A well-intentioned proposal that is not quite ready for prime time.


A brief exchange about how best to ensure that all Americans have access to the most coveted schools and jobs.

Guinier (Law/Harvard Univ.; Becoming Gentlemen, 1997, etc.) and Sturm (Law/Columbia Univ.) open this slender volume with a not-so-modest proposal: silence the critics of affirmative action by reforming the way that we determine who is “most qualified” for advancement without sacrificing diversity. The authors begin by questioning the “testocracy” that has determined who gains entry to the best schools and companies in recent decades, claiming that standardized tests (such as the SAT) are inaccurate predictors of future success. In addition, those from privileged backgrounds tend to do better at such tests, thereby perpetuating the status quo. According to the authors, a far better predictor of success would be a form of probation, during which the candidate has an opportunity to perform in the desired job or university. After a probationary period, he or she would be evaluated according to a number of criteria that have been identified as relevant to successful performance. With the exception of a single hypothetical, however, the practical application of such a system is left for another day. Having advanced their proposal, the authors invite responses from various academics who pinpoint the weaknesses of the author’s naïve suggestions. One objection is that standardized tests offer the best chance for minorities (particularly Jews and Asian-Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds) to crack the old-boy network. Another point is that standardized tests are rarely used in the workplace, and almost never for the most coveted jobs. Finally, there is no guarantee that the subjective, post-probationary review suggested by the authors would not be susceptible to the prejudices of the evaluators. The replies made to these and other criticisms are unconvincing.

A well-intentioned proposal that is not quite ready for prime time.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8070-4335-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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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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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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