SNAPSHOTS FROM HELL

THE MAKING OF AN MBA

A funny and frenetic account of Robinson's crucial first year in Stanford's MBA program, offering an education in itself as well as a cautionary tale. Stanford's atypical MBA program combines Harvard's case-study approach and Chicago's business theory but has a much more diverse, laid-back student body. With graduate work at Oxford and a career as a White House speech writer behind him, Robinson was a ``poet''- -in Stanford lingo, accepted to add variety to the management consultants and number crunchers. Like most of his peers in 1988, his motive for getting an MBA (which one professor called a ``yuppie union card'') was to secure an insurance policy for a lucrative career as an investment banker, financial consultant, or the like. Robinson found himself struggling to understand not only supply-and-demand curves, but also decision trees and influence diagrams. He also discovered his classmates' appalling ignorance of economic philosophy, whether Adam Smith or Karl Marx, and the persistence of gender issues in the B-school's race-blind meritocracy. His book is an album of late-night studying, random ``cold calls'' by professors in class, impossible exams, competition, and camaraderie. Robinson got a job with media mogul Rupert Murdoch, from which he was fired less than a year later in the recession. His peers likewise graduated to diminished expectations, but all got the credentials and contacts to improve their careers or change their lives. Todays business schools, with enrollments declining, have begun to expand their programs' ties to real business experience and to balance professors' teaching responsibilities with their research, but these problems are beyond the scope of Robinson's own vivid experience. Not the ultimate B-school survival guide, but a genial description of everything about getting an MBA that you wanted to know but were afraid to find out. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 14, 1994

ISBN: 0-446-51786-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science...

A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING

Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself, 1999, etc.), a man who knows how to track down an explanation and make it confess, asks the hard questions of science—e.g., how did things get to be the way they are?—and, when possible, provides answers.

As he once went about making English intelligible, Bryson now attempts the same with the great moments of science, both the ideas themselves and their genesis, to resounding success. Piqued by his own ignorance on these matters, he’s egged on even more so by the people who’ve figured out—or think they’ve figured out—such things as what is in the center of the Earth. So he goes exploring, in the library and in company with scientists at work today, to get a grip on a range of topics from subatomic particles to cosmology. The aim is to deliver reports on these subjects in terms anyone can understand, and for the most part, it works. The most difficult is the nonintuitive material—time as part of space, say, or proteins inventing themselves spontaneously, without direction—and the quantum leaps unusual minds have made: as J.B.S. Haldane once put it, “The universe is not only queerer than we suppose; it is queerer than we can suppose.” Mostly, though, Bryson renders clear the evolution of continental drift, atomic structure, singularity, the extinction of the dinosaur, and a mighty host of other subjects in self-contained chapters that can be taken at a bite, rather than read wholesale. He delivers the human-interest angle on the scientists, and he keeps the reader laughing and willing to forge ahead, even over their heads: the human body, for instance, harboring enough energy “to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”

Loads of good explaining, with reminders, time and again, of how much remains unknown, neatly putting the death of science into perspective.

Pub Date: May 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-7679-0817-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

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A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

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NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

A collection of articulate, forceful speeches made from September 2018 to September 2019 by the Swedish climate activist who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in such venues as the European and British Parliaments, the French National Assembly, the Austrian World Summit, and the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg has always been refreshingly—and necessarily—blunt in her demands for action from world leaders who refuse to address climate change. With clarity and unbridled passion, she presents her message that climate change is an emergency that must be addressed immediately, and she fills her speeches with punchy sound bites delivered in her characteristic pull-no-punches style: “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.” In speech after speech, to persuade her listeners, she cites uncomfortable, even alarming statistics about global temperature rise and carbon dioxide emissions. Although this inevitably makes the text rather repetitive, the repetition itself has an impact, driving home her point so that no one can fail to understand its importance. Thunberg varies her style for different audiences. Sometimes it is the rousing “our house is on fire” approach; other times she speaks more quietly about herself and her hopes and her dreams. When addressing the U.S. Congress, she knowingly calls to mind the words and deeds of Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy. The last speech in the book ends on a note that is both challenging and upbeat: “We are the change and change is coming.” The edition published in Britain earlier this year contained 11 speeches; this updated edition has 16, all worth reading.

A tiny book, not much bigger than a pamphlet, with huge potential impact.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-14-313356-8

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2019

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