Revealing and well-written.

GRAND AMBITION

AN EXTRAORDINARY YACHT, THE PEOPLE WHO BUILT IT, AND THE MILLIONAIRE WHO CAN'T REALLY AFFORD IT

A meticulous account of the building of one of the largest American-made yachts since the Gilded Age.

Royal families have long enjoyed large pleasure vessels, writes former Wall Street Journal senior writer Knecht (Hooked: Pirates, Poaching, and the Perfect Fish, 2006, etc.). In modern times, yachts have been the playthings of Russian oligarchs, Greek shipping magnates and Arabian sheiks. In the United States, the leisure vessels became a hallmark for a new kind of nobility, including J.P. Morgan, in the gilded 1890s and remain so for today’s self-made entrepreneurs. This readable account tells the story of a former milkman’s son, Doug Von Allmen, now a successful private equity investor in his late 60s, and his experience building a mammoth $40 million, 187-foot yacht. Knecht vividly renders the construction process. He describes the work and lives of the shipfitters, welders and others who joined thousands of pieces of metal in a noisy Gulfport, Miss., yard; the yacht owner’s dealings with the boat designer and builder; and the complex steps required to install air conditioning, finish surfaces, create a huge mural for the stairwell, etc. Beyond his tale of luxury shipbuilding, the author provides an intriguing study of the wealthy and overreaching Von Allmen, who hoped to make the Lady Linda the “best-ever American-built yacht” and the “ultimate embodiment of his success.” As the investor contemplated interior designs two years into the project, the 2008 financial meltdown imposed serious new constraints. While cutting expenditures in his Manhattan and Florida residences, Von Allmen tried to overcome losses by investing (and losing) more than $100 million in an elaborate Ponzi scheme. He now hopes to sell or charter the yacht, delivered three years late.

Revealing and well-written.

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1416576006

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

BACK FROM THE DEAD

A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more