A retread of themes and content explored in his previous book, mainly of interest to fans of Grazer’s work.

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FACE TO FACE

THE ART OF HUMAN CONNECTION

The award-winning Hollywood producer recounts how his skill in effectively making human connections has directly contributed to his successful career and home life.

In this upbeat though somewhat redundant follow-up to his previous book, A Curious Mind (2015), Grazer takes readers on a loose anecdotal journey through his life and career highlights, sparked by many memorable personal encounters. As a young boy struggling with the limitations and awkwardness of undiagnosed dyslexia, Grazer came to realize that books and classroom study weren’t going to provide his ideal path for learning. Instead, acquiring the ability to form meaningful human connections, starting with direct eye contact, would ultimately provide the results he desired. “To this day, connecting with people is still how I learn best,” writes the author. “More than that, it has become a central practice in every aspect of my life….It is my secret to getting things done, reaching my goals, and feeling energized and empowered. It’s how I thrive, how I grow, how I feel fulfilled, and how I feel purpose. Without doubt, I would not have the life I have today if I didn’t make the effort to genuinely connect with others.” Grazer goes on to describe the particulars of these many encounters, including the inspiring lessons he learned from master communicators such as Oprah Winfrey; his efforts building trust with temperamental artistic talents like Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, and Eminem; and his methods for overcoming his anxiety about public speaking. Grazer is an amiable storyteller, and his reasoning can be persuasive. However, his examples too often cast a light on his achievements as a Hollywood insider rather than being relatable. As an influential film and TV producer, the odds are stacked in his favor that most individuals would want to interact with him. Here, he rarely summons up more common obstacle examples that would affect an average Joe.

A retread of themes and content explored in his previous book, mainly of interest to fans of Grazer’s work.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-4772-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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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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