A warmhearted, appealing account by a masterful storyteller.



A father reflects on the “tumultuous father-son journey” that he and his son have shared.

In this alternately funny and moving memoir, a follow-up to his 2007 best-seller, Look Me in the Eye, Robison (Be Different, 2012, etc.) discusses how he dealt with the joys and challenges of fatherhood. As he relates, these were exacerbated by his own social inadequacies and those of his son, both of whom are Aspergian and suffer from “blindness to the nonverbal signals of others.” The author reveals his thought processes as he struggled to share his painfully arrived-at social insights with his son in order to help him navigate a fulfilling life. Though his early life was rocky, Robison became a successful electrical engineer. Although he had not completed high school, he worked on sound and lighting effects for Kiss and other top rock bands of the 1970s. Later, he designed computer games before opening his own business restoring and servicing high-end European cars. When his son was born in 1990, fatherhood proved to be more of a challenge. Beginning with his efforts to understand why his baby was crying, he describes the trial-and-error problem-solving approach that he used to compensate for his inability to intuit social signals. In 2007, his 17-year-old son, who had a basement chemistry lab, was arrested for “possessing explosives with intent to harm people or property.” Although he was ultimately exonerated, Robison believes that targeting his son was an example of political grandstanding by the prosecution and a failure of the justice system.

A warmhearted, appealing account by a masterful storyteller.

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-88484-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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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 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...


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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