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October 2011
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TD Magazine

Decade of Change: Managing in Times of Uncertainty

Edited by Geoffrey Brewer and Barb Sanford

(Free Press, 213 pp., $25)

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Brewer and Sanford, editors at the Gallup Management Journal, review major business events from the past 10 years and look at the recommendations of visionary leaders on how to manage and make the most of change.

Each segment offers a trip down memory lane, because the stories deal with major change that has occurred during the past. However, as promised by the authors, the information presented in the book is very relevant to events shaping the world today. Many of the segments help to provide background for and a different perspective on recent news headlines.

Decade of Change is divided into five sections: global changes, crisis management, leading change, managing change, and strategies for the new normal. The book begins with an interview of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, in which he discusses his research on the nature of decision making and the previous assumptions that the world followed. Each subsequent interview and article deliver new insight and applicable lessons, from the integration of technology into our lives and the idea of environmental stewardship, to how building customer and employee engagement and navigating the market in the years ahead is shaped by these momentous events.

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Although the book is based on interviews and case studies with an emphasis on managing and making the most of organizational change, the reader may find unexpected personal takeaways as well. For example, two specific quotes stuck with me. According to Kahneman, context changes everything, and analysis from the Gallup World Poll shows that what the whole world wants is a good job. It is the new current state of mind, establishes our relationship with our city, our country, and the world around us.

The book truly held my interest. The interviews and case studies make it an easy read for the professional on-the-go. I would consider this a must-read for anyone in a leadership or change management position. The unique blend of stories offers a slightly different perspective on work in context of the world around us.

I plan to keep Decade of Change on my bookshelf and reference it often during the next 10 years. I give it four cafe au laits.

About the Author

Elizabeth Beckham is safety training manager at Turner Industries Group, LLC.

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