THE TE OF PIGLET

Ten years later, a sequel to the runaway bestseller The Tao of Pooh. If you like marshmallow laced with arsenic, it was worth the wait. In the original, as you may recall, Hoff had an Idea: that Winnie-the-Pooh could be used to explain Taoism, the ancient Chinese way of balance. Now, as luck would have it, Pooh's buddy Piglet turns out to be the perfect embodiment of Te, the Taoist term for virtue, which is attained through sensitivity, modesty, and smallness. Piglet, you see, is a ``Very Small Animal'' (for all his talk about smallness, Hoff, like A.A. Milne, who must be groaning in his grave, likes capital letters Very Much), and the diminutive porker's adventures are the perfect means to preach, Very Lightly, about being positive and ecological and upright. The trick is to ``observe, deduce, apply''; once done, the millennial ``Day of Piglet'' will arrive and human beings will once again achieve ``the state of paradise that existed before the Great Separation occurred.'' Watch out, though: All is not summer in the 100-Acre Wood. Beneath the goofy grin one finds bared teeth, as Hoff snaps away peevishly at Confucianism (``authoritarian, No- Nonsense attitude toward life''), Christianity, feminism (``behind their antimasculine words, it's Overmasculinity as Usual''), Republicans, critics, computers—whatever raises his Taoist hackles. All in a Good Cause, of course. No doubt, The Ching of Eeyore comes next. Then what? Well, by then the Day of Piglet will have come, and the whole world will be a Trillion-Acre Wood...so empty your pockets while you can, and watch Piglet bring home the bacon. (Illustrated with 51 line drawings from the original Pooh books. However did they dare?)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-525-93496-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1992

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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 MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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