The decades after World War II were a golden age across much of the world. It was a time of economic miracles, an era when steady jobs were easy to find and families could see their living standards improving year after year. And then, around 1973, the good times vanished. The world economy slumped badly, then settled into the slow, erratic growth that had been the norm before the war. The result was an era of anxiety, uncertainty, and political extremism that we are still grappling with today.
In An Extraordinary Time, acclaimed economic historian Marc Levinson, author of The Box, and The Great A&P, describes how the end of the postwar boom reverberated throughout the global economy, bringing energy shortages, financial crises, soaring unemployment, and a gnawing sense of insecurity. Almost everywhere, the pendulum swung to the right, bringing politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to power. But their promise that deregulation, privatization, lower tax rates, and smaller government would restore economic security and robust growth proved unfounded. Although the guiding hand of the state could no longer deliver the steady economic performance the public had come to expect, free-market policies were equally unable to do so. The golden age would not come back again. A sweeping reappraisal of the last sixty years of world history, An Extraordinary Time forces us to come to terms with how little control we actually have over the economy.
One of the earliest of all Buddhist texts, the Atthakavagga, or “Book of Eights,” is a remarkable document, not only because it comes from the earliest strain of the literature–before the Buddha, as the title suggests, came to be thought of as a “Buddhist”–but also because its approach to awakening is so simple and free of adherence to any kind of ideology. Instead the Atthakavagga points to a direct and simple approach for attaining peace without requiring the adherence to doctrine.
The value of the teachings it contains is not in the profundity of their philosophy or in their authority as scripture; rather, the value is found in the results they bring to those who live by them. Instead of doctrines to be believed, the Book of Eights describes means or practices for realizing peace. Now in The Buddha before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings, Noted Buddhist teacher and scholar Gil Fronsdal‘s rigorous translation with commentary reveals the text to be of interest not only to Buddhists, but also to the ever-growing demographic of spiritual-but-not-religious, those who seek a spiritual life outside the structures of religion.
Thousands of years ago, early humans had an innate need to communicate, but no written language. So they found an easy and natural way to share their thoughts and stories: pictures. Today, after so many years when speaking and writing grew dominant, we’re back in another highly visual age. About 90 percent of everything shared online is now visual – selfies, GIFs, smartphone videos, and more. To survive and thrive in this new visual era, it’s important to harness the power of imagery. You don’t need to be Leonardo da Vinci to be an outstanding visual thinker and communicator. The most effective drawings are the simplest, and you can get good at those in three minutes. In this clear, powerful little book, Draw to Win, international bestselling visual thinking guru Dan Roam teaches you how to use seven basic shapes to explain just about anything to just about anyone. Get ready to work smarter, communicate more clearly, and get better at whatever you do, just by picking up a pen.
To survive in today’s gig economy, you have to be a mover, a shaker, a doer, and a maker. The Hustle Economy presents 25 essays from founders, writers, producers, game makers, artists, and creative types from every path who share one common trait — they are all self-made hustlers who have succeeded at turning their creativity into careers. This collection, created by I Love Charts creator and producer Jason Oberholtzer and illustrated by Jessica Hagy, cartoonist and author of Indexed, How to be Interesting and The Art of War Visualized, includes inspiring and insightftul essays from:
– Producer and performer Mike Rugnetta on why “Do what you love” is both the best and worst piece of advice you’ll ever receive.
– Author, television writer, and humorist Emma Koenig on staying focused and productive no matter what life throws at you.
– Web comic Zach Weinersmith on the equation for success and using your creativity to do what the rest of us won’t.
– Trendspotter Jess Kimball Leslie on identifying your skills and turning it into a successful career.
– and many more
“Disruption” is a business buzzword that has gotten out of control. Today everything and everyone seem to be characterized as disruptive. Now in The Disruption Dilemma, leading young economist Joshua Gans cuts through the chatter to focus on the current realities of disruption, decades beyond its first introduction by Clayton Christensen (who in fact blurbed this book). Departing from the conventional wisdom, Gans identifies two kinds of disruption: demand-side, when successful firms focus on their main customers and underestimate market entrants with innovations that target niche demands; and supply-side, when firms focused on developing existing competencies become incapable of developing new ones. Gans describes the full range of actions business leaders can take to deal with each type of disruption, from “self-disrupting” independent internal units to tightly integrated product development. But therein lies the disruption dilemma: A firm cannot practice both independence and integration at once. Gans shows business leaders how to choose the right strategy so their firms can deal with disruption while continuing to innovate.
