program, aimed at young and not so young people who wish to learn how to change policy--in whatever direction they wish to see it changed.Policy Paradox is the first book our students study and it sets the tone for our program because it is both analytical and realistic.There's nothing else in the field quite like it.If you want your students to understand the reality of policy decision making, Policy Paradox is the book you want.If, on the other hand, you want them to learn how to build rational choice policy castles in the sky, you'll have to go elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I read this book for a course and loved it. I will read and enjoy it again as soon as I have free time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely interesting & valid - very stimulating reading
Very stimulating reading and very applicable in many kinds of negotiations &meetings, not just "policy making" as in government. Her thesis is the "most books" assume policy should be rational and analyze when it is not.She argues that policy is INTRINSICALLY a paradoxical, conflicting process where (to greatly simplify) some people see A and others see B and others see C no matter how much data and rationality are tossed about, and that is HER starting point for discussing "policy making."I found it very stimulating and see wide ranging applications in my work and even outside work for these ideas.It's a fairly long book and not to be skimmed so it defies easy summary. ... Read more

5. The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management
by Jerry B. Harvey
Paperback: 160 Pages (1988-08-23)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$9.10
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Asin: 0787902772
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Faulty decision-making can have dire consequences, and when it comes to group decisions, the challenges are even greater.Join Dr. Jerry B. Harvey as he clearly illustrates why no organization wants to find themselves goin' to Abilene.
See how group dynamics can keep individuals from stating their true beliefs for fear of isolation and separation, and how that often leads to mismanaged agreement.
You'll learn to recognize the warning signs of risky group dynamics and improve decision-making processes throughout your organization.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Hear

I'm sure the book is fine, but after hearing Jerry deliver this presentation in person, I think the written version has to lose a lot. He's great and his work is wonderful. If you can find an audio or video version (they do exist), the impact is so much greater. There was a time when I hired folks like Jerry to make presentations at big industry meetings. Few of them would be more entertaining or more insightful than Jerry.

5-0 out of 5 stars the abilene paradox and other medidations on management
It is an excellent and enlightening book with much food for thought and a precise account of reality in malfunctioning organizations. Also provides suggestions for improving organizations and helping them act in an ethical manner.

4-0 out of 5 stars A classic and a must read
With humor and "paradox" Professor Jerry Harvey does a great job in stimulating personal reflections about management. Among the several tales, see Management and the myth of Abraham ("every time a boss makes a stupid mistake, he sends his administrative assistant to try to rectify it"), my favorite Captain Ashok and the Concept of Grace ("Asoh told the truth, and we are starved for it") and Group Tyranny and the Gunsmoke Phenomenon (our behaviour is related to our fear of separation but we have a choice "when confronted with the possibility of group tyranny"). Enjoy your reading and start thinking.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Essays
These "Meditations" provide great thinking into how to be a more effective manager.As "Meditiations", this is not a how to cookbook on management, or checklist.There are no promises of improved customer service, or increased efficiency.Rather, by reading them, your thinking about management will improve.

Two examples on the meditations:
1 - The Abilene Paradox essay talks about a family vacation to Abilene.Nobody really wants to go there, but everyone thinks everyone else wants to go there, but is affraid to speak up.The lesson is self evident, but the story conveys it in a manner much more memorable than a directive to "Create an organization with open communication"
2 - The writings of Elliott Jaques.Harvey introduces the concept of the "Requisite Organization", an idea developed by Jaques.This highlights the imnportance of understanding complexity (as defined by the time horizon of projects one is capable of thinking of) and designing an organization where that is the key component to success.That's a deep thought in today's quarter-driven business.

Reading and pondering these meditations will make one a better manager and leader.But it isn't spoon feeding, it takes some thought as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful advice, coming and going
The Abilene Paradox... has been one of my favorite books for many years. Whenever I read it, I find something of value in it for whatever challenges I am facing in my work. Plus, it's just fun to read. The first essay (the actual Abilene Paradox) should be required reading for anyone who wonders why groups do stupid things. And the last essay (on teaching future managers to cheat) should be required reading for anyone who wonders how one simple change could make a huge difference in business education, making it more relevant and more solidly ethically based. Everything in between these two essays is worth, reading, too. ... Read more

6. The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance (LifeChange Books)
by Randy Alcorn
Hardcover: 96 Pages (2003-01-09)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$6.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00378L4R0
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Christians trying to model their lives after Jesus may find that He gets buried under lists, rules, and formulas. Now bestselling author Randy Alcorn offers a simple two-point checklist for Christlikeness based on John 1:14. The test consists of balancing grace and truth, equally and unapologetically. Grace without truth deceives people, and ceases to be grace. Truth without grace crushes people, and ceases to be truth. Alcorn shows the reader how to show the world Jesus -- offering grace instead of the world's apathy and tolerance, offering truth instead of the world's relativism and deception. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent little grace-filled book
Randy Alcorn's book, The Grace and Truth Paradox is an excellent book. It is based on John's statement in John 1:14 that Jesus was "full of grace and truth". Some churches (and Christians) today emphasize grace over truth while others do just the opposite. Christ did neither. He was full of grace and truth.

The book is small (92 pages). Yet it has a big message.Maybe that's why it's part of Multnomah's "Small Books, Big Change" series!While it is very easy to read, some of its principles are potentially life-changing, and merit thoughtful contemplation. To that end, I will finish out this review by providing some quotes from the book itself, and let Randy do the talking.

"A grace-starved, truth-starved world needs Jesus, full of grace and truth. (p. 14)"

"Some churches today embrace truth but need a heavy dose of grace. Other churches talk about grace but cry out for a heavy dose of truth. (p.15)"

"Truth-oriented Christians love studying Scripture and theology. But sometimes they're quick to judge and slow to forgive. They're strong on truth, weak on grace."

"Grace-oriented Christians love forgiveness and freedom. But sometimes they neglect Bible study and see moral standards as "legalism." They're strong on grace, weak on truth."

"Countless mistakes in marriage, parenting, ministry, and other relationships are failures to balance grace and truth. Sometimes we neglect both. Often we choose one over the other. (p. 17)"

"Why should we have to choose between conservatism's emphasis on truth and liberalism's emphasis on grace? Why can't we oppose injustice to minorities and to the unborn? Why can't we oppose greedy ruination of the environment and anti-industry New Age environmentalism? Why can't we affirm the biblical right to the ownership of property and emphasize God's call to voluntarily share wealth with the needy? Why can't we uphold God's condemnation of sexual immorality, including homosexual practices, and reach out in love and compassion to those trapped in destructive lifestyles and dying from AIDS?"

"We cannot do these things if we are first and foremost either liberals or conservatives. We can do these things only if we are first and foremost followers of Christ, who is full of grace and truth. (p. 80-81)"

"If we minimize grace, the world sees no hope for salvation. If we minimize truth, the world sees no need for salvation. To show the world Jesus, we must offer unabridged grace and truth, emphasizing both, apologizing for neither. The Colossian church "understood God's grace in all its truth" (Colossians 1:6)"

"Truth is quick to post warning signs and guardrails at the top of the cliff. Yet it fails to empower people to drive safely-and neglects to help them when they crash."

"Grace is quick to post ambulances and paramedics at the bottom of the cliff. But without truth, it fails to post warning signs and build guardrails. In so doing, it encourages the very self-destruction it attempts to heal. (p. 87-88)"

"Grace and truth are both necessary. Neither is sufficient....We who are truth-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm grace. We who are grace-oriented need to go out of our way to affirm truth. "Hate the sin, but love the sinner." No one did either like Jesus. Truth hates sin. Grace loves sinners. Those full of grace and truth do both. (p. 88)"

"In Jesus, "mercy and truth have met together" (Psalm 85:10, NKJV). Grace and truth met face to face on the Cross. (p. 92)"

5-0 out of 5 stars The Necessity of Balancing Grace and Truth
This is an amazing little book that is packed with insight. Grace without truth is lawlessness; truth without grace is legalism. Jesus Christ perfectly embodies both aspects and we are commanded to do likewise by the power of his Holy Spirit. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!

5-0 out of 5 stars Another Winner From Pastor Alcorn
I read The Grace and Truth Paradox at the end of 2004, but I chose to pick it up again due to a Changes That Heal study that my wife and I were a part of. This little book will take you maybe 1 1/2 hours to read and has lots of little stories with powerful messages behind them. I really like the book and give it an A+. Here is a memorable quote, "It's not about earrings, tattoos, clothing, drinking wine, or smoking cigars. It's about justice, righteousness, love, and mercy.It's about grace and truth." I like that line. I also want to recommend Alcorn's Heaven book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly reccommend!
Quick read but has the potential to change your life if you let it.Wonderful, wonderful book!Very helpful and encouraging on Biblical ways to handle the way we approach issues.Loved this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Grace and Truth
Such an awesome book! It will change how you view people. You will see them how Christ sees them. Everyone should read it. ... Read more

7. Paradoxes of Catholicism
by Robert Hugh Benson
Paperback: 198 Pages (2010-08-20)
list price: US$23.75 -- used & new: US$17.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1177540967
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of sermons
This is the first (and as of yet, only) book by Benson that I have read.Benson seems to write in a manner similar of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.Paradoxes of Catholicism is one of the best books I have ever read.Not exactly an easy read but I think as easy to read as the subject matter allows.Benson's defense of Catholicism against those who attack the Church from the angle of both extremes (i.e. to Meek AND to Violent) is swift and complete.His answer for the many paradoxes found within Catholicism is the complete Divinity and Humanity of Jesus Christ.From this basis he explains how the Church can be both Wealthy and Poor, Joyful and Sorrowful, Meek and Violent, etc.I highly recommend this book not just for Catholics but for those questioning the Church.Benson offers insightful and concise answers to many valid questions that are often asked of the Catholic Church. ... Read more

8. The Adversity Paradox: An Unconventional Guide to Achieving Uncommon Business Success
by J. Barry Griswell, Bob Jennings
Paperback: 272 Pages (2010-06-08)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312598793
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Obstacles and setbacks are an inevitable part of life, especially in today’s harsh and volatile economy. How can you take the very experiences that could stall or tumble a career and use them to build uncommon success?

Business people like Pete Dawkins, Harvey Mackay, Doris Christopher, and Walter Scott Jr. know that the answer to this question lies in firsthand knowledge of “The Adversity Paradox”: working to overcome humble beginnings, lack of knowledge, unexpected setbacks, or any manner of misfortune can be the foundational step in a path to incredible achievement. 

