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

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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



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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