A refreshingly pleasant addition to the journals of self-discovery, with a timely focus on ecological stewardship.

TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES

ONE MAN'S JOURNEY FROM THE BOARDROOM TO BALI AND BACK

The CEO of a corporation and his family take a sabbatical from a hectic life in New York City and head to Bali to recharge and reconnect.

In his debut memoir, Feder shares an adventure many dream about. It began when he was at a career high point. His wife, Victoria, managed a thriving community center and a preschool she had founded. Their four children were attending a competitive private school. Everybody was overscheduled, living in his or her own world. They needed a break from their safe bubble. Once Feder agreed to take a temporary respite from the breathless, goal-driven pace that had begun to define him, he found himself realizing “that constantly striving to get ahead over the years slowly gnawed at a more humanistic set of values. Outwardly, I maintained a firm position, but I felt the edge had already begun to come off.” After many months of careful preparation, Feder and his family left New York in a December snowstorm and headed to Tanzania, where they spent two weeks on a safari before heading for their reprieve in Bali. The children were enrolled for the spring semester in Bali’s Green School, established by a Canadian expatriate: “The school’s mission statement talked about joy, leadership, and teaching kids to be global citizens.” Feder challenged himself physically through mountain biking and spiritually through yoga, meditation, and drawing. Although occasionally the narrative has the dispassionate tone of a genial tour guide, there are strong moments when the author reveals the excitement of unlocking a new way of experiencing the world: “My drawing opened up a new dimension of travel for me. Spending an hour or so truly observing an image and perceiving the lines, edges, shadows, and perspectives was an unimaginable luxury. I then chose to turn those perceptions into drawings because I would add something of myself to the image, an expression that was personal and unique.” The text bogs down in details of mastering the complexities of yoga exercises, but Feder’s self-deprecating humor remains charming throughout.

A refreshingly pleasant addition to the journals of self-discovery, with a timely focus on ecological stewardship.

Pub Date: April 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63576-367-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Radius Book Group

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

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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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