Marshall Goldsmith pulls no punches. He wants to help you get back on track – get your ‘mojo’ back as he puts it, but he wont tolerate self-delusion aMarshall Goldsmith pulls no punches. He wants to help you get back on track – get your ‘mojo’ back as he puts it, but he wont tolerate self-delusion along the way. This much is clear in “Mojo: How to Get it, How to Keep It, How to Get it Back if You Lose It.”
Goldsmith, (author of last year’s bestseller, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”) lays out a prescription for identifying what makes you tick, how you are different and what you have to offer, and then how to shape and maximize those skills to cut through life like a proverbial hot butter knife. In this short (200 pages), but powerful book, Dr. Goldsmith (who as an executive coach, advises top Fortune 500 companies regularly) quickly identifies habits and traits that hold people back (the ‘Nojo’) and how to quickly subvert them and get back on the path to success.
This easy read is anchored by a writing style that makes its points clearly through a number of streamlined examples that most readers should have no problem understanding. The linchpins of Goldsmith’s focus are identity, achievement, reputation and acceptance and the concepts are reinforced by dedicated chapters, questionaries, graphics and work sheets that far from belaboring the point, rather serve to explain and reinforce the overriding concept; are you receiving short-term gain and maximizing your long term goals through your actions, both large and small. This is the essence of the book.
It’s easy to see why Goldsmith is a best-seller in the field. His books are on target and get to the root of the matter – albeit sometimes counter-intuitively – using both the broad and specific strokes required for the reader to get back on track. His laser focus on what works vs. what we think will work is exactly what makes his work stand out in a crowded field....more
If he did nothing else than to design and build France’s Pompidou Center, Richard Rogers (and his collaborator on the project, Renzo Piano) would be iIf he did nothing else than to design and build France’s Pompidou Center, Richard Rogers (and his collaborator on the project, Renzo Piano) would be immortalized in the architecture Hall of Fame. Fortunately for us, Rogers has a large and impressive body of work that pre-dates and continues on to today. His modern, lightweight, transparent architectural design has been responsible for both residential and industrial icons from the U.K. to Japan (i.e. the famed Kabuki-Cho) to France to Korea; from houses to airports to industrial complexes and a great deal in between.
‘From the House to the City’ both exemplifies and explains Rogers impact on contemporary industrial design, particularly in the UK, where his unique creations have taken the landscape of an old world European style city and transformed sections of it into a cutting-edge modern, steel and glass metropolis. (There is even an example of his work in the ‘new town’ area near Milton Keynes in ‘Design for Manufacture Housing.’) From the Millennium Dome to the fabulous columns of the Lloyds of London headquarters to the home of Britain’s Channel 4 Television, the Canary Wharf project and beyond, Rogers and his team have assembled futuristic buildings that will no doubt remain landmarks for many years to come.
The book divides Rogers work across style functions (green, transparent, urban, systems, etc.) and explains his design and constructions in nearly poetic terms along the way. Amply filled with pictures, drawings and text, the book shows the sweeping magnitude of both Rogers’ well-known existing work as well as giving equal weight (in terms of description and illustration) to a large number of works that are on the drawing board or yet to be built. Unlike any architecture book we’ve ever seen, there is even a ‘manifesto’ which covers the firms beliefs, organization goals, charity endeavors, etc.; the factors that drive their work. To see a remarkable design career in progress (rare in these catalog style art and architecture volumes) be sure to check out ‘From the House to the City.’ It’s a sure way to see what’s coming next – and why....more
Hard to think of a director in Hollywood who’s made more of an impact but got less credit than Bob Altman. After all, his movies like M*A*S*H, NashvilHard to think of a director in Hollywood who’s made more of an impact but got less credit than Bob Altman. After all, his movies like M*A*S*H, Nashville and The Player were never really considered to be box-office blockbusters. Nor was Altman ever honored with an Oscar for producing or directing, although his films received many nominations throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90s.
No, Robert Altman was an outcast, a scalawag; a rapscallion of film directors.
That’s what makes his story so great.
In “Robert Altman: The Oral Biography,” author Mitchell Zuckoff captures it all. From Altman’s early days kicking around Kansas City (a place he would later base a feature film on) to his war years, to his roguish romantic escapades to his eventual landing in California (working for among others, the legendary Alfred Hitchcock) Zuckoff’s assemblage of the autuer’s story covers all the bases.
