An inquiry into sociological divergences that, for all its apparent artlessness and deceptive brevity, goes a long way toward explaining precisely what strains the commercial ties that still bind the US and Japan. With his customary acuity, Lewis (Liar's Poker, The Money Culture) focuses on two businessmen—front-line troops in the trade war now raging between the two economic superpowers. One is an insurance executive from the Midwest who worked in Tokyo for nearly two decades; the other, a Harvard-educated Japanese now based in N.Y.C., where he looks after the real-estate interests of a major zaibatsu (corporate alliance). From the expatriate American, Lewis learns a lot about the intricate web of politico-mercantile relationships that help preserve the status quo—and discourage genuine competition—in the island nation's domestic markets. Likewise, the Manhattanite pro tem offers insights on his countryman's yen to gain prestige and avoid conspicuous failure, traits that clarify the willingness of Japanese enterprise to make high-profile investments in properties (like Rockefeller Center) that afford little in the way of financial returns. The Japanese also argues that 1960's liberalism cost the US its capacity to vie on an equal footing with Japan's latter-day organization men. On a recent trip to Tokyo, Lewis discovered to his surprise that the journalist who broke the Recruit-scandal story, which forced the resignation of a prime minister, became neither rich nor famous. The object lesson in this outcome, at least for the author's Japanese sources, is that Americans are preoccupied with earning money and/or preferment in the short run, not in doing the right thing. Be that as it may, Lewis concludes that the Japanese are not just like us, and that their formidable economic system reflects these cultural differences. A gifted annalist's appreciation of why ``East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.''

Pub Date: May 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-393-03105-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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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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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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