Well-intentioned and stylistically sound; still, the book focuses on the importance of brand rather than comprehensive...


The Formula for Business Success = B + C + S

Bator’s admirable attempt to distill business success into three primary components.

The “formula for business success” posited by Bator (The Pocket Guide to Strategic Planning, 2011) consists of three elements: Brand, Culture, and Strategy. The book starts and ends by strongly reinforcing the notion that these three elements must be “aligned.” Employing the oft-used example of Starbucks, Bator suggests that the organization has achieved outstanding success because of its exceptional ability to align brand, culture, and strategy. Writes Bator, “the leadership of Starbucks continues to enhance that strategy and fanatically reinforce the standards that give customers the same Starbucks experience, regardless of which store they patronize.” Other examples of organizations that dutifully align brand, culture, and strategy are cited throughout. The central visual metaphor of the book, an iceberg, shows “Brand Conveyors” and “Brand Drivers” above the surface of the water and “Organization Drivers” hidden underneath. The Organization Drivers—the history of the organization, its mission and vision statements, its core values and service standards—form the foundation upon which brand and culture are built, according to Bator. In addition, Bator believes “a ‘focus on employees first’ philosophy” is a primary differentiator for the successful business. The book does a particularly fine job explaining the multiple aspects of a brand, properly emphasizing this key point: “it’s critical to provide a branded experience for customers and one that exceeds, or at least meets, the expectations they have developed from the brand image.” The author makes numerous cogent observations about brand experiences and brand perceptions; at times, though, it seems the discussion is so heavily centered on brand that culture and strategy are given short shrift. The book would have been enhanced by a more thorough discussion of culture and strategy (though there are some good thoughts about strategic planning embedded in the “Brand Drivers” section). An appendix of readings or resources might also have been useful.

Well-intentioned and stylistically sound; still, the book focuses on the importance of brand rather than comprehensive business strategy.

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9963212-0-4

Page Count: 178

Publisher: Bator Training & Consulting

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2015

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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 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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