In his latest how-to offering, Chandler (Property Development For Beginners, 2013, etc.) attempts to help investors, homebuilders and renovators avoid the possible pitfalls of construction projects.
Working in the property-development industry for 30 years, Chandler has seen problems—e.g., projects that go over budget, conflicts with builders, bureaucratic headaches—that could have been avoided or at least alleviated with effective communication and due diligence. Chandler’s easy-to-read strategy begins with some personal questions to ponder, such as how a construction project will affect a person’s work or family life. As a rule of thumb, and to avoid unexpected stress, Chandler suggests allowing two years for a renovation project. A plethora of construction and commercial-acquisition subjects are briefly discussed, including cost planning, obtaining authority approvals and permits, and how to compare different builder “tenders” or cost proposals. However, this isn’t a detailed, step-by-step guide for building a home or acquiring properties for profit. Though homebuilders and renovators can utilize the general ideas presented, the overall tone is geared for large-scale projects and sometimes feels like a pitch for the author’s current career as a building and property-development consultant. Nonetheless, Chandler’s calm, clearheaded advice is valuable, with the crux of his message revolving around careful planning and good communication with all persons involved—designers, builders, authorities, etc. For example, instead of telling a designer what he wants, Chandler either uses a red pen to alter a real estate agent’s brochure floor plan or draws his own. These rough sketches can then be professionally changed to fit reality, since, as Chandler says, showing instead of tellinggives the designer a better idea of a person’s vision and reduces the chances of disappointment with the final product. Likewise, says Chandler, well-drafted building contracts can help eliminate future problems with builders, and knowing about different types of insurance, like “Professional Indemnity” versus “Construction All Risk,” can reduce liability. Novices may be overwhelmed with all of the information presented, but the author includes a glossary of terms and urges readers to seek experts for further professional help.
A solid, discerning starting point for larger projects.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
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)