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WEALTHY AND WHITE

WHY GUYS LIKE ME HAVE TO SHOW UP, STEP UP, AND GIVE OTHERS A HAND UP

An engaging reexamination of 21st century philanthropy.

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Mitzen discusses the implications of racial privilege and the importance of giving back in this nonfiction work.

With more than $250 million in annual revenue, The Fingerpaint Group, a marketing firm founded by the author, made him and his wife, Lisa, “wealthier than we ever dreamed.” Indeed, when he sold the company in his early 50s, he declared that they would “never have to work again.” Inspired by the example of Andrew Carnegie, who invested vast sums of his wealth into communities across the nation in the early 20th century, the Mitzens soon thereafter founded the nonprofit Business for Good (BFG) to use their “business-building skills to help others.” This book, the author’s second work centered on the intersection of business and charity, is written “for wealthy white people” and includes anecdotes from BFG as a guide for other would-be philanthropists. Openly admitting that he and his wife “had no idea” what they were getting into, a central theme of the book is the author’s coming to terms with his own racial privilege. While careful not to “shame or guilt” successful white readers (“You worked hard for your wealth; enjoy it”), Mitzen acknowledges that white men have “a leg up on everyone.” The same “laws and customs” that created an environment for white entrepreneurs to thrive, he notes, are part of the very same system that closes doors to others. With a keen sense of the history and legacy of racism in America, the book also contextualizes economic inequalities, describing, for example, how Black wealth in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was stolen in the 1921 massacre. Written in an authentic, conversational style that leans heavily into four-letter swear words, this is a solid introduction to systemic racism for skeptical, affluent white readers. The book provides ample examples (accompanied by photographs) of how BFG combined business acumen with solution–driven approaches that extended well beyond simply “writing checks to worthy nonprofits and watching passively.”

An engaging reexamination of 21st century philanthropy.

Pub Date: May 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781544540993

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2023

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WHAT THIS COMEDIAN SAID WILL SHOCK YOU

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

The comedian argues that the arts of moderation and common sense must be reinvigorated.

Some people are born snarky, some become snarky, and some have snarkiness thrust upon them. Judging from this book, Maher—host of HBO’s Real Time program and author of The New New Rules and When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden—is all three. As a comedian, he has a great deal of leeway to make fun of people in politics, and he often delivers hilarious swipes with a deadpan face. The author describes himself as a traditional liberal, with a disdain for Republicans (especially the MAGA variety) and a belief in free speech and personal freedom. He claims that he has stayed much the same for more than 20 years, while the left, he argues, has marched toward intolerance. He sees an addiction to extremism on both sides of the aisle, which fosters the belief that anyone who disagrees with you must be an enemy to be destroyed. However, Maher has always displayed his own streaks of extremism, and his scorched-earth takedowns eventually become problematic. The author has something nasty to say about everyone, it seems, and the sarcastic tone starts after more than 300 pages. As has been the case throughout his career, Maher is best taken in small doses. The book is worth reading for the author’s often spot-on skewering of inept politicians and celebrities, but it might be advisable to occasionally dip into it rather than read the whole thing in one sitting. Some parts of the text are hilarious, but others are merely insulting. Maher is undeniably talented, but some restraint would have produced a better book.

Maher calls out idiocy wherever he sees it, with a comedic delivery that veers between a stiletto and a sledgehammer.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9781668051351

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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