As colorful as the oral history is of the director’s early dating and family life, his military service and his career beginnings in both industrial films and, once in Hollywood, television (‘Combat,’ Whirlybirds,’ etc.) the best portions are reserved for his relationships with the actors he loved and the studio bosses he loathed. When actors would add a line to the dialog, most films expected a visit from the studio brass. When Altman’s actors wanted to add a line, he encouraged them to do more. (M*A*S*H’s Sally Kellerman (‘Hot Lips’), practically wrote her way into the whole movie from what was originally slated as a naked shower scene.) In the final analysis, Altman was the master of the ensemble film; his indelible mark comes from the inner workings of the casts he assembled, not necessarily from the stories themselves. As Zuckoff points out in Altman’s own words, he would be the first to admit it.
Along the way, the book regales the reader with stories from all the front line players (as in ‘The Player’) in Altman’s great body of work. Legendary players like Paul Newman, Tim Robbins, Cher (remember her red dress at the black and white ball?) Jimmy Caan, Bobby Duvall, Elliot Gould, Patricia Neal, Bob Evans, Richard Zanuck, Meryl Streep, Harry Belafonte, Lily Tomlin, Beatty, Becall and others weigh in and reminisce about their (rather detailed) recollections of Bob’s past. The one thing that rises above it all, is that Altman loved the actors; always exhorting them to mix it up, speak over each other words, act like in real life. So while he may not have been Hollywood’s most successful director, in many ways, he was perhaps its most authentic.
After his passing in 2008 (and after having finally received an honorary Oscar from the Academy in 2006) Altman needed a book – not on his work, but on the man himself. It is fitting that this oral biography is comprised of much of the same ensemble players that created the Altman oeuvre itself. Well done. Fade....more
Algorithms, which perform some sequence of mathematical operations, form the core of computer programming. Intended as a text for computer programmingAlgorithms, which perform some sequence of mathematical operations, form the core of computer programming. Intended as a text for computer programming courses, especially undergraduate courses in data structures and graduate courses in algorithms, an “Introduction to Algorithms” provides a comprehensive overview, that will be appreciated technical professionals, as well.
The major topics presented are sorting, data structures, graph algorithms and a variety of selected topics. Computer programmers can draw desired algorithms directly from the text or use the clear explanations of the underlying mathematics to develop custom algorithms. The algorithms are presented in pseudocode that can be adapted to programming languages, such as C++ and Java. The focus is on design rather than implementation.
While a solid background in advanced mathematics and probability theory is needed to fully appreciate the material, non-programmers and IT professionals (such as this reviewer) will appreciate the numerous tips provided for improving the efficiency and thus reducing the cost of developing applications.
Any Computer Science student would find this text an essential resource, even if not specifically required for course work. However, the advanced mathematical principles needed to grasp the material are presented as exercises, intended to be worked through in class, so no solutions are provided, which may frustrate self-studiers and limit its utility as a reference. Although surprisingly well written, a book of this size and complexity is bound to have some errors. See http://mitpress.mit.edu/algorithms for the error list and supplemental information about the book (including solutions to some, but not all exercises, and an explanation of the corny professor jokes sprinkled throughout the text)....more
There is perhaps no other artist that engenders such diametrically opposed reactions in the art world as Jeff Koons. It’s no secret that his larger thThere is perhaps no other artist that engenders such diametrically opposed reactions in the art world as Jeff Koons. It’s no secret that his larger than life reproductions of everyday objects inspire some while often disturbing others. Koons’ flair for serious kitsch combined with what some regard as a self-aggrandising attitude have put him at the center of controversy in the art world for the last two decades.
His latest work, ‘Hulk Elvis,’ scales back the ambition slightly (no 45 foot topiary sculptures in this volume) to showcase an exhibit from his show of the same name at London’s Gagosian Gallery in 2007. The large format, 140 page book features images of the Incredible Hulk, the Liberty Bell, an inflatable monkey and even a distortion of Led Zeppelin photograph.
Koons’ eye-popping images are a layered combination of photo montages, photoshop color halftone backgrounds and metallic silver paints (properly reproduced here with a fifth-color layer of metallic ink) to create images that jump off the page with animated energy. Commentary on Koons work is provided by Artforum’s Scott Rothkopf (much of which oddly centers around Jeff Koons’ October 2008 exhibition at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, Celebration.) The book also features an interview with Koons by longtime curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.
There is also a collectable, autographed, first-edition that sells for about $500 when you can find it online....more
For another angle on the U.S. financial meltdown we look to Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg’s latest book (his second) “The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns.” Ace’sFor another angle on the U.S. financial meltdown we look to Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg’s latest book (his second) “The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns.” Ace’s book is more of a memoir than a chronicle of the latest round of financial regress on the Street. The legendary Wall Street personality regales the reader with stories of his Oklahoma upbringings, his early days at Bear Stearns (where he served out his half-century career) all the way up to the days of running the company, avoiding the dot-com bust but landing head-first in the quicksand that became the mortgage backed securities, sub-prime meltdown.
