More than a basketball book, this helps explain race relations, celebrity power, and personal choice in a changed world.

CAN'T KNOCK THE HUSTLE

INSIDE THE SEASON OF PROTEST, PANDEMIC, AND PROGRESS WITH THE BROOKLYN NETS' SUPERSTARS OF TOMORROW

A sportswriter and investigative journalist delivers “a contemporaneous history revealing how everyone from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to shifty billionaires and calamity-stricken Brooklynites were forced to evolve as frantically as the world did” during the pandemic.

In 2020, everyone’s story became one of life and death, of personal choices about racial inequality and political beliefs, of playing it safe or taking risks during a global pandemic. In this ambitious book, Sullivan captures all those aspects in the lives of the Brooklyn Nets, including one of the NBA’s biggest superstars, Durant, one of its most controversial, Irving, and the rest of a team poised to win a championship this season. The author embedded with the Nets back in 2019, when no one could have imagined the hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths or millions of Black Lives Matter protesters taking to streets across the U.S. Sullivan’s eyewitness accounts of the team’s private moments and in-depth interviews with players and coaches yield explanations for those crises as well as behind-the-scenes details of some of the biggest stories in sports, including the international incident surrounding the Nets’ exhibition game against the Los Angeles Lakers in China and the deliberations over whether the team should finish out the 2020 season in the NBA–created bubble in Orlando. All of the author’s cogent reporting allows him to place these events in a deeper context. “It continues to be a despicable and particularly American reality,” he writes, “that the oppressed so often, and especially with the undue pressure of television and social media, are expected to both withstand and overcome, to survive and speak out at once.” He also reveals remarkable details about Durant’s recovery from injuries, Irving’s Indigenous roots and headline-grabbing behavior, Spencer Dinwiddie’s forward-thinking business strategies, and Garrett Temple’s plans to study law.

More than a basketball book, this helps explain race relations, celebrity power, and personal choice in a changed world.

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-303680-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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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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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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