Official Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons

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inaramid
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Latest Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons by Arthur Hartz

Official Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons

Post by inaramid »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Winners and Losers in words and cartoons" by Arthur Hartz.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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When thinking about a book that’s penned by “a professional medical researcher and a hobby anthropologist,” a short text filled with aphorisms and cartoons isn’t something you’d really expect to see. Add the fact that the author, Arthur Hartz, admits to not having any artistic ability to speak of, and you might just be thrown for a loop. However, Hartz collaborates with three illustrators — Aleksandar Jovic, Mike Wolfe, and Heroud Ramos — to launch into a commentary about our genetic and cultural predispositions to celebrate some people and devalue others.

Winners and Losers: In Words and Cartoons explores the meanings people attach to success and failure, identifying who the winners/losers are and how they are treated. Eight of the nine chapters are divided equally between the topics of winning and losing, with the last section providing a synthesis of what winning means. Each chapter contains the promised mix of aphorisms and cartoons, with Hartz also taking a jab at what famous personalities have said about success. For instance, as a counterpoint to George Eliot’s sentiment about the contributions of those “who lived a faithfully hidden life,” Hartz shots back, “Too bad nobody buys it. Only famous people count.”

Hartz’s sardonic observations, like everything else in his book, are meant to both entertain and provoke thought. There’s a sense of what I’d describe as playful jadedness in his writing — amusing in small doses but quite uncomfortable to take in when read all at once. After all, humor doesn’t completely nullify the harsh realities that Hartz brings to the fore. Too much of the same thing — sarcasm, in this case — can also be wearisome.

I enjoyed the cartoons more. They’re mostly comprised of a single panel, accompanied by a caption and/or a speech balloon containing a piece of dialogue. Hartz relies on both visual and verbal gags, but the humor is more obvious in some than others. One panel captioned “The strongest drive” portrays an emaciated man reaching for a trophy, bypassing food and two women in bikinis. Here, the meaning is clear and the point is quickly made. This is not so with some, such as a two-paneled strip depicting a man having a sculpture done, alongside an illustration of a group of scouts trekking through a forest. The quality of the drawings also differs. I'd prefer a consistent artistic style, but other readers might enjoy the variety the book offers.

Despite its brevity, I won’t recommend Winners and Losers for light reading. It is funny, but at its core, it's still a social commentary. One use of the book, Hartz casually suggests in the introduction, is to “initiate fights with friends and family.” I have no doubt this can be the case, as Hartz’s observations raise a lot of uncomfortable truths about how we judge people. “Good things come to those who look good,” Hartz writes — and isn’t that just the honest truth?

I rate Winners and Losers 4 out of 4 stars. It’s not perfect, but the few errors I found are negligible. Some statements and cartoons are rather ambiguous, but they also encourage further thought and reflection. Winners and Losers is definitely for older readers, especially those who like their commentaries wrapped up in wry humor.

******
Winners and Losers in words and cartoons
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adamgreenrock
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Post by adamgreenrock »

Definitely sounds like a good read for the laughs. I don't know about the art but as long as its entertaining, I'll enjoy reading some of it at least. Thanks for your thoughtful review!

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Post by Julius_ »

This was a good review. I'm in the mood of some light reading for the weekend, I think I'll pass this one for now.
We're all philosophers. When there's a tough choice to be made, when faced with the facts of birth,love or death or simply when thinking about what we want to do with our lives.

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Latest Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons by Arthur Hartz

Post by inaramid »

adamgreenrock wrote:
24 Jan 2020, 12:29
Definitely sounds like a good read for the laughs. I don't know about the art but as long as its entertaining, I'll enjoy reading some of it at least. Thanks for your thoughtful review!
Thank you for dropping by! It was an entertaining read, at the least. You'd get a lot of food for thought, too.

Julius_ wrote:
24 Jan 2020, 14:35
This was a good review. I'm in the mood of some light reading for the weekend, I think I'll pass this one for now.
I understand. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by MsH2k »

inaramid wrote:
24 Jan 2020, 05:49
Winners and Losers is definitely for older readers, especially those who like their commentaries wrapped up in wry humor.
I refuse to be “older” yet (no matter how many candles were on my last birthday cake :occasion-cake: :D), but I do enjoy commentaries wrapped up in wry humor. Thanks for a great review! I will check out this book.

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Post by Sushan »

A thorough and a fair review. I am not certain whether I will enjoy the book but I enjoyed reading your review. Thanks 👍👍
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Post by xoxoAnushka »

This is great. A lighthearted book. Amazing review!

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Post by espo »

The combination of social commentary, humor and cartoons sounds quite interesting to me. Thank you for your well-written and informative review!
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Post by Cotwani »

I like cartoons, especially the ones where humor is obvious. The book sounds like one I would enjoy, if the sarcasm was toned down abit. Thanks for the great review!
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inaramid
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Latest Review: Winners and Losers in words and cartoons by Arthur Hartz

Post by inaramid »

MsH2k wrote:
25 Jan 2020, 15:54
I refuse to be “older” yet (no matter how many candles were on my last birthday cake :occasion-cake: :D), but I do enjoy commentaries wrapped up in wry humor. Thanks for a great review! I will check out this book.
:lol2: :lol2: I'd like to hear what you thought about this book once you get to read it.

Sushan wrote:
27 Jan 2020, 20:14
A thorough and a fair review. I am not certain whether I will enjoy the book but I enjoyed reading your review. Thanks 👍👍
Thanks for dropping by!

xoxoAnushka wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 01:03
This is great. A lighthearted book. Amazing review!
Thank you!

espo wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 06:27
The combination of social commentary, humor and cartoons sounds quite interesting to me. Thank you for your well-written and informative review!
It's a very short read, so you might want to give this a try.

Cotwani wrote:
28 Jan 2020, 15:01
I like cartoons, especially the ones where humor is obvious. The book sounds like one I would enjoy, if the sarcasm was toned down abit. Thanks for the great review!
It might be good to read it a day at a time, like the cartoons you'd see in a daily newspaper or something.

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Post by Jenny Yang »

Winner and loser doesn't mean anything, but then some people out here wants to win and sometimes it don't really come to your way so some people could take a Lose but if lucky enough you will be a winner.

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Post by Rayasaurus »

I love social/political commentary, and if it's funny, so much the better! Thank you for the review!

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Post by Julius_ »

A book about meanings people attach to success or failure looks motivational and an interesting read. Thanks for the review.
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Post by inaramid »

Rayasaurus wrote:
30 Jan 2020, 15:51
I love social/political commentary, and if it's funny, so much the better! Thank you for the review!
Sounds like this one is for you! Thanks for dropping by.

Julius_ wrote:
31 Jan 2020, 08:04
A book about meanings people attach to success or failure looks motivational and an interesting read. Thanks for the review.
Thank you for reading it!

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Post by Julius_ »

inaramid wrote:
31 Jan 2020, 18:54
Rayasaurus wrote:
30 Jan 2020, 15:51
I love social/political commentary, and if it's funny, so much the better! Thank you for the review!
Sounds like this one is for you! Thanks for dropping by.

Julius_ wrote:
31 Jan 2020, 08:04
A book about meanings people attach to success or failure looks motivational and an interesting read. Thanks for the review.
Thank you for reading it!
Welcome.
We're all philosophers. When there's a tough choice to be made, when faced with the facts of birth,love or death or simply when thinking about what we want to do with our lives.

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