Sitting and watching Bear’s stock price plummet from the high hundreds to an eventual $2 a share offer from JP Morgan Chase was both a sobering and melancholy finale for the well-respected veteran Greenberg. Though rather than crying sour grapes over this terminal ending, Greenberg saves most of his vitriol for his CEO replacement, Jimmy Cayne, who Greenberg views with unconstrained disgust as he (Cayne) appears to disregard the well-being of the company in its darkest moments, preferring to play golf or compete in bridge tournaments where he was a renowned championship player; a proverbial Nero as CEO.
The shame of the book is two-fold. One, is that Greenberg, a legend on Wall Street, shares very little of what made him the expert arbitrager of financial markets in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, and more importantly, that the book, only 197 pages in length, seems more designed to settle the score of his late period conflicts with those who took his position(s). If his purpose, as it appears, was to create what one writer described as a ‘memoir as revenge,” Greenberg has succeeded. If that is your view of success....more
In the wake of the 2008-2009 global financial meltdown, whose epicenter was found at the intersection of Wall Street and K Street, many books (AndrewIn the wake of the 2008-2009 global financial meltdown, whose epicenter was found at the intersection of Wall Street and K Street, many books (Andrew Ross Sorkin’s ‘Too Big To Fail,’ Hank Paulson’s ‘On the Brink,’ etc.) have emerged to describe the macro view of how such events co-mingled to send the financial system spiraling out of control. Now, two new books have surfaced to open the kimono on the inside machinations that gave fuel to the financial meltdown fire.
In “Chasing Goldman Sachs”, author Suzanne McGee uses the ‘chasing’ metaphor to cover a whole range of issues, trends and examples of how investment banking has transmogrified over the past 30 years. Once Wall Street brokerage firms were no longer dependent on stock commissions (after the SEC’s ‘Mayday’ pronouncement of May 1975) firms began looking for ways to replace and increase profits through a variety of non-traditional methods. Everything from the creation of derivatives to voracious competition for business to the emergence into new markets proliferated throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.
Goldman Sachs was viewed by many as the leading progenitor of these new and advanced ways to make money by, in essence, shuffling or redirected money around and as such were the envy of the Street. (Or as Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfien admits in the book that Goldman began ‘rationalizing it’s pushing of the ‘risk envelope’ during the credit bubble years.”) The trouble came when less informed players ineluctably began to mimic their techniques but did so with an increasing share of gusto and in a way that would ultimately, in many cases, have them driving so far ahead that they drove off the cliff. As ‘Chasing’ aptly demonstrates, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, Lehman and many others ended up in hot water trying to ape Goldman’s success.
In the process, McGee’s rendering basically serves as a history of the entire Wall Street landscape of the last thirty or so years, covering the machinations of these top financial firms and their relationships with investors, the trading exchanges, the IPO market, real estate, the Fed and all the power players that were a part of the story. (Bernanke, the FDIC, the banks, etc. all have a role to play.) As McGee describes, as deals got riskier, “bankers and traders assumed that someone else higher up the food chain was doing the worrying for them.” Unfortunately, as events have borne out, such was not the case....more
With award season well behind us, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the pomp and circumstance, the fashion and glamour that is the ritWith award season well behind us, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at the pomp and circumstance, the fashion and glamour that is the ritual known as the Hollywood Red Carpet. In his recently updated ‘Red Carpet: 21 Years of Fame and Fashion’ photojournalist Frank Trapper brings us highlights of all the glitz and glamour that is the modern day red carpet ceremony.
Photographing the Hollywood scene for more than 30 years for the likes of People, Us Weekly, GQ, Entertainment Weekly and others, Trapper has seen more than his share of these kind of events and they are all captured here over the last 21 years. What makes this 532 page/1,000 photo volume interesting is the evolution of certain celebrities over time. Early in the book we see a teenage Angelina Jolie entering the awards with her famous father actor Jon Voight, former celebrity couples like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and a series of fresh faced actors such as the much younger looking Mel Gibson and Hollywood hunk George Clooney. While formated chronologically beginning in 1987, Trapper (along with editor Katrina Fried) have picked and placed numerous photos in thematic layouts designed to show similarities in fashion styles (the beige page, the striped outfit page, the flower dress page, etc.) while depicting nearly every major star of the late-century film and music eras. (From Gweneth to Jack; Billy Bob to Halle; Beyonce to Sting, with a multitude of repeat performances from the aforementioned Ms. Jolie, Drew Barrymore, SJP, etc.)
