An appealing argument for maintaining open-minded receptivity, with special appeal for film buffs.

A CURIOUS MIND

THE SECRET TO A BIGGER LIFE

Academy Award–winning film and TV producer Grazer ranks curiosity with innovation and creativity as keys to shaping a successful career and a happy life.

“Curiosity has been the most valuable quality, the most important resource, the central motivation of my life,” writes the author. With the collaboration of business journalist Fishman (The Big Thirst: the Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, 2011 etc.), Grazer explains how a lively sense of curiosity and willingness to ask questions opened doors for him and widened his horizons. In 1974, at loose ends in the interim between college graduation and the beginning of law school, he chanced to overhear a young man describe how he had just quit a cushy job in the legal department at Warner Brothers, a job that entailed delivering legal documents. Grazer applied for the job. Rather than simply dropping off the packages, he pretended that he had to deliver them in person, giving him the opportunity to meet an array of fascinating people (e.g., Warren Beatty, Lew Wasserman) and engage them in brief conversations. At the same time, he took every opportunity to meet the higher-ups at Warner Brothers. As he gained confidence and his career advanced, Grazer made it a practice to conduct what he called “curiosity conversations” with people in all walks of life, and he has interviewed more than 500 people over the last 35 years (everyone from Barack Obama to Isaac Asimov to Tyra Banks to Amy Tan). The author explains that he did not meet with these people to get ideas for films but because he was “interested in a topic or a person.” These face-to-face encounters allowed him “to build up a reservoir of experiences and points of view” and keep him “plugged in to what's going on in science, in music, in popular culture…[and] the attitude, the mood, that surrounds what's happening.”

An appealing argument for maintaining open-minded receptivity, with special appeal for film buffs.

Pub Date: April 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-3075-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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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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