Optimistic and galvanizing, Graves’ message of hope and hard work is timely and applicable.

PRESSURE MAKES DIAMONDS

BECOMING THE WOMAN I PRETENDED TO BE

A pioneer in multicultural advertising recounts her life surmounting the odds of being African-American and female in a predominantly white male business arena.

A precocious girl with big dreams, Graves grew up in a Michigan public housing project on the shores of Pontiac’s polluted Crystal Lake. The daughter of a smart, single mother and an errant father, the author, though a self-proclaimed “mouthy show-off,” embraced her tenacity and youthful intelligence and excelled throughout grade school with a natural talent for public speaking. Life soon intervened, however, and, playing out against the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit riots, the “disgrace” of teenage motherhood temporarily derailed Graves’ academic potential. Yet her spirit to exceed eventually won out with college enrollment and an adventuresome and career-defining ascent in the largely white male–dominated world of creative advertising. Her adulthood was clearly shaped by a challenging past, and Graves harnessed the advantages of her hardscrabble youth and channeled that energy and experience into a noteworthy career, theater work, marriage, and watching her son achieve sobriety. The author narrates her unconventional journey with unabashed pride and fortitude and shares both positive and negative anecdotes, as with her unsurprising termination after calling herself the “token” black employee during an ad agency meeting full of “anxious, driven white men seeking money and power of every sort.” Achieving multiple accolades and even collaborating with Bill Clinton, Graves established herself as a fierce force in the advertising field and a greatly admired role model for black professionals establishing themselves in American business. In a moving book steeped in perseverance and empowering determination, the author fully embodies the challenges of her culture and those of being a motivated businesswoman. She concludes with optimistic anticipation for a truly “postracial America” where society has moved beyond skin color, “when race doesn’t determine who lives next door.”

Optimistic and galvanizing, Graves’ message of hope and hard work is timely and applicable.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61775-493-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Open Lens/Akashic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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