A forthright, inspirational account of a businessman’s spiritual struggles.



A successful entrepreneur recounts his quest to find happiness and God in this debut book.

Tracing his career history, the author asserts that he was driven by a desire to rise above his inauspicious beginnings. Ash grew up on the rough streets of Montreal’s inner city and was an underachieving, shiftless student in his early days. But he showed entrepreneurial promise even then, aggressively selling newspaper subscriptions door to door at the green age of 12. Still, Ash recalls that he was emotionally beleaguered by the death of his father from diabetes, stymied by bankruptcy, and engulfed in recreational drug use. His early triumphs as an entrepreneur—he was a serial starter of new businesses—were modest. He decided that the road to contentment was paved with wealth and power. Gradually, he found both prosperity and a kind of spiritual awakening. He started a payday loan business that turned out to be spectacularly lucrative. He met his future wife, Lise, and was inspired not only to become a better businessman, but also a more moral human being. Eventually, Ash found solace and guidance in the Bible, which helped him to reconceive what success meant. “Today, I operate in God’s economy,” Ash writes. “I no longer measure my success in dollars and cents.” Following the loss of his mother, who suffered from mental illness, Ash devoted himself to helping the homeless. He established an innovative housing center for their treatment named The Vivian, after his mother. The author’s remembrances remain laudably candid; he pulls no punches in describing his shortcomings and challenges. This isn’t a now-familiar appropriation of Christian doctrine to validate the unrestrained accumulation of money as a divinely sanctioned mission. Ash expertly traces his path to realizing that materialism is misguided and that transcendent philanthropic aims justify the noble pursuit of entrepreneurial victories. Ash dispenses little practical business advice. Instead, this is a meditation on the deeper purposes of commerce, understood from the perspective of religious commitment.

A forthright, inspirational account of a businessman’s spiritual struggles.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7448-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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