Despite the preening tone, a useful business history and a panoramic view of the foolhardy excesses of the late 1990s.

BOO HOO

$135 MILLION, 18 MONTHS...A DOT.COM STORY FROM CONCEPT TO CATASTROPHE

Riches-to-rags tale of an innovative European Internet concern.

Malmsten, co-founder of online fashion and sports retailer boo.com, wrote this warts-and-all account because he realized it “could serve to capture all the broken dreams of the dot.com era.” In 1993 he began working with childhood friend and former model Kajsa Leander to promote Nordic literary events in New York. This led to their establishing a Swedish publishing house, then an early bookselling Web site that they sold for millions, instilling the desire to do “something really ambitious.” They seized upon the idea of a fashion website, since consumers spend more on clothes than on entertainment, with higher profit margins, and finding cutting-edge sportswear was at the time difficult in much of Europe. Malmsten depicts what followed in exhaustive detail. The partners had great success in developing a business plan and site prototype to attract high-end funding but didn’t realize the pitfalls that lay ahead. Well before their technology platform was established, let alone the 3-D imaging capability that lured investors, they’d hired more than a hundred people in London, established offices in New York, Stockholm, Paris, and Munich, and started a fully staffed online magazine. The site’s launch was repeatedly delayed, yet the “street” valuation of the company kept skyrocketing. But then bankers delayed the IPO due to diminished confidence, which resulted in the first round of mass layoffs, and eventually ceased the large cash infusions that sustained the profligate company. This cautionary tale illuminates how youthful Internet visionaries secured pie-in-the-sky infusions of capital from companies like J.P. Morgan and LVMH. However, they must also endure endless besotted recollections of the good life and heedless overspending; Malmsten’s obsessive name-dropping of luxury brands and yearning recollections of the snooty club/hotel scene indicate just what the so-called “revolution” was all about for him.

Despite the preening tone, a useful business history and a panoramic view of the foolhardy excesses of the late 1990s.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-09-941837-1

Page Count: 385

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2002

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BEATING THE STREET

More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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