A former bank vice president shares his corporate travails, his transition to self-employment, and general business advice in this debut memoir and self-help guide.
On a Monday in 1982, Kingston, a VP at an unnamed LA–based bank, was told that his current position had been eliminated. In this memoir, he details the crazy two years that followed: a “corporate hell” of temp assignments at the bank, during which, he says, a manager moved him into a supply closet and corrupt subsidiary execs warned him to turn a blind eye to their shenanigans. After he recovered from a heart attack, he went to the bank’s top officer and worked out an agreement to exit on his approaching 10-year anniversary, which vested him in the bank’s retirement plan. Kingston then went on to hold several other corporate positions, relocating to Atlanta, traveling internationally, and then returning to LA; he also taught college courses, published finance-related books, and earned CPA and tax certifications. It took him until 1995, at age 51, to fully launch his own financialpractice (now based in San Diego) and live largely off its income. The author ends most chapters with summarized tips (such as “Be prepared for an ambush Monday”) and concludes with a final “Planning Your Escape” chapter and “Losing Your Job” appendix, which includes a list of signs of being a “corporate prisoner” (“Your job is your only option”). Kingston’s relatable, entertaining saga of being “caught in the middle of corporate politics, power struggles, management incompetence, and leadership deficiencies” will attract readers’ sympathy and interest. He offers several highly amusing, if sometimes wince-inducing, sequences, such as one in which he gets his performance review while sitting next to a diaper-changing mother on a plane (“If there ever was a good description of getting crapped on, that was it”). He doesn’t always overcome the challenges of combining advice and memoir, however; his end-of-chapter tips, for instance, occasionally undercut the momentum of the engaging narrative. Overall, though, Kingston’s insights are compelling and may be helpful to struggling workers everywhere.
Dramatic testimony and useful guidance about the art and anguish of career management.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
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)