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This review by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on August 12, 1998. All rights reserved.

New Jersey's Spicy `Insider'

The authoritative people directories, "Who's Who in America," "Who's Who in the East," etc., are published by Marquis and fact-checked time and time again. But those books often don't tell you what you really need to know. Sometimes what you really need is exactly what the subject is trying to hide, the troublesome times or the scandals with which he or she has been involved. Your interest is not necessarily a prurient one; sometimes you merely wish you knew what topics not to discuss in an interview.

"I've always been frustrated by the blander Who's Who's," says Don Linky, author of "The New Jersey Directory: the Insider Guide to New Jersey Leaders." He has every entry of this directory checked either by phone and fax and occasionally by mail, but he does not necessarily use the version of the biography that someone submits. "People have objected to things that are said and written about them."

The fifth edition of his book costs $86 in hard copy, $375 including a mailing list and full text on diskette. Call Joshua Communications at 609-452-7799 or E-mail njlink@aol.com. Home page: http://www.njinsider.com. Due in September is the Insider Guide to New Jersey Healthcare ($69) and the Insider Guide to New Jersey Jobs ($59). Here are some of the special features:

Cross referencing. Clients are listed for specific law firms, and those with a separate listing are cross referenced. For instance, Dechert Price & Rhoads at Princeton Pike Corporate Center has as cross referenced clients Campbell Soup and Covance.

Bad but useful news. Necessary information is often omitted in official accounts. So under a lengthy Cytogen Corporation entry, the fact that "disappointing sales led to withdrawal of marketing partner Knoll Pharmaceuticals" is included, and also that founder Thomas McKearn was replaced as CEO in January, 1998, remaining as president of a subsidiary. If you were a fresh observer, you would have to dig to get those facts.

Predictions. Those of us who live cheek-by-jowl with Merrill Lynch's Scudders Road campus know all about the Bull's planned expansion to the site formerly owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Hopewell. For everyone else that would be news. Linky includes it and cites the number of new jobs (1,500), number of jobs to be transferred (3,500), and the planned occupancy date (2000).

Selective networking. Thomas H. Kean, the former governor now president of Drew University, merits three entries. Thomas J. Kean merits one and the notation that he is no relation to the ex-guv.

Frequently called numbers. This is handier than the blue pages of the phone book. Also listed by department are numbers for every official you would ever want to contact, plus E-mail addresses.

Women leaders. If women were really on par with men in the business world, this chapter wouldn't be needed. But they are not, and this 17-page chapter profiles, for instance, Deborah Aguiar-Velez of Sistemas Corporation, Jennifer Lobo, president of Biotechnology Financial Corporation, and Emily Mann, artistic director of McCarter Theater.

Largest employers. This list is the single biggest reason why people buy directories. They think if they apply to large firm there will be more jobs. But there is also a chapter on Emerging Firms, and one on Investment Firms. Much good information is tucked away in the biographies here. Randall Hack doesn't get a separate biographical listing but you learn that he was a founder of Matrix Development Company in the two-column entry on Nassau Capital.

Other chapters list companies in law, accounting, banks, insurance, media, real estate, colleges, hospitals, and leaders in various fields.

Linky grew up in Asbury Park, where his father had a wholesale liquor business, and went to Dartmouth (Class of 1968) and then to Harvard Law School. He practiced law in a North Jersey firm, and served on the staff of Governor Brendan Byrne as director of the office of policy and planning and chief counsel.

The 1998 edition was different from most, Linky says, because of all the mergers and name changes; a great deal of attention to corporate identities was needed. "Some of the prominent executives are no longer players in the firms they were with," says Linky, "and this took a toll on their networking with nonprofits and on government task forces."

-- Barbara Fox


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