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“And In This Ring. . . .”

Sometimes, with the demands work, family and the rest of one’s personal existence, life can feel like a three-ring circus.

Sometimes, with the demands work, family and the rest of one’s personal existence, life can feel like a three-ring circus. Walking the tightrope. Bringing on the clowns. Smelling the cotton candy...or the stuff which elephants leave behind. Which brings us to the related Juggling Elephants: An Easier Way to Get Your Most Important Things Done—Now! By Jones Loflin and Todd Musig (Portfolio/Penguin; $19.95). This is one of those so-called “business fables,” which is a slim volume (131 pp.) set in primary school type that one can read in an hour or less. In this case it is a story of a business man who can’t seem to get done at work what needs to be done which means that he short changes his family which means that he short changes himself which means he’s in need of someone who can provide enlightenment to a better way which means that in this case the person with The Knowledge is a circus ringmaster which leads to the conceit for this book. While the ideas are undoubtedly sound (e.g., concentrate on what you’re doing and don’t try to, well, juggle three things at once, especially if they’re elephants), and while the amount of time that one needs to invest to get through the book is about the time of a prime-time TV program, the whole artificial fable has the taste of cotton candy made from some spun sugar substitute, not the real thing.—GSV