Book Review December-January 2011
Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It,
How to Get It Back If You Lose It
Author: Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter
Publisher: Hyperion Audio Books, February 2010
Audio book: 7 hours, 6 CDs
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer
You lost another client last week. Prices keep going up while sales go down. Everybody seems to know “what’s good for business” and clients keep canceling. You know you’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean you’re enjoying this new reality. You need a pile of inspiration. You’ll get it with Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It, the new audiobook by Marshall Goldsmith (with Mark Reiter).
Mojo, says Goldsmith, is “that positive spirit toward what [you] are doing now that starts on the inside and radiates to the outside.” Understanding it and achieving it again requires “mastering” its four major components: identity (how you see yourself and who you think you are); achievement (what you’ve done in business and in life); reputation (who other people think you are); and acceptance (knowing what you can change and what you can control). Mastering these is going to require a mindset different from what you have now and follow-up is crucial.
Getting and keeping mojo is an ongoing process, in which you’ll have to constantly re-assess yourself: Who are you and whom do others see you as? Do these impressions jibe? Are you living the right identity? What is your reputation?
Why do you strive for achievement? Is it to impress others, or do you do it for yourself? Would you rather be seen as a smart person or an effective person? The answers to these questions impact your personal mojo.
Always be careful that you don’t have nojo. Avoid overcommittment and learn to say “no.” Don’t waste your time in wishful thinking or boss-bashing; never participate in pointless arguing. Establish personal criteria that matters to you. If you’re overworked, eliminate one thing and rebuild brick by brick. When there’s a problem, change you or it. And forget about having a job like your parents had because that world simply does not exist any longer.
Aside from an over-long (and ultimately annoying) mojo versus nojo segment that was probably better in print, listening to Mojo is a good way to get back to business in your business. Goldsmith gives dozens of tools, Web site extras (MojoTheBook.com) and food for thought, and his upbeat, eager narration is contagious. Because times are tough, I appreciated his no-nonsense attitude — mostly because he softens his words just enough to lend a small amount of sympathy, but not so much that it allows listeners to wallow in self-pity.
Create Dangerously: The Immigrant
Artist at Work
By Edwidge Danticat
Princeton University Press, October 2010
$19.95, 189 pp.
In her latest book, Create Dangerously, the Haitian-born novelist and memoirist Edwidge Danticat explores the artist’s desire to continue his or her work when they realize that the consequences of their doing so, in most cases, can mean exile or even death. With mention of the recent earthquake devastation and cholera epidemic in Haiti, the author revisits Haiti’s troublesome history and tells stories of intellectuals, journalists, literary figures and visuals artists who believed in change in their country and were determined to work in difficult times. The essays are written with a passionate and quiet forcefulness. Danticat explores Haiti’s brutal past and weaves in the works of American and European artists to lend a universal appeal to the artists’ commitments. As she pointed out in a recent interview, Danticat wants to remind people of the “wonderful and powerful history of revolt, of resilience, of resistance… and this wonderful art that’s followed in the wake of [Haiti’s obstacles] that have this great beauty to offer the world.”
Harlem: A Century of Images
Introduction by Thelma Golden, with essays By Deborah Willis, Cheryl Finley and Elizabeth Alexander
Skira Rizzoli in Association with Studio Museum of Harlem, November 2010
$55, 256 pp.
Since the early decades of the 20th century, Harlem has been — and continues to be — a neighborhood of creative verve and political and religious activism that has become a template for Black communities around the nation. In this collection of 250 images, from 1915 to 2009, Harlem showcases the works of renowned photographers, including James VanDerZee, Aaron Siskind, Bruce Davidson and Gordon Parks who were inspired by the energy, history, rhythms and sights of what was once called the “Black capital of America.” While the book includes pictures of iconic figures, it’s the captivating images of the everyday lives of Harlemites and the community’s architectural landscape that give the book it’s celebratory voice. Poet Elizabeth Alexander writes, “I cannot imagine Harlem as anything other than a Negro metropolis of yore and black to the future.”
— Reviewed by Clarence V. Reynolds