A breezy, bloodless take on a corporate story more colorfully recounted elsewhere.

EVERY TOWN IS A SPORTS TOWN

BUSINESS LEADERSHIP AT ESPN, FROM THE MAILROOM TO THE BOARDROOM

An insider account of how and why a little cable company in Bristol, Connecticut, became “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

Hired in 1981 as ESPN employee No. 150, Bodenheimer started out delivering mail and driving on-air talent like Dick Vitale to the airport. By 1998, he was president of the company. Because his professional rise synchronizes almost perfectly with the astonishing growth of ESPN, this professional memoir serves not only as a management guide, but also as a broad-brush history of the company. From his early days as an account executive selling and marketing ESPN to affiliates in the Southwest (“…we’ll carry it because…this is a sports town”) to his last as the company’s executive chairman, Bodenheimer helped feed the country’s apparently bottomless appetite for sports, peddling the network’s unprecedented 24/7 blend of event programming, journalism, and entertainment. From identifying a market for televising the likes of the America’s Cup, the Indy Time Trials, the NFL Draft, and the World Series of Poker to packaging previously obscure sports like the X-Games to providing “punch-through” programming like the NFL on cable, ESPN got there first and, by staying true to its brand and mission, transformed itself into a multimedia, global behemoth. Although Bodenheimer confesses to a few of the company’s miscalculations and mildly criticizes exactly two people, this relentlessly upbeat account consists largely of bouquets tossed to those responsible for the programming milestones, mentors and fellow executives, and various on-air talents whose reports contain a powerful source of social currency and whose catchphrases have become part of the national vocabulary. With the help of Phillips, Bodenheimer scatters management advice throughout—about branding, setting priorities, handling people—that convinces, if only because of the company’s outstanding success.

A breezy, bloodless take on a corporate story more colorfully recounted elsewhere.

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4555-8609-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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