This is a masterpiece. If this doesn't win the National Book Award and a ton of other awards, then literary awards are really and truly bankrupt. I waThis is a masterpiece. If this doesn't win the National Book Award and a ton of other awards, then literary awards are really and truly bankrupt. I was a fan of Leovy's Homicide Blog (the original name for The Homicide Report), in so far as someone can be a "fan" of a project to catalog every homicide in LA county. Still, it felt like important work, and this book continues in its steps.
The point of the Homicide Report was to bring attention -- in whatever way possible -- to every homicide, regardless of circumstance. To say that every murder is a tragedy and that every life matters. This book makes it plain why that's so important to do. If you don't, the signal is quite clear: some lives--specifically those of black people--don't matter. In fact, the point of this book could be summed roughly by saying that the low "clearance rate" -- that's the percentage of murders that get solved -- sends the clear message that black lives don't matter, which then leads to insanely high murder rates among African Americans. The book posits that if more murders were solved, less murders would be committed, that the main problem that inner-city blacks faced was that they lived in an area where the state had lost its monopoly on violence.
Kind of a radical idea, really.
A few key quotes from the book:
"In 1993, black men in their early twenties in Los Angeles County died by homicide at a rate of 368 per 100,000 population, similar to the per capita rate of death for U.S. soldiers deployed to Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion."
"Legal scholar Randall Kennedy was a lonely voice among his peers when he asserted that “the principal injury suffered by African-Americans in relation to criminal matters is not overenforcement but underenforcement of the laws.”"
"The killing of a human being anywhere is like a rock thrown in a pond. Bitter waves emanate outward, washing over an ever-wider circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances, finally lapping against those distant from the impact point, friends of friends, old classmates, all, to some measure, sickened by the taint of this news—murder, so awful, so unbelievable—no degree of separation big enough to neutralize its poison."
"He believed in his heart that violence comes first—that law is built on the state’s response to violence—and that responding was better than preventing. It was more true to the spirit of the law—and in the long run, more effective."
Leovy does a tremendous job not just making this a book that catalogs abstract misery, but rather the story of specific people, specific tragedies. Specifically, it's the story of the death of Bryant Tennelle, the son of LAPD detective Wally Tennelle, and all of the people involved. From the kids (and they were kids, really) who shot him, to the detectives and prosecutors who sought justice. Through this one case, as well as others like it, she sheds light on "The Monster," the plague of horrible violence that holds so many its grip.
Whatever, TLDR: you should read this book. It's important, sure, but more to the point, it's a great read. ...more
It's hard for me give this a rating, as I haven't really read many other how-to business books. I liked the narrative section at the beginning of theIt's hard for me give this a rating, as I haven't really read many other how-to business books. I liked the narrative section at the beginning of the book a bit better than the tactical advice section, but I think that's probably just how I prefer to get information. There are some great lessons in here for non-CEOs, but I suspect it's even more valuable for those who have founded and/or run a company.
I think most relevant and/or interesting to me were:
* Hiring for strength rather than lack of weakness. If you're bringing someone new onto the team, really think hard about what strengths are most important for the job and find someone who is world class at those things. If that person isn't as strong at everything else on your check-list, don't sweat it.
* Importance of one-on-ones as a management technique. It's sort of incredible that people can manage without one-on-one meetings, but I guess it happens. The big breakthrough (or at least, the one that I hadn't put into words before) is that it's the employee's meeting, rather than the manager's. I mean, duh, but still a good framework for thinking about the meeting.
* As a CEO, you don't have time to develop your direct reports. I suspect this is really difficult for many CEOs to deal with at first. I know it would be tough for me. But it makes sense -- at that level, you just have to be able to do the job with minimal-to-no developmental runway.
Anyway, for my first management book, this one was fun and readable and very honest. Also lots of hip-hop quotes, for those who roll that way. ...more
Not in the same league as his Patrick Melrose novels, but better than Lost for Words, which was light to the point of vapor (at least for me). Again,Not in the same league as his Patrick Melrose novels, but better than Lost for Words, which was light to the point of vapor (at least for me). Again, St. Aubyn's incredible gift for perspective shows up here, with shift POV in many scenes so deftly handled there wasn't a moment of confusion. I could have done without yet another drug hallucination scene (when I am king, these will be first against the literary wall), but otherwise, recommended. ...more
Disclosure: I'm friends with the author. But don't let that influence your reading of my review, you know.
This is a really fascinating book. At timesDisclosure: I'm friends with the author. But don't let that influence your reading of my review, you know.
This is a really fascinating book. At times it's almost too convincing as a work of nonfiction -- I thought it was most successful when it allowed itself to get immersed in the story. Still, it's the sort of book that has you asking over and over again "Wait...is that for real?" The breadth of the material the book cover is pretty incredible, too: Guy Debord and the Situationists, modern pop stardom, cartography, the history of Chicago...it goes on and on.
And on top of all that, this is Disabato's first book. It's sort of unfair that she could pull this off first time out the gate. ...more