A compelling topic that’s hampered by an uneven presentation.



In this how-to guide for business leaders, Wise (Communication Studies/Indiana Univ. at Purdue Univ. Indianapolis; Window of the Soul, 2009, etc.) offers her take on common managerial styles and practices.

The author begins this friendly, informal manual with a few familiar questions; for example, Wise asks readers if they’ve ever put forth their best effort at a company without receiving accolades or promotions. If so, she writes, it may not be entirely the readers’ fault; instead, it could be a result of their managers’ leadership style. Wise then presents a thoughtful case for “participatory leadership” by drawing on several expert sources, such as Stephen R. Covey’s bestselling 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. She defines leadership as the ability to create a positive environment where people feel empowered to be creative and seek opportunities for advancement. According to the author, participatory leadership allows for greater equality between employees and employers. By having more say about a company’s direction, she says, employees will form a stronger psychological attachment to it, resulting in increased productivity, professional growth, and customer satisfaction. In this brief guide—less than 100 pages in length—Wise discusses several business terms, such as “brand equity,” or a brand’s commercial value. She uses Starbucks as an example of a company with successful brand equity that seeks employee input, and characterizes this as a successful participatory leadership style. The author also offers personal examples of similar styles she’s witnessed in her own career, highlighting Franklin University of Ohio’s team-building exercises. Wise’s presentation sometimes has the feel of a term paper. However, her smooth prose is easy to read throughout, and she offers plenty to ponder in her creation of a specific job position, “Director of Participatory Leadership and Brand Management,” which would require the participatory leadership style that she presents in the rest of the book. However, nearly half of the work consists of comments by Wise’s students regarding her classes on fundamentals of communication and speech, which makes the main subject of the book easy to forget.

A compelling topic that’s hampered by an uneven presentation.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9653991-2-8

Page Count: 98

Publisher: Wise Publishing Company

Review Posted Online: Oct. 8, 2019

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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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An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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