by Ryan Holiday ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 28, 2021
An earnest call to act bravely.
How to overcome fear and right wrongs.
In the first of four proposed volumes on the cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, wisdom, and courage, Holiday, author of books on egotism, Stoicism, and falsehoods spewed by the blogosphere, among many other topics, offers uplifting thoughts, examples, and anecdotes meant to motivate readers to act courageously. He wants his readers to take risks, challenge the status quo, “run toward while others run away,” and “do a thing that people say is impossible.” As in previous books, the author mines ancient Greek philosophers, statesmen, and military leaders for their thoughts on fear, cowardice, boldness, and heroism. Among myriad individuals Holiday cites as courageous are Florence Nightingale, Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, John Lewis, and Peter Thiel, whose successful attack on the gossip site Gawker is one that Holiday finds admirable. Thiel, incensed because Gawker outed him as a gay man, “found agency where others saw nothing but impossibility.” Holiday claims that fear—of what others might think of us, of the unknown consequences of our actions—is the enemy of courage. “When fear is defined,” he asserts, “it can be defeated. When downside is articulated, it can be weighed against upside.” Holiday’s tone evokes the voice of a sage, imparting pithy remarks that sometimes border on the hackneyed: “One man with courage can make a majority”; “Grace under pressure is also expressed as cool under pressure for a reason.” He exhorts readers to develop courage to care about others more than about their own needs and acknowledges that sometimes physical courage—even violence—is required in the face of injustice. He recounts a personal test of courage when he worked as a marketing director at American Apparel, whose volatile, destructive CEO should have been removed from power. Holiday’s courage failed him, he admits regretfully, when he did not stand up to his boss.An earnest call to act bravely.
Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: July 6, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021
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Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
A measured memoir from a daughter of the famous family.
Growing up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles community, which she came to realize was “a cult, thriving on a culture of fear and manipulation,” Duggar and her 18 siblings were raised never to question parental authority. As the author recalls, she felt no need to, describing the loving home of her girlhood. When a documentary crew approached her father, Jim Bob, and proposed first a series of TV specials that would be called 17 Kids and Counting (later 18 and 19 Kids and Counting), he agreed, telling his family that this was a chance to share their conservative Christian faith. It was also a chance to become wealthy, but Jill, who was dedicated to following the rules, didn’t question where the money went. A key to her falling out with her family was orchestrated by Jim Bob, who introduced her to missionary Derick Dillard. Their wedding was one of the most-watched episodes of the series. Even though she was an adult, Jill’s parents and the show continued to expect more of the young couple. When they attempted to say no to filming some aspects of their lives, Jill discovered that a sheet of paper her father asked her to sign the day before her wedding was part of a contract in which she had unwittingly agreed to full cooperation. Writing about her sex offender brother, Josh, and the legal action she and Derick had to take to get their questions answered, Jill describes how she was finally able—through therapy, prayer, and the establishment of boundaries—to reconcile love for her parents with Jim Bob’s deception and reframe her faith outside the IBLP.Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: today
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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by Robert Greene ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1998
If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.
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
Page Count: 430
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998
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