No aspect of the Buddha’s teaching seems to have been more misunderstood and neglected than Right Concentration, yet it is a part of the Noble Eightfold Path and an integral element of the Buddha’s own path to awakening. Now legendary American Buddhist teacher Leigh Brasington’s Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas offers a practical, accessible and demystifying look at the states of deep concentration – the jhanas – as described in the suttas of the Pali Canon. The book gives pragmatic, achievable instructions for entering these concentration states and provides an expert look at the theory, history and presentation of the jhanas in the Buddha’s original teachings. (Shambhala)
From the New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work! comes an interactive journal and all-in-one logbook to get your creative juices flowing and keep a record of your ideas and discoveries. The Steal Like an Artist Journal is the next step in your artistic journey. It combines Austin Kleon‘s unique and compelling ideas with the physical quality that makes journals like Moleskines so enormously popular. Page after page of ideas, prompts, quotes, and exercises offer a daily course in creativity. There are lists to fill in, challenges to take, illustrated creative exercises, and much more. The journal even has an elastic band for place-marking and a special pocket in the back — a “swipe file” to store bits and pieces of inspiration. Because if you want to steal like an artist, you need a place to keep your loot. (Workman)
Nearly one-half of Americans admit to losing sleep over stress. And while most of us do everything we can to reduce it, Stanford psychologist and internationally bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., delivers a startling message: Stress isn’t bad. In The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It, McGonigal highlights new research indicating that stress can in fact make us stronger, smarter, and happier — if we learn how to embrace it. This controversial and groundbreaking new book overturns long-held beliefs about stress. It brings together cutting-edge discoveries on the correlation between resilience — the human capacity for stress-related growth — and mind-set, the power of our beliefs to shape our reality. The Upside of Stress is not a guide to getting rid of stress, but a guide to getting better at stress by understanding it, embracing it, and using it. (Avery/Penguin)
Who hasn’t asked the question “How can I find and follow my true calling?” Elle Luna frames this moment as “standing at the crossroads of Should and Must.” “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire. And it was her own personal journey that inspired her to write a brief online manifesto that, in a few short months, touched hundreds of thousands of people. Now she expands her ideas into an inspirational, highly visual gift book, The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. (Workman)
In today’s business world, it takes more than a website to stay competitive. The smartest, most successful companies are using radically new membership models, subscription-based formats, and freemium pricing structures to grow their customer base—and explode their market valuation—in the most disruptive shift in business since the Industrial Revolution. In The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue, expert consultant Robbie Kellman Baxter shows how to turn ordinary customers into members for life. Whether you have a small business with limited resources, an established company using a traditional business model, or a hungry start-up that wants a bigger bang for its buck, this comprehensive guide provides a wealth of membership-building options to suit every need. Readers will discover what works, and what doesn’t, from some of the key players in the new membership economy. It’s not about ownership; it’s about access, options, and freedom. When you join forces with your customers, membership has its rewards—for you, your company, and your continued success. (McGraw-Hill)
It’s the perfect meeting of minds. One, a general whose epigrammatic lessons on strategy offer timeless insight and wisdom. And the other, a visual thinker whose succinct diagrams and charts give readers a fresh way of looking at life’s challenges and opportunities. A Bronze Age/Information Age marriage of Sun Tzu and Jessica Hagy, The Art of War Visualized: The Sun Tzu Classic in Charts and Graphs is an inspired mash-up, a work that completely reenergizes the venerable classic and makes it accessible to a new generation of students, entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, seekers, and lovers of games and game theory. For The Art of War Visualized, Hagy presents her vision in evocative ink-brush art and bold typography. The result is page after page in which each passage of the complete canonical text is visually interpreted in a singular diagram, chart, or other illustration—making the classic dazzlingly accessible for a new generation of readers. (Workman)
Innovators today are told to run loose and think lean in order to fail fast and succeed sooner. But in a world obsessed with the new, where cool added features often trump actual customer needs, it’s the consumer who suffers. In our quest to be more agile, we end up creating products that underwhelm. Today’s leading companies understand that emotional connection is critical to product development. And they use a clear, repeatable design process that focuses squarely on consumer engagement rather than piling on features for features’ sake. In Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, a refreshingly jargon-free and practical book, product design expert Jon Kolko maps out this process, demonstrating how it will help you and your team conceive and build successful, emotionally resonant products again and again. Whether you’re a designer, a product developer, or a marketer thinking about your company’s next offering, this book will forever change the way you think about—and create—successful products. (Harvard Business Review Press)
When Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller and her family land in a house with a hundred-year-old Japanese garden, she uses the paradise in her backyard to glean the living wisdom of our natural world. Through her eyes, rocks convey faith, ponds preach stillness, flowers give love, and leaves express the effortless ease of letting go. Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden welcomes readers into the garden for Zen lessons in fearlessness, forgiveness, presence, acceptance, and contentment. Miller gathers inspiration from the ground beneath her feet to remind us that paradise is always here and now. (New World Library)
Jennifer Fulwiler told herself she was happy. Why wouldn’t she be? She made good money as a programmer at a hot tech start-up, had just married a guy with a stack of Ivy League degrees, and lived in a twenty-first-floor condo where she could sip sauvignon blanc while watching the sun set behind the hills of Austin. Raised in a happy, atheist home, Jennifer had the freedom to think for herself and play by her own rules. Yet a creeping darkness followed her all of her life. Finally, one winter night, it drove her to the edge of her balcony, making her ask once and for all why anything mattered. At that moment everything she knew and believed was shattered. Asking the unflinching questions about life and death, good and evil, led Jennifer to Christianity, the religion she had reviled since she was an awkward, sceptical child growing up in the Bible Belt. Mortified by this turn of events, she hid her quest from everyone except her husband, concealing religious books in opaque bags as if they were porn and locking herself in public bathroom stalls to read the Bible. Just when Jennifer had a profound epiphany that gave her the courage to convert, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition-and the only treatment was directly at odds with the doctrines of her new-found faith. Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It is a poignant, profound and often funny tale of one woman who set out to find the meaning of life and discovered that true happiness sometimes requires losing it all. (Ignatius Press)
For many financial professionals as well as individual investors, behavioral bias is the largest single factor behind poor investment decisions. The same instincts that our brains employ to keep us alive all too often work against us in the world of finance and investments. Investing Psychology: The Effects of Behavioral Finance on Investment Choice and Bias, by noted finance expert Tim Richards, explores several different types of behavioral bias, which pulls back the curtain on any illusions you have about yourself and your investing abilities. This practical investment guide explains that conventional financial wisdom is often nothing more than myth, and provides a detailed roadmap for overcoming behavioral bias. Investing Psychology is a unique book that shows readers how to dig deeper and persistently question everything in the financial world around them, to avoid the incorrect investment decisions that human nature all too often compels us to make. (John Wiley & Sons)
