Cathie Black's book of advice for aspiring women is red hot

The Baltimore Sun

Never give a party that's better than the movie!" says the veteran movie hit-maker David Brown.

This is quoted in Hearst prexy Cathie Black's new book Basic Black, a how-to-succeed advice tome for aspiring women, which is in its fifth Crown printing. It bowed recently on the best-seller list, and the Wall Street Journal lists it as the numero uno biz advice book of the moment.

What tickles me is all the women 50 and older and their men who read this book and say, "Gee, I wish I had seen this 20 years ago!" I'll be quizzing Cathie in person tomorrow.

Just regular guys

The twosome showbiz insiders are talking about is an amazing one. It consists of Jerry Seinfeld and his new friendly "crush," a man he admires and wants to emulate - Ralph Lauren, designer extraordinaire. Lately, they've been hanging out together a lot. Asked about this, Jerry is reported to have said he has now personally embraced Ralph's philosophy of life.

"And what is Ralph's philosophy of life?" asked an interested someone.

"Just keep it simple!" says Jerry.

A history lesson

Laura Linney has been starring in the new miniseries being produced by Tom Hanks based on the life of America's second president, John Adams. The Ivy League graduate and actress came away slightly disillusioned about how much she discovered she didn't know about the admirable Adams and his famous wife, Abigail, whom she plays onscreen.

Says Laura: "History should be taught again to adults, as it's wasted on the youth. There was an embarrassingly large amount of American history that I didn't know about."

Delightful recollections

I have thoroughly enjoyed Arthur Schlesinger Jr.'s remembrances of life as a loyal liberal Democrat in a world where the GOP frequently ruled. (The Journal covers 1952 to 2000). Arthur's recollections of Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon are especially pertinent.

One of his most delightful stories is from 1976, when the hostess Alice Mason gave a dinner for Jimmy Carter. Arthur writes: "Elizabeth Taylor was there, looking darkly handsome but perhaps a little fat. ... He [Carter] showed more humor than I expected. When Elizabeth asked a question, he said that he first wanted to say how honored he was to have a question from her and that he had done his best to keep his mind on the question while she asked it."

Another Schlesinger gem is of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. coming back from World War II and being invited to a Hollywood party. "He was still in naval uniform, had been away for half a dozen years, and, as he entered a large room, his former wife, Joan Crawford, spotted him, screamed 'Douglas' and swept magnificently across the room to embrace him. Her first words: 'Douglas, you may not have heard, I have left MGM and have gone to Warner's!'"

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