While many motivational business books promise easy access to prosperity and power by way of secret insight, quick and easy steps, or “insider tips” that are dubious at best, this book tells it straight. It offers candid accounts from those who have been tested by adversity and illustrates how they have put their misfortunes to good use by gaining business savvy from them. 

The paths to success are diverse, but The Adversity Paradox identifies patterns that anyone can study and learn from.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Overcoming unpromising situations
A great book which gives hints on how to overcome unpromising situations and succeed in business, using the life stories of the authors as real life examples. Griswell and Jennings' rules includebeing more introspective,consider values,the "and then some" approach to doing more, identifying what they want and seeking it with passion and developing a desire for knowledge

Clearly laid out and accessibly written, this book is full of good advice .

4-0 out of 5 stars Success through hard work.
The author believes that overcoming adversities in life makes people stronger. Therefore he is advocating to face adversities face on with having in mind to learn from them.Learning from adversities and therefore benefiting from them is The Adversity Paradox".

The author continues to mention five components, on which business leaders, who have benefited from the adversity paradox, build their success upon:

1. Values (Be with integrity.)
2. Introspection (Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Have different advisors/mentors who help you in this matter.)
3. Work Ethic (Work hard; give always the little extra instead of working just enough to get by. If you work only sometimes hard, it does not make a big difference, but if you do it always, if you make it your habit, it will make a huge difference in your life. Only then you will reach your full potential.)
4. Purpose & Passion (To be motivated for working hard you have to find your purpose so that you can work with passion.)
5. Thirst for Knowledge (Continue to learn everyday.)

Those points are not really new, but it is refreshing to read a book, which does not tell you that success is about believing in it or in yourself, but that success is about hard work.

It surely does make sense: 1. Integrity is a must for everybody who wants to lead people. 2. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is a must for utilizing and improving your skills effectively. 3. Working hard is a must for most of us if we want to be better than our peers. 4. Without Passion we would not be able to encourage us and our team to excel continuously. 5. In the fast moving business life of today, we would out of date quickly if we stopped learning.

I like the book because it gives reasonable guidelines about how to approach our career and adversities. I subtract one star because there is no light-bulb-moment.

4-0 out of 5 stars How to Turn Adversity on It's Head and Achieve Extraordinary Success
Authors J. Barry Griswell and Bob Jennings set out in "The Adversity Paradox" to uncover the source of business savvy, an underlying and critical attribute of extraordinary success. They found that success and fortune were not an accident of luck. Rather, it was about adversity - embracing it then overcoming it - that played a crucial role in establishing a success trajectory that was extraordinary. Adversity can be your teacher and your friend. When approached with this attitude, you will emerge stronger, smarter, and savvier.

"Paradox" is filled with stories of business leaders -including the personal stories of Griswell and Jennings - who have overcome all manner of adversity and applied their experiences to create the business savvy to attain unmatched levels of success. They turned failure on its head and built successful careers and personal lives upon the very experiences most people work to avoid.

Griswell and Jennings include sections on how adversity transformed leading people 1) to be more introspective, 2) to become values-based, 3) to work with "and then some" attitude, 4) to identify their purpose and seek it with passion, and 5) and to develop an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. These are foundational attributes which lead to extraordinary success.

Adversity, large and small, is always lurking and it happens. Last year, 2008, millions came face-to-face with adversity due to the catastrophic global, economic meltdown. Those caught up in this mess will find "The Adversity Paradox" a hopeful book...but only if they can make adversity a friend. Severe setbacks have a way of "making us take stock of our careers and our lives - our progress towards dreams and goals, our strengths and weaknesses, our motivation, and our daily work habits which can often reveal inner resources and abilities we wouldn't have otherwise known we possessed."

We have a choice when faced with adversity and with the right choice, we will find ourselves in one of the most powerful and transformative situations life has to offer. This is a very good book for the times.

4-0 out of 5 stars A nice group of business stories
If you like reading stories about successful business people, you'll love this book. Written in easy conversational style, it's a good choice for a long plane ride or rainy afternoon.

The authors have an excellent premise. Many business leaders have overcome adversity to arrive where they are today. But the authors define adversity quite broadly. After all, just about everyone experiences some negativity.The takeaways and lessons are very broad and not really new. Working hard, visualizing and find your purpose and passion.

Therefore, I gave the book four stars primarily because the content doesn't fill the promise implied by the title. The book doesn't get into what constitutes adversity and why adversity seems to spur some business leaders to success, yet drive others into more adversity. Being born in difficult circumstances seems to create a different set of challenges than business reversals or career derailment. The chapter on values doesn't even talk about adversity, although it's got some interesting insights.

I'm a little puzzled by the Appendix, a "database of business-savvy leaders." Not all these leaders overcame adversity; Bill Gates grew up in a very supportive family and in many ways was in the right place at the right time. Martha Stewart grew an empire from humble beginnings, yet her name is missing.

5-0 out of 5 stars In the face of my own adversity paradox...
I met Barry on an airport shuttle bus in April 2009.My wife and I where headed to a company sponsored getaway at the time.Meeting people is almost second nature to me.The basic ideas of the book ring true like Christchurch bells in Dublin.I have taken to heart the ideas of leadership and self improvement.The real life examples are fantastic and really drive home the ideas presented in the book.I look forward to the life successes that come from the tools and examples presented in this book.Thank you Barry.

M Fuller ... Read more

9. The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help
by Jackson Katz
Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-04-16)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$13.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1402204019
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Praise for The Macho Paradox

"An honest, intellectually rigorous and insightful work that challenges readers to truly engage in a political discourse that can change lives, communities and nations."

--Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

"Jackson Katz is an American hero! With integrity and courage, he has taken his message--that the epidemic of violence against women is a men's issue--into athletic terms, the military and frat houses across the country. His book explains carefully and convincingly why--and how--men can become part of the solution, and work with women to build a world in which everyone is safer."

--Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America, spokesperson, National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)

"If only men would read Katz's book, it could serve as a potent form of male consciousness-raising."

--Publishers Weekly

"This book leaves no man behind when it comes to taking violence against women personally....After reading this book you can see how important it is to be a stand-up guy and not a standy-by guy, no matter what race or culture you come from."

--Alfred L. McMichael, 14th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps and now serving as the Sergeant Major of NATO

"A candid look at the cultural factors that lend themselves to tolerance of abuse and violence against women."


"These pages will empower both men and women to end the scourge of male violence and abuse. Katz knows how to cut to the core of the issues, demonstrating undeniably that stopping the degradation of women should be every man's priority."

--Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Taking Responsibility
Dr. katz did an amazing job with his book "The Macho Paradox". It goes into great depths about how all men (even the self-proclaimed "good guys") can help the fight against sexism, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. I liked that it was written from a male perspective, geared toward male readers, it really helps us as men identify with the issue much better on a level that we can relate to. It's not a book about guilt, it's a book about responsibility. And I would highly recommend it to anyone with a heart for women.

5-0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC
I wish that every male was required to read this in high school or college. It would really change the current way men view their masculinity. It teaches men all the important lessons that they need to know in life with dealing with themselves and their insecurities as well as women. Terrific book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Macho Paradox
I've heard so many good things about this book. I am only on the second chapter and I already love it. It has soooo much knowledge in there. I would definitly recommend it.

2-0 out of 5 stars What a tragedy
I didn't read the whole book, but enough. Katz wants to alert men to a very real problem. The book's not a total loss: thanks to him, I remembered all of the women I've known who've been reasonably afraid to go out without an escort. But the tragedy here isn't just the violence--it's also that Katz is the wrong messenger. If the intended audience is feminist women, great. If the intended audience is men, he might as well be speaking Swahili.

If you got the right messenger, real change could happen. It's part of our masculine culture to protect women from predators. Just remember all of the westerns where any bad guy who takes advantage of a woman gets strung up quickly.Appeal to men in such a way that they feel respected, valued, and needed, and they'll respond strongly.

But feminists like this guy don't respect men, and it shows. You'd have to translate what he said before it appealed to its intended audience. Can you imagine John Wayne saying, "Pardner, I've learned not to objectify women, and here's why."?Not!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
This was a wonderful read and I would recommend everyone read it, especially men who are for the fight against violence against women. ... Read more

10. The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life
by Parker J. Palmer
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2008-04-18)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.94
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Asin: 0787996963
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1980—and reissued here with a feisty new introductory essay—The Promise of Paradox launched Parker J. Palmer’s career as an author and his ongoing exploration of the contradictions that vex and enrich our lives. In this probing and heartfelt book, the distinguished writer, teacher, and activist examines some of the challenging questions at the core of Christian spirituality. How do we live with the apparent opposition between good and evil, scarcity and abundance, individuality and community, death and new life? We can hold them as paradoxes, not “either/ors,” allowing them to open our minds and hearts to new ways of seeing and being. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Reforming prayer and education
By Parker Palmer (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008)

Reviewed by Darren Cronshaw

I enjoy a book, like The Promise of Paradox, that raises as many questions as answers. Rather than explaining away dilemmas of faith and complexities of life, Palmer embraces the mystery and reality of paradoxes. When prayer feels like a chore, a shopping list, or when it seems to bounce off the ceiling, I appreciate an approach that encourages prayer as a way of life. He challenges me to consider how open am I to deeply listening to God in the midst of struggles. Palmer most interestingly explores how we can be open to God through community, education and prayer.

With his wife Sally, early in his teaching career Palmer taught for a decade at Pendle Hill, a living-learning community near Philadelphia. They sought an experiment in interdependence and community life, and discovered a parallel need for boundaries and solitude. Palmer pleads for an approach to community not just for the benefit of personal nurture but for promoting economic and political justice in a society of competitive individualism. He asks, "How can I participate in a fairer distribution of resources unless I live in a community that makes it possible to consume less? ... How can I learn to share power unless I live in a community where hierarchy is unnatural?" (p.65) Shrinking world resources may push us more in the community-sharing directions which Palmer encourages, and which he himself gave up a large salary and successful career to find.

His appeal for reform in education is also still timely today. He urges collaborative learning rather than breeding exam-based competition, and celebrating diverse expressions of intelligence rather than focusing just on intellectual capacity. He appeals to teachers to be learners and to help students to engage with big questions: "as teachers, we must not only make room for the Spirit to move within us but also cultivate learning situations that will help students open up to that movement" (p.133).