For the vast majority of us, giving a presentation is an extremely difficult and nerve-wracking process, whether we’re in a one-on-one meeting, a conference room with a dozen strangers, or a lecture hall in front of thousands. But according to Dan Roam, the visual communications expert and acclaimed author of The Back of the Napkin, it doesn’t have to be so hard. Dan draws on ideas he’s been honing for more than two decades as an award-winning presenter who has brought his whiteboard everywhere from Fortune 500 companies to tiny start-ups to the White House. In this short but powerful book, Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations, Roam introduces a new set of tools for making extraordinary presentations in any setting. (Portfolio/Penguin Random House)
In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by “stealing” from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey—getting known. Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery—let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive. From broader life lessons about work (you can’t find your voice if you don’t use it) to the etiquette of sharing—and the dangers of oversharing—to the practicalities of Internet life (build a good domain name; give credit when credit is due), it’s an inspiring manifesto for succeeding as any kind of artist or entrepreneur in the digital age. (Workman)
The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently is a fearless guide to awakening your mind using simple visual language. What do Einstein, Edison, Richard Feynman, Henry Ford, and JFK have in common? Like virtually all heavy-hitting thinkers, they looked beyond just words and numbers to get intellectual and creative insights. They actively applied a deceptively simple tool to think both smarter and faster: the doodle. And so can the rest of us-zero artistic talent required. Visual thinking expert Sunni Brown created The Doodle Revolution as a kick-starter guide for igniting and applying simple visual language to any challenge. The instinctive and universal act of doodling need only be unleashed in order to innovate, solve problems, and elevate cognitive performance instantly. (Portfolio/Penguin Random House)
Jony Ive’s product designs for Apple have not only made it one of the most valuable companies in the world, they’ve overturned entire industries, from music and mobile phones to PCs and tablets. But for someone who has changed the world as much as he has, little is widely known about Apple’s design chief, who shuns the spotlight and lets his work speak for itself. Now in Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, CultofMac.com editor and New York Times bestselling author of Inside Steve’s Brain Leander Kahney takes a rigorous look at a remarkably creative career and offers a unique perspective on how Ive designs killer products that attract fanatically loyal customers. (Portfolio/Penguin)
Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of JFK remains one of the most horrifying and hotly debated crimes in American history. Just as perplexing is the assassin himself. Oswald’s hazy background and motivations make him an intriguing yet frustratingly enigmatic figure. Because he briefly defected to the Soviet Union, some historians allege he was a Soviet agent. But in what the New York Times Book Review calls a “penetrating study of Oswald’s pivotal sojourn in the Soviet Union,” Peter Savodnik‘s The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union reveals a stranger, more chilling story. Oswald ventured to Russia at the age of 19, after a failed stint in the U.S. Marine Corps and a childhood spent shuffling from address to address with his unstable, needy mother. But Oswald quickly became just as disillusioned with his adopted country as he had been with the United States. After nearly three years, he returned to America feeling utterly defeated and began to look for an outlet for his frustration and rage. Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with Oswald’s friends in Russia and the United States, The Interloper brilliantly evokes the shattered psyche not just of Oswald himself, but also of the era he so tragically defined. (Perseus/Basic Books)
Allan Sherman was the Larry David, the Adam Sandler, the Sacha Baron Cohen of the 1960s. He led Jewish humor and sensibilities out of ethnic enclaves and into the American mainstream with explosively funny parodies of classic songs that won him fans from Harpo Marx to President John F. Kennedy. In the 50th anniversary year of Sherman’s greatest hit, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” journalist Mark Cohen‘s Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman celebrates Sherman’s legacy as a touchstone of postwar humor and a turning point in Jewish American cultural history. With exclusive access to Allan Sherman’s estate, Cohen has written the first full-length biography of one of America’s greatest comedians, a coarse voice singing off-key about seltzer, the garment industry, and why being a knight wasn’t really so great (aluminum pants), a hugely creative artist who sold three million albums in just twelve months, yet died in obscurity a decade later at the age of forty-nine. (Brandeis)
In The Nature of the Future: Dispatches from the Socialstructed World, Marina Gorbis, head of Silicon Valley’s legendary Institute for the Future, offers a vision of our reinvented world. A thriving new relationship-driven or “socialstructed” economy is emerging in which individuals are harnessing the powers of new technologies to join together and provide an exciting range of array of products and services. These engaged and innovative pioneers are filling gaps and doing the seemingly impossible by reinventing business, education, medicine, banking, government, and even scientific research. Based on extensive research and offering surprising insights, Gorbis takes readers on a tour of the socialstructed future and depicts an exciting vision of tomorrow. (Simon & Schuster)
Climate change. Finite fossil fuels. Fresh water depletion. Rising commodity prices. Ocean acidification. Deforestation. Feeding the world’s billions. We’re beset by an array of natural resource and environmental challenges that pose a tremendous risk to human prosperity, to world peace, and to the planet itself. Yet if we act now, technologist Ramez Naam argues, these problems are addressable. In this remarkable and important book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, he argues that our most valuable resource isn’t oil, water, gold, or land, it’s our continually growing capacity to innovate. He charts a course to supercharge innovation by changing the rules of our economy, which can lead the whole world to greater human safety and well-being. Harvard’s Steven Pinker says “This book contains a plan — probably the only plan — to save the world.” (University Press of New England)
You want to leave a mark, not a blemish. Be a hero, not a spectator. You want to be interesting. (Who doesn’t?) But sometimes it takes a nudge, a wake-up call, an intervention — and a little help. This is where whimsical and insightful cartoonist Jessica Hagy comes in. Based on a blog post that quickly went viral and has now attracted more than 1 million 1.2 million 1.4 million viewers, How to Be Interesting is a uniquely inspirational book that combines fresh and pithy lessons with deceptively simple diagrams and charts. It’s a book about exploring, taking chances, being open, taking ownership and much more. (Workman)
For eons, readers have flocked to the Fake Science website for scientifically flavored information. The research there has been lauded by Mental Floss as “inaccurate and ridiculous in every way,” praised by the Guardian as “brilliantly false,” heralded by io9 as “amazing,” and noted by Google as “a website.” Now readers can finally share the freshest discoveries of the Fake Science lab. Larded with hundreds of footnotes, illustrations, and a small amount of lard (it reduces paper manufacturing costs), Fake Science 101 is a completely new, truth-sterilized textbook. a “Less-Than-Factual Guide to Our Amazing World.” It will help you become the scientist you always dreamed of becoming while you were sleeping through science class. (Adams Media)
