SIX ACTION SHOES

A gimmicky guide to taking effective action. It's difficult to believe that the author of the substantive inquiry into creative thought reviewed above could also be responsible for the sketchy, lightweight tract at hand. Be that as it may, de Bono (who with evident satisfaction admits to having completed the manuscript on a flight from London to Auckland) offers a simplistic footwear framework designed to help individuals take appropriate control under varying circumstances. As in his Six Thinking Hats (1986), he focuses on a half-dozen alternatives that supposedly can be mixed and/or matched. In ascending order of complexity, the possibilities encompass: ``Navy Formal Shoes'' (for routine drills or procedures); ``Grey Sneakers'' (information gathering, research); ``Brown Brogues'' (hard work, frequently requiring street smarts or initiative); ``Orange Gumboots'' (emergency actions in which safety may be a prime concern); ``Pink Slippers'' (compassion, sensitivity to human needs); and ``Purple Riding Boots'' (official authority). Whatever the merits of these toehold paradigms, the author is not putting his best foot forward. On the printed page, in fact, his sole-mates are exposed as little more than antic conceits likelier to lead to derision than productive performance. At one stage, he has an apocryphal corporate executive faced with the necessity of firing a loyal and longtime employee enjoin a subordinate to: ``Put on your pink slippers, and deal with the situation.'' In like vein, another imaginary underling charged with containing an incipient scandal is told: ``It's orange gumboot mode. We have to move very fast.'' While pedestrian claptrap of this sort might help a few readers to give themselves an occasional kick start, most would be well advised to ankle on by.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 1991

ISBN: 0-88730-513-X

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1991

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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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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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