Finally, his words on prayer are life-giving. Palmer draws on the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, a kind of patron saint of social activists, who appeals for an integration of spirituality with the struggles and mess of life. Palmer realises spiritual life is not orderly and pristine and suggests adding a new prayer to the well-known short list of "Thanks!" and "Help!", adding the simple "Bless this mess!" Prayer for Palmer is not special pleading for a scarce resource before someone else gets it, as if our identity depends on what we have. True prayer will help release us from the idolatry of such illusions and instead experience the fullness of God: `a life that returns constantly to that silent, solitary place within us where we encounter God and life's abundance becomes manifest' (p.114).

"This book is important not because it is written by a good scholar, but because it is written by a scholar who dared to wonder if his scholarship really led him to the truth. It is important not because it is written by a man who knows more than most people about the dynamics of community life, but because it is written by a man who gave up a large salary and moved away from a successful career to find community. It is important not because it is written by a man who has been a consultant to many on educational matters, but because it is written by a man who kept wondering if his own education didn't do him more harm than good and who gave much of his energy to a form of education not dominated by grades and degrees. It is important not because it is written by a man who knows the Bible well, but because it is written by a man who dared to let the Bible make radical claims on his own life and the lives of those he loves." (Henri Nouwen, "Introduction to the 1980 edition", p.x-xi)

Originally reviewd in Witness: The Voice of Victorian Baptists, Vol. 143, No. 8 (September 2008), p.21.

5-0 out of 5 stars For those who've given up on the word "Christian" but wish they didn't have to
It is unfortunate what's happened to the word Christian. Frothing nutcases have usurped it in the name of intolerance and bad theology. And, oh yeah, that whole inquisition thing too, and all those wars. Things humans seem to fall into. But if you have a sense that at its core, the term Christian could actually mean something very significant, that it can connote a very deep and liberating approach to life, read this book. As a meditation on the ideas of the contemplative monk and writer Thomas Merton, as well as poet R.M. Rilke, and his own original insights into paradox, community, and education, Parker Palmer brings it together in a synthesis that is not only profound, but perhaps even more timely now than it was when he first wrote it in 1980. There's a reason the publishers decided to re-release this book right now. Read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Truth is complicated
If you are ready for a book that takes you where truth lives in the area between positions which seem to be opposites, not as an average or middle ground, but in the living tension, buy this book fast.It is amazing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful perspective on the Christian faith
It is a joy to re-read this book after experiencing Palmer's journey through the years. I found the book to be just as engaging today as it was when it was first written. I found the new preface to be one of the best articulations of an authentic and well lived faith that I have ever read. He honors not only his faith, but the faith of all traditions, by demanding that it speak beyond the confines of religious communities and our "inside" language. His work for years, and now his faithful words, embody what the Christian faith has known as "incarnational" theology - the word made flesh. I appreciate this wonderful contribution to the ongoing conversation between faith and the public square.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Promise of Paradox - a faith-filled promise
The Promise of Paradox by Parker Palmer is a refreshing view of the traditional values and beliefs of Christian faith written 30 years ago and now in reprint. He writes his own introduction explaining the various changes in both his language and thought over the 30 year period. Henri Nouwen wrote the first introduction which is also included.
To live a faith in honest integrity one needs to come to grips with the ambiquity in life or the"belly of paradox" as he often refers.The spirit moves in ways that are often not of conventional wisdom and it is the holding of the tension between seeming polarities where the spirit grows, ripens, and truly connects with God. His message is one of unitive thinking rather than dualistic thinking and Parker Palmer lifts the reader to new dimensions and challenges with his message of love and compassion for all living creatures while embracing their diversity.A book for all faiths and all spiritual paths that leads one into greater connection with self and the God within. ... Read more

11. Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises
by Terrence E. Deal, Kent D. Peterson
Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-03-03)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$18.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787996793
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A Guide for Shaping Your School's Culture

In this thoroughly revised and updated edition of their classic book, Shaping School Culture, Terrence Deal and Kent Peterson address the latest thinking on organizational culture and change and offer new ideas and strategies on how stories, rituals, traditions, and other cultural practices can be used to create positive, caring, and purposeful schools. This new edition gives expanded attention to the important symbolic roles of school leaders, including practical suggestions on how leaders can balance cultural goals and values against accountability demands, and features new and powerful case examples throughout.Most important, the authors show how school leaders can transform negative and toxic cultures so that trust, commitment, and sense of unity can prevail.

Praise for Shaping School Culture

"For those seeking enduring change that is measured in generations rather than months, and to create a legacy rather than a headline, then Shaping School Culture is your guide."
—Dr. Douglas B. Reeves, founder, The Leadership and Learning Center, Englewood, CO

"Deal and Peterson combine exquisite language, vibrant stories, and sage advice to support school leaders in embracing the paradoxical nature of their work. A 'must read' for all school leaders."
—Pam Robbins, educational consultant and author

"Once again, the authors have presented practitioners, researchers, professional developers, school coaches, and others with a tremendous resource for renovating and reinvigorating schools."
—Karen M. Dyer, Ed.D., group director, Education and Nonprofit Sector Office, Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC ... Read more

12. The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap
by Susan Pinker
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-08-18)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$1.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743284712
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Susan Pinker, psychologist and award-winning columnist, has written a groundbreaking and controversial book that reveals why learning and behavioral gaps between boys and girls in the classroom are reversed in the workplace.

Pinker examines how fundamental sex differences play out over the life span. By comparing fragile boys who succeed later with high-achieving women who opt out or plateau in their careers, Pinker turns several assumptions upside down: that women and men are biologically equivalent, that intelligence is all it takes to succeed, and that women are just versions of men, with identical interests and goals. In lively prose, Pinker guides readers through the latest findings in neuroscience and economics while addressing these questions: Are males the more fragile sex? What do men with Asperger syndrome or dyslexia tell us about more average men? Which sex is the happiest at work? Why do some male college dropouts earn more than the bright girls who sat beside them in third grade? After three decades of women's educational coups, why do men outnumber women in corporate law, engineering, physical science, and politics? The answers to these questions are the opposite of what we expect.

A provocative examination of how and why learning and behavioral gaps in the nursery are reversed in the boardroom, this illuminating book reveals how sex differences influence career choices and ambition. Through the stories of real men and women, science, and examples from popular culture, Susan Pinker takes a new look at the differences between women and men. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book and a needed corrective!
This is an extraordinary book, engagingly written, well argued, and well documented with a mass of research, especially from neuroscience.Pinker argues for an understanding of the gender gap in work, life choices, and pay between men and women that takes account of the real biological differences between the sexes.It is a mistake in her view to expect or aim for a 50-50 representation of the sexes in fields like IT, engineering, science, or corporate law or, for that matter social work and teaching.

She focuses on highly successful women who thrived in school and had every encouragement from teachers, parents, professors, and mentors and yet chose more balanced, socially and personally meaningful lives than the high-paying, high prestige careers on which they first embarked.They asserted their own wishes and needs in the face of strong social pressure and strong incentives to follow a male pattern of career success.Pinker also interviews men at the extreme end of the male brain pattern, that is, those with Asperger's, lacking in social skills, incapable of empathy or intimate friendship, who found niches where their intense focus was an advantage and their social deficits could be accommodated.

This seemed at first a puzzling strategy.Why study only successful women who have choices that most women do not?The point, though, is that when women do have a choice, they do not choose (on average) to devote themselves to their careers at the expense of family, to high pay and competitive jobs at the expense of social purpose and meaning.The gender gap is smallest where women have few choices, in countries where they are pushed into careers because of perceived needs of the economy (Zimbabwe, India) and greatest where women are most protected by labor laws and have most choices--such as Finland, the Netherlands, or Germany.

It makes sense, then, to study women's actual preferences--what they choose when they have a choice.In this sense, Pinker's book supports the argument of Neil Gilbert's A Mother's Work: How Feminism, the Market, and Policy Shape Family Life, which points out how "family-friendly" policies reinforce the economic pressures of the market and the social pressures of feminism to subordinate family to work, and women to the male model.Both authors argue for giving more weight to what women actually want rather than what others think they should want.Attempts to reduce career and (consequently pay) differences to gender discrimination belittle or invalidate the choices women who have choices make about their own lives.No wonder Pinker's book has been greeted with relief and enthusiasm by many women throughout the world.

What about men?Pinker notes in her Epilogue that half the book is about men, but few men reviewed it and the discussion the book elicited worldwide was all about women.Pinker's discussion points to the tendency of men to extremes of success and failure, their fragility, their falling behind girls and women at every educational level, their increased risk of premature birth (and death), disability, school failure, violence, and suicide.As she says, the real gender gap and the nature of the sexes and relations between them cannot be reduced to a war between the sexes and to formal and informal discrimination. Men are not "all the same."

Discrimination and socialization limited the opportunities and life choices for girls and women, and still do in many countries.The paradox, however, is that the more these factors are reduced or eliminated, the bigger the gender gap becomes, in personality as well as pay.In her epilogue, Pinker quotes with approval NYT's science correspondent's summary of a 2008 study of the personalities of 40,000 men and women on six continents: "A husband and stay-at-home wife in a patriarchal Botswanan clan seem to be more alike than a working couple in Denmark or France. The more Venus and Mars have equal rights and similar jobs, the more their personalities seem to diverge."

As a professor socialized in the 1960s and 1970s to believe that all gender differences were results of socialization and discrimination, that there were no "essential" differences other than anatomical, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.That old view was never tenable, but it persists, often unspoken but also unchallenged, in academia, to the detriment of many lives and of good policy.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not exactly scientific as claimed
This is one of those books touting much research and assembling it in arguments that don't really hold up.Generalizations from the studies she cites so abundantly don't necessarily support the argument she presents and are woven into wooly conclusions very different from the intent of the study cited.Some arguments are apologist for boy's earlier problematic behavior that the author later uses as very qualities she argues make women different from these boys, now grown into men.The author looks at boys so much from a nature point of view, she misses how much nurture is at play in the behavior of boys, especially in contrast to girls.Until the author adds an honest look at how boys are raised differently, treated differently from day one, there can be no informed discussion of how differences both innate and encouraged play out in the workforce 25 or more years in the future.I applaud the author's taking up of the question, but it's only half of the answer.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good points, but I am unconvinced
This book is written well and the author has put in the due effort to try to make the case that women, because of biological differences, may not be interested in the rat race after all. But I think the author fails to consider the effect of the American culture on the way Americans, both men and women,think about women. This is a huge blind spot and if the author were to consider the cultural influences I believe she would have arrived at a different conclusion - i.e. women opt out not because they are wired differently, but because our society has a dim view of their abilities. This may surprise those Americans who have never experienced cultures other than their own. Unless one steps out of this culture one may never know that there is such a blind spot. We have been fed the Kool-Aid that an American woman suffers no discrimination and that she is on the best place on Earth for a women.God forbid she could have been in Saudi Arabia or in Ethiopia where we all know how women are treated...Right?. But do we really know?

