Straightforward, well-crafted biography of the outsider who shaped American advertising.

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THE KING OF MADISON AVENUE

DAVID OGILVY AND THE MAKING OF MODERN ADVERTISING

The former chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather offers a portrait of the ad agency’s legendary founder.

Roman begins with expatriate Brit David Ogilvy, nearly 40, quietly opening his first Manhattan office on Madison Avenue in 1948 after short stints as a chef, a poll researcher for Gallup and an Amish country farmer. A business novice with negligible advertising experience, known to don a “full-length flowing black cape with a scarlet lining” that made him look “like Heathcliff coming off the moors,” Ogilvy took the advertising industry by storm in just ten years. He started small then advanced quickly with an unmatched portfolio of campaigns for high-profile companies like Schweppes, Dove, Tetley Tea, Pepperidge Farm and Rolls-Royce. Culled from memories of his 26-year stint working alongside Ogilvy, plus nearly 200 interviews with business contemporaries and close acquaintances, Roman reveals how the ad man earned his peers’ supreme respect with his interrogative, disarming presence, yet retained an outspoken shrewdness. The author does note, however, that while Ogilvy achieved many public accolades throughout his professional career, his personal life was troublesome. His first two marriages ended in divorce, and he never fulfilled his desire for a large family. His not-terribly-happy childhood was scanted in his 1978 autobiography Blood, Brains and Beer; Roman fills in the blanks here. Plagued with chronic asthma, he had “a distinctly original mind” that did not jibe with his teachers at an oppressive British boarding school or at Oxford. His grades suffered, and he struggled with low self-esteem. Psychotherapy in middle age revitalized and overstimulated his suppressed ego; he could be, the author notes, “self-centered and inconsiderate.” Ogilvy retired to a palatial French chateau in 1973 and died in the summer of 1999, leaving behind an unrivaled advertising legacy. An afterword containing unpublished correspondence and a generous selection of photographs draws readers further into his world.

Straightforward, well-crafted biography of the outsider who shaped American advertising.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4039-7895-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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