A superb, quietly devastating environmental and business history.

CITIZEN COKE

THE MAKING OF COCA-COLA CAPITALISM

An eye-opening account of the “unmatched ecological appetite” behind Coca-Cola’s worldwide success.

In this deeply informed debut, Elmore (History/Univ. of Alabama) details the outsourcing strategy that he calls “Coca-Cola Capitalism,” which has allowed Coke to become the world’s top brand, with operations in more than 200 countries, at a huge cost to the environment and human health. Acknowledging the company’s marketing genius, Elmore claims that Coke’s real secret formula has been to rely on other people’s time and money, often using public infrastructure to extract raw materials and transport finished products. The strategy—first developed by mass marketers at the turn of the 20th century and later imitated by McDonald’s, large software firms and other corporations—eliminates upfront costs and risky investments. Since its founding in 1886, Coke has relied on partnerships for the sugar, caffeine, water, cans and bottles, and other raw materials needed to create its beverages (now selling more than 1.8 billion servings per day). Drawing on archival sources, the author devotes chapters to the ecological impact of each key Coke ingredient. At little cost, the company uses 79 billion gallons of public water supplies yearly to dilute Coke syrup and an estimated 8 trillion gallons to produce bottles and agricultural commodities. The company also has bottling operations in many arid world regions. Elmore describes how Coke has weathered supply disruptions and controversies regarding caffeine and sugar obtained from others and how its huge success during World War II paved the way for overseas expansion. In recent years, the company’s sugary beverages have been a major factor in the worldwide obesity epidemic. Without a doubt, Coke has been a good public citizen that stimulates economies and improves lives, writes the author, but the costs to taxpayers—for recycling systems, public pipes and subsidized farms—and the environment call into question how such unsustainable practices can continue in an age of scarcity.

A superb, quietly devastating environmental and business history.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-393-24112-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's...

THE NEW GEOGRAPHY OF JOBS

A fresh, provocative analysis of the debate on education and employment.

Up-and-coming economist Moretti (Economics/Univ. of California, Berkeley) takes issue with the “[w]idespread misconception…that the problem of inequality in the United States is all about the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99 percent.” The most important aspect of inequality today, he writes, is the widening gap between the 45 million workers with college degrees and the 80 million without—a difference he claims affects every area of peoples' lives. The college-educated part of the population underpins the growth of America's economy of innovation in life sciences, information technology, media and other areas of globally leading research work. Moretti studies the relationship among geographic concentration, innovation and workplace education levels to identify the direct and indirect benefits. He shows that this clustering favors the promotion of self-feeding processes of growth, directly affecting wage levels, both in the innovative industries as well as the sectors that service them. Indirect benefits also accrue from knowledge and other spillovers, which accompany clustering in innovation hubs. Moretti presents research-based evidence supporting his view that the public and private economic benefits of education and research are such that increased federal subsidies would more than pay for themselves. The author fears the development of geographic segregation and Balkanization along education lines if these issues of long-term economic benefits are left inadequately addressed.

A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's more profound problems.

Pub Date: May 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-75011-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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