Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (2) (mai 2011)

(source: Library Journal, 15/05/2011)

Information et communication

Johnson, Christopher. Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little. Norton. Jul. 2011. c.192p. index. ISBN 9780393077407. $19.95. COMM
For a book on writing short, this is surprisingly long. Business and recreational readers seeking the “Top Ten Ways To Tweet Better” will get impatient with the in-depth analysis of iambs and trochees, though independent verbal branding consultant Johnson does explain why The Bundt Stops Here is an awkward name for a cake shop and why people prefer ordering Coke to Coca-Cola. This “field guide to everyday verbal ingenuity,” in Johnson’s words, contains many nuggets of good information—that is, for readers with the linguistic interest and background to sort through them. VERDICT With many lively statements and humorous examples mixed in among discussions of metonymy and syntactic iconicity, this book would work well in academic settings. Motivated readers looking for information on naming a product or business or creating a slogan will find good information here. Those seeking simple rules for “writing little” will be weighed down.—Maggie Knapp Trinity Valley Sch. Lib., Fort Worth, TX

Economie

Devine, Tom & Tarek F. Maassarani. The Corporate Whistleblower’s Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth. Berrett-Koehler, dist. by Ingram. 2011. c.288p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605099866. pap. $19.95. BUS
Devine and Maassarani present a handy guide (written in cooperation with the Government Accountability Project, for which Devine is legal director and Maassarani former litigator) full of practical considerations and suggestions as well as examples of whistle-blowers’ experiences. The admirably pragmatic chapters cover such topics as how to decide whether the wrongdoing witnessed is worth reporting, the tactics used by corporations and others to intimidate and marginalize whistle-blowers, how to create appropriate support networks, and the best ways to back up one’s whistle-blowing (and to whom one should blow the whistle). The book concludes with a meaty “Toolkit” that offers tips on filing an official Sarbanes-Oxley complaint, filing Freedom of Information Act requests, and using the appropriate federal statutes. VERDICT This is an important (and cost-effective) book for libraries to own; it well covers a subject that, understandably, potential whistle-blowers may not want to look up on the Internet, particularly on their work computers. Managers might also do well to familiarize themselves with this book, as the authors suggest that most whistle-blowers would prefer to work through official and company channels to resolve their issues (for both their peace of mind and the good of the organization).—Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader’s Advisor Online

McCall, Karen. Financial Recovery: Developing a Healthy Relationship with Money. New World Library, dist. by PGW. Jun. 2011. c.224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781577319283. pap. $14.95. BUS
McCall, founder of the Financial Recovery Institute, defines financial recovery as “a process that helps you develop a healthy relationship with money that is both healing and life changing.” She describes her own traumatic issues related to large debt and waiting until near financial ruin and desperation to attempt recovery. She clearly explains ways for individuals to relinquish debt by reevaluating their behavior with money and preparing a strategy for rebuilding finances. Covered topics include examining one’s relationship with money (involving hiding financial woes from family and friends, shame, obsession, and denial); exploring how people get in the same money troubles repeatedly (the money/life–drain); understanding the differences between individuals’ needs and wants; looking at the nitty-gritty of financial recovery; creating a spending plan; understanding the interaction between savings and debt; and ultimately developing “sterling money behaviors.” The author uses case studies to illustrate her points and includes questions for readers to ponder about their own financial situations. VERDICT McCall offers sound, practical advice for anyone interested in learning to maintain financial solvency and, especially, those needing to get out of debt and reclaim their financial lives.—Lucy T. Heckman, St. John’s Univ. Lib., Jamaica, NY

Peshawaria, Rajeev. Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders: The Three Essential Principles You Need To Become an Extraordinary Leader. Free Pr: S. & S. May 2011. c.256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781439197745. $26. BUS
This volume is a primer on recognizing and developing personal leadership identity. After working in several global blue-chip companies and helping found the Goldman Sachs leadership-development program, Peshawaria has translated his experience with business leadership into a framework on reenergizing management. The book divides leadership into three core principles. The first requires leaders to identify their purpose and values. The second core principle is to find coleaders who mesh well as a team. The last, which is the focus of the book’s second half, is how to create a successful organizational or enterprise leadership: leadership in situations where management does not have personal connections with all employees. The book is filled with case studies of successful leaders as well as questions and forms for self-evaluation. Throughout, Peshawaria provides a clear and concise system that leaders can use to identify and strengthen their value for their company. VERDICT Required reading for MBA students through experienced leaders, the book provides practical advice and a clear vision on how individuals can improve their talents and re­energize companies.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., ­Boston