Elusive Victories: The American Presidency at War is a superb work of history and political analysis making the surprising argument that American presidents have repeatedly failed at war. Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center professor Andrew Polsky argues that true success in war is defined not by battlefield triumphs but by whether it accomplishes a nation’s political objectives; even in wars we consider victories, including the Civil War and both World Wars, presidents have often failed to achieve their key political goals, especially the kind of peace they sought. Elusive Victories offers a penetrating analysis of the multiple dimensions of wartime presidential leadership and an insightful explanation for why presidents fail. Pulitzer Prize-winning historial James M. McPherson says, “In this provocative and incisive study of six presidents as wartime commanders in chief, Andrew Polsky demonstrates that it is much easier to start a war than to bring it to a successful conclusion.” International relations scholar Andrew J. Bacevich says “Polsky’s cautionary tale is as timely as it is important.” (Oxford University Press)
When asked to talk to students at a community college in upstate New York, designer and author of Newspaper Blackout Austin Kleon sat down and wrote a simple list of 10 things he wished he’d heard when he was in college: Steal like an artist. Don’t wait until you know who you are to start making things. Write the book you want to read. Use your hands. Side projects are important. Do good work and put it where people can see it. Geography is no longer our master. Be nice. Be Boring. Creativity is subtraction. After giving the speech, he posted the text and slides to his blog, and it quickly went viral, with more than 1.5 million 1.8 million 2.0 million page views. Now Kleon has expanded his original manifesto into Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, including new insights, drawings and exercises which offer a comprehensive guide to being creative and original in art, work and life. (Workman)
Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. Her book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It shatters myths about willpower and reveals life-changing secrets from the new science of self-control. McGonigal takes readers on a fascinating tour of research in psychology, neuroscience, medicine and economics to reveal a compelling new picture of what willpower is, why it matters, and how to develop it: Why willpower is limited and why too much self-control is actually bad for our health; the different types of willpower and how to harness “I will,” “I won’t,” and “I want” power; and how to create environments that boost our willpower. Whether hoping to lose weight, find greater focus, get a handle on stress or make another change in the way we lead our lives, The Willpower Instinct offers new knowledge as well as practical strategies for self-control without suffering. (Avery/Penguin)
Ever been to so many meetings that you couldn’t get your work done? Ever fallen asleep during a bulletpoint presentation? Ever watched the news and ended up knowing less? The Problem: We talk so much that we don’t think very well. Powerful as words are, we fool ourselves when we think our words alone can detect, describe, and defuse the multifaceted problems of today. Acclaimed visual thinking guru Dan Roam offers a way out of blah-blah-blah, which he calls “Vivid Thinking.” His earlier book, The Back of the Napkin, taught readers how to solve problems and sell ideas by drawing simple pictures. Now in Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work he demonstrates remarkable new tools to combine our verbal and visual minds so that we can think and learn more quickly, teach and inspire our colleagues, and enjoy and share ideas in a whole new way. (Portfolio/Penguin)
Journalist Matthew Shaer takes readers inside the hidden world of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights–a close-knit but divided community. On a cold night in December, the members of a Hasidic anti-crime patrol called the Shomrim are summoned to a yeshiva dormitory in Crown Heights. There to break up a brawl, the Shomrim instead found themselves embroiled in a religious schism that has split the community and turned roommate against roommate, neighbor against neighbor. Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights offers a peek into the deepest corners of a normally hidden world, in a book filled with car chases, tragic figures, racial strife, and tense courtroom scenes as well as insights into Hasidic life and culture. Sudhir Venkatesh, author of Gang Leader for a Day, says “The book feels novelistic, but it is all too true, and Shaer brings to life the great characters: gangs, lawyers, religious leaders, victims, and perpetrators. All come alive in this wonderful, riveting book.” (John Wiley & Sons)
From modest beginnings as a tea shop in New York, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company became the largest retailer in the world. But its explosive growth made it a mortal threat to hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop grocery stores. Main Street fought back tooth and nail and eventually the federal government pressed criminal charges against the Great A&P for selling food too cheaply — and won. The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America is Marc Levinson‘s brilliant business history of a stunningly successful company that forever changed how Americans shop and what Americans eat. The “Wall Street Journal” named it one of the Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2011. (Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Humanity is on the cusp of an exciting longevity revolution. The first person to live to 150 years has probably already been born. What will your life look like when you live to be over 100? Will you be healthy? Will your marriage need a sunset clause? How long will you have to work? Will you finish one career at 65 only to go back to school to learn a new one? And then, will you be happily working for another sixty years? Maybe you’ll be a parent to a newborn and a grandparent at the same time. Will the world become overpopulated? And how will living longer affect your finances, your family life, and your views on religion and the afterlife? In “Washington Post” bestseller 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, futurist Sonia Arrison takes us on an eye-opening journey to the future at our doorsteps, where science and technology is beginning to radically change life as we know it. She introduces us to the people transforming our lives, the brilliant scientists, genius inventors and billionaires who fund their work, and paints a vivid picture of a future that only recently seemed like science fiction, but now is very real. (Basic Books/Perseus)
In 1202, a 32-year old Italian finished one of the most influential books of all time, which introduced modern arithmetic to Western Europe. Devised in India in the 7th and 8th centuries and brought to North Africa by Muslim traders, the Hindu-Arabic system helped transform the West into the dominant force in science, technology, and commerce, leaving behind Muslim cultures which had long known it but had failed to see its potential. The young Italian, Leonardo of Pisa (better known today as Fibonacci), had learned the Hindu number system when he traveled to North Africa. The book he created was Liber abbaci, the “Book of Calculation,” and its publication led directly to large-scale international commerce and the scientific revolution of the Renaissance. Now in The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution, NPR’s “Math Guy” and one of the great math popularizers of our time, Keith Devlin, recreates the life and enduring legacy of an overlooked genius, and in the process makes clear how central numbers and mathematics are to our daily lives. (Walker & Company/Bloomsbury)
In this short e-book (about 14,000 words), Stanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy” Keith Devlin presents the fascinating similarities between 13th Century mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, more commonly known as Fibonacci, and Steve Jobs, the 20th Century founder of Apple computers. A companion to Devlin’s book The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution, Leonardo & Steve: The Young Genius Who Beat Apple to Market by 800 Years shows the uncanny parallels between Leonardo’s arithmetic revolution that took place in Tuscany centuries ago and the one that began in California’s Silicon Valley in more recent times. It is a story about the personal computing revolution that occurred in the 1980s, but with the novel twist that it was actually history repeating itself.
