The City and the Grassroots, Manuel Castells (University of California: $14.95) was written by an activist, academic and idealist and, as such, opens itself up for criticism: Urban-planning theorists might call Castells' blueprint for social change presumptuous, while lay readers might be fazed by such two-dollar words as "spatial manifestation" (the term refers to our need to be associated with a community). Yet stylistic problems aside, the synthesis has allowed Castells to take an in-depth look at conflict in world cities that delves beyond popular assumptions. Urban problems, writes Castells, a professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley, cannot simply be blamed on inept public bureaucracies, as right-wing activists might have it, or capitalist oppressors, as left-wing activists might believe. Castells argues, for instance, that protests in Paris during the 1960s and early '70s were part of a larger political movement that forced the French government to create low-cost housing in the 1980s.
Executive Etiquette: How to Make Your Way to the Top With Grace and Style, Marjabelle Young Stewart and Marian Faux (St. Martin's: $7.95) is at times obvious ("When introducing two peers to each other, say . . . 'Jack Jones, I would like you to meet Bill Bailey' ") and arbitrary (". . . it is not appropriate to open a presentation at a business meeting with an anecdote or a joke"), but always interesting. There are tips for employees--"Poor grammar, like bad breath, is not something your boss will call you in to talk about improving"--as well as for executives--"People work well only when they think they are good at what they do, and to undermine confidence is also to undermine the company, so criticism always should be couched in the most tactful terms." Some tips, on the other hand, are unlikely in themselves to jet you to the top: When eating potatoes, don't "scoop them onto your plate and mash them"; when dressing in the morning, refrain from wearing "hats, high boots, sequins on anything, and T-shirts with comic or pornographic messages printed on them."