A thorough analysis of the necessity of planning for an economic disaster and a well-articulated system to achieve it.

ROCK THE RECESSION

A debut business book offers a strategic proposal that prepares company owners for inevitable financial challenges and finds opportunities within them. 

Slain and Belair had starkly different experiences when the recession hit in 2008. Slain was the owner of fitness franchises and was unprepared for a sharp downturn in demand for the services he sold. He was only able to survive by borrowing $250,000 from his mother-in-law. In contrast, Belair ran “a national specialty contracting company,” one he bought prior to the recession and sold after it for a huge financial windfall. The two authors devised a system—the Recession Readiness Assessment™—formulated to both appraise a company’s current state of health and help fortify current weaknesses before the cyclically inevitable occurs: a recession, broadly defined as “any big shock to a company’s system.” The assessment is a collection of 20 questions divided into five sections, each one corresponding to a gear in a gearbox—assess (first gear), tune (second gear), race (third gear), and accelerate (fourth gear), plus an emergency brake, the pulling of which means one begins cutting overhead to remain profitable. Executives always start in first gear. Then the astutely composed questions, combined with a diagnosis of the economy’s health, help them determine which gear to choose next. The authors offer sensibly prudent and consistently lucid counsel regarding not just the importance of preparation for disaster, but also its nature. The assessment itself, provided in full in the book, will at the very least serve as a valuable diagnostic tool. Some of the questions may be obvious, especially those pertaining to available cash and debt, but others are both important and easily overlooked. For example, the authors suggest taking a hard look at the financial worthiness of the vendors a company relies on. The prose can be unctuously ingratiating, unfortunately common in business guides: “We’re almost at the end of the book. Are you ready to Rock the Recession?” But the authors provide a genuinely useful discussion of recession-preparedness and a usefully actionable tool for its judicious establishment. 

A thorough analysis of the necessity of planning for an economic disaster and a well-articulated system to achieve it. 

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0191-8

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Recession.com LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2019

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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