Climate change is now doing far more harm than marooning polar bears on melting chunks of ice — it is damaging the health of people around the world. Written by Paul Epstein, associate director of Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and Global Environment and award-winning science journalist Dan Ferber, Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do about It brilliantly connects stories of real people with cutting-edge scientific and medical information, and offers innovative, essential solutions for shaping a healthy global economic order in the twenty-first century. Booklist named it one of the Top Ten Health Books of 2011, and their starred review said “If ever there was a book that ought to be on everybody’s reading bucket list this is it.” Former Vice President Al Gore calls it “a landmark that will raise our consciousness.” Elizabeth Kolbert calls it “an illuminating, important, and deeply sobering book,” and Bill McKibben says “You’ll never find a clearer or smarter explanation of one of the toughest problems the world faces.” (University of California Press)
Kill or Capture is the electrifying true story of the pursuit for the man behind al Qaeda’s suicide bombing campaign in Iraq. It is a true-life thriller that tells the story of senior military interrogator Matthew Alexander‘s adrenaline-filled, “outside the wire” pursuit of a notorious Syrian mass murderer named Zafar — the leader of al Qaeda in northern Iraq — a killer with the blood of thousands of innocents on his hands. In a breathless thirty-day period, Alexander and a small Special Operations task force brave the hazards of the Iraqi insurgency to conduct dangerous kill-or-capture missions and hunt down a murderer. Kill or Capture immerses readers in the dangerous world of battlefield interrogations as the author and his team climb the ladder of al Qaeda leadership in a series of raids, braving roadside bombs, near death by electrocution and circles within circles of lies. (St. Martin’s Press)
Gonzo memoirist Rick Lax (author of Lawyer Boy) was paranoid and terrified of being conned, so he bolts for Las Vegas, deception capital of the world, to learn the game and how to guard against it. There he meets deceivers of all kinds, from back-alley hustlers and poker pros to the biggest headliners on the Strip. During the course of his unconventional education, which includes passing himself off as an octogenarian, being exposed as a card counter, and picking up a hooker (inadvertently, of course), Rick gets closer to becoming a human lie detector… but at what cost? By the end of Fool Me Once: Hustlers, Hookers, Headliners, and How Not to Get Screwed in Vegas, you’ll know why seventh graders make better liars than college students, how to use a handful of rice as a polygraph, and how to bluff a poker pro. Above all, you’ll understand why some things in life are a lot worse than being fooled. Kirkus Reviews says “Plenty of cons and cheap hustles in this lively memoir of time spent on the seamier edge of Casinoland… An entertaining field guide to vice, but also one with a point.” (St. Martin’s Press)
When things don’t go well on a sales call, salespeople usually ask themselves, “Why did I lose that sale?” and then move on. But learning the answer can mean the difference between landing and losing the next sale. Richard Schroder is a recognized thought leader in win/loss analysis and sales training. Now in From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call he teaches how to assess strengths and weaknesses based on information from the most qualified source available: the buyer. Refreshingly direct and right to the point, this system is based on 12 years of research and thousands of sales prospect interviews. This comprehensive, powerful program leads to better sales techniques and increased close rates. In short, it works. (McGraw-Hill)
Books like Predictably Irrational and Nudge have brought behavioral economics into the mainstream. But while we all marvel at how different — and weird — real people behave compared to the “rational actors” of traditional economics, in the end we go back to business as usual. After all, what do a few laboratory experiments have to do with making a buck? As economist Kay-Yut Chen has shown, quite a bit. Chen started behavioral economics research at Hewlett-Packard, founding the first such “moneylab” at any company, let alone one in the Fortune 500. His groundbreaking research into human behavior has led to tangible results for HP. In fact, he has saved the company millions of dollars by showing how changing the right conditions can make people behave very differently. Chen and science writer Marina Krakovsky reveal how to translate the counterintuitive findings of behavioral economics into concrete action steps for businesses of any size. Secrets of the Moneylab: How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Your Business shows how tackling your real-world problems like a scientist can open up entirely new realms of possibility and profit. (Portfolio/Penguin)
One of the most prescient financial analysts of the past decade predicts the next economic iceberg and explains how all of us can steer clear. The Great Recession was just the beginning, says analyst Eric Janszen. If we remain on the current course, an even bigger catastrophe is imminent. Inclined to disbelieve him? He predicted the last two busts well before they happened. Our problems, according to Janszen, are rooted in the flaws of the debt-driven FIRE economy (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate), which dwarfs and is coming close to extinguishing America’s “Productive Economy,” the making and selling of real things. The government’s tried-and-true methods of currency depreciation, tax and interest rate cuts, and fiscal stimulus won’t cut it this time around. The only way out is to change our fundamental approach. With a startling grasp of the complex factors at play, Janszen’s new book The Postcatastrophe Economy: Rebuilding America and Avoiding the Next Bubble cuts through the rhetoric to get at the heart of our recent financial woes. This urgently thought-provoking book shows how political failures have impeded our country’s economic progress and offers solutions for a more sustainable and stable economic future. (Portfolio/Penguin)
A geographer, social scientist, artist, writer and provocateur, Trevor Paglen has been exploring the secret “black world” of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies for almost a decade, publishing, speaking and making astonishing photographs. As an artist, Paglen is interested in the idea of photography as truth-telling, but his pictures often stop short of traditional ideas of documentation. His long-awaited first photographic monograph is Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes. In the series “Limit Telephotography” he employs high-end optical systems to photograph top-secret governmental sites, and in “The Other Night Sky,” he uses the data of amateur satellite watchers to track and photograph classified spacecraft in Earth’s orbit. In other works Paglen transforms documents such as passports, flight data and aliases of CIA operatives into art objects. Rebecca Solnit contributes a searing essay that traces this history of clandestine military activity on the American landscape. Photo-Eye calls it a “fascinating collection” and says “Aperture has published something genuinely important here.” (Aperture)
