In case the title fails to warn you, this is a somewhat unfocused inspirational corporate history by the entrepreneurial cult heroine who founded the wildly remunerative ``environmentally conscious'' cosmetics company called The Body Shop. What the book doesn't tell you: anything about the financial or marketing nuts and bolts of how Roddick turned one little provincial English store into a worldwide chain and manufacturer of ``natural'' remedies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Still, the story has interest—as the chronicle of a hippie woman from Littlehampton, England, tossed willy-nilly into the last decade's economic boom and making the most of it, and as a manifesto for environmentally pure and socially responsible business practices. In respect to the latter, Roddick advocates a ban on animal testing; increased corporate campaigns for saving the whales, preserving the rain forests, and disarming the world; a soft retail sell; recyclable products; and placing factories in undeveloped regions, such as Easterhouse, Scotland—where, Roddick writes, ``we employed the unemployable,'' who ``fell in like lambs.'' (Unions are necessary only when the managers are ``bastards.'') She attributes The Body Shop's success to ``passion'': ``I have never been able to separate Body Shop values from my own personal values,'' she boasts, and delineates them fully. How did Roddick force all 600-odd Body Shop operators to adopt her green-and-white color scheme while maintaining a corporate ``democracy''? What is the exact financial structure of this profitable ``social experiment''? We don't find out here, but we may be inspired to expand our own little business in homage.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)