Clearly, over 21 years, as the players come and go, the fashion reigns supreme, with the sometimes revealing but mostly exquisite outfits carrying the day. Even the most memorable award fashion statements – J. Lo’s deep cut and taped-on green dress and Bjork’s infamous swan outfit – are all featured here. The nicest thing about ‘Red Carpet’ is that the majority of the photographs are from the most high-end red carpet events (the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Grammys) as the book is not watered down much by the inclusion of too many second-tier events (like parties and basic movie premieres, etc.) For fans of glamour, fashion and movie stars, ‘Red Carpet’ will not disappoint....more
Long before the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Oil has been a problem. More specifically, Big Oil has been a big problem.
In Antonia Juhasz’s must reaLong before the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Oil has been a problem. More specifically, Big Oil has been a big problem.
In Antonia Juhasz’s must read, ‘The Tyranny of Oil: The World’s Most Powerful Industry and What We Must Do to Stop It’ – just released in paperback – the author reveals numerous secrets of the oil business; secrets that are having a profound effect on our environment, global economies and the prospect of never-ending wars in hot zones across our planet.
Everyone knows Big Oil is trouble, but ‘Tyranny’ is a book that rips the cover off the ball in explaining just how we got into this mess, how vast the problem is in relation to world economies and what can be done to curtail the influence of what is arguably the number one devastation factor facing the earth as we know it.
Rather than sounding alarm bells, Juhasz (‘The Bush Agenda’) explains the factors that got us to this very unusual place on our history; the early conglomeration of oil interests that was John D. Rockfeller’s Standard Oil Trust of the late 1800’s, to the break up of the company via the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, to the re-emergence of a virtual monopoly (again) of the business as all the pieces of that former company have now been reassembled through the government approval of over 2,400 mergers and acquisitions resulting in the so-called ‘Seven Sisters’ of oil. (i.e. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, Total, ConocoPhillips, Valero; not to mention state owned firms like Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, Brazil’s Petrobras, etc.)
Along the way, tales of political corruption (particularly of the Republican party), arduous lobbying, the influence of administrations from Reagan to Bush II, the ‘necessity of war’ to protect vital petroleum interests around the world, particularly in the Middle East, and the oil companies’ lip-service to developing truly alternative energies are all uncovered in the book.
Oil is the lifeblood of the planet and ‘Tyranny’ shows just how far the powerful (7 of the world’s top 10 companies are now oil companies) will go to wring every last drop from the earth (onshore, offshore, federal lands, and even the radically environmentally destructive extraction of ’shale oil’). Political overthrows, explosions, the hundreds of deaths of drilling rig operators and severe pollution are mere inconveniences in the path of Big Oil’s goals. The quotes, records and other documentation will make your skin crawl.
Given the precarious state of our environment, our economy and our politics, ‘The Tyranny of Oil’ is both a must-read – and will be among our finalists for Book of the Year. Get it, read it, pass it on.
Everyone knows there is no shortage of ‘relationship’ books on the market today. Books about dating, mating and separating have lined bookshelves forEveryone knows there is no shortage of ‘relationship’ books on the market today. Books about dating, mating and separating have lined bookshelves for years.
So it comes with some surprise that someone has come up with a fresh approach to this age-old topic; an approach primarily based on science. Not just science in a cold, clinical, Masters and Johnson style, but a science that takes into account things like socialization, health patterns, communication skills and lifestyle issues.
In, ‘For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage,’ author and New York Times’ ‘Well blog’ columnist Tara Parker-Pope explores a wide variety of factors that determine success (or failure) for today’s married couples. Everything from the initial meeting to body language (including the killer rolled eyeballs), frequency of sex, and married vs. single vs. divorced health patterns for both men and women is fair game here. From hormonal studies to extra-marital affairs, the concepts are explained with the kind of backing that goes beyond the opinion style of similar books to a well backed set of facts (many of which are counter-intuitive) to support each revealing position. Meaning… we’re talking research.
Parker-Pope brings together an impressive array of studies and statistics – from lab experiments on mice and chimps, to census data trends to a wide swath of studies (Berkeley, NYU, Vanderbilt, Mayo Clinic, etc.) to create her models of the new married class. Dozens upon dozens of studies are translated in a well organized fashion to examine the factors that create lasting marital love; the nitty-gritty of why some relations work, others don’t and what can really be done to improve a couple’s chances of overall success. (The good news here, is that things aren’t as bad as we’ve been led to believe.) Throughout, Parker-Pope presents the findings in a fluid yet condensed (i.e. no filler) writing style that is neither dry nor difficult to absorb, which, in the final analysis, is precisely what sets ‘For Better’ apart from many others on the subject....more