Brennan’s tell-it-like-it-is approach and unique perspective turn this financial book into an engaging read.

The C Route to Practical Financial Advice


A seasoned financial journalist offers easy-to-follow tips for building wealth in his debut.

Brennan, a longtime business reporter for outlets such as Bloomberg News, offers down-to-earth financial advice that aims to help the average Joe become and stay rich. He begins with a simple assumption: “Everyone does want your money.” The best way for innocent, hardworking Americans to protect themselves from ruthless financial sharks, he says, is to be aware of his book’s eight Cs: counsel, commentary, career, costs, crooks, castles (real estate), currency and the investment choices of a family called the Coads. Keeping these in mind, he argues, will help one think like a successful executive and build wealth. Each chapter of this slim volume delves into a different area, such as whom to turn to for financial advice or the pleasures and perils of investing in real estate. The author’s tone is no-nonsense, and he doesn’t pull punches; among his words of wisdom: “Don’t ever take advice from someone wearing a Che Guevara shirt” and “You can find…houses in Detroit now for only a few thousand dollars. Don’t buy one.” That said, the blunt, straight talk sometimes veers into curmudgeonly territory, as when the author lambasts his friend’s decision to become a massage therapist or dismisses Occupy Wall Street as a “crowd of youngsters.” Still, Brennan is well-informed and often persuasive, even when his advice runs counter to conventional wisdom; at one point, for example, he offers a detailed argument for buying new, rather than used, cars. Also helpful are his many detailed illustrations of financial concepts, including a chart that shows why investors are better off buying a bond than a boat. His section on investment scams is particularly enlightening; he offers telling anecdotes about the behavior of con artists, drawn from his own time as a reporter. Sometimes, however, Brennan’s media background gets in the way, particularly in the chapter on “commentary,” which he takes as an opportunity to discuss the implosion of the daily-newspaper business, the rise of social media and the importance of fact checking. It’s engaging material on its own, but it reads like a chapter from another book.

Brennan’s tell-it-like-it-is approach and unique perspective turn this financial book into an engaging read.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0990792505

Page Count: 170

Publisher: EIJ Publshing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2014

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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