Music lovers will be divided over whether they agree with Mottola and friends that those contributions were net positive,...

READ REVIEW

HITMAKER

THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC

The former head of Sony Music Entertainment pens an earthy, self-congratulatory memoir of his rise to the top of the music industry during its most lucrative era.

With an assist from co-author Fussman (After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball's Forgotten Heroes: An Oral History, 2007, etc.), Mottola affects a conversational style steeped in the flavors of his Bronx origins. “Arthur Avenue was one of my first tastemakers,” he writes. “It taught me what is good.” The mélange of sounds he heard in his childhood neighborhood—black doo-wop, Italian pop and Latin salsa, among others—would stay with him as he became a tastemaker for the world. Actually, Mottola came of age in Westchester, where he attended a prep school. He skipped college and, with his parents’ backing, attempted to launch a musical career as a Bobby Darrin–style crooner under the stage name T.D. Valentine. While he never scored a hit of his own, Mottola learned what went into making hits for other people. His star rose as a music manager when he gently steered his first clients Hall & Oates away from folk and progressive rock to their trademark blue-eyed Philly soul. Mottola was virtually unique among his corporate peers in having the experience of working as a musician and manager, and he used it to great advantage, carefully molding the careers of Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion and Shakira. Most notoriously, perhaps, he tightly controlled the output of ex-wife Mariah Carey; she wanted to break out into hip-hop and got pushed into making an album of Christmas music instead. “You’re trying to make me into a franchise,” she once told Mottola. “What do you think I am, McDonald’s?” The author concedes that he might have wronged Carey, but he is unapologetic about his role in turning the music business into a global multibillion-dollar corporate industry. Approving blurbs from colleagues between chapters back him up.

Music lovers will be divided over whether they agree with Mottola and friends that those contributions were net positive, but business students will find his insiders’ view valuable and his street smarts charming.

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-446-58518-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more