A conversational guide that simplifies complex health care options.



A former health care industry insider offers tips for securing quality care without paying top dollar.

As a consultant, debut author Heiser advised corporations on how to cut their health care costs. In this book, he makes that service available to laypeople who may be perplexed by their health insurance choices. The author notes that, due to confusion and a sense of helplessness, today’s “consumers are…disenfranchised by the healthcare complex.” His aim is to show them how to take their power back and become proactive about their health. The book provides a brief history of third-party health payments, beginning in the 1920s, and a useful rundown of the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act. Heiser tallies the average lifetime costs of medical treatment for men and women, itemizing health care spending per year (which, combined, works out to be 17.9% of the U.S. gross domestic product), and lays out the expected prices of routine exams and catastrophic illnesses. It’s sobering to see these numbers set out so plainly; a premature birth, for example could set you back $235,245, while the high-end cost of leukemia treatment is $2.3 million. The best way to avoid astronomical medical bills is to avoid getting sick, the author observes; to that end, he discusses the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle—good diet, adequate exercise, not smoking, and reducing stress. However, he acknowledges that even the healthy and well prepared can fall victim to random illnesses, so it’s essential to have solid coverage. His invaluable comparison of health insurance plans includes clear definitions of jargon, and he also explains hospital markups, medical tourism, and alternative or supplemental insurance plans. He gives advice on how to choose a medical provider, what questions to ask before a procedure, and how to access lower-cost prescription drugs. Along the way, the pace is snappy, with short sentences, charts, bullet points, and rhetorical questions that make all the information easily digestible and never overwhelming. The informal, no-nonsense tone occasionally verges on impolite (“Get my point?”), but ultimately, this makes sense, as Heiser wants the reader to be a wise shopper rather than a “passive participant in the system.”

A conversational guide that simplifies complex health care options.

Pub Date: June 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-1197-9

Page Count: 262

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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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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