A lively and heartfelt, if sometimes-trite, series of inspirational observations about the keys to great leadership.

A motivational manual focuses on the importance of human connection.

“To live balanced, authentic, real, wholehearted lives, we humans must connect with others,” writes Coombs (Don’t Just ManageLead!, 2015). “To connect on a meaningful level, we must take off our masks and tell our stories.” In the course of his aphoristic, fast-paced chapters, the author blends his personal tales with broader, more general observations about the nature of leadership in both business and family life. The older he gets, he confesses, “the more I see the value in true connection and the emptiness of a society created around the falsehoods of maintaining a perfect life online.” The axis on which most of his advice turns is a series of L-words: laughing, loving, learning, leading, all of them components of “Living Large.” He delves in detail into each of these L-characteristics, expanding on the value of laughter in leadership capacities, for instance. He also explores the significant role learning can play at every stage of the leadership process (“For leaders to grow their organizations,” he writes, “they must become not only learning leaders but also teaching leaders”). The author’s prose is easygoing and clear, and his deployment of vivid personal stories (including some funny tales of being a hapless parent) is skillfully done, neatly balancing the bigger picture sections that are designed to hammer home the key points. The balance is extremely important because those bigger picture portions often lapse into clichés like be “the best you can be” and “you will learn more about how to live a joyful life from the school of hard knocks than from any classroom you will ever attend.” The sentiments of “Living Large” are well considered—the emphasis on humility and laughter is especially welcome—and hardly benefit from such threadbare expressions.

A lively and heartfelt, if sometimes-trite, series of inspirational observations about the keys to great leadership.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9986254-1-6

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Scrivener Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2019



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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