When most Americans hear the words “roller derby” they think of the kitschy sport once popular on weekend television during the seventies and eighties. Originally an endurance competition where skaters traveled the equivalent of a trip between Los Angeles and New York, derby gradually evolved into a violent contact sport often involving fake fighting. But after nearly dying out in the nineties, derby has been making a comeback. There are now more than 17,000 skaters in more than 400 leagues around the world, with hundreds of thousands of die-hard fans. Written by veteran skaters as both a history and a how-to, Down and Derby: The Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby is a brassy celebration of every aspect of the sport, from its origins in the late 1800s, to the rules of a modern bout, to the science of picking an alias, to the many ways you can get involved off skates. Alex Cohen is a radio host on KPCC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, and Jennifer Barbee writes for Blood and Thunder magazine and is a longtime staffer of the WGA. As “Axles of Evil” and “Kasey Bomber,” they have skated with the L.A. Derby Dolls since 2003. (Soft Skull/Counterpoint)
We’ll let Publishers Weekly tell you about Karen Maezen Miller‘s Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life: “Miller (author of Momma Zen) uses daily household chores — laundry, kitchen, yard — to demonstrate timeless Buddhist principles. The skillful weaving of personal anecdotes, a few Zen terms, and acute insights — sometimes addressing the reader directly — distinguish this book from others in the genre. Miller, a Zen priest and student of the late Maezumi Roshi, argues for the faultless wisdom of following instructions when going about the mundane activities that form the substance of everyday life. Candid about some of the difficulties of her past, Miller stresses the importance of changing perceptions, which can lead to more beneficial outcomes for oneself and others: All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction. The book wears its Zen lightly; indeed, Miller skates over the years of study — as well as the decision to become a priest — that undoubtedly ground her current perspectives. By choosing to focus on the conclusions rather than the process of her Zen journey, Miller has tilted her writing more toward self-help/advice than spirituality/religion. This disarming book is full of deft and reassuring observations.” (New World Library)
The world’s best contemporary writers — from Michael Chabon and Claire Messud to Jonathan Lethem and Amy Tan — engage in a wide-ranging, insightful, and oft- surprising roundtable discussion on the art of writing fiction. Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook, from the 826 Valencia writing centers and edited by Daniel Alarcon, brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take us step by step through the alchemy of writing fiction, answering everything from nuts-and-bolts queries — “Do you outline?” — to perennial questions posed by writers and readers alike: “What makes a character compelling?” From Stephen King’s deadpan distinction between novels and short stories (“Novels are longer and have more s**t in them”) to Colm Toibin’s anti-romanticized take on his characters (“They are just words”), every page contains insights found nowhere else. With honesty, humor, and elegance, The Secret Miracle gives both aspiring writers and lovers of literature a master class in the art of writing. (Henry Holt)
Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life, a winner in the 2010 International Book Awards, reveals how easy it is to tap into the 3,000-year-old secrets of the Eastern healing arts. This entertaining and easy-to-use book provides scores of delicious recipes, anecdotes about various herbs and foods, and all you need to know about acquiring ingredients–even if you don’t know the difference between a lotus seed and the lotus position. Highlighting “superfoods” such as goji berries, as well as more familiar ingredients like ginger, garlic, and mint, it includes an overview of traditional Chinese medicine, herbs and food therapy, details on 100 healthy Asian ingredients, and recipes for a wide range of common health concerns, including fatigue, menopause, high cholesterol, weight control, and diabetes. Publishers Weekly says “the three authors of this well-penned title highlight key concepts of east Asian herbal cooking, and lucidly explain their holistic approach to cooking.” (Da Capo Press/Perseus)
Getting to yes is not the same as getting results. In Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships, international negotiation expert and mediator Melanie Billings-Yun shows that the key to winning unbeatable, long-term results in today’s complex economic landscape is to negotiate solid, long-term relationships. Traditionally, negotiation has been approached as an isolated activity, separate from the business relationship. But those who focus only on getting the deal closed often find their victory doesn’t translate into sustainable profits. Any deal is as fragile as the paper it’s written on. Countless disputes arise and deals easily collapse when the negotiation process leaves one party unhappy, feeling forced into unfair terms, or even disgruntled at a change in circumstances. In five clear steps, Billings-Yun takes the pain and fear out of negotiation with her proven GRASP method. Filled with real-life examples of negotiations that have gone right and wrong, this groundbreaking book shows how fairness, honesty, empathy, flexibility and mutual problem-solving lead to sustainable success. (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Sons)
