An incisive but somewhat tedious report of New York’s “new money.”



Travel + Leisure contributing editor Gross’ (Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles, 2011, etc.) latest chronicle of the .01 percent shifts to the other side of Central Park.

Whereas 740 Park (2007) told the story of old-money New York and co-op living in one of the city’s most storied buildings, this book examines 15 Central Park West, 740 Park’s new rival. Unlike its crosstown counterpart, 15 CPW’s pedigree is not blue-blood–bred. It was bought—in cash—by the world’s new elite. Built in 2007 by noted architect Robert A.M. Stern, 15 CPW was conceived as apartment living for a new age of financiers, moguls, celebrities, tycoons and anyone else who could afford an apartment’s exorbitant price tag. Exclusivity was only a matter of how much you could pay, not whether you fit the building’s profile. Consecrated to the idolatry of money, it’s no surprise that the bank principally in charge of financing the project was Goldman Sachs and no further surprise that most of the bank’s senior management received sweetheart deals on their new apartments. Among the building’s A-list have been Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Citigroup founder Sandy Weill, Denzel Washington and Sting. While the lives of the rich and famous have seemingly endless appeal, much of the building’s story is bogged down in ancillary histories, like a century’s worth of real estate development on Manhattan’s West Side and Columbus Circle area and a generational history of the legendary Zeckendorf family. (Brothers Arthur and William led the development of 15 CPW.) While this detail provides a solid foundation for understanding why 15 CPW came to be, it is also exhaustive and not always relevant. It seems that every person caught in the development and purchase of 15 CPW is treated with a back story, and this only reinforces the age-old truism that no matter how much money you have, it doesn’t necessarily make you interesting.

An incisive but somewhat tedious report of New York’s “new money.”

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6619-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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