An appealingly practical guide to encourage capitalism and ethics to play nice together.

LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING

THE EDUCATION OF A RELUCTANT BUSINESSMAN

Patagonia, Inc. founder and president Chouinard traces his evolution from single-minded rock-climber to international business owner, sharing the philosophies that have guided his company’s growth and operations.

Get this straight: The author is no latter-day, tree-hugging yuppie. He’s an old-fashioned outdoorsman, with toughness bred in the bone. Proof: The author’s father, who makes a walk-on appearance in the very beginning of the book, is a French-Canadian carpenter who pulled his own teeth rather than pay a dentist. Young Yvon never liked school, preferring to surf and climb mountains, so after a couple of years of community college and a short stint in the army, he started supporting himself—barely—by selling the climbing gear he'd begun creating some years earlier. From these bare-bones beginnings, the Patagonia empire was born; today, it's an outdoor-gear and -clothing company that makes hundreds of millions of dollars a year in worldwide sales. Chouinard discusses the challenges of growing such a business and running an environmentally conscious firm (the only kind he could ever bear to run), devoting the lion's share of the book to a discussion of Patagonia's many company guidelines. More a set of practical considerations than a set of motivational mantras, Chouinard’s philosophies are tailored for every department, from product designers to human resources. The author cheerfully admits that he still spends much of the year off site, camping, climbing and surfing, and he encourages his employees to do the same—as long as their work gets done. The author isn't living in a utopia—he shakes his head at the number of environmentally unfriendly SUVs in Patagonia's parking lot—but he does seem committed to making the effort.

An appealingly practical guide to encourage capitalism and ethics to play nice together.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2005

ISBN: 1-59420-072-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

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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

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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

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