Szoradi uses drawings and anecdotes to promote sustainability in this debut work of nonfiction.
The concept of sustainability operates on many levels—sustainable homes, businesses and jobs, energy usage—all of which can improve the long-term health of the economy. Szoradi contends that the key to reaching these goals begins with the simple act of observation. As the author explains, “Active observation can fuel critical thinking, which is often a key driver of innovation. In turn, innovation can support sustainable design that is cost-effective and practical.” The book is built around ink-on-paper drawings based on observations that the author made over the course of his travels. They often depict homes or home features that exemplify some innovative method of working with—rather than against—the natural world. It isn’t all solar panels and waterless urinals, however. An architect, inventor, and the founder of an energy-intelligent lighting company, Szoradi is a modern-day polymath with ideas on just about everything. His insights frequently return to his own life experiences, including the house he built in suburban Philadelphia that was named by Cisco Systems as one of the “most ecofriendly homes in America.” Though the frequent drawings are ostensibly the raison d'être of this volume, the vast majority of space is given over to prose, and it’s in the text that the author’s ideas are most clearly expressed. Szoradi’s expertise and facility with stats are impressive, and he says something truly thought-provoking every page or so (as when he describes how he planted shade-providing trees to the east of his house and wind-shielding trees to the north). However, frequent allusions to his own successes and his attempts to coin buzzwords like “perspectiventure” (perspective plus venture) may irk some. Readers may be as inspired to action as Szoradi insists they will, and there are some undeniably intriguing ideas here that should interest people of all stripes.
A well-crafted, creative rumination on methods of viewing sustainability.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)