New Business Ideas

Combining popular psychology with business acumen, consultant Melinda Davis presents a Faith Popcorn—like guide for businesspersons in The New Culture of Desire: 5 Radical New Strategies That Will Change Your Business and Your Life. Davis contends that Americans' desires have shifted in recent years, from the physical to the metaphysical. She explains ways businesspersons can tap into this shift and thus present consumers with products that truly suit their needs. The book is thus not only a manual for marketers who want to understand their audience, but also a revealing social study that will intrigue consumers and producers alike. (Free Press, $26 288p ISBN 0-7432-0459-X; Oct. 7)

Like a spectrum, a leader's way of thinking should be diverse and cover a comprehensive range., says consultant Mary Burner Lippitt in The Leadership Spectrum: 6 Business Priorities That Get Results. Labeled "inventors," "catalysts," "developers," "performers," "protectors" and "challengers," the priorities involve thinking creatively and valuing flexibility, among other things. Lippitt's ideas are clearly presented and are accompanied by thought-provoking quotes from great minds, including John Adams, Heraclitus and H.L. Mencken. (Davies-Black, $27.95 224p ISBN 0-89106-171-1; Oct.)

In today's economy, it seems CEOs left and right are falling from grace; truly admirable CEOs are becoming scarce. University of Michigan Business School professor Noel M. Tichy (The Leadership Engine) and writer Nancy Cardwell showcase a few of this rare breed's strategies in The Cycle of Leadership: How Great Leaders Teach Their Companies to Win. Successful organizations foster "knowledge exchange," says Tichy, and "they are built around virtuous teaching cycles" and "create attributes needed in the knowledge economy." He effectively integrates examples from GE, Ford, Dell, Southwest Airlines, 3M, Home Depot and other companies to illustrate how managers can convert their own businesses into ones that foster collective learning. (Harper Business, $26.95 352p ISBN 0-06-662056-2; Sept. 1)

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming

Tony Soprano lives the epitome of a double life: one minute he's grilling hamburgers with his family, the next he's holding a gun to somebody's head in a dark alley. Criminologist David Simon examines Tony's contradictory persona in Tony Soprano's America: The Criminal Side of the American Dream. According to Simon, The Sopranos taps into a core condition that many people deal with: can a respectable member of society also engage in criminal behavior? Can an upstanding citizen dishonor his or her parents? Simon poses probing questions, about the Sopranos and the real life version, that deal with morality, heroes, corruption, family life, violence and more. (Westview, $25 288p ISBN 0-8133-4036-5; Oct.)

The Sopranos is the "richest and most compelling piece of television—no, of popular culture—that I've encountered in the past twenty years... [it's a] meditation on the nature of morality, the possibility of redemption, and the legacy of Freud," writes critic Ellen Willis in This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos. Edited by David Lavery, the book collects 18 essays by academics covering a range of subjects, such as the conflicting roles of men and women, obesity, "Old Jersey" versus "Nouveau Jersey," food, music and more. The essays are at once entertaining and serious pieces of social criticism. (Columbia Univ., $52 225p ISBN 0-231-12780-4; paper $17.95 -12781-2; Oct.)

English and feminist theory professor Regina Barreca gathers eight Italian-American writers' thoughts on Tony and Carmela Soprano, family, psychotherapy and more in A Sitdown with the Sopranos: Watching Italian American Culture on TV's Most Talked-About Series. "The Italian American experience being spotlighted here is a reflection of all the other versions of itself... The Sopranos is about the human experience—about all of us, about the struggle to find a safe place," she writes in her introduction. The essays that follow—from Sandra M. Gilbert's "Life with (God)Father" to George Anastasia's "If Shakespeare Were Alive Today"—offer intelligent commentary on how the show portrays (or fails to portray) some key components of Italian-American life. (Palgrave, $12.95 paper 224p ISBN 0-312-29528-6; Sept. 13)

Reclaimed War Stories

Credited as a major source for last year's Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides, Hour of Redemption: The Heroic WWII Saga of America's Most Daring POW Rescue covers the elite U.S. Sixth Army Ranger force's liberation of 516 Allied prisoners from the Cabanatuan camp in the Philippines, most of whom were American survivors of the Bataan Death March. Former U.S. Army Captain Forrest Bryant Johnson first published this account in 1978, having interviewed more than 500 participants over a six-year period. Included are the important contributions of the Filipino guerrillas, who kept nearby Japanese forces at bay and decimated an entire enemy battalion without a single fatality. American causalities were two killed and only a few wounded; all POWs in the camp were rescued and taken back more than 25 miles to American lines. Japanese casualties totaled over 1,100. Photos and maps not seen by PW. (Warner, $15.95 paper 336p ISBN 0-446-67937-2; Sept.)

Another recovered war memoir—this one with a first printing of 15,000—is John Ketwig's ...And a Hard Rain Fell: A GI's True Story of the War in Vietnam, first published in 1985. Enlisting to avoid the draft in 1966, Ketwig ended up a platoon sergeant in Thailand, "in charge of 43 Americans and numerous Thais." He is articulate and perceptive throughout, voicing doubt, witnessing horrors, trying to fit in on returning. Ketwig has supplied eight pages of new photos and a new introduction for this edition; the press chat notes that Ketwig will do an NPR affiliate tour, and that the book is a "staple" in campus Vietnam courses. (Sourcebooks, $15 paper 400p ISBN 1-57071-987-X; Sept.)

September Publications

Equal parts tribute to a short life and guide for parents of troubled children is Jonathan Aurthur's The Angel and the Dragon: A Father's Search for Answers to His Son's Suicide: The Myths and Realities of Mental Illness. Aurthur's son, Charley, committed suicide at age 23. A series of calls and letters from physicians, counselors, detectives, friends and even Charley himself led up to the suicide, and in this introspective yet educational book, Aurthur explains how parents can heed warning signs from their own children to prevent a fate similar to Charley's. His understandable descriptions of psychotropic drugs and honest account of bringing his son to the hospital's psychiatric ward make this a valuable resource for parents of children with mental illness. (Health Communications, $12.95 paper 352p ISBN 0-7573-0052-9)

Though Equals is psychoanalyst-essayist Adam Phillips's (On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored) attempt to branch out into political thinking, the best essays in the collection, many of which have been previously published, are the ones about Freud and his followers. Particular standouts include "Around and About Madness," in which Phillips argues that "madness—like what we call pornography—is that which we cannot remain indifferent to," and his reviews of John Lanchester's Mr Phillips ("that hitherto unthinkable, almost absurd thing, a great English Existential novel") and Ray Monk's biography of Bertrand Russell. (Basic, $25 272p ISBN 0-465-05679-2)