By Guy Garcia (Rayo, $24.95)
Okay, time for a pop quiz: "This groundbreaking work, The New (choose one: Mainstream/Manager/Leaders/Professionals/ Saga of the Little Furry Animals), proves conclusively that the organization which ignores the lessons of (choose one: those who adopt management fads/those who don't adopt management fads/youthful dot.coms/the UN Summit/the manager who doesn't adapt/ hiring technology workers/the needs of elderly workers/ the egos of younger workers/quick change efforts/the Cincinnati Bengals/ the New Mainstream) is doomed to fail." Well, my goodness, there's hardly any reason to even get out of bed in the morning, then, is there? And what is the organization leader supposed to do about all this, anyway?
Now, I'm not sure that ignoring The New Mainstream's lessons will ensure the reader is doomed to fail, as the jacket flap warns, but based on word of mouth and heavy publicity, it seems a lot of people are paying attention to this book. I must confess, though, that I'm not among its fans. My primary criticism is that it's another of those business books that really would have worked best as a long magazine article. Garcia's point—that America's growing new populations purchase more consumer goods, are more brand-loyal, and have enormous influence on social patterns—could have been just as successful as a 10,000-word New Yorker essay. As it is, what is presented as a business book is a mishmash of history, sociology, marketing, popular culture, television ratings, sales figures, and descriptions of presenters at the MTV awards. Much of the writing is rambling and unfocused. Garcia does not build his points logically, and the sheer volume of information (much of it repetitious) makes it hard to separate wheat from chaff. And another thing: Is it me, or does Garcia undercut his own calls for tolerance and understanding, and his repeated invectives against "Anglo resentment," by titling sections of his book "Wal-Mex," "Amexica" and "Barbies and Homies"? —J.B.