A forceful, engaging program for taking a clear, calming look at an increasingly alarming world.



A debut guide aims to help young leaders grapple with the uncertainties of the 21st century.

The author takes the title of his book from an essay by David Foster Wallace in which an old fish asks a young fish “How’s the water?” and the latter later wonders: “What the hell is water?” Kian intends his manual to aid young achievers and entrepreneurs not only to be more aware of their “water” (the broader contexts of their world), but also to “lift yourself out of the water and have a fresh look at where you are.” The author, a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam, describes the cosmos facing young leaders as characterized by VUCA: It’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. He describes the “overwhelming sense of a lack of control” that’s created in those who face a VUCA universe. The coping framework he outlines draws heavily on the ancient philosophy of stoicism and seeks to help readers appraise the many upsets an uncertain world will inevitably supply. Without such analysis, Kian writes, “it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of exposure to negativity that you might have through work, social media, email, news, and voice and text messages.” Employing graphs and providing extensive open space for the audience to work out answers, the author lays out clear strategies for readers to capitalize on their strengths, clearly evaluate their weaknesses, and always remember the importance of community. “Especially in a VUCA world,” he writes, “the sense of not being alone serves as a buffer for many challenges.” The book’s advice on matters of communication (the widespread stress factor of the 21st century) is its clearest and most useful, but the whole manual is energetically and invitingly written. Kian’s experience as a consultant is most evident in the many ways he’s devised to assist his readers to become involved in creating their own plans for improvement.

A forceful, engaging program for taking a clear, calming look at an increasingly alarming world.

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0352-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: To the Moon Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 4, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



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").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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