A touching legacy narrative infused with practical wisdom.

Common Sense Is Not All That Common

A physician with Lou Gehrig’s disease shares insights to leave behind for his young grandson in this debut advice guide.

Dunsky, a retired allergy specialist diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, believes that “absence of guidance” can be a factor leading to failures in life. He wrote this book as “my way of sharing seventy two years of accumulated knowledge, experiences, and observations,” specifically with his young grandson, Jake, “for the future.” In 36 essay chapters, he covers a host of life topics, including education, marriage, decision-making, health, and money. He offers up many personal anecdotes, including how his “unrealistic impression that I would have no problem being accepted into medical school” in the United States prompted him to apply himself better while attending med school abroad. He emphasizes the value of learning, family, and friends and provides several lists, including questions to ask in order to be a good critical thinker (such as “Have I crosschecked this information with reliable sources?”). He also offers common reasons for making mistakes (highlighting distractions such as smartphones and social media). In his final chapter, Dunsky reflects on his “crushing” and “quite uncommon” diagnosis of ALS, which he says has nevertheless had some positive outcomes, including allowing him to treasure the remainder of his life and create this labor-of-love book. The author provides the kind of wise yet down-to-earth commentary that anyone would wish for in a grandparent. His insights as a physician, hinted at here by his detailing of a few past cases, are worthy of a spinoff book. This book is rather lengthy, however, and at times, highly personal, particularly in the author’s direct addresses to Jake. Still, Dunsky’s reiterations of the “obvious,” such as to treat others honorably and be wary of those who don’t respond in kind, are quite important and indeed inspirational. They underscore the qualities required to lead a happy, successful life.

A touching legacy narrative infused with practical wisdom.

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4973-7383-9

Page Count: 438

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

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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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