Practical inspiration for hardworking entrepreneurs.




His brand of vacuum cleaners became a trusted household name, and now Oreck sweeps onto the how-to scene with timeless, common-sense advice for business startups.

At 90 years old, Oreck still loves flying planes. He’s also excited by the new business ventures he has created since selling his successful vacuum company over a decade ago. That enthusiastic energy reverberates throughout his debut, which combines applicable recommendations for the novice with anecdotes of his own business experience, beginning with his first entry-level job in the RCA wholesale distributorship after World War II. Times may have changed since Oreck worked his way up to sales manager and then struck out on his own with the direct mail marketing of his vacuums, but he stresses that human nature remains constant. With an affable tone, he shares vital ingredients for his brand’s success, such as knowing—and literally visualizing—his target demographic for a lightweight vacuum cleaner (older, wealthier females), offering optimal customer service (a 21-year guarantee) and marketing to educate consumers about the benefits of his product. Black-and-white photos from Oreck’s life and sample advertisements are sprinkled throughout the lively narrative. One memorable ad shows a gray-haired hotel maid holding an Oreck vacuum above her head with one hand. During an era when lightweight products were thought to be less powerful—the competition even used this misconception against him—Oreck procured contracts with hotels, thus validating his vacuum’s strength and durability. As a self-made man who didn’t graduate from college, Oreck eschews business theory in favor of real-world practicality, and there’s no jargon in his easy-to-read book. “Knowledge is not talent and theory is not practice,” he says. In another key bit of advice, he suggests maintaining control of distributorship and avoiding the sale of products to large chains. While it may be tempting to place product with Wal-Mart, Oreck writes, the small business owner ultimately has little say when dealing with the giants. Though there is some intentional repetition of ideas, it doesn’t disrupt the book’s flow or its uplifting message. Readers who wax nostalgic for the days before faceless big-box stores will appreciate Oreck’s homespun adages and emphasis on customer service.

Practical inspiration for hardworking entrepreneurs. 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1934606438

Page Count: 176

Publisher: TAG Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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