Nine of America's most powerful (though virtually unknown) executives are scrutinized in this extraordinarily candid and thought-provoking probe into their business and personal lives. Consumer advocate Nader and Taylor seek to demystify the "Big Boys"—the often elusive wizards who guide their corporations through trying economic downturns, unforeseen crises, and, sometimes, periods of unparalleled success. Who are these enigmas? Does the power they wield emanate from the corporate entity alone, or from the man as well? Through a series of interviews with the myriad friends, relatives and associates of the chosen few, plus exhaustive background analysis and reference checks, Nader offers vital glimpses of this rare breed of businessman—in the boardroom, as well as on golf courses or fishing in remote locales. In exposing the motivations, aspirations and principles that the likes of David Roderick, Felix Rohatyn, and Paul Oreffice, among others, embody, Nader tends to focus on the individual's treatment of a significant crisis situation to set the stage for interpreting his background. The presentation varies from light, personal vignettes to complex documentary material acquired via the Freedom of Information Act. There is unfortunately a tendency towards digression, though the offshoots are usually valuable in their own right and integral to the whole. The Big Boys is a very big book. It offers, in wordy prose, a number of meaningful insights into the hows and whys of corporate executive decision-making, plus unhedged opinions on some of the less parochial issues of interest to a diversified public. The subjects are well chosen, though the depth of detail more often than not buries the authors' initial point. Of interest to corporate people-watchers and others who wonder what kinds of people make it to the top.

Pub Date: May 19, 1986

ISBN: 039472111X

Page Count: 612

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1986

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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