A personable approach to one of the hot topics of our times.

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SOCIAL CHEMISTRY

DECODING THE PATTERNS OF HUMAN CONNECTION

A close look at the various structures of social networks.

King, a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management, has spent some 15 years studying social relationships among a variety of networks. In a psychobabble-free manner, she presents the findings of numerous researchers in the field, and, using simple diagrams, she maps the structure of three common types of personal networks. She categorizes their organizers as Expansionists, Brokers, and Conveners, and anecdotes about well-known figures illustrate the basic elements of each network’s social structure and psychological differences. Expansionists have huge but relatively weak networks, spend time meeting lots of new people, and know how to work a room. A good example is Jim Cramer, the loud host of Mad Money, whom the author describes as “the epitome of brash overconfidence.” Networks organized by Brokers have a very different style, embodied here by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, whose musical collective Silk Road Ensemble is a network of talented people from very different social worlds. Conveners build dense networks with deep roots in which their friends are also each other’s friends. King’s choice to illustrate this is Vogue editor Anna Wintour, queen of the fashion industry. Celebrities abound in these pages, but the author takes care to clarify the benefits and drawbacks of each style and emphasizes that for any individual, the most appropriate style is one that matches their personal goals, career stage, and needs. Throughout, she blends the findings of numerous sociological and psychological research studies with thoughtful advice and relevant stories from her own life, which gives the book a comfortable balance and adds to its readability. Rather than providing quick tips on how to build a network, King gives readers the big picture, showing what social networks are and demonstrating their importance in one’s career and personal life.

A personable approach to one of the hot topics of our times.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4380-2

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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