Whether society in general and commerce in particular are on the threshold of a kinder, gentler era remains a very open question. Worth noting, though, is the fact that Ringer (Winning Through Intimidation, Looking Out For #1) has changed his tune. Indeed, the erstwhile Ayn Rand disciple, oozing rueful sincerity, is now poaching on happy-talk preserves staked out by Robert Fulghum. Relying on anecdotal evidence from his own career, plus quotes from the deep-thinking likes of Viktor Frankl, Ringer offers a ten-part prescription for personal and professional growth. Among other virtues, he commends perseverance, the capacity to learn from experience, forbearance to make mountains of molehills, a realistic (albeit positive) view of life, the urge to act rather than react, self-discipline, behavior that's civil as well as ethical, and the wit to accord time-wasters short shrift. While the conclusions drawn from the author's inch-deep analysis of the human condition are largely unexceptionable (and occasionally ingratiating), they represent little more than common sense recycled as unconventional wisdom. There's a sizable market for self-help counsel of the sort retailed by Ringer, but most sentient adults will find the text's short-take advisories intolerably simplistic.