An unabashedly free-spirited celebration of the power of outside-the-box thinking.

WILD COMPANY

THE UNTOLD STORY OF BANANA REPUBLIC

The warmly inspiring account of how a journalist and an artist stumbled into business and founded Banana Republic, one of the most successful clothing chains in retail history.

In 1978, tired of working dead-end jobs, Mel and Patricia Ziegler decided to take the $1,500 they had between them and create “a lifetime free of never having to work for anyone other than [themselves] again.” With no previous business experience to guide them, they began with the idea to sell safari-style clothing purchased from military-surplus warehouses. And so they embarked on their retail adventure, relying on luck, resourcefulness and their respective skills as a storyteller and a visual artist. They created a mail-order catalog that broke all the rules of direct marketing, bluffed their way into getting the merchandise they couldn't pay for and started their first shop in an almost invisible location "on the dark side of a side street two long blocks from the edge of the retail center of Mill Valley.” Thanks to unexpected media exposure, however, their tiny store was soon filled with customers looking for distinctive quality clothing that conveyed "character, charisma, and class.” By 1982, Banana Republic had grown large enough that it attracted the attention of Gap founder Don Fisher, who bought the company but kept the Zieglers in charge. The company continued to break sales records, but as it did, Fisher's desire to make Banana Republic into a money-making mega-chain devoid of its trademark playfulness and individuality eventually forced the Zieglers to walk away. Told as a dual-voiced narrative that alternates between Mel’s and Patricia's points of view and illustrated throughout with sketches and images featured in the early catalogs, the story offers refreshing insight into the possibilities of achieving success and maintaining personal integrity in a hyperformulaic world.

An unabashedly free-spirited celebration of the power of outside-the-box thinking.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8348-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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...

NIGHT

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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