THIS IS HOW

PROVEN TO AID IN OVERCOMING SHYNESS, MOLESTATION, FATNESS, SPINSTERHOOD, GRIEF, DISEASE, LUSHERY, DECREPITUDE & MORE. FOR YOUNG AND OLD ALIKE.

Acclaimed memoirist Burroughs (You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas, 2009, etc.) charts new territory, offering his readers advice on life.

With a cinematic novel and a series of bestselling memoirs under his belt, the author now presents life advice that’s as unconventionally scattered as one would expect. His tongue-in-cheek guidance, predictably couched in personal anecdotes, opens with a chapter on rejecting the “superupbeat umbrella” of positive affirmations, and proceeds to deliver the straight, though clichéd, dope on bad love (“Abusive people never change”), the search for romantic connections (“get out of your own way”), weight loss (“real beauty comes from the inside”) and guilt-free self-pity (“sometimes you just feel like shit”). Most sections straddle the line between supportive empowerment and tough love and are written with the author’s characteristic dark humor, which consistently entertains and, as the pages turn, earnestly educates. Burroughs offers smart counsel on keeping communication honest (with yourself and others), the right to personal freedoms and the best mindset for a job interview; he also gives personal perspectives on his suicide attempt and how he conquered alcoholism. Some chapters focus constructively on self-esteem and positive affirmations, while others meander, as in a heartfelt piece on love that veers off to describe the benefits of residing on the southern tip of Manhattan. Both introspective and uneven, the outspoken author wraps everything up with an ethereal final chapter draped in the kind of mawkish Zen goodness that will work wonders for those in need of a morale booster. Despite pages of platitudes, Burroughs provides plenty of worthy material on the absurdity of the human condition and the unpredictability of contemporary life.  

 

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-56355-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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