Inspired, white-knuckled fun from start to finish.



A charmingly candid memoir of the year a young journalist spent conquering her deepest fears.

In 2008, Hancock was on a beach in Aruba when she learned that her nearly six-figure blogging job had become a victim of the Great Recession. Shocked and confused, the newly unemployed pop-culture journalist promptly downed two shots of Jack Daniels and “adopted a large family of piña coladas.” Unable to find a job upon her return to New York, she had to face the unpleasant fact that “to tell people that you do nothing is like saying ‘I am nothing.’ ” She attempted to devise a “one-year plan,” only to find herself paralyzed into inaction by increasing anxiety and self-doubt. Then one day, and quite by chance, she came across a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt scrawled across a café menu board: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” These simple words changed Hancock’s life. Not only did she decide to take the advice literally and apply it to each of the 365 days that followed her upcoming 29th birthday; she also set herself the task of reading all of the former first lady’s major writings. If Roosevelt, who began life as a painfully shy child, could grow into a self-confident woman remembered for her extraordinary courage, then Hancock could easily move beyond her own fears, no matter how primal or idiosyncratic. During the next 12 months, the author swam with sharks, jumped out of airplanes, embalmed dead bodies, confronted ex-boyfriends, kicked a 10-year sleeping-pill habit and climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Pushing her limits, Hancock reconnected with the ballsy, irreverent person she had once been. More importantly, her exercise in overcoming fear allowed her to return to living her life with a renewed sense of purpose and proportion.

Inspired, white-knuckled fun from start to finish.

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-187503-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2011

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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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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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