A thorough and honest look at the shortcomings of network marketing and the possibilities for success.

MANIPULATED

An experienced salesman advises readers about the pitfalls of network marketing companies.

In this debut business book, Davenport draws on decades of experience with multilevel marketing (representatives sell and also profit from sales made by their recruits) and network marketing (representatives go from using a product to selling it to family, friends, and other contacts) companies. He explains the exaggerations and falsehoods these businesses often use to sell their products and draw new representatives into their sales networks. Although the author presents a cleareyed view of network marketing’s shortcomings—the “Lies” of the volume’s subtitle—he does not take an entirely negative view of the industry. Much of the work is designed to help readers get a more nuanced glimpse of their chances of success and to provide a template for being an honest and ethical participant in the sector. Each chapter examines a different falsehood (“Network marketing is like getting paid to recommend a movie”; “It’s so simple, anyone can do it”) in detail. It explains how to evaluate the accuracy of a recruiter or salesperson’s statement, where to find enough information to make an informed decision, and strategies for successfully selling a product or service without repeating those lies to customers—for instance, “verify your own pitch to avoid making false claims.” Anecdotes from Davenport’s own career and the broader industry appear throughout, adding color and illustrating the argument that network marketing can be useful if the bad actors are removed. (Many of the anecdotes end with companies fined and unscrupulous executives facing indictments.) The author’s tone is straightforward, often bordering on brusque (“Any promise of ‘passive income’ in this industry is a lie from start to finish”), which makes the book a quick and easy read. The volume is aware of its audience throughout, and is clearly written for those who belong to or are considering joining the network marketing industry. While the work is not for general audiences, it does an excellent job of serving its target market.

A thorough and honest look at the shortcomings of network marketing and the possibilities for success.

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0394-3

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Manipulated Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2019

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

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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SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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