By the numbers, to be sure, but students of business, for whom Nike is a well-established case study, may want to have this...

SHOE DOG

A MEMOIR BY THE CREATOR OF NIKE

Nike mogul Knight charts the rise of his business empire, a world leader in athletic wear.

The title of the memoir is apt, for much of it is a rather dogged struggle through the minutiae of shoe distributorship and manufacture, with all the deals and lawsuits that entails. Knight began that journey more than half a century ago, when, as a young entrepreneur-in-training, it occurred to him that there might be room in the American marketplace for Japanese running shoes. He wrote a paper to that effect. “Being a business buff,” he recounts, “I knew that Japanese cameras had made deep cuts into the camera market, which had once been dominated by Germans. Thus, I argued in my paper that Japanese running shoes might do the same thing.” There was much hope in that thesis, for this was back in the day before Steve Prefontaine came along to help Knight press his case to runners everywhere. From that start, Knight built what has been reckoned to be a $30 billion-per-year business. He is proud to tell that story, as one might expect, but there’s some score-settling to do: the bad guys include a Japanese shoe manufacturer who couldn’t make a straight deal, a competitor called the Marlboro Man (who, admittedly, was “poaching our poaching”), tennis ace Jimmy Connors (whose agent, backing away from an endorsement agreement, insisted, “I don’t remember any deal. We’ve already got a deal three times better than your deal, which I don’t remember”), and a few other such impediments. The story, though with many merits, is rather listless. Unfortunately, much of the book conforms to the dry formulas of business writing, borrowing in turn from business speechifying: tell a joke, show a slide, read the text and expand on the bullet points, move to the next slide.

By the numbers, to be sure, but students of business, for whom Nike is a well-established case study, may want to have this view straight from the source.

Pub Date: April 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3591-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2016

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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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