As someone who is interested in writing, I naturally have an interest in the publishing world. I grew up as an insatiable reader, and always dreamed that perhaps one day I would be selling books as an author. Later, I realized it wasn’t my primary interest in life, or at least not my only interest, and that I was more interested in the steady-paycheque world of being a salaried employee of a government entity doing public administration and policy. You know, a public servant, without the snide view of their role.
My writing has shifted over the years. Some email stuff from time to time, later some blogging and presentations. A few long reports for government. And I realized that as much as I might have dreamed of writing fiction, I have a knack for taking relatively opaque and / or complex topics and simplifying them in order to explain them to others. » Read the rest
The textbook-sized book includes ten case studies across America where former big box stores – Walmarts and Kmarts – have been put to new use after the store left or closed.
What I Liked
I was drawn to the premise of the book as I have frequently seen large big box stores in Canada, anchoring malls and plazas, move out and languish empty for a number of years. Sometimes it is a short time and another retailer moves in. Sometimes it is a long time, and it looks like urban blight. Rarely have I seen much in the way of “good news” around these sites, and I was intrigued with the idea of a series of case studies where the stores aren’t just languishing empty, but have been put to reuse.
From a policy perspective, the first thing that jumped out at me was that the stores were not all empty because the store “failed”. » Read the rest
Before I get to the article I like, I’ll talk a little about the context of why I like it.
Economics and psychology together, i.e. behavioural economics, has long known that post-facto “rewards” for behaviour is usually only effective if the person knows in advance what the reward is going to be. So, if you set a goal, and the person values it, they will engage in the behaviour required to “win” or “earn” the reward. Gamification only works if the person knows the rules and has some say in the reward, i.e. it isn’t random chance.
Yet around the world, “tipping” doesn’t follow that pattern. It is an unknown reward provided after the transaction (i.e. the meal, for the restaurant world), and is supposed to reflect the customer’s view of how well they were served. Better service, better tip. Poorer service, poorer (or no) tip. Yet people rarely deviate from the norms — they often will pay 10% or 15% or 20% all of the time, by their personal comfort levels, for the wide “middle” ground for the level of service. » Read the rest
I’m frequently on the look-out for articles or new ideas related to self-management and goal-setting. Sometimes it shows up in articles about management or leadership. One such article I found recently was Figure Out the Leadership Style That Fits Who You Are on the Harvard Business Review blog site. Written by William C. Taylor back in August, I was reading through it again this week and basically his argument is that there are a small set of leadership styles, and we should try to figure out what type we are.
The Classic Entrepreneur. Sure, these leaders care about the values their company stands for, but it’s the dollars-and-cents value proposition that matters most. They love to build killer products and butt-kicking companies.
The Modern Missionary. Winning is less about beating the competition than it is about building something original and meaningful. Success is less about making money than it is about making a difference and having an impact.
A tax auditor discovers fraud, revenge and murder.
What I Liked
The writing is pretty good and I love the premise of the protagonist (a Revenue Canada tax auditor).
What I Didn’t Like
I had difficulty with three things in the book. First, I found there were way too many characters to keep them all straight. Second, I didn’t like the relationship between Alex and Jillian, very hard to follow why this would be a romance that would “bloom”. Third, I just plain don’t like Jillian…the choices she makes, the rationale for her relationships and interactions with men, all of it made me feel like an accomplice to sexism. All together it presented a challenge for realism, but it may also just be my personal preference to read about a character like Jillian.
The Bottom Line
Could have been better laid out with fewer characters.
🐸🐸🐸⚪️⚪️ – 3/5 Good (February 7, 1999)
I am not personal friends with the author, but I did interact with her briefly online. » Read the rest