Sincere and well-intentioned, if somewhat-formulaic, counsel on starting a business.



Advice for budding entrepreneurs about the fear of failure.

The message of this debut can be easily summed up in a phrase from its opening chapter: “fear and adversity are not your enemies.” They are worthwhile, legitimate concerns, particularly for those who are pondering starting a business; indeed, fear of failure can be paralyzing for many entrepreneurs. Pelletier, a principal at Pelletier Construction Management, draws from his own experience to show how one learns from setbacks, overcomes them, and perseveres throughout one’s career. He refers to a few other figures who found success after failure—such as Matthew Webb, the first person to successfully swim the English Channel—but the book is more about providing advice, rather than examples. The content seems overly familiar at times; for example, goal-setting is found in virtually every self-help book, and a chapter on the downside of “doing nothing” is elementary. A “road map to success” is quite basic as well. However, the book does offer a few memorable ideas, such as the author’s four-step “recipe for success”: accepting risk, experiencing fear, learning from failure, and then repeating the process. The book’s focus on the contrast between the “abundance mindset” and the “scarcity mindset” is also engaging; although it’s essentially another way of expressing the difference between optimism and pessimism, Pelletier offers a clear explanation and provides decent advice on how to change a scarcity mindset. A discussion of “enablers,” who reinforce failure instead of providing encouragement, is similarly worthwhile. Pelletier’s advice about personal financial discipline may be most useful to young entrepreneurs, as when he counsels the reader to “live below your means,” “trust your nest egg,” and “remain humble.” An accompanying reading list of seven books is helpful but could have been more robust.

Sincere and well-intentioned, if somewhat-formulaic, counsel on starting a business.

Pub Date: May 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0330-1

Page Count: 142

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 18, 2019

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


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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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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