A thrilling remembrance by a fighter of white-collar crime.

13 BILLION TO ONE

A writer recounts his spectacular Canadian lottery win and the avalanche of grief it brought him.

Debut author Rush’s life was completely transformed in an instant when he won the lottery, a windfall of 50 million Canadian dollars tax free. It took him about a “nanosecond” to quit his job, and he quickly celebrated with some carefree spending, including getting two brand new sports cars. Rush was contacted by Jeremy, the son of one of his most trusted friends, David, with a business proposition: He asked for a $5 million investment in social media software that promised to be the next Facebook. Jeremy “radiated success,” and his “strong, charismatic personality” made him appear like a “visionary on a mission.” The author was convinced and parted with $4.6 million, but he soon began to have doubts. According to Rush, Jeremy was inclined to purchase ludicrously luxurious items and was suspiciously comfortable cutting legal corners. The author contends that he discovered that Jeremy’s business proposal was more hype than promise and that he bamboozled him out of millions, all with the help of David, who was once a spiritual mentor to Rush. The author energetically chronicles his progressively sickening realizations—Jeremy was not a newcomer to fraud and left behind him a “trail of devastated victims.” Rush eventually made it his mission to “take down” white-collar crime. The author’s prose is lucidly informal—it reads like a lament delivered to a friend over drinks. He’s also impressively candid—he admits that the money brought far more sorrow than contentment. Ultimately, he was compelled to ruminate about what he wanted in life, the real gift of the lottery win: “How much was enough? How much did I really need?” The minute details of a court battle with Jeremy that raged on for eight months are likely to exhaust readers. But overall, the book is a gripping story full of greed, astonishing naiveté, and thoughtful reflections.

A thrilling remembrance by a fighter of white-collar crime.

Pub Date: June 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9992524-0-3

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Rantanna Media Inc

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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