Written with a great deal of humility; highly reflective, heartfelt guidance for entrepreneurs.




A small business owner shares her fears, failures, and successes in this motivational memoir.

It turns out there are plenty of “F words” that apply to owning a business: Each of the 21 chapters, plus an introduction and close, is titled with one. Building a book around “F words” might have felt somewhat artificial in the hands of a less capable writer than Preslar (On Heaven’s Couch, 2011). Her “French parents brought me into this world as an F word—Fabienne,” one justification for the manual’s amusing title. The author writes with such style, verve, and flair that it is hard not to embrace the concept and follow her journey. While the volume covers the typical ups and downs of small business ownership, one of its more striking elements is Preslar’s authenticity in unveiling her vulnerabilities. She willingly shares the difficult lessons she has learned in life and business, focusing on the realities of facing her fears and rising above failures. For example, the author reveals that fear has, at times, been debilitating, but she has made positive efforts to overcome it. She writes that fear is “like a flame that burns brighter when it’s fanned with avoidance, antianxiety medication, and denial.” Preslar also discusses how, as an introvert, networking and business relationships have not been easy for her, especially when she was unexpectedly “stung” by someone. The author tells a particularly poignant story about one experience with a woman from whom she learned three valuable lessons: “We never know what someone is thinking….We tote our baggage everywhere….We never know what someone is going through.” Such personal insights and refreshing candor lend a richness to the book and move it beyond just another entrepreneur’s account of building a business. Preslar offers helpful counsel to anyone contemplating business ownership, weaving in advice about finances, health, leadership style, interactions with employees, and more. The short chapters are always followed by several thought-provoking questions for readers to consider.

Written with a great deal of humility; highly reflective, heartfelt guidance for entrepreneurs.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943070-39-8

Page Count: 216

Publisher: SPARK Publications

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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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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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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