Books: Has Success Become Tacky?

AMBITION: THE SECRET PASSION by Joseph Epstein; Dutton; 312 pages; $13.95

Joseph Epstein, editor of the American Scholar and a member of North western's English department, defines ambition as the fuel of achievement. Ben Franklin was an OPEC of success in the 18th century. Pierre du Pont never ran dry; neither did John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Joseph Kennedy or Henry R. Luce. Epstein tips his mortarboard to these classic American gogetters. In a series of biographical sketches, he admires their energy and single-mindedness and the uncomplicated relish they took in pursuing knowledge,...

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