An impressive example of how an individual’s diligent work can truly affect the world.

40 CHANCES

FINDING HOPE IN A HUNGRY WORLD

Farmer and philanthropist Buffett (Threatened Kingdom: The Story of the Mountain Gorilla, 2005, etc.) examines how to improve the world's food supply and make it more secure.

The author—a U.N. World Food Program Ambassador—has committed the foundation his better-known father, Warren, helped him establish to putting his knowledge and experience to work in the particular circumstances of countries in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. The author’s earlier travels on behalf of wildlife conservancy—supporting mountain gorilla and cheetah survival—and his studies on the impact of conflict and war undergird his foundation's focus on the protection of the global food supply. With tireless enthusiasm, Buffett has worked to recruit educators to upgrade methods in the countries he has visited, and he introduces many here. He sees an important role for America in the maintenance of worldwide agricultural productivity, but it depends on accumulated improvements in skills, physical and cultural infrastructure, and technology and cannot simply be exported to areas lacking the culture, infrastructure or soil quality. The author discusses how he searches out the expertise required to consistently, successfully address specific problems of growing food crops with the tools and seeds available on local soils. This effort is very much in the tradition of Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. Buffett believes that improvements in seed stocks and soil management and technology upgrades are absolutely necessary, as are people qualified to impart the required knowledge and skills. The author’s commitment to education, and action, on behalf of such capacities, shines through his book.

An impressive example of how an individual’s diligent work can truly affect the world.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8786-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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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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