I have been in this country for over a decade and what I have found is that even though we have the right laws on the books and these laws do have teeth, what is missing is the right view about a woman. So even though we may not break any laws, the overwhelming message that a woman gets in this society is that her primary function in life is to titillate men, anything else that she does is abnormal. So even when women do achieve success here, they seem to feel guilty about it and go overboard to prove to this society that they have the `balls'. Why do you think a Hillary Clinton or a Carly Fiorina has to strut around in a pant suit even when they fought and wonas equals in a man's world? Have any of you watched the shows on TV? Even in shows with supposedly dominant female roles, the roles are played by women who are curvy and sexy and whose primary function is to titillate, whether they play a lawyer or a doctor or a CEO is secondary. If the primary function to titillate is not served, then of course the ratings go down the toilet and there goes the show.Can any of you imagine a show like `Friends' running for as long as it did without the sexy women in it? Would you have still enjoyed the show if the roles were played by women who looked more like a normal women - women who looked like your neighbor or your sister or your daughter or your mother? I discontinued cable when my daughter was 5 and she started watching the shows dished out on Disney. Have you seen shows like the `Cheetah Girls' or the `Hannah Montana show'? What kind of message do you think these shows send to impressionable 5 years olds? - that the primary function of a girl is to look good and titillate?, get the best looking boy before someone else does?. Knowing the kind of overt and subliminal messages that a female is exposed to in this country, it no longer surprises me when I read about barely teen girls to older women being obsessed with augmenting their breasts, or plumping their lips or botoxing their faces to capture the perfect deer-in-the-headlight expression. It is so hard to live like a real women here. Women shun success here not because of their biology but because of the way expectations are set for them by the American culture.

Even third world countries have a better view of their women. Really it is true. Take a country like India. Sure there are a lot of cases where women are abused. But the country has a lot of poor people. Most of the abuse cases are driven by poverty and most of the exploited are the women who are poor. But if you look at the middle class in India (a number equal to the entire population of the US), you will find a much healthier view of women. Women are viewed as strong and nurturing and equal in capacity tomen. When you look and read about the women who wield power there you will find women who are not only as ambitious and as power-grabbing as men, but you will find women who are perfectly comfortable with their femininity and who do not feel like impostorsand who do not feel they have to apologize for their success. Please go and read up on the lives of Indira Gandhi or Jayalalitha or Mayawati or Sonia Gandhi (to cite a few) and you will see my point.

The author certainly has a lot of talent and coherently presents her argument. However she is blindsided by the culture here. I hope she uses her intellect and talent to write a book on the pernicious influence of our culture on women, perhaps compare it with other cultures.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Well-Written Gender Analysis
Susan Pinker has done an excellent job of marshaling the academic and medical evidence related to educational and career performance by women and men.The thesis of "The Sexual Paradox" is simple: biology profoundly influences destiny, in the workplace as well as elsewhere, and workforce policy should be cognizant of these differences.

The data collected by Pinker suggests that women (as a group) tend to be steadier performers in life and in the workplace, to hew slightly more to population medians, and to be more profoundly influenced by the needs of family and community.Men (as a group) are slightly more likely to deviate from the averages at work or in life, either for good (as star performers) or for ill (evidencing, for example, more violent or criminal behaviors), and are likely to be more influenced than are women by competitive outcomes, such as salary or status.The result, according to Pinker, is that women (as a group) are, on balance, less likely than male peers to reach the top of the career pyramid, and are more likely to value jobs that stress interpersonal connections, doing good in society, and permitting the worker to achieve a balance between home and professional responsibilities.Males, on the other hand, are more likely to be highly competitive and motivated by the prospect of maximizing earnings and status, thus propelling the most gifted up the career ladder.

Pinker bolsters her thesis with cases from her career as a developmental psychologist and interviews with male and female subjects.These cases and interviews tend to be with gifted women who have successfully entered the workforce and successful male professionals who evidence some of the traits associated with testosterone-related deviation from averages, such as Asperger's syndrome and ADHD.Her findings suggest that many gifted women voluntarily reduce their career commitments to spend additional time with family or achieve work-life balance, while the "extreme" males tend to find and pursue avidly careers that are compatible with their underlying disorders. (Examples: Males with Asperger's often seek careers in information technology or systems analysis.Males with ADHD frequently become entrepreneurs who use their need for novelty to fuel new product ideas.)

Don't stamp Pinker, though, as a proponent of the view "biology is destiny, so women shouldn't be at work."Pinker champions women entering the workforce, and suggests that business policies be revised to accommodate female workforce participation with increased use of flex-time, job-sharing, or job tracks that recognize that many women wish to take time off to fulfill family responsibilities.Her prescriptions are sensible and deserve strong consideration.

As well, Pinker stresses that her book speaks to large populations-- she recognizes that individual women and men can deviate substantially from generalized gender profiles.

Is "The Sexual Paradox" airtight?I'd say not-- the only aspect of gender discrimination that is discussed meaningfully is that of female managers blocking the advancement of female colleagues in order to protect their own turf.This is an important topic that warrants examination, but I doubt that it is the sum total of the obstacles that many women have found at work.As well, Pinker's case studies of women focus substantially on gifted women with husbands, advanced degrees and high salaries who have reduced their work commitments to enhance work-family balance.It would be interesting to see if successful women who are single parents or who do not have advanced degrees or extremely high salaries also reduce their work commitments on behalf of attaining work-life balance.Finally, it would be helpful if Pinker examined some gifted women who had not been successful at work, to see if factors other than voluntary reduction in work commitments to satisfy family requirements affected women's career trajectories.

Despite these reservations, "The Sexual Paradox" is an excellent book that highlights the biological underpinnings of job preferences and workforce tenure.Pinker has written a persuasive, well-researched and entertaining book that is an eminently worthwhile read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating information and a great read!
I loved this book! Pinker presents fascinating information in a way that is very engaging and keeps you wanting to read more. As a professional working woman and mother of two sons, I discovered aspects of myself and the men in my life on every page. Pinker's book has opened my mind to a new way of looking at gender, the choices we make and how we feel about them every day. I'm sending copies to all the women I love!

... Read more

13. The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older
by Elkhonon Goldberg
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-02-16)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$9.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000NO1CRI
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In THE WISDOM PARADOX, world-renowned neuropsychologist Elkhonon Goldberg argues that although some mental abilities (such as recent-memory recall) decline as the mind enters the autumn season of our lifespan and we increasingly experience 'senior moments', the brain actually becomes more powerful in its ability to recognize patterns. As a result, we are able to make decisions at more intuitive and effective levels -- a late-emerging mental strength he terms 'wisdom'. In lively, accessible prose, Goldberg delves into the mechanisms of the mind, outlining how the elegant structures of the brain develop and change over the course of a lifetime. Drawing on recent and historical examples of leaders and artists who achieved their greatest successes late in life -- from Goethe to Ronald Reagan -- Goldberg illustrates the effects of an emerging scientific understanding of the biology of wisdom. Most provocatively, he outlines how a 'cognitive fitness' programme can both curtail the negative mental effects of ageing and enhance our decision-making powers.Insightful and inspiring, THE WISDOM PARADOX is a groundbreaking look into our mental machinery that will change the way you think about ageing -- and about thinking. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Strong novel with a weak finish
Dr. Goldberg's book The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As You Grow Older is ostensibly a novel about the acquisition of wisdom through aging and life experiences. After reading through it, however, I feel that this book is as much an autobiography and a lesson in introductory neuroscience as it is about its stated topic. This is by no means a critique of Dr. Goldberg's writing style; on the contrary, I found his anecdotes made the book more engaging and his asides helped clarify many of his points by providing a scientific backdrop by which to judge them.

Dr. Goldberg's stated purpose, and a sizable portion of the book, is to elucidate what enables the elderly to quickly and effectively carry out tasks in spite of the neurodegeneration that should be robbing them of the analytical reasoning skills necessary to function at the level necessary to carry out complex assignments in difficult jobs. Goldberg explains that he believes neural development occurs in three distinct phases which he compares to the seasons of Spring, Summer, and Fall. These seasons correspond to development, maturity, and aging. Development is "when the main cognitive abilities and skills are formed." This "season" begins at gestation when neurons begin to form and continues through adulthood until the brain's neural structure begins to stabilize. This marks the beginning of "the season of maturity." This is the stage of neural development that the most research has been done on and the stage with which most people are familiar. The season of maturity is when people begin to shift their focus from acquiring knowledge towards applying what they have learned for practical purposes. The final stage of neural development is what Goldberg refers to as "the season of aging." In this stage the brain begins to atrophy, losing about 2% of its size per decade. Goldberg questions, and encourages us to question, both what enables elderly adults to continue to function and tackle difficult undertakings that could have disastrous consequences if mishandled. He points out many interesting examples of people, including many historical figures such as Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, who were clearly no longerable to carry out their stately duties towards the ends of their terms. He clarifies this passage by noting that mental decline is a slow, arduous process. The condition that many of these leaders were in at the time they left office indicates that their mental faculties must have been declining for quite some time while they were still functioning as heads of state; in spite of this, these leaders were still able to make appropriate enough decisions to remain in power. He also provide cases of many people, such as Golda Meir and Alan Greenspan, who, while not outstanding in any way in their youth, ended up accomplishing many extraordinary feats in old age. The explanation he gives for these cases is the existence of a phenomena that people have described throughout history: wisdom. The idea of wisdom does in fact have an actual biological basis. Wisdom is actually simply an acquired response to a recognized pattern. Goldberg delves into this issue further and explains what happens in our brain to allow us to have a quality such as wisdom. A typical generic pattern contains all of the shared components of its members. The power of a generic pattern is that it allows individuals to respond to novel experiences using knowledge from different experiences. If, for example, you encounter a dog of a breed you have never seen before, you know what it is and in general how to behave around it because you have encountered other dogs before. Goldberg also devotes a section to what he calls "attractors." Attractors are basically neural nets which will respond to multiple stimuli. In a similar fashion to generic patterns, this allows individuals to deal with newly encountered situations. Additionally, pattern recognition allows the brain to use up less resources to accomplish tasks. By using PET scans, doctors have found that patients who were well trained in a task actually could complete the tasks with less glucose, essentially lowering their brain's metabolic requirements. As we age, such a skill becomes increasingly useful. The reason for this is that as we age our blood vessels become more narrow. This means that it becomes harder for oxygen to reach the brain. People whose brains have smaller metabolic needs will be less affected by this decreased blood flow. In this way, pattern recognition actually allows people who have acquired and strengthened certain generic patterns to continue to function at a normal level by diminishing the impact that reduced blood flow has on their cognitive capabilities. I felt that this section of Goldberg's book was his strongest. He explained what interested him in this field and in doing so managed to also catch my attention. He also used multiple analogies to and provided illustrations for his points. I felt that this made the material, some of which seemed like it could be entered into an actual neuroscience textbook, accessible to a layperson who was interested in learning about the advantages of aging without actually having to learn arcane facts to develop the background in neuroscience that would be necessary to understand some of the concepts that Goldberg covered.

