Amusing—and motivating—advice on managing workplace stress.

READ REVIEW

THE KARMIC CURVE

HOW TO HAVE IT (NEARLY) ALL, BUT NOT ALL AT THE SAME TIME

A husband-and-wife team shares tips on having a satisfying career but still finding time for life beyond the office in this debut business guide.

Today’s workplace remains seriously stressful, but the “karmic corporate employee” will “smile inwardly”—yet still effectively deal with the often “cartoon antics.” That’s the mantra put forth by William, the pen name for a husband and wife with a total of more than 40 years of government and corporate experience, including posts in Brussels. In this guide, the couple offer a narrative that includes some 50-plus tips to “apply the karmic brakes slightly earlier than we did.” They particularly focus on handling the “Scrappy-Doo syndrome” that runs rampant in organizations to “work hard all of the time, battle for everything” in an insatiable pursuit of the next “cookie” of praise from superiors. While the authors acknowledge the need to become “scrappy” during the early days on a new job, they provide many suggestions on how an employee can strive for balance and calm thereafter. These tidbits include sending release-valve rants to a private email, perhaps even during meetings, “a vortex from which few manage to escape.” The authors also supply hints on influencing bosses (try pinging these busy types on Sunday mornings; never surprise them with ideas at meetings), dealing with party receptions (stay near the door and leave early), and more. The couple underscore that there is workplace value in a “karmic jazz” slowdown, as it leads to carefully thought-out “landing zone” solutions to problems rather than the fast-moving progress often demanded by “scrappies.” These hilarious authors, who note they are “pretty sure that we are not the only household on the planet that is trying to juggle family responsibilities, corporate realities and the wish not to forget how to have fun,” present inspiring tactical advice to attain better Zen mastery over a career. Their humorous narrative is hugely enjoyable, with their clever commentary including pokes at a certain wealthy businessman-turned-politician, which may not please all readers (“Now it’s just possible that you could try to model your own ego on that of Donald Trump, but why on earth would you want to?”). But overall, this duo delivers an engaging and transformative perspective on achieving a job and life balance.

Amusing—and motivating—advice on managing workplace stress.

Pub Date: April 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5309-5954-9

Page Count: 138

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2016

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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