Of considerable interest to the entrepreneurially minded, with caveats.

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BLITZSCALING

THE LIGHTNING-FAST PATH TO BUILDING MASSIVELY VALUABLE COMPANIES

You, too, can be ultrawealthy—if you can take your startup from zero to a billion in 60 seconds flat.

Building on a popular course at Stanford, tech-investment guru Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn, and entrepreneur Yeh (co-authors: The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, 2014) note that it’s not enough to have a good idea or be first to market; a business must scale to attain maximum global market share in the just-in-time, flash-fast atmosphere of the internet. Airbnb is a great idea, for example, but what makes it really work is the ubiquity of the enterprise, so that “each additional Airbnb host makes the service a tiny bit more valuable for every Airbnb guest and vice versa.” Attaining success at “blitzscaling”—a somewhat unfortunate term, the authors allow, given the connotations of “blitzkrieg”—can involve forgetting everything that one learned at business school, to say nothing of received wisdom, but it’s what got Amazon its market dominance. Bleeding money until one attains scale invokes one of the authors’ key observations, namely that while it has some astonishing possibilities and massive payoffs, it “also comes with massive risks.” Though the authors make a few nods to playing nice in the marketplace, this is a book of which Gordon Gekko would doubtless approve. The blitzscale success of Uber may have come with unfortunate moral deficits, but the company does have “a dominant market position in the cities in which it operates,” and investors will be happy when autonomous vehicles are similarly blitzscaled so that the business of paying those pesky drivers can be dispensed with. This is zero-sum, law-of-the-jungle stuff, and readers with a low tolerance for the attendant obnoxiousness—as when the authors write approvingly of the strategy of ignoring customers at PayPal, temporary expedient or no—will want to consult Muhammad Yunus instead. Devotees of Silicon Valley, on the other hand, will eat it up.

Of considerable interest to the entrepreneurially minded, with caveats.

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6141-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Currency

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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