After covering what he believes comprises wisdom, Goldberg begins to go more in-depth into what exactly makes memories and a general overview of how the functioning of the brain results in the processes of the mind. I thoroughly enjoyed this section; I felt that it gave me a much stronger sense of how the parts of the brain work together to accomplish mental processes. Goldberg used many analogies to clarify his descriptions. He used a computer to explain a misunderstanding that occurred in the neuroscience community and to establish how difficult it is to specify what the responsibilities of one specific portion of the brain are. In his example, Goldberg describes a computer which has a defective power supply. This computer would be unable to store data. This does not mean that the power supply is responsible for storing the data; that is the job of the hard drive. A person who was presented with this case without any knowledge of computers, however, may be mislead by what he perceives as cause and effect. A situation very similar to this arose in neuroscience with the hippocampus. Previously, the hippocampus was thought to be the site of memory storage. Recent research indicates that memory is actually stored in the neocortex, and the hippocampus simply plays a role in memory formation. Another interesting comparison Goldberg presents is between brain functioning and a symphony orchestra. He describes the frontal lobes as the conductor of the orchestra and various brain parts as the sections of the orchestra. The role of the frontal lobe also confused scientists for quite a while. For a long time, it was thought to not have a function at all, leading to procedures such as lobotomies. It is now understood that, in a similar fashion to a conductor, the frontal lobe coordinates brain activity. A conductor does not actually contribute musically to the orchestra, but without one the symphony would not be presented in as complete a manner. Similarly, the frontal lobe is required for the brain to function but does not actually perform any clear neural function. These two analogies, among many others, helped me to understand how various parts of the brain worked. Comparing the brain to a computer also gave me a better understanding of how interdependent the parts of the brain are. A hard drive is useless individually but serves a very important role in the proper functioning of a computer just as the hippocampus, for example, serves a very important function in the brain but does nothing meaningful on its own.
The latter portion of the book is devoted to Goldberg's own professional work. This starts out in a promising fashion but ends flatly. Goldberg shows research he is doing on the roles of the left and right hemispheres. The work he is doing seems promising. His findings seems to indicate that the left brain plays a role in learned, acquired patterns while the right brain plays a larger role in acquiring new patterns. As could be expected, the right brain is more affected by aging than the left brain. He also provides interesting information relating emotional responses to brain regions. Unfortunately, the final portion of Goldberg's book turns what I felt to be the book's greatest strength into a glaring weakness: Goldberg's tendency to incorporate his own life into his writing. Towards the end of the book, Goldberg shamelessly plugs a learning center he is developing for the elderly. The the goals of his center seem admirable; he and some of his colleagues are attempting to devise mental exercises to improve and cognitive function in the elderly while also improving their mood and outlook on life. Sadly, the way he presented these aims in the book was not tasteful. I almost felt like I was reading an ad in a magazine for his center, complete with testimonials and examples of happy clients. I was extremely disappointed that he chose to place such a tacky section towards the end of such an interesting and enlightening book. I barely felt like reading the epilogue after getting through it. Nevertheless, I felt that overall this book was enjoyable and, for a book which went so in-depth into very specific neuroscience topics, very straightforward and easy to read. I would highly recommend it to any layperson interested in learning more about how their brain works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wisdom vs creativity, do they reside in different hemispheres of our brains?
The author's main thesis is that the brain does not age uniformly. Different parts of the brain suffer more with age. More recent parts of the brain in terms of evolution are more affected than older ones, for example the prefrontal cortex, involved in planning and execution is the most severely damaged part of the brain, while the sensory input areas and the motor cortex are preserved longer. The right hemisphere frontal cortex suffers more than the left, etc. This differences give rise to "The wisdom paradox": Wise people are always older people, despite the normal age-related deterioration of their brains.

In chapter 6 "Down memory lane", the author gives truly interesting insights into memory formation and various degrees of "forgetting". For more on this subject I strongly recommend In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind. Neural networks and pattern recognition are closely linked subjects. One of the theories of brain function claims that each pattern is stored by forming a neural network (attractor). One single stimulus can then trigger the activation of a complete network so that the whole pattern becomes active. REDES COMPLEJAS (complex networks - not yet translated to English) can give you more insight into this fascinating topic; it even includes one chapter on neural networks. Plasticity is also covered nicely, neurons are born through your life and sent to where they are needed most. For more on plasticity and plenty of other topics read A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain. The brain can be "exercised" and there are books and Gyms to help you make a brain work-out session best suited for you, no examples are given here, but you could try The Mind Gym: Wake Your Mind Up or other books by Mind-Gym.

What I enjoyed most was that I finally found a theory that seems to explain the mess regarding laterality and the different functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Other literature stated that language resided mainly in the left hemisphere, but not completely and everything seemed confusing and unresolved. The author proposes that the right hemisphere deals with novel situations and is therefore the seat of creativity or genius (more active in young people) while the left hemisphere deals with known situations and is the seat of wisdom, which is closely linked to pattern recognition (more active in older people). This is why you cannot learn to speak (novel situation) without the right hemisphere (language in children is handled by the right hemisphere). In adults language resides mainly in the left hemisphere. Only when new tasks related to language are performed, the right hemisphere gets involved again. Wisdom is seen as the accumulation of useful patterns in the left hemisphere and is not achievable without intensive mental work through a lifetime: wisdom is therefore not an age related "gift" but a hard won reward.

I consider the first 100 pages a lengthy introduction, while the last 60 are a lengthy conclusion, which means that only half of the book corresponds to the meaty part. However, the book is very easy to read, so even the lengthy parts are read quickly and the author is a master in explaining complicated subjects in a very understandable way. I strongly recommend this book, especially to those that are entering this field for the first time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading
I read this book three years ago, and someone who borrowed it never returned it.I had to buy it again, and read it to make sure I don't miss anything.Deep, but explained in a way that makes it very easy to understand.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Wisdom Paradox by Elkhonan Goldberg
This is a book about the biology of wisdom. Elkhonan Goldberg's wisdom paradox is that although our brains deteriorate physically with age, they are designed to massively improve in function.

I bought this book a couple of years ago and gave up at about chapter four. I found it hard to read and quite dry; not a `sound bite' in sight. This year I started to read it again and I found it fascinating. I was surprised at how my opinion had changed in just a few years. It is certainly written in an easy to read style. Then I realised it could be that my brain has changed. This would prove Elkhonan's point - that the brain develops `attractors' (points of focus) around which other information collects over time. In the past year I have refocused my business on Wisdom and its application at work. Perhaps this has given me an `attractor' connection in my brain for the material in this book.

So my review of this book is a paradox too - if you don't have a point of reference for the information and concepts within it, you will find it hard going. On the other hand, if you have a connection point, you will find it fascinating. So here are the possible `attractors'
that could engage you in this book. You may:

* Want to know how to improve your mind with age
* Be keen to protect your mind from age related deficiencies such as dementia
* Like to feel confident that any physical damage to the brain, such a strokes or accidents, will have less chance of debilitating you
* Want to experience a `thinkers high' (mental equivalent of a `runner's high')
* Be interested in learning more about recent research on the mind - brain connection and functionality.

Goldberg leaves us with two main `lessons' at the end of his book:

1. `The scope and quality of one's mental lifetime will shape the quality of its final stages'. He concludes that `Wisdom is the land at the end of a hard journey of the mind'; wisdom does not inevitably arrive with age.

2. We should take full advantage of our mental `auto pilot' but not be tamed by it; we are designed to gravitate towards cognitive laziness; avoid it by working on your brain.

This is not just the same old `use it or lose it' message - there are many fascinating departures from standard thinking about the brain. For instance, he challenges the accepted belief that language is a function of the left hemisphere and relates this to research showing that most people shift towards left side dominance as they age.

Goldberg shows us how we can develop a stronger brain as we age. It it's hard, it requires work, and as Thomas Edison observed `There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labour of thinking.' However, the rewards are considerable for those who choose to do it.

The paradox is that the harder you work at it now, the easier it will become later; the easier you take it now, the harder it will be in years to come. Your choice - but you can start by reading this book and doing something about your thinking before you get too old....

4-0 out of 5 stars How the brain evolves
Coming from someone who studied with Luria, the results were expected to be very high.

The most important part is the clear and interesting explanation about how the brain changes the learning process as time goes by.

There are some corollaries that could be extracted from that. For instance, people with different ages could be better fitted for specific tasks than other people and why.

Other important consequence should be the fact that our learning style during maturity is going to depend strongly on our learning style in earlier times.

This part, that could be extremely interesting, is underdeveloped. It seeems that the author tries to give an optimistic view about the aging process forgetting the drawbacks of this same process...for instance, older people do not fit in task requiring an extensive use of short-term memory.

The book is very good but the objective of showing the "nice face" of aging process could be near to the "self-help" literacy and that can be the worst part.