Tierney, Thomas J. & Joel L. Fleishman. Give Smart: Philanthropy That Gets Results. PublicAffairs: Perseus. 2011. c.272p. ISBN 9781586488956. $23.99. ECON
The goal of management consulting is to help client companies maximize their performance and potential. Tierney’s experience as a Bain & Co. executive gave him the perfect background for helping nonprofits apply those same management principles to their organizations to attain success. Tierney later partnered with Fleishman, founder and former faculty chair of Duke University’s Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society, to form the Bridgespan Group, which helps nonprofit managers and donors achieve their goals of social improvement. This book is the result of their many years of nonprofit coaching experience. It teems with practical advice for those seeking to find an effective way to give money to stimulate and accelerate societal improvement. VERDICT Though the target audience here is big-ticket philanthropists like foundations—or those seeking to establish foundations—the principles and strategies can also apply to small-scale donors seeking the best returns on their nonprofit investments. The case studies of well-known philanthropists, from Andrew Carnegie to Michael J. Fox, make for compelling and inspirational reading.—Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin–Whitewater Libs.

Weissman, Jerry. Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons from the Masters. FT: Pearson. Jun. 2011. c.208p. ISBN 9780132489621. $24.99. BUS
Weissman, founder of Power Presentations Ltd., and author of three other related books, including the best-selling Presenting To Win: The Art of Telling Your Story, returns with 80 brief lessons. Loosely structured to be a companion piece to his earlier work, Weissman’s latest covers content, graphics, delivery, Q&A, and integrating the lessons. One- to two-page chapters lead with a quick anecdote illustrating the lesson in real life and follow up to tie the lesson into a business presentation setting. Chapters range from the useful (“The Free Throw” suggests a ritual action to calm nerves before going onstage) to the obvious (Fear of public speaking is universal), and the book also features a few lessons on integrating the concepts. VERDICT seasoned presenters should find a point or two in this breezy and quick read to improve their speeches a little, but those looking for a guide to becoming a presenter should pick up Presenting To Win instead. For Weissman addicts and veteran presenters looking for a few tips to raise their game.—Brian Walton, Tampa-Hillsborough Cty. P.L., FL

What’s Next?: Unconventional Wisdom on the Future of the World Economy. Yale Univ. May 2011. c.360p. ed. by David Hale & Lyrie Hughes Hale. illus. index. ISBN 9780300170313. pap. $30. ECON
The global economy is a complex and dynamic interplay of factors. This collection of 23 pieces from a diverse group of authorities, including economists, policymakers, and former government officials, shines light on economies worldwide. The articles discuss country prospects and the ability of countries, including superpowers, to recover from crises. Insight is provided on how international decision making impacts countries’ domestic economies in the short and long term. Variables discussed range from monetary and banking policies to climate change and neuroeconomics. Surprisingly, the last chapter is an article about the Internet and diminishing returns. The book is complemented by research notes, a glossary, and biographies of the article contributors. VERDICT Because of the in-depth macroeconomic and microeconomic content, this is best suited for readers with an extensive background in economic theory, and, therefore, recommended only for academic collections.— Caroline Geck, MLS, Newark, NJ

Science politique

Levine, Bruce E. Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite. Chelsea Green. 2011. c.272p. index. ISBN 9781603582988. pap. $17.95. POL SCI
Dissident psychologist Levine (Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic) contrasts American political apathy to the popular revolts in many countries against harmful policies pushed by the power elite. He diagnoses the numerous maladies that make ordinary Americans feel powerless in the face of “tyrannical corporatocracy”—from too much corporate-controlled news and entertainment and overprescription of antidepressant and attention deficit disorder medications to the decline of organized labor and the lack of real economic differences between our two dominant political blocs. Levine argues that ordinary folk on both the right and the left can find common ground, much like the populists who united disparate strands of anticorporatism and antielitism to storm the economic heights of the Gilded Age. Levine prescribes a mixture of education, protest, promotion of independent economic institutions, and revival of the belief that Americans can once again control their own future rather than meekly accept the dictates of the corporate powers that be. VERDICT A compelling alternative look at today’s unsettled U.S. political circumstances through the lens of social psychology, this will be attractive to those who already feel alienated and those looking for new ways to make sense of our changing world. —Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Iowa Libs., Iowa City

