Fast Company: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Motorcycles in Italy

David M. Gross, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $14 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-28133-5

In the economic boom of the mid-1990s, Gross was a corporate lawyer working nonstop for a Wall Street law firm. Miserable, his life "a prison of routine," he instantly accepts his friend's proposal to revive the legendary motorcycle company Ducati Motor Holding in Bologna, Italy. Equipped with only a backpack and the basic knowledge of how to ride a motorcycle, Gross meets a wacky array of fellow employees, learns about Bolognese life and feels the thrill of the open road. His book is filled with insight on the city and corporate color, especially the chapters devoted to his co-workers, who include the World War II–obsessed company historian and the volatile, eccentric chief of design. But aside from his tumultuous affair with a skinhead mama's boy and his birth as a rider, Gross is a passing character in his own memoir. Amid all of the personalities and business chaos, he doesn't establish a consistent connection with the reader. Years pass in his narrative, and outside of some discotheque activities and buddy-buddy revelry, the swirl of triumph and fear accompanying a major, life-changing decision is absent. In examining Italian corporate and social culture, Gross (who has written for Time and the New York Times ) has done a solid job; the lack of a personality behind the observations, however, is a liability. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/26/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-9754-6
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