Through more than a dozen illustrative examples looking at challenges overcome by founders of Hotels.com, Spanx and others,...

STARTING THEM UP

TIMELY, UNDER-THE-HOOD INSIGHTS FOR ENTREPRENEURS BY A SERIAL STARTER AND A BUNCH OF HIS ENTREPRENEURIAL FRIENDS

A serial entrepreneur reveals the skills and thrills behind building a successful start-up.

Struhl’s energetic first book encourages would-be entrepreneurs to seize opportunity and enter into the world of start-ups. Each chapter centers on one theme of advice, such as how to vet a new concept or take on industry giants, with Struhl providing examples from his own companies or those of his friends. Throughout the book, the stories of these businesses are specific, interesting and often amusing—as when the author regales his brash yet successful move to partner with Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and Apple to distribute specialty paper samples. Struhl portrays himself as a “high powered” businessman and his aggressive style will likely pump up readers. However, there are places in the book where the tone verges on elitist, such as the anecdote about a colleague who starts a private jet service with support from Warren Buffett. In other instances, the author’s exceptional networking makes his success seem far out of reach for fledgling business owners; through his colleagues, Struhl meets the visionary behind the candy store in FAO Schwarz and he gets a call as soon as a particular poster company he admired goes up for sale. Halfway through the book, the reader begins to feel as if everything will keep falling into place, but then the author does something admirable: He describes struggles and expensive failures. Prospective investors change terms at the last minute. An initial public offering goes awry. A partner abandons a business deal, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in legal fees. Despite the flops that would terrify a new entrepreneur, Struhl forges on with enthusiasm, reminding readers that failures happen—but the opportunity for success can be worth the risk.

Through more than a dozen illustrative examples looking at challenges overcome by founders of Hotels.com, Spanx and others, Struhl infuses readers with optimism that they too can launch a successful start-up.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2010

ISBN: 978-1453780619

Page Count: 234

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...

FLY AWAY

Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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THE COLDEST WINTER EVER

Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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