An inspirational account that delivers some valuable taekwondo advice.

Part memoir, part self-help book, this debut work chronicles how taekwondo gave a musician the tools he needed to restart his life after a major failure.

In 1996, Davidson and his wife, Carole, declared bankruptcy. He had been trying to support his family as a musician, but couldn’t make ends meet. The couple had three children to care for and not many options. The author began to study taekwondo at the suggestion of a friend. It was a good way for him to work out his frustrations at first. He had no interest in learning to fight. Not long into his initial training, he discovered what the martial art could do for him in terms of discipline, spirituality, and mental health. It forced him to set goals and gave him the motivation to achieve them, and the ability to respect and learn from mistakes. Getting into the training a bit further, he found he wanted to open his own school. He did this in fairly short order, which compelled him to learn how to run a business. The discipline he learned kept him anchored during tough times, when he was delivering newspapers to bring in an income and when his wife left him. And it led him to his greatest successes, becoming a taekwondo master and providing stability for his loved ones. Davidson got a lot of coaching along the way, whether it was from his taekwondo instructors, biographies of great leaders, or business books, and he offers this useful information to readers. He analyzes each step of his life in clean, clear prose; includes photos; and presents bullet points in hopes of helping people to change their own lives for the better. But there are some technical passages concerning the complex process of becoming a taekwondo master that many readers may find hard to follow. Still, the book should appeal to readers who want to know more about the martial art or those who need a little motivational push.

An inspirational account that delivers some valuable taekwondo advice.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 173

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2018


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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