An engaging, albeit imbalanced, discussion of the psychology and application of trust building.

I Mean You No Harm; I Seek Your Greatest Good

REFLECTIONS ON TRUST

Author of four previous books, poet and positive psychologist Meehan (Hall Ways to Success and Significance, 2014, etc.) explores the origins and meanings of two promises that have guided his life work as an organizational relationship consultant.

Born in the same Liverpool hospital and in the same year as Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, the author of this semi-autobiography relates the stories of his early aversion to violence as well as the various mentors who guided him. Almost by chance, Meehan discovered the two guiding principles, the two mantras (“I mean you no harm” and “I seek your greatest good”), that so perfectly encapsulate his deep, abiding interest in building trusting relationships, which is the focus of his book. Meehan’s encounter and subsequent deep professional relationship with Dr. William Hall—a positive psychologist and developer of highly structured organizational interviewing techniques—changed the author’s life. Meehan joined Hall’s firm, Talent Plus, in Lincoln, Nebraska. “Bill invested in relationships as intensely as financial brokers invest in shares on the stock exchange,” he writes of Hall’s preoccupation with building solid bonds of trust with others. The book then explores relationship building through RSVP, an acronym Meehan developed to show the importance of developing strong personal relationships, investing in strengths, allowing vision and virtue to guide one’s actions, and adopting a positive approach to experience. Meehan then examines the meaning of trust in the context of the two sentences that comprise the book’s title. While this shifting organizational landscape may seem to impose structural challenges, the author proves adept at applying various approaches to his central theme. His interest in Aristotle, the Stoics, and other philosophers enriches the discussion. A fairly strong writer, Meehan ends his exploration with a number of his poems—an unfortunate choice. Cloyingly saccharine, the rhymed verse detracts from the earnest exposition established in earlier sections: “Continue to live your life for many years more. / You’ll live to be a hundred—that’s for sure! / And please remember while you do, / John, Jim, Stephen and Margaret will always love you.”

An engaging, albeit imbalanced, discussion of the psychology and application of trust building.

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4917-6149-6

Page Count: 216

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: July 29, 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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