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WINNERS DREAM

A JOURNEY FROM CORNER STORE TO CORNER OFFICE

An inspiring but somewhat familiar tale of success driven by salesmanship.

A memoir about the life and leadership methods McDermott, the recently appointed CEO of software giant SAP, employed to shape the trajectory of his career.

The author attributes his rise—from salesman to corporate management and executive leadership at the Xerox Corporation, on to higher executive positions at tech companies Siebel and SAP—to his family and his experience as a teenage entrepreneurial delicatessen owner on Long Island. When he added pinball machines at his deli, which helped increase sales and pay off the financing for his purchase within a year, he learned a lesson he never forgot: the importance of stretching to achieve seemingly impossible goals. The author learned the importance of teamwork from his basketball coach father, and selling his mother's sandwiches taught him about providing customers what they wanted (“he would later call this “customer-centricity”). His successful business model involved combining the work of sales forces, product developers and administrators to improve sales results by developing conceptual packages that empowered clients to increase their own productivity. When McDermott demanded that salespeople become “innovators,” he combined almost unreachable stretch goals with equally grandiose reward programs—e.g., family vacations in Hawaii—and teamwork-enhancing education and discussion processes. He became the go-to businessman for a company requiring a major revenue boost to reverse declining sales. As he took on other projects, he set specific goals at well-staged conferences, and he organized follow-up through continuing education. In just one year, he led the Puerto Rican sales district from the bottom to the top of Xerox's hierarchy. At SAP, sales were doubled in a year, helping to turn around the deleterious effects of the 2008 economic slump. Much later, McDermott graduated from business school and the Wharton executive development program.

An inspiring but somewhat familiar tale of success driven by salesmanship.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1476761084

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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NIGHT

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

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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