Sánchez, Yoani. Havana Real: One Woman Fights To Tell the Truth About Cuba Today. Melville House. 2011. c.256p. tr. from Spanish by M.J. Porter. ISBN 9781935554257. pap. $16.95. INT AFFAIRS
Sánchez is a Cuban who walks the walk—currently residing in Havana, she defies the nation’s leadership with her acclaimed blog, Generación Y, about life in Havana and around Cuba. This book represents four years’ worth of entries she has struggled to post online in a country mostly devoid of Internet access. She was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2008, among many other international citations. Her insights collected here reveal daily life in Cuba, a life focused on waiting—for food, electricity, medical care, and freedom. Most telling is one post from 2010 when word spreads that Krazy Glue, vital for fixing things, is again available in one of Havana’s shops; yet it cannot fix the daily lives of Cubans so used to dealing with shortages, empty stores, and empty promises. VERDICT Other books offer a glance at Cuba still under a Castro, but none can compare with this remarkable diary of a life most can only imagine. Although her blog has been available online translated into several languages, including English, for some years, this cumulative collection is unequivocally highly recommended not just for all who are interested in Cuba today, but for fans of memoir, non-U.S. women’s perspectives, and all who are concerned with human rights.—Boyd ­Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL

Sociologie

Berger, Peter L. Adventures of an Accidental Sociologist: How To Explain the World Without Becoming a Bore. Prometheus. Jun. 2011. c.290p. ISBN 9781616143893. $26. SOC SCI
With reference to the subtitle of this lively memoir, eminent sociologist Berger (religion, sociology, & theology, emeritus, Boston Univ.; The Social Construction of Reality) is largely successful. A plainspoken irreverence and fondness for jokes (some of them real groaners, but he’s 82 years old, so let’s cut him some slack) give some real snap to this recounting of the life of “someone who has an abiding fascination with the vast panorama of the human world.” Berger, as a well-regarded teacher and prolific author, focused on sociological theory, the sociology of religion, and Third World development. He does make mention of his courting controversy in the late 1970s. In a chapter aptly named “Politically Incorrect Excursions,” he writes of signing on as a consultant to the tobacco industry and contributing a chapter to Robert Tollison’s industry-commissioned book, Smoking and Society, in which he described the antismoking movement as a “health cult.” VERDICT Berger expresses the hope that this ego-histoire, which he defines as an account of an intellectual career, rather than a warts-and-all autobiography, will be of interest to people in sociology, as well as “others, with the desire to explain the world or have it plausibly explained to them.” Touché.—Ellen D. Gilbert, Princeton, NJ

Skolnik, Sam. High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction. Beacon, dist. by Random. Jul. 2011. c.256p. index. ISBN 9780807006290. $25.95. SOC SCI
Politicians have become addicted to gambling revenues as a kinder alternative to tax increases or spending cuts to eliminate state budget shortfalls. Gambling is now legalized in every state except Hawaii and Utah. In 2010 alone, 35 states considered legislation to expand gambling. Once confined to Las Vegas, casinos are now within driving distance for most Americans. Today, they house more than 850,000 slot machines. But there is a darker side to all the flashing lights and sounding bells. Skolnik, a former reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, shows that America’s addiction to gambling has a major social cost that contributes to higher rates of divorce, domestic violence, substance abuse, personal bankruptcy, lost productivity, and suicide. The federal government, which rakes in $6 billion in withholding taxes from casinos on gambling winnings each year, doesn’t spend a penny on research relating to problem gambling, although it allocates $2.5 billion to drug and alcohol abuse programs. Almost all research on problem gambling is financed by the gaming industry itself. ­VERDICT This important book will be of interest to all Americans but should be required reading for politicians who see gambling as a panacea for their state’s fiscal problems.—Robert Bruce Slater, Stroudsburg, PA

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