... Read more

14. Paradoxes of Group Life: Understanding Conflict, Paralysis, and Movement in Group Dynamics (New Lexington Press Organization Sciences Series)
by Kenwyn K. Smith, David N. Berg
Paperback: 336 Pages (1997-09-19)
list price: US$42.00 -- used & new: US$30.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078793948X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
During the past decade, leaders have increasingly relied on self-managing work groups, multifunctional teams, and cross-national executive groups to create the organization of the future. Yet groups are not a panacea for organizational problems; conflicts between individuals or factions within a group often create seemingly contradictory situations?paradoxes?that can prevent the group from reaching its goals.

In this groundbreaking classic, Kenwyn Smith and David Berg offer a revolutionary approach to understanding groups and overcoming the problems that often paralyze group members, the group as a whole, and relations among groups. They explore the hidden dynamics that can prevent a group from functioning effectively. And they show how an apparently paradoxical suggestion?for example, inviting a success oriented group to risk failure, or affirming the benefits of going nowhere to a group focused on moving ahead?can break action barriers, overcome conflicts, and improve group performance.

Smith and Berg offer a different way of thinking about groups that will open new avenues of inquiry for professors and students of group behavior, and they propose many innovative ideas that will prove valuable to consultants, trainers, therapists, and others who work with groups on a regular basis.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A true companion on the road to no-where
Smith and Berg have wrouth - written is too modest - a briljant insighful and wise guide tour behind the coulises of our lifes. It is the best guide book I know to the place you live in: the group. You can use it in almost every situation. They show how we are caught in our webs, our own frames of mind, our relational swamp. Such is life and it is getting sucher and sucher all the time.
I recommend this book to every one dealing with groups AND individuals, because there is no better way to start to understand what life ' is'.

5-0 out of 5 stars Constant Companion for Group Work
This insightful book has accompanied me through grad school, two corporate reorganizations and numerous consulting projects.The authors have written an excellent text on the contradictory forces/movements endemic to group life.Their use of paradoxical thought as a lens for thinking about and successfully navigating the territory of group life is both practical and innovative.If you're looking for the usual book about conflict resolution, please look elsewhere. Smith and Berg advocate reclaiming rather than repressing or eliminating the fears and anxieties that define many aspects of group life.Their explanation of concepts such as group paralysis, oscillation, group-as-whole, splitting and individual ambivalence are clear and highly cogent when integrated into a paradoxical framework.

5-0 out of 5 stars Aptly titled: This analysis is rife w/ incisive insights.
Paradoxes of Group Life is a masterful explication of the concepts its title announces. This readable volume will serve the newcomer to Group Dynamics as well as the more experienced cognoscenti. People are often fundamentally ambivalent about ourselves and our participation in groups. Smith & Berg explain these (often unconscious) dynamics with great clarity and force. Treat yourself to this compelling analysis. I highly recommend their important work! ... Read more

15. Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles, and the Frailty of Knowledge
Paperback: 288 Pages (1989-12-01)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$9.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385242719
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The author of Big Secrets and Bigger Secrets takes the reader on an astonishing, thought-provoking voyage into the realm of delightful uncertainty--a world of paradox in which logical argument leads to contradiction and common sense is seemingly rendered irrelevant.Amazon.com Review
We conceive of and describe the world in ways that usuallywork just fine, but in the far corners of the labyrinth of reason, ourbest intentions fold back on themselves, and we end up trapped in anintractable loop or tumbling down a chute of infinite regress.Labyrinths of Reason is a collection of classic philosophicalthought experiments and other imponderables that push reason andlanguage to their logical limits. Beyond just idle brainteasers,William Poundstone shows that these mental exercises have profoundimplications for such fields as cryptography, decision theory,subatomic physics, and computer programming. But most of all, they'regood, clean philosophical fun! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exercise your critical thinking skills
The theory and concept of `knowledge' has been a lifelong curiosity. We seem to lack language to properly describe our minds ability to function with knowledge and fortunately we have folks like Poundstone to help us along. Poundstone walks the reader through what I view as his own considered process for acquiring the necessary, basic knowledge and applying logical constructs to broadly investigate what our minds are likely up to. Pay close attention to the seemingly basic and trivial examples ... "all crows are black". There are many assumptions in that declaration and perhaps, in the end, only you can conclude the fact or fiction within your tolerance for shades of grey. The body of knowledge certainly helps but in the end, after all avenues of logic are exhausted, you can never be certain. Only you possess the mental construct of your derivation. Poundstone's more complex and curious frailties in our assembling knowledge and applying logic are not new but profound and worthy of reading. The NP, NP-closed and P logic discussion was prescient when the book was written. Now it's Millenium Prize problem to prove that P is not equal to NP.

One reviewer calls out the epistemological nature of Labyrinth and indeed the theory of knowledge sums the book up well as a primer on the amorphous subject. The application of logic and critical thinking makes being human more tolerable. Poundstone reminds us that the process is so basic to everything that it deserves attention as standalone subject ... the `knowledge of knowledge' or the `philosophy of knowledge' so to speak.

Poundstone makes no attempt to make Labyrinths the be all, end all on the topic. I sensed the author himself struggling with his own examples and interpretations. Quite natural I suspect.

4-0 out of 5 stars A well-written book
I bought this book after reading an intriguing reference to it in Sam Harris' THE END OF FAITH. Harris discusses the impossibility of reconciling all of one's beliefs -- spiritual or not -- into a contradictory-free system of knowledge.

LABYRINTHS OF REASON touches on subjects as varied as ancient riddles, computer programming, philosophy of science, and logic problems.Poundstone writes in a conversational manner that transforms potentially dull topics into a lively and relevant discourse on how we know what we know.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introductory book on epistemology
I first read this book 15 years ago, and it has been an integral part in shaping my views on knowledge. How do we know what we know? Why do we believe what we believe? And are there basic things about the universe that we still haven't pieced together? The book is a great primer that will push interested readers on a path of thinking about epistemology and its place in science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brain candy
This is a fun book on logic, pardoxes and puzzles.It's a good mental tune-up and reminder of the limits of what we think we know.Poundstone is an entertaining writer who knows how to take us through the logical steps without making feel like work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking treatment
Though LoR covers well-worn ground, it does so both ably and entertainingly.The paradoxes Poundstone discusses are of the ages and for the ages; as long as humans think, they will never cease to fascinate, confound, and inspire.Anyone interested in language and reasoning and the relationship between mind and the external "objective" world will find much to chew on between the covers of LoR.LoR provides a gentle introduction to some very difficult topics in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science.It is well worth a read. ... Read more

16. The Paradox of Success
by John R. O'Neil
Paperback: 272 Pages (1994-02-16)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$0.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874777720
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Draws upon psychological and business strategies to show successful business executives how to stop feeling that the pain of success outweighs the rewards. Original. Newbridge Bk Clubs. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scary, Real, and Liberating
John O'Neil's The Paradox of Success is scary to say the least. The main theory behind the book is Carl Jung's shadow image, which contains every part of ourselves that we repress, deny, and leave undeveloped. These shadows lay in the unconscious mind, destroying successful and unsuccessful people. Though it is scary to face our shadow, or the shadow of an organization, having done so we become energized and liberated. We waste more energy denying the dark-side of our personalities than accepting them.

A huge part of my shadow was anger. Being a communication skills coach, it was "wrong" for me to feel anger. I had to be perfect. My status and position, according to O'Neil, put me in a prime position to deny what I needed to accept. Leaders often deny parts of their personality that gave them their level of success. When times change, however, their dark-side breaks them down. Unfortunately, there are endless examples of this with celebrities.

It's okay to feel anger, make mistakes, admit your wrongdoings, and even play again. We repress being playful because "adult's aren't suppose to play". Anything that gets denied goes into the shadow to take away our happiness and wholeness.

The success-sustainer creates a fertile ground for learning and openness. When the leader encourages his followers to confront their shadows and the organization's shadows, secrets get removed and organizations become renewed.

O'Neil will have you confront the dark-side of your personality. It is scary, but liberating. A must-read for anyone successful or anyone on their path to success.

Joshua Uebergang aka "Tower of Power"

5-0 out of 5 stars Money isn't everything...
Don't fall victim of your own success. This book reveals the paradox of success, and how to avoid downfall.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely Insightful!
This isa very good, perhaps great [?], book masquerading as a "how to succeed in business"tome.It is in reality a powerful handbook for those of us in the 4th period of life to try to make some sense of all we have done, all we have left undone, & what is the purpose of it all. I'm 65; I found this a clever combination of Jung, Jung's theory of the 'shadow', & strong suggestions for living with inner tranquility & financial success;O'Neil is a gifted & insightful writer;I doubt that many under the age of 50 would find this book worthwhile - my opinion.A minor criticism:O'Neil cites 6 - 8 - 10 authorities in this field who have written books; he provides an index; but no bibliography?Why?A very minor criticism.Extremely well done.Easy to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent, worthwhile reading all of it
It is an amazing journey through our deepest fears and questions about life whether personal or professional.The first part goes through those questions all of us have or have had combined with real life examples and a second part where the author shares his insight as to what to do with all those questions and answers we start to get by reading the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book for self-discovery
I have read this book once before back in 1995. Since then I have learned a lot about shadows. I am aware of my shadows and this book is helping me to be a better person.
I have a friend who is intellegent and smart. However, after reading this book second time I am beginning to know his hubris and. I do not know how to relate with this person.
Knowing my own shadows I am now less critical of others. We all have multi-selves.
The book should be read by any adult who wants to have a balanced perspectives of life and deal with others appropriately. ... Read more

17. The Paradox of Plenty: Oil Booms and Petro-States (Studies in International Political Economy)
by Terry Lynn Karl
Paperback: 380 Pages (1997-10-10)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$22.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520207726
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Political scientist Terry Lynn Karl explains why in the midst of two massive oil booms in the 1970s, oil-exporting governments as different as Venezuela, Iran, Nigeria, Algeria, and Indonesia chose common development paths and suffered similarly disappointing outcomes. Karl contends that oil countries, while seemingly disparate, are characterized by similar social classes and patterns of collective action. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Work on the Petro State
This book, rich in detail, provides a penetrating look into the petro state and its consequences for economic and political development. Karl is especially adept at providing facts and analysis in her study of the Venezuelan oil boom and subsequent bust in the 1970s and 1980s. If you are looking for an in depth look into the reasons for rentier states' volatile and precarious development trajectories, or if you simply want to know more about those states' political economies, then this book is for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Read for Every Politician in Petro-States
The Paradox of Plenty provides great detail and explanation into the world of Petro-States and the amazing similarities that oil-producing countries share (obviously with some exceptions). Terry Lynn Karl does an excellent job at explaining what are the most relevant factors that determine the successes and failures of Petro-States in their ability to "sow petroleum".

