A vigorous argument for a more humane capitalism.



A deconstruction of a famed mogul’s harmful influence on American business.

Gelles, the “Corner Office” columnist for the New York Times, focuses on Jack Welch (1935-2020), CEO of GE from 1981 to 2001, whom he sees as “the personification of American, alpha-male capitalism, a pin-striped conquistador with the spoils to prove it.” Welch joined GE in 1960 after completing a doctorate in chemical engineering, soon rising through the company’s ranks. Notoriously “impatient, impulsive, and crass” as well as ambitious and energetic, when he took over as CEO, he lost no time inaugurating his vision—and that of economist Milton Friedman—of “maximizing profits at the expense of all else.” GE had been known as a caring company that gave its workers exceptional benefits. Welch shattered that reputation, enacting massive layoffs, carrying out extensive mergers and acquisitions, and turning GE into “a giant unregulated bank.” When Welch ascended at GE, writes Gelles, “half of GE’s earnings came from businesses dating back to the Edison era: motors, wiring, and appliances. Yet Welch, an extremist in all he did, drastically overcorrected. Instead of trying to fix American manufacturing, he effectively abandoned it, and would soon start shuttering factories around the country and shipping jobs overseas.” His influence was far-reaching. By the time he retired, 16 public companies were run by men “who had studied at his knee.” However, remarked a Goldman Sachs board member, “they were just cost cutters. And you can’t cost-cut your way to prosperity.” Gelles capably traces GE’s downfall from being the most valuable company in the world in 1993 to its begging for a bailout in 2008, and he exposes the many business titans who followed Welch’s strategies. He sees hope, however, in the “handful of idealistic capitalists”—leading businesses such as Unilever, PayPal, Patagonia, and Seventh Generation—who consider their companies’ impacts on employees, the environment, and society.

A vigorous argument for a more humane capitalism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982176-44-0

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A vigorous and highly readable plan for building the finances of a new business.



A program of cash-management techniques for aspiring entrepreneurs, aimed at a minority readership.

At the beginning of this business book, Mariga reflects on the birth of her daughter, Florence, and on the depressing prospect of returning to her corporate job and missing some of her baby’s early moments. She realized that she “wanted to show Florence…that I could, that she could, that anyone could be anything they wanted to be in this world.” To that end, she wanted to start her own business, and she “wanted to help entrepreneurs build successful businesses that provide opportunities for others.” In a sentiment reflected by others she’s interviewed, she says that she wanted to strengthen her family legacy, so she founded her own accounting firm. She paints a vivid picture of the hardscrabble early days of other minority business owners like herself, the child of an African American mother and a Chinese father who also had a family accounting business. She and others were “all hustling to acquire clients and build our businesses…and most of us had absolutely nothing to show for it.” She was inspired by Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First money management system, and the bulk of her book is devoted to an explanation of how to make this system work for minority business enterprises. (Michalowicz provides a foreword to the book.) One of the primary goals of Profit First is to build “a self-sustaining, debt-free company,” so a large part of Mariga’s work deals with the details of managing finances, building and abiding by budgets, and handling the swings of emotion that occur every step of the way. As sharply focused as these insights are, the author’s recollections of her own experiences are more rewarding, as when she tells readers of her brief time as a cut-rate accountant and learning that it was a mistake to try to compete on price. These stories, as well as financing specifics and clear encouragements (“Small changes and adjustments accumulate. Over time, they will lead you to your goal”), will make this book invaluable to entrepreneurs of all kinds.

A vigorous and highly readable plan for building the finances of a new business.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7357759-0-6

Page Count: 230

Publisher: The Avant-Garde Project, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?