A guide to surviving ""life's demolition derby"" by one of America's best-publicized lawyers, dedicated ""fondly"" (and unaccountably) to Joseph Welch, Cohn's adversary in the Army-McCarthy hearings. ""I write for those who would take charge of their own lives,"" says Cohn, and his message is simple: fight back. Mind-set means a lot, and irrationality can be power. Where the cost of asserting your rights exceeds the likely gain, Cohn argues, the key is to convince your adversary that you operate on a scale other than normal cost-benefit. Cohn's cynicism is enormous, especially in marital matters: antenuptial agreements are handy since ""the flush of the moment may become the flush of the toilet as the relationship goes down the tubes""; the details of one's financial life should never be shared with one's spouse. Get things in writing, Cohn emphasizes; tape-record people you're suspicious of, and trust nobody--least of all lawyers, ""perhaps the largest, most organized set of scoundrels in this society."" There are specifics on how not to get taken in transactions ranging from buying a house (why you should sit outside it for a full day), to travel arrangements (the Warsaw Convention is an ""international skyway ripoff""), to education or dancing-lesson frauds (tape-record those grandiose promises), all the way to funerals (""like time in youth, money on the dead is often misspent""). For those in extremis, Cohn offers useful advice on how to act if you're arrested, and how close you can come to perjury and get away with it. For name-catchers, he provides anecdotes about the legal problems of the wealthy, the powerful, and the frequently-photographed. Hardly profound, then, and almost more a statement of personal philosophy than a legal self-help volume, but lively and entertaining--with Cohn's notoriety as a big hook.