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CORPORATE UNDERTAKER

BUSINESS LESSONS FROM THE DEAD AND DYING

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

Awards & Accolades

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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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NUTCRACKER

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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