Boys are falling behind in school. The world has become more verbal; boys haven’t. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the biggest culprits are not video games, pop culture, or female-dominated schools biased toward girls. The real problem is that boys have been thrust into a bewildering new school environment that demands high-level reading and writing skills long before they are capable of handling them. The gap between male and female achievement has reached the college level, where only 40 per cent of graduates next year will be male. This doesn’t just mean fewer male doctors and lawyers, it also means fewer men in the careers that previously did not require post-high school degrees but do now. Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind examines the roots and repercussions of this problem and spells out the educational, political, social and economic challenges we face as we work to end it. Amidst the alarming proof of failure among boys — around the world — there are also inspiring case studies of schools where something is going right. Each has come up with realistic ways to make sure that every student — male and female — has the tools to succeed in school and later in life. Educators and parents alike will take heart in these promising developments, and heed the book’s call to action. (AMACOM Books)
Visual thinking guru Dan Roam‘s The Back of the Napkin, an international bestseller, taught readers the power of brainstorming and communicating with pictures. It presented a new and exciting way to solve all kinds of problems — from the boardroom to the sales floor to the cubicle jungle — and proved that a simple drawing on a humble napkin can be more powerful than the slickest PowerPoint presentation. The new companion workbook, Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures, helps readers put Roam’s principles into practice with step-by-step guidelines. It’s filled with detailed case studies, guided do-it-yourself exercises, and plenty of blank space for drawing. Roam structured the book as a complete four-day visual-thinking seminar, taking readers step-by-step from “I can’t draw” to “Here is the picture I drew that I think will save the world.” (Portfolio/Penguin Group)
For the first time, a leading financial adviser has developed a remarkable set of guidelines to give individuals the same kind of objective insight into their personal finances that successful businesses have always had. Your Money Ratios: 8 Simple Tools for Financial Security, by Charles Farrell, helps readers effectively manage debt, invest prudently, and develop a realistic and effective savings plan to ensure both financial success and security. It teaches eight simple ratios to helps simplify many of the complex financial decisions you make each year. Publishers Weekly says “Farrell does a wonderful job of taking the worry and stress out of number anxiety.” (Avery/Penguin)
Steve Jobs is technology’s most famous CEO, the man who revolutionized computers in the 1970s and 80s (with the Apple II and the Mac), animated movies in the 1990s (with Pixar), and digital music in the 2000s (with the iPod and iTunes). He’s also one of the most controversial CEOs in history, allegedly throwing epic tantrums, firing staff in elevators, and taking credit for other people’s achievements. Based on interviews with more Apple insiders than any previous author, Leander Kahney, former Wired News editor and the author of The Cult of Mac, has distilled the principles that guide Jobs and written the immediate New York Times bestseller Inside Steve’s Brain, explaining how Jobs launches killer products, attracts fanatically loyal customers, and manages some of the world’s most powerful brands. USA Today called Inside Steve’s Brain “a rich, essential read for [fans] to get inside Jobs’ head and discover what makes Apple insanely great,” and picked it as one of the Best Business Books of 2008. This expanded edition includes a new chapter on Jobs’s very public health crisis and the debate about Apple’s future. (Portfolio/Penguin)
Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World is an exposé of an empire that continues to grow every year — and which, officially, it isn’t even there. It is the adventurous, insightful, and often chilling story of a young geographer’s road trip through the underworld of U.S. military and C.I.A. “black ops” sites, a shadow nation of state secrets: clandestine military bases, ultra-secret black sites, classified factories, hidden laboratories, and top-secret agencies making up what defense and intelligence insiders themselves call the “black world.” Trevor Paglen is a scholar in geography, an artist and a provocateur. His impassioned, rigorous and relentless research into areas that officially don’t exist leads him on a globe-trotting investigation into a vast, undemocratic and uncontrolled hidden empire. Traveling to the Middle East, Central America, and even around our nation’s capital and its suburbs, he interviews the people who live on the edges of these blank spots. National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Rebecca Solnit says, “Some of the worst crimes in the American landscape are hiding in plain sight, and nobody has ever pursued them more thoroughly or explained them more chillingly and engagingly than Trevor Paglen. What he is doing is important, fascinating, and groundbreaking.”(Dutton Books/Penguin Group)
From organic groceries to fuel-efficient cars and toxicity-free dry cleaning, the opportunities to profit from a business that builds local communities, heals the environment, and feeds the growing green demand are almost endless. As an entrepreneur who has built several successful, eco-friendly businesses, Scott Cooney gives you expert advice and guidance on starting, building, and growing a green business–and then delivers a gold mine of business ideas for every kind of product and service. Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur also gives you: Green Entrepreneur Rules that will get you started on the right foot, marketing, advertising and networking techniques that build a loyal customer base, and lots of other valuable resources, including green franchises, contacts and web links for more information. Whether you’re a novice or a veteran business developer, Scott points the way to productivity and profit strategies you can build into any small business model. (McGraw-Hill)
Ms. Cahill for Congress: One Fearless Teacher, Her Sixth-Grade Class, and the Election That Changed Their Lives Forever is the remarkable story of a teacher who ran a grassroots campaign for Congress… from her sixth-grade classroom. “You can’t run for office in this country unless you’re a millionaire or you know a lot of millionaires.” This offhand remark from one of her students dismayed public school teacher Tierney Cahill. When she told the kids that in a democracy anyone can run for office, they dared her to prove it — by running herself. With her eager students leading the way, and a war chest of just seven thousand dollars (compared to opponents with one hundred times the funds), Cahill not only got her name on the ballot but she won the Democratic primary. And as the campaign moved forward, Cahill’s students blossomed beyond her wildest expectations. Ms. Cahill for Congress is the inspiring story of an exceptional teacher who proved that anyone really can run for office — and even without money or connections, make a difference in a great many lives. (Ballantine/Random House).
