A thoughtful book that could actually save employers some serious money.

HOW TO $AVE BIG ON WORKERS' COMPENSATION

WITH INSIGHTS FROM LEADING INDUSTRY EXPERTS

Putting a positive spin on workers’ compensation.

Friedlander is president of Friedlander Group, a company that specializes in workers’ compensation. As such, he has a vested interest in getting companies to have a positive perception of this often-maligned form of insurance, which he says can be a “lightning rod” as well as a “political football.”  Friedlander’s approach in this well-written, helpful book is to focus on what employers can do to minimize workers’ compensation claims in the first place. He believes that by creating a “culture of caring,” employers can effectively save money on workers’ compensation, because “that culture will maximize your productivity, efficiencies, and profits.” His basic premise is that employees and management who work collaboratively to eliminate unsafe acts and conditions will see claims go down and, as a result, profits will go up. On the surface, this seems almost simplistically obvious, but Friedlander supports his argument with an explanation of how “experience modification”—the manner in which an insurance company modifies an employer’s workers’ compensation premium by its claims experience— actually has a much greater impact on cost than the premium. Shopping around for low premiums, writes Friedlander, might save a company 10 to 20 percent, while “experience modifications range from up to a 40 percent discount to a 100 percent additional premium,” so the real cost to the employer is hidden in the claims filed by its employees. As a result, focusing on safety and employees’ well-being is the real way to manage workers’ compensation costs. This revelation alone makes the book valuable, along with several eye-opening interviews with workers’ compensation experts. Employers will gain insight into such key issues as claims and premium fraud, abuse of the system, loss control and reducing the cost of claims. Friedlander includes an “Appendix,” which is essentially a sales pitch for his company, and two of the interviews are with his own employees. Though self-serving, they don’t detract from the core content.  

A thoughtful book that could actually save employers some serious money.

Pub Date: May 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615442297

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Friedlander Group

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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