The King Midas Effect and the Dutch Disease are used as descriptions and comparisons of the sickness that the majority of the countries blessed with oil suffer.The Paradox of Plenty, in my opinion, does an excellent job at narrowing and analyzing the political, economical and social decisions from the past 100-or-so years which led the Oil-producing Countries either into the developed world or on a straight path to under-development and corruption.

I agree with some of the reviews in the sense that the book is written for academic purposes and it can be a little dense at the beginning.Nevertheless, once you get past the first 30+ pages, you become used to the writing and the book becomes interesting and enriching.

The book bases most of its analysis and theses using Venezuela as an example.An oil-rich Country with one of the largest reserves in the world that has failed to make the jump into the developed world.This was another plus for me since, as a Venezuelan Citizen, the book taught me a great deal of history.

It is definitely a must read. More specially for every politician who wishes to engage with the oil industry and must understand the mistakes from the past to avoid them in the present.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm a karlista
After spending 3 months in Venezuela studying the oil industry and the political economy of the country, I finally picked up Karl's 1997 book. It was as if it had been written in in 2007. It gives any watcher of Venezuela a contextual fabric to understand today's Venezuela.

For Venezuela, the western consumption-led, oil-development model has cursed it to high urbanization, hyperinflation, inefficient heavy industries, an elitist and clientelistic labour movement, executive centralization, fiscal black holes and dependency on foreign capital and technology. These trends continue today under the Chavez government.

To break the cycle, Venezuela must invest the oil money outside the country, spur the development of agriculture, and broaden the tax base with increased income tax. These three factors would have a cascading effect to diversify the economy, increase accountability, broaden the labour movement, reduce urbanization, decrease inflation and ultimately make Venezuela more than an oil jockey filling up its rich neighbour's Hummer.

With all the oil left in the country, maybe they will get it right the next time, but based on Karl's analysis probably not.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting contribution to theory
This book is a good contribution to the scholarship of one-good exporters, such as oil for many Middle Eastern countries and Venezuela.The author focuses on Venezuela, with occasional reference to other countries.

The main thesis is that aside from the traditional Dutch disease of such intense exporters, there is an organizational component in the downfall of such plenty.For example, she argues that a large self-serving infrastructure and bureaucracy is built around the "pot of gold".She argues this may be one of the main causes that coutnries squander such valuable resources without ever refocusing them on the development of people (health and education) or the country's economy (such as through the extension of value-added activities).

Overall, an interesting proposition, though I am not sure this is a phenomenon unique to countries faced with the plenty of oil or other products.It is a strong case that inefficiencies are added through bureaucracies, but I still believe much of the damage is caused by the traditional Dutch disease.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great points - but somewhat academic
This book provides an iron-clad explanation for the failure of oil exporters - especially developing nations - to use their raw material blessings as a lever for improvement.The author provides outstanding comparisons among oil exporters, along with amazing parallels to the Spanish empire.There's an important point here about how human nature and government limitations often doom these "blessed" countries to failure.Call it the King Midas effect...

On the downside, her point is clearly made in the first 50 pages.In the remainder of the book the author goes into too much detail regarding the political evolution of Venezuela.And she fails to end with a reader-friendly synopsis or a glimpse of the future.

With today's troubles in the Mideast, this book could have been a lay-reader best seller.Unfortunately the author's writing is aimed more toward Political Science professors than the general public.Still worth the purchase, however. ... Read more

18. Environmental Policy Paradox- (Value Pack w/MySearchLab)
by Zachary A. Smith
Paperback: Pages (2009-01-10)
list price: US$72.93 -- used & new: US$72.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0205700349
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

MySearchLab provides students with a complete understanding of the research process so they can complete research projects confidently and efficiently. Students and instructors with an internet connection can visit www.MySearchLab.com and receive immediate access to thousands of full articles from the EBSCO ContentSelect database. In addition, MySearchLab offers extensive content on the research process itself–including tips on how to navigate and maximize time in the campus library, a step-by-step guide on writing a research paper, and instructions on how to finish an academic assignment with endnotes and bibliography.­


No other book combines ecology, law, politics, and environmental science in a way designed to inform the reader as to how it all fits together. This book, clearly and engagingly written, makes the complex and often confusing concepts of environmental policy making easy to understand. This book provides a basic understanding of environmental topics and our current policy-making process, discussing the ecosystem, public awareness, governmental regulations, as well as air and water pollution, energy, toxic wastes, land management issues, and international environmental issues. For those employed in the environmental, land management, urban planning, public policy, and hazardous materials fields.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazon is the best
When I placed my order for this class, Environmental Policies, I inadvertently ordered the book for my next class, Twentieth-Century Europe, instead and did not realize it until the Thursday before my class started, which started on that Tuesday, I called the customer service line and spoke with a representative and I received my book on that Wednesday, a day after class started.Again Amazon is the best place to order your books.
The book Environmental Policy Paradox is a book with great references and gives great insight into what is going on with in our environment and the policies behind them.This is a very interesting book, it helps to understand the paradoxes that are involved in policy making and what is behind the decisions that are made regarding our environment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Got it off Ebay for $21 less
There are other online stores and marketplaces for textbooks. I got this one for my next class for over $20 less. The book isn't new, but it has every page and with the exception of a few marker prints on the front, the book is in acceptable condition. If you need this book, get it from another seller for less.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good timing
The book arrived right on time and in great condition.The price was a lot less than the college bookstore price too.I buy many of my textbooks at Amazon.com and will continue to do so as long as they offer me the great pricing like in the past.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wealth of information!
This book provides a wealth of information on a variety of subject concerning the environment and the paradox of government policy concerning such.

5-0 out of 5 stars Environmental Paradox
The book was in good quality and I received it in a timely fashion.Overall no complaints. ... Read more

19. The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity (Volume 0)
by Andrés T. Tapia
Paperback: 385 Pages (2009-07-30)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$21.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0615289444
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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It turns out that the warm, let's-all-get-along connotations of inclusion are misleading. Achieving true inclusion is hard. Very hard. Harder than achieving awareness. Harder than achieving tolerance and sensitivity. Harder than diversity itself. In The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity Andrés Tapia, Hewitt Associates' Chief Diversity Officer, reveals how in these times of unprecedented peril and opportunity, diversity's demographic tsunami is accelerating today's social, economic, and political tectonic shifts. In the book, he explores what is required to move into the next generation of diversity work in ways that get past the tired and clichéd approaches. He makes the case for making inclusion relevant for all, including the white male, and breaks ground by challenging the notion that the melting pot leads to inclusion. On the contrary, Tapia makes the case that "equality" often does not equal "same." The Inclusion Paradox also focuses on the cultural implications of the Obama Era in the United States and around the world. More than a political point in time, the Obama Era is a cultural marker that succinctly captures the various global trends converging at this time in history.
The Inclusion Paradox will enable readers to contribute strategically and practically to the urgent work of making diversity and inclusion relevant to business and organizational success around the world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse Into Global Warming
The Inclusion Paradox has serious implications not only for diversity advances around the world, but it gives us significant insights into the new economics, the descent of finance, leading in a state of permanent crisis, changing role of government regulation, risk management, global competitiveness and customer "number one" focus. Further, it must be understood that the world order is inexorably changing. That is, that corporation, governmental and educational institutions are going to be serving the bottom of their societies not just catering to the top.
Surveying worldwide export-import imbalance suggests nations will be selling to the bottom of the pyramid where the masses of people reside.This population includes those countries that have the substandard population density such as India, China and Africa.This is typically where people have the lowest per capita income.Our typical financial measures such as return on shareholder equity or investment and earnings from operation (ROSE, ROI, and EFO) will not be as meaningful when working with the small margin derived from poor people at lower income levels, unless you look at total profit in the aggregate.
The crisis will be ongoing because today's leaders have emergency plans, but not crisis management expertise.Likewise, government regulations are not in place to allow product quality with disposable life and reliability and still meet environmental requirements of the masses.Public information requirements, lawmaking and enforcement expenditures cannot be read nor comprehended at the bottom of the economic pyramid where work is outsourced to the lowest labor cost location.
In the Inclusion world, it will not make much sense to waste time and other resources on regulations that will be employed.Tapia wisely makes the point that skin color, gender, ethnic and national awareness are just starting points, but they are also just way points.
The answer may reside in focusing on changing institutional mind sets as well as enormous cross-cultural training and development efforts to cross national borders.Certainly, the information and electronic communication era lends itself to this paradigm while our broken commercial transportation systems are too expensive, slow, and inefficient.Good job Mr. Andrés.Keep us thinking.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inclusion matters
What color is the sky in your universe? The answer depends on matters of culture and context.And that's exactly what Andrés Tapia points out to readers of the Inclusion Paradox. Through compelling stories and illustrations, he connects the personal to the corporate and the global.With his clear and vivid writing, Tapia guides readers through the complex and complicated issues confronted by diversity professionals to the familiar interactions of everyday people. He uses multiple facets of diversity and inclusion to encourage readers to better understand their own cultural landscapes while working to understand others.This happens when we call out our differences.

In this global, interconnected, diverse world, I took away three critical lessons from the Inclusion Paradox: 1) Cultural competency is a skill that can be ... must be learned by all. 2) Assume only positive intent when feeling a mismatch between yourself and others. 3) Learn practical ways to approach and discuss miscommunications and cultural missteps. This awesome book invited me to rethink and re-imagine how I view the color of the sky in my world. I highly recommended the Inclusion Paradox.

5-0 out of 5 stars Diversity a paradox indeed...
Attended a seminar at which Andres made a presentation about "Diversity". His low key demeanor was a perfect foil for his impassioned and factual discussion of diversity and the impact it has on various facets and functions of the business cycle.

Will give a more detailed review once I am finished with the book.

Finally, finished the book. It is a must read for everyone in any sphere of activity that requires people to interact in some way shape or form.

Too often people and organizations start believing that diversity is being practiced because they have included certain groups, but are oblivious to the fact that those same groups are excluded in the making of key decisions which impact those groups and ultimately the organization as a whole, thus the title of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars How do we build sustainable change and approach diversity with a new lens?
Andres Tapias's Inclusion Paradox is a valuable contribution to how we, as individuals and as a collective whole, need to reexamine how we view and approach diversity. His book is written with up-to-date, current trends, relevant case studies, inspiring quotes and statistics. He shares his own personal stories and anecdotes which enable readers to gain a deeper sense of how his Peruvian-American roots have helped to shape his own personal journey and his deep insights into this evolving field.

