The Age of Speed
By Vince Poscente
Bard Press; 231 pages
Hug your Blackberry! Cuddle your cell phone! It's time to make peace with the whoosh of your 24/7 lifestyle, says this thought-provoking new book. Just as the 1998 mega-best seller Who Moved My Cheese? advised readers to embrace change, author Poscente advocates coming to terms with--nay, savoring--the "more-faster-now world." His contrarian message: "Speed leads to a more pleasant, less stressful experience."
Poscente is aware that many people are more than a little stressed by the "big blur" between free time and work time. But, he says, "if we stop judging our time according to outdated definitions of work, home and leisure, we are less likely to feel stressed out about the blurred lines." Just as work has become integrated into our home and leisure, "we can integrate home and leisure into our work. Time can be a single powerful resource that we use to accomplish our goals and dreams, regardless of where we are."
The author knows a thing or two about velocity, having competed in speed skiing, a demo event at the 1992 Olympics. (His personal best: 135 m.p.h., or 217 km/h.) A business consultant with a master's degree in organizational management, Poscente admires swiftness in companies as well as individuals. Google, he says, "knows how to harness the power of speed," whereas Kodak "actively resisted speed even though its environment demanded it." He identifies four pop-psychology types: Zeppelins, who stubbornly resist speeding up; Balloons, whose occupations remove them from the need for speed; Bottle Rockets, who race around recklessly; and Jets, who turn speed to their advantage.
Poscente insists he is not advocating multitasking to the point of mania. "Some stimulation or arousal increases our productivity," he says, "but too much reduces it."
So what's the big rush? "Every time we speed up the time it takes to complete an unimportant task," he says, "we create the possibility of more time to spend doing what we feel is significant--whether it's building a business or watching the sunset." In other words, rush around all day and you might save up enough time to smell the roses. Well, maybe. But a true speed freak will probably use the extra time to squeeze out a few more e-mail messages. Still, Poscente's message of picking up the pace and enjoying it is an attractive one. Who wants to be an onlooker as the world speed skis by? -- By Andrea Sachs
Your Money & Your Brain
By Jason Zweig
Simon & Schuster; 340 pages
There is nothing like a bad investment to make even the smartest person feel dumb. According to Zweig, a senior writer at Money magazine, it isn't entirely your fault. The appetite for money is a hardwired instinct that bullies our rational thoughts. Humans crave money so intensely, he writes, that the brain scans of a cocaine addict and someone about to receive cash look an awful lot alike. The good news: with self-awareness and a basic understanding of the brain's mechanics, we can dupe the greatest financial foe of all--ourselves. --By Carolyn Sayre
From Higher Aims To Hired Hands
By Rakesh Khurana
Princeton; 531 pages
Is corporate management a real profession? The intellectual rigor that legitimized business schools and turned the M.B.A. into a recognized credential has fallen by the wayside, argues Khurana, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. Instead of producing young professionals, he says, business schools are treating students as consumers and their education as a commodity. Exhaustively researched, Khurana's book examines the birth of the managerial class, the rise of the business school as an academic institution and what he calls its recent deterioration. This failure has created a climate ripe for corruption, and Khurana issues a call to arms for business schools to take back the high ground. --By Tiffany Sharples