Kawasaki is a likable guy, but this one is best browsed to avoid saccharine overload.

WISE GUY

LESSONS FROM A LIFE

The tech and marketing guru offers stories from his life and career.

Born in Hawaii in 1954 and noted as the evangelist for Apple’s Macintosh in the 1980s, Kawasaki (The Art of the Start 2.0, 2015, etc.) is now “chief evangelist” at Canva, the graphic design website. In this book of inspiration and advice, he describes his working-class youth as the grandson of Japanese immigrants, his education at Stanford, and highlights from his years as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and marketer. Organized around nearly a dozen themes (“Education,” “Apple,” “Values,” etc.), the book consists of short anecdotes about life decisions followed by nuggets of wisdom drawn from each story. Results vary: The anecdotes are entertaining, reflecting varied experiences, from learning how to sell at a jewelry company to career-defining work under Steve Jobs to the joy of raising his children to his love of sports. The wisdom bits are often trite or cloying: “Seek opportunities.” “Respect authority.” “Do the right thing.” “Help people and be generous.” And so on, with tiresome predictability. Kawasaki’s candor, however, is refreshing: “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart,” he writes of a Stanford friendship that led to his Apple job. And: “It’s very hard to evangelize crap.” There is also payback for Hillary Clinton’s “hubris” in rejecting his offer of social media help in her presidential campaign. Kawasaki is direct, funny, and sometimes contradictory. “Be humble,” he writes in a book with more than 20 photos of himself with others. His soft side is balanced by fearless practicality on the key to success: “Life is sales.” There is a genuine desire to share lessons learned and help readers get ahead. Do what’s right (he resisted Trump), find challenging teachers, avoid paranoia, and set goals, even superficial ones, if you want to succeed.

Kawasaki is a likable guy, but this one is best browsed to avoid saccharine overload.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53861-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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