Self-published in 2005, personal branding consultant Peter Montoya‘s The Brand Called You: Make Your Business Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace is a step-by-step guide for professionals looking to develop a strong company brand. In its first edition, the book became an international sensation, selling more than 65,000 copies worldwide and hitting #3 on Japan’s business bestseller list. Now revised and completely updated, this invaluable guide teaches you the vital principles and skills of personal branding, including how to craft an emotionally resonant branding message, create top-quality branding tools, and attract a constant flow of business. Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen, coauthors of The One-Minute Millionaire say “Montoya’s Personal Branding ideas are going to change how business owners and professionals promote themselves.” (McGraw-Hill)
Before the mid-seventeenth century, scholars generally agreed that it was impossible to predict something by calculating mathematical outcomes. One simply could not put a numerical value on the likelihood that a particular event would occur. Even the outcome of something as simple as a dice roll or the likelihood of showers instead of sunshine was thought to lie in the realm of pure, unknowable chance. The issue remained intractable until Blaise Pascal wrote to Pierre de Fermat in 1654, outlining a solution to the “unfinished game” problem: how do you divide the pot when players are forced to end a game of dice before someone has won? The idea turned out to be far more seminal than Pascal realized. From it, the two men developed the method known today as probability theory. In The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter that Made the World Modern, acclaimed popular mathematics writer Keith Devlin, known to millions of NPR listeners as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon, tells the story of this correspondence and its remarkable impact on the modern world: from insurance rates, to housing and job markets, to the safety of cars and planes, calculating probabilities allowed people, for the first time, to think rationally about how future events might unfold. (Basic Books/Perseus)
What we eat does have an impact on global warming, and you can enjoy being part of the global-warming solution by following these easy recipes, tips, and techniques outlined by chef and environmental educator Laura Stec and meteorologist Eugene Cordero. Cool Cuisine: Taking The Bite Out of Global Warming presents a realistic view of food and drink and their impact on greenhouse-gas emissions. The food-environment connection is clearly defined with food solutions coming from doctors, ranchers, farmers, dairymen, chefs, and food service professionals. Stec’s friendly, entertaining style and Cordero’s no-nonsense data combine culinary art and science in a way that inspires and instructs. (Gibbs Smith)
The Autobiographer’s Handbook: The 826 National Guide to Writing Your Memoir, edited by Jennifer Traig with an introduction by Dave Eggers, received this starred review in Publisher’s Weekly: “Put out by 826 Valencia, the San Francisco-based nonprofit Eggers started to provide creative writing instruction for middle and high school students, this book presents straightforward, practical ideas and advice from a double-handful of contemporary writers. Edited by memoirist Traig (Devil in the Details), a longtime 826 Valencia tutor, it’s comprised largely of excerpts from wide-ranging, insightful round-table discussions among nonfiction practitioners like Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Nick Hornby (Housekeeping vs. the Dirt), Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) and Sarah Vowell (Assassination Vacation)… Besides lessons on celebrating the ordinary and the importance of humor, contributors also offer ways to push through the inevitable writer’s block and handle miffed family and friends. Their guidance, complemented by writing exercises and work plans, should prove useful, informative and motivating for writers at just about any level.” (Henry Holt).
We are running a collective chemical fever that we cannot break. Everyone everywhere now carries a dizzying array of chemical contaminants, the by-products of modern industry and innovation that contribute to a host of developmental deficits and health problems in ways just now being understood. Almost everything we encounter – from soap to soup cans and computers to clothing – contributes to a chemical load unique to each of us. In The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being, former Portland Oregonian and Arizona Republic investigative journalist Nena Baker explores the many factors that have given rise to this condition, draws back the curtain on its untold impact. The Washington Post calls it a “an illuminating, consumer-oriented book” that is “balanced in its approach.” E – The Environmental Magazine says “This is it: The book that finally chronicles the chemical invaders tainting us and the environment – the phthalates and Bisphenol-A (BPA), the flame retardants and non-stick surfaces. And investigative journalist Nena Baker’s book is enough to induce outrage.” (North Point/Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Invisible Chains: Shawn Hornbeck and the Kidnapping Case that Shook the Nation is the wrenching true story of the kidnapping of 11-year-old Shawn Hornbeck from his rural Missouri hometown by Michael Devlin, an innocuous-seeming pizza-shop manager who repeatedly abused and tortured Shawn for four years. Kristina Sauerwein, a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the L.A. Times, reveals the unusual psychological aspects of Hornbeck’s captivity and the full details of his eventual rescue. Publishers Weekly says “An impeccable, on-target true crime narration, this book of loss, perversity and redemption illuminates not only the desperate pangs of a predator’s sexual hunger but the steadfast love of two families for their missing children.” (Lyons Press)
Used properly, a simple drawing on a humble napkin is more powerful than Excel or PowerPoint. It can help crystallize ideas, think outside the box, and communicate in a way that people simply “get.” In The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, Dan Roam argues that everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, even those who swear they can’t draw. Drawing on twenty years of visual problem solving combined with the recent discoveries of vision science, this book shows anyone how to clarify a problem or sell an idea by visually breaking it down using a simple set of visual thinking tools — tools that take advantage of everyone’s innate ability to look, see, imagine, and show. Publishers Weekly says “Roam has developed a remarkably comprehensive system of ideas. Everything in the book is broken down into steps, providing the reader with ‘tools and rules’ to facilitate picture making. For forward-thinking management types, there is enough content in these pages to drive many a brainstorming session.” (Portfolio/Penguin)
Developed by a problem-solving software engineer who was tired of diets that are too hard to stick with, The No-S Diet: The Strikingly Simple Weight-Loss Strategy That Has Dieters Raving — and Dropping Pounds has attracted a passionate following online thanks to its elegant simplicity – and its results. Unlike fad diets based on gimmicks that lead to short-term weight-loss followed by backsliding and failure, The No-S Diet is a maintainable life plan that reminds us of the commonsense, conscious way we all know we should be eating. In this book software engineer Reinhard Engels and health and nutrition writer Ben Kallen offer readers the tips, tricks, techniques and testimonials they’ll need to stick with No-S for life. (Perigee/Penguin)
Forget apologies and excuses – sometimes, a well-spoken insult is the proper response. And now, with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other, fictional socialite Lady Arabella Snark (aka linguist A. C. Kemp) shows you how to use malicious language and stinging zingