An immensely readable account by a man whom companies call when all else fails.

CORPORATE UNDERTAKER

BUSINESS LESSONS FROM THE DEAD AND DYING

A corporate “clean-up” consultant tells the story of his colorful career.

In his nonfiction debut, self-described “operational turnaround expert” Aversa recounts his experiences during the darkest days of companies in crisis. He initially offers a thumbnail sketch of his life as the child of Italian immigrants in Canada and, specifically, of his time as an exchange student in Soviet-era Moscow. However, the majority of his book is taken up by an account of the many times that he’s consulted for companies that were out of money, overwhelmed, and unsure of which way to turn; he also holds forth on the broader lessons that he learned from those encounters. As such, Aversa’s book effectively serves as a forensic manual on why companies fail. Such failures, he writes, are never dramatic, overnight developments; they’re always the result of a series of poor decisions over time: suppliers who continue to ship products even though payments are late; bankers who renew credit lines even though a client’s numbers are weak; lawyers and accountants who soft-pedal advice in order to retain clients; and managers who convince themselves that things will simply somehow get better despite setbacks. By the time Aversa gets a call, he says, a situation “can be anything from a fever-pitched brawl over shrinking assets to a stale pile of waste.” The author’s reflections on these imperiled companies are uniformly engaging, and his vast experience in his field lends his straight-talking lessons extra weight. “You’re not that smart. Get an independent assessment,” he warns in one such lesson. “If you’re facing trouble for an extended period of time, it’s probably a result of your leadership decisions.” Business managers and owners are likely to find this sort of tough advice invaluable, and in his book, he lays out some of his best advice to them.

An immensely readable account by a man whom companies call when all else fails.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64704-009-3

Page Count: 342

Publisher: Bublish, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2019

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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