Valuable encouragement to closeted workers who can afford to heed the author’s advice.

THE GLASS CLOSET

WHY COMING OUT IS GOOD BUSINESS

An appeal to LGBT workers and corporations about the benefits of inclusion, from the former CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Riverstone Holdings partner Browne (Seven Elements that Changed the World, 2014, etc.) resigned from BP in 2007 following a scandal that exposed his long-hidden sexuality. Living a double life destroyed his career, and he cautions others not to make his mistake. After a lengthy, needless primer on the history of homosexuality, the author focuses on the sphere of his fellow white-collar professionals; in 2012, there were no openly gay CEOs in the Fortune 500, and (presumably) straight white men held almost 75 percent of all boardroom seats. Brown also reports that an estimated 41 percent of LGBT employees in the United States are in the closet. He believes businesses should seek to employ "the best people, everywhere, on the single criterion of merit” and urges them to demonstrate to employees that coming out will not be "catastroph[ic]…regardless of their sector or the protections in place at their company.” The author glosses over the fact that this will be the case for rank-and-file employees in companies, and countries, hostile to gays. Browne effectively presents both leadership lessons and workers' stories of how the closet has hurt their dignity and careers. An out senior banker at HSBC warns, "[a]t some point if you're not truthful about certain elements of your personal life it becomes a huge liability….People won't trust you and may even use it against you." If this book fails to inspire risk-averse business leaders, it will reassure gay workers that "kowtowing to those who disapprove of your sexuality suggests their comfort is more important than your own. It is not." Browne further urges them to take responsibility: "If a company opens the closet door, it is up to the employee to walk through it.”

Valuable encouragement to closeted workers who can afford to heed the author’s advice.

Pub Date: June 17, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-231697-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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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