The Inclusion Paradox challenges individuals, companies and organizations to truly rethink what it means to be "inclusive" and how to build an inclusive environment. He weaves in the great optimism of Obama's election in a poetic and powerful way that will leave readers understanding why they cannot ignore his message about the urgency of inclusion.

Cultural Competency, Work-Life Flexibility, Identity, Generational Differences, Music and Arts, Talent Pipeline Challenge, Women in Leadership, Disability and LGBT in the workforce are just some of the many areas he reexamines in a thought provoking manner.

His book has helped to reinvigorate my purpose, my vision and my passion to builder a more inclusive world. I highly recommend his book. Thank you Andres!

5-0 out of 5 stars Diversity 2.0
Andrés Tapia has a compelling vision. Tapia believes demographic changes and the complex set of problems facing humankind will force the integration of knowledge from the silos that much knowledge resides in today. As an example, Tapia points to the field of behavioral economics that integrates knowledge from the fields of psychology and economics. As part of this trend, Tapia argues that the physical and social separation of people based on their differences will also move toward integration.He describes this vision as Diversity 2.0.

Tapia is Hewitt Associates' chief diversity officer and the author of The Inclusion Paradox: The Obama Era and the Transformation of Global Diversity.Tapia sees diversity as a broader term that includes such differences as ethnicity, male/female, religious background, temperament, thinking styles, etc.Tapia asserts that Diversity 1.0 has been about the mix of people.It's defensive and programmatic in nature (e.g., affinity groups, diversity recruiting, diversity fairs, mentoring and diversity learning). Tapia believes as organizations evolve, they will develop an offensive mindset that embraces diversity and inclusion. Diversity 2.0 is about making the mix of people effectively work in a way that benefits the organization. By doing so, organizations will also better understand their diverse clients.

Diversity officers, whom Tapia views as cultural anthropologists, will guide the move to Diversity 2.0. Through training, co-learning, consulting and storytelling (e.g. how cross-cultural competency helped close deal X or improved organizational task Y), a chief diversity officer builds individual and organizational cross-cultural competency. At Hewitt, Tapia developed a course on diversity and inclusion that has been completed by 14,000 participants and another 100,000 of Hewitt's clients will complete it over the next two years.

In support of his Diversity 2.0 vision, Tapia points to the election of President Obama and what he describes as the Obama Era.In his book, he explores eight cultural implications from Obama's election:inclusion is a transformative force; whatever we do has global impact; diversity and inclusion requires intentionality; we'll experience a renaissance of values-driven decision making; we must have a heightened focus on results; the bottom up is as important as the top down; both/and trumps either/or; and true diversity and inclusion requires calling out our differences, not minimizing them.

I believe Andrés Tapia is right.Obama is an excellent example of a leader whose election was possible because of greater inclusion in society. Obama is a leader who embraces diversity and inclusion. Obama is a bridge builder rather than a bridge burner.He values dialogue and is respectful, even with his political opponents and the leaders of all nations.He integrates knowledge from diverse domains and the ideas and opinions of diverse people. He is a "both/and" rather than an "either/or" thinker.

Learning about Andrés Tapia's views reminded me of the "integrative thinker" that Roger Martin wrote about in Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking.In the years ahead, there will be greater demand for organizational leaders who are integrative thinkers -- open-minded, curious individuals who intentionally and continuously seek the ideas and opinions of diverse people then connect the dots to develop new and better approaches, processes and products.These integrative thinkers will no doubt embrace Diversity 2.0 and organizations will be better for it.

Highly Recommended. ... Read more

20. The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to do About It)
by Michael E. Raynor
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2007-02-20)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$5.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385516223
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A compelling vision.Bold leadership.Decisive action.Unfortunately, these prerequisites of success are almost always the ingredients of failure, too.In fact, most managers seeking to maximize their chances for glory are often unwittingly setting themselves up for ruin.The sad truth is that most companies have left their futures almost entirely to chance, and don’t even realize it.The reason?Managers feel they must make choices with far-reaching consequences today, but must base those choices on assumptions about a future they cannot predict.It is this collision between commitment and uncertainty that creates THE STRATEGY PARADOX.

This paradox sets up a ubiquitous but little-understood tradeoff.Because managers feel they must base their strategies on assumptions about an unknown future, the more ambitious of them hope their guesses will be right – or that they can somehow adapt to the turbulence that will arise.In fact, only a small number of lucky daredevils prosper, while many more unfortunate, but no less capable managers find themselves at the helms of sinking ships.Realizing this, even if only intuitively, most managers shy away from the bold commitments that success seems to demand, choosing instead timid, unremarkable strategies, sacrificing any chance at greatness for a better chance at mere survival.

Michael E. Raynor, coauthor of the bestselling The Innovator's Solution, explains how leaders can break this tradeoff and achieve results historically reserved for the fortunate few even as they reduce the risks they must accept in the pursuit of success.In the cutthroat world of competitive strategy, this is as close as you can come to getting something for nothing.

Drawing on leading-edge scholarship and extensive original research, Raynor’s revolutionary principle of Requisite Uncertainty yields a clutch of critical, counter-intuitive findings.Among them:

-- The Board should not evaluate the CEO based on the company’s performance, but instead on the firm’s strategic risk profile
-- The CEO should not drive results, but manage uncertainty
-- Business unit leaders should not focus on execution, but on making strategic choices
-- Line managers should not worry about strategic risk, but devote themselves to delivering on commitments

With detailed case studies of success and failure at Sony, Microsoft, Vivendi Universal, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and other major companies in industries from financial services to energy, Raynor presents a concrete framework for strategic action that allows companies to seize today’s opportunities while simultaneously preparing for tomorrow’s promise. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Counter-Intuitive Approach with Strong Support
Up front, those reading this review should know that I work for the same consulting firm of the author and have assisted in facilitating group training using this book.I have not been directed by anyone within my firm to write this review nor am I under any constraint to only give this book a positive review.I am providing this review at my own initiative as a regular reviewer on Amazon on my own time.

Michael Raynor's work in the Strategy Paradox might seem in some ways to be an exercise in shooting oneself in a foot.As a recognized consultant and academic leader in the field of Strategic Planning, it's not necessarily a smart business move to go to such great lengths to explain why so much of what passes for conventional wisdom within the business community, amounts to the equivalent of whistling past the graveyard at night in order to give yourself some sense of control over those things which really, of which we have very little actual control.

The reality is that those who survive in business, are the ones who then provide the insights to others as to how to succeed.Nobody wants to take advice from a loser, right?Those businesses that then have succeeded along with their corporate leadership become the gold standard which everyone else seeks to learn from and emulate in order to bring about their own success.So much of what leads to success however, in the end reduces to some form of positioning for success based upon anticipation of market conditions, consumer demand, technological and process-driven innovation and let's be honest, sometimes just plain old "dumb luck," that what passes for strategy is just emulating past decisions and methods of arriving at strategies that repeat what has been done before but then are at the mercy of those uncontrollable elements of chance.

Raynor demonstrates through a very thorough and documented approach that often what businesses do to achieve success is based upon the models of past stellar successes with very little recognition of how risk that is leveraged to provide above average returns on effort and investment, by definition runs the risk of corresponding failure.

If this is the case, then what is the value of strategic planning and why bother doing it?

Raynor addresses these issues and in the end provides some solid input as to how strategic planning can be done when separated from the populist "conventional wisdom" that becomes commonly accepted but doesn't actually deliver when it's applied in volatile environments.

Included in the detailed discussions of varying elements of strategic planning are such popular approaches as "adaptability", forecasting through the extrapolation of the past and other currently in vogue methods, the impact of timing (including organizational structuring and its ability to adjust to changes externally and internally), options based strategy versus firm decisions and commitments in advance, strategic flexibility, scenario construction, unpredictability "robust" strategic planning, and then finally a conclusion with a remarkable summation (certainly in the context of strong ego reinforcement typically found in corporate power structures) that has to be read to be believed.Raynor, however, in my opinion is spot on.

In many ways, this is a book of questions more-so than a book of answers.Answers are present however and in the end, someone reading this book should come away with a greater appreciation for reality, personal limitations and some counter-intuitive lessons that in the end, could just lead to some more effective approaches to age-old, and constantly redefining problems.

5 stars.

bart breen

5-0 out of 5 stars Best yet!
The book arrived even faster than I anticipated. It looked new even though it was described as good. Amazing seller. Buy with confidence. No worries.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the easiest concept but it's real life
This book is pretty easy to boil down. Most companies forecast/strategize the coming years under a set of assumptions (low/moderate/high degree of growth) but the author says it's worthless. Too many unknowns to make this forecasting a valuable exercise and luck being one of the them ( I found this amazing yet truthful). He says it's worth looking at what simply can go wrong rather than what can go right. Now, this advice won't sit well with lots of traditionalist out there and I think that's the point of the book.. to make you think differently. It does that and that's why it's worth the time to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Contrary View of Strategy
In The Strategy Paradox, Deloitte Consultant Michael Raynor makes the argument that the greater the strategic bet an organization makes, the greater the risk. Raynor promotes a mindset for managing strategic uncertainty based on calculated risk.He suggests that companies should develop several viable strategies, moving to the one that is most practical in a given market. Further, he asserts that the future is now, and companies must adapt their strategies to take advantage of specific market opportunities.

This work is provocative in that it challenges the conventional wisdom about strategy. While the book has an academic bent at times and drags on a bit, it is based on a valid premise and solid research.

4-0 out of 5 stars Forecasting the future and developing strategies
Have you spent hours creating forecasts you knew didn't mean much? Have you wasted time in painful meetings where second-guessers judged your efforts harshly because your original decision was not perfect in light of the way reality later unfolded? Michael E. Raynor explains why developing a strategy that would work moderately well under a variety of circumstances is likely to lead to mediocre results. Instead, he teaches you to match the appropriate level of management to the "requisite uncertainties" your organization faces. Raynor discusses how to use "strategic options" to put your company in a position to capitalize on a range of contingent scenarios without having to make firm commitments. getAbstract recommends this intelligent approach to business strategy to executives in any industry. It is clearly written and well-illustrated with new takes on familiar business sagas. ... Read more

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