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The Art of Social War: A Novel Paperback – November 18, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her debut novel, Wing uses Sun-Tzu's classic The Art of War and her own difficult transition from New York to L.A. to craft a brainy, satiric chick lit novel that forgoes a typical looking-for-love plot in favor of a happy-couple-against-the-world story. Tried and true New Yorker Stacey Knight is marrying the man of her dreams, businessman Jamie, who recently acquired a sinking Hollywood studio, necessitating their move to L.A. During the wedding reception, however, the antagonistic Trio of Terror studio heads Simon, Barb and Phil volley the first shot in a smooth but sinister dinner toast. As her enemies go all out, Stacy plays the victim for an irritating length of time before getting wise. The twists and turns, once they become clear, are entertaining, but Wing's characters aren't terribly likable, especially compared to some of the well-drawn minor characters. Though her concept, weaving in passages from Sun Tzu, is clever, the read slows to a crawl under the weight of difficult-to-follow conversations, a strange narrative style and frequent use of two-dollar words. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

Wing’s debut novel follows a pair of newlyweds from New York to Los Angeles. Stacey Knight, a thriving PR representative, is stunned when her handsome fiancé, Jamey Makepeace, drops a bit of shocking news on her: after the wedding, they’re going to move to Los Angeles so he can take over as the head of Pacificus Studios. Stacey, a die-hard New Yorker, is horrified at the thought of moving to the land of traffic and Botox, and she is floored when Jamey’s new coworkers crash their wedding and make a spectacle of themselves. Simon Mallis, the former head of the studio, isn’t happy about Jamey taking over, and as soon as the newlyweds arrive in Los Angeles, they find themselves shunned by the Hollywood elite, leaving Stacey determined to fight back. Though some of the characters are too over-the-top to be amusing or believed, some of the more realistic details, like the dingy studio offices and long-suffering assistants, are spot-on. This charming fish-out-of-water story should find fans among chick-lit readers. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061568244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061568244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,647,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By on November 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a founder of the leading website on Sun Tzu's Art of War, I was pleasantly surprised to learn there's a novel based on the excellent Chinese classic but with a twist in setting: social circles of wives in modern-day Hollywood. Sun Tzu never had a challenge quite like that.

With news stories of Michael Ovitz and Anthony Pellicano, anyone outside of Hollywood has to wonder about this place run by big egos with big money. Given the mixture, bad behavior is something you might find when you start digging yet you decide to stop because you're afraid of finding out more if you continue. That's just where our heroine Stacey Knight finds herself when she moved to Hollywood from New York after marrying Jamey Makepeace. Behind the facade of social etiquette and leisure lie daggers drawn not by one enemy but over four antagonists (remember the name Julia Mallis, like, Wow!). Stacey made it in New York but can she make it in Hollywood? Not without her old copy of The Art of War -- and certainly not without the latest designer wardrobes, Kabbalah sessions, and celebrity-chef-catered parties.

I won't spoil it for you but you will enjoy what happens at the end. It is something that Sun Tzu would be proud of, namely that cooler heads prevailed, friends can be found in the unlikeliest places, and that karma always wins in the end.

While this is Jodi Wing's first novel, her writing style flows so well that I completed the entire book on my flight from Atlanta to Seattle. The beginning may start off slow to set the scene (sorry I'm slow because I'm neither female nor a resident of a Big City) but the reader is rewarded soon enough as the funny/dramatic/shocking events unfold. That's when the pages turn by themselves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
i have lived in LA for the past 20 years, of which I have been in the entertainment industry. There has never been a book that could explain how ridiculous this place is before now. Art of Social War should be everyones mandatory handbook to LA. The author was able to capture the essence of what is a major industry yet let us see who these "mogals" really are beyond the red carpet.
Beyond that what I loved was that we can all apply this story to our own lives. I think we can all learn from a woman that has her priorites straight and uses wit and brains to win over her oppenent. Finally a woman like us, that freaks out and doesn't get it but doesn't let that hold her back.
This book made me laugh till I cried and then it made me feel I could have a little bit of
Stacy in me too!! Very Cool!!!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By New York Fan on January 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
What a great read! Every woman can relate to this book and no doubt understands what its like to relive High School as an adult. Who wants to? But it's a given! Stacey is such a wonderful character and with every page I couldn't wait to see how she would triumph. I absolutely loved the analogies and quick witted humor (I've already taken many of the one-liners as my own!). A book to share with all your friends for sure!!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tina on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am a confirmed chick lit freak! and I have gone on the record as mourning the apparent demise of the genre.

I was thrilled when I discovered The Art of Social War, a firt novel by author Jodi Wing.

I liked the basic premise of this chick lit - if you can't join them - beat them - but in a subtle, smart way - hence the references to Sun Tzu's The Art of War. I had never really paid much attention to the original Art of War, but after reading this book, it made me interested in discovering more! This is just another example of how the book world can expand everyone's horizons - I mean, a chick lit book got me interested in reading the classic the Art of War!!!!

However, back to our chick lit book. Our main character Stacey has just gotten married and finds herself living in la-la-land that is Hollywood - she also finds herself pitted up against an old movie studio and all that the movie biz entails - things are not going smoothly and after an extremely long period of "poor me, poor me", Stacey decides to fight smart!

I liked this chick lit, but I found that the whole self-pity, trying desperately to fit in went on for too long. I finally cheered when Stacey finally figured it out! I like my chick lit to have strong-willed, smart heroines!

I also thought that the story moved at a slow pace at times - which removed some of the fun for me. On the other hand, the writing was fun and some of the situations were deliciously set up.

I don't know if its because I am getting older! but I found the print in my copy of this book to be sooooo tiny -

This was a good read.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By knitter on March 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to like this book so badly. To me though I had to push myself through it. Boring. I basically stopped halfway through the book.
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