This is the story of the hostile takeover of Anheuser Busch by the Brazilian beer behemoth InBev. The writing is adequate but not brilliant, and I wouThis is the story of the hostile takeover of Anheuser Busch by the Brazilian beer behemoth InBev. The writing is adequate but not brilliant, and I would have liked a little more depth around the business side of things as opposed to just the personalities involved, but the story itself is a fascinating one and makes this a worthwhile read. It helps that the author has done her homework, having interviewed almost everyone involved (at least from the Anheuser Busch side.)
This book fails to live up to its title, and indeed to the name of its author, who's musical career might lead you to expect that he has some interestThis book fails to live up to its title, and indeed to the name of its author, who's musical career might lead you to expect that he has some interesting insight into the question of how music works.
What you get instead is a cursory and unfocused ramble through recent history of music technology and theory, loosely tied together with some personal anecdotes and sophomoric pseudo-philosophy curtesy of Byrne himself.
There are some interesting tidbits along the way, particularly some of the history of music technology, and he pays lip service to interesting theorists and musicians and movements. If you went through the book with a highlighter, you'd come up with a list of fascinating topics to read about. Unfortunately, Byrne usually goes into less depth than your typical Wikipedia introductory paragraph -- Kant's treatise on the nature of beauty is both introduced and dismissed outright in a single sentence -- and one is left with the sense that he hasn't actually done much research at all.
This might be forgivable if Byrne had some great insights to offer, but instead he comes off as simply naive. Quite strangely, he includes a rant against classical music, which evolves into a rant against the rich and the "elitists" who support the arts. Indeed throughout the book he champions the idea of amateurism over professionalism (which might explain his approach to writing the book itself).
It should perhaps not be a surprise, then, when his final chapter veers squarely into teenager-who-just-smoked-pot-for-the-first-time territory: "Woah man, what if we don't make music... What if music makes us?" ...more
For me, this book was more interesting as a historical document, and (perhaps) as a reminder of how embarFull disclosure: I did not finish this book.
For me, this book was more interesting as a historical document, and (perhaps) as a reminder of how embarrassing our young selves can be when viewed through older, wiser eyes. I believe those are the eyes through which the author, Richard Sennet, viewed his own work years later when he wrote the preface to my edition in 2008, some 40 years after it was originally published. He points out that this is a book that was written when he was 25, and that it belongs to a particular time and place, a time when the radical left believed that America was on the cusp of revolutionary change.
Viewed in that light, it is an interesting read, but I found the lack of intellectual rigour, and the dubious connections drawn from one point to the next, to be frustrating. Ultimately realised that I wasn't going to get what I hoped for when I first picked it up: A coherent, interesting argument as to the value of cities, and the disorder inherent therein, in forming human personalities and societies.
I enjoyed this book largely because it is anathema to Freakanomics.
Freakanomics was a very popular book with a very dumb title that applied economic tI enjoyed this book largely because it is anathema to Freakanomics.
Freakanomics was a very popular book with a very dumb title that applied economic theory to parts of life that we generally don't associate with economics. The idea was that economic theory can teach us about everything.
This book, by contrast, submits that economic theory is incapable of telling us much about anything at all, even the things we expect it to, such as how prices are set and why businesses fail.
We need to critically re-evaluate the way we understand markets etc, and in a discipline like economics, which is in many ways more dogmatic than any religious sect, it is refreshing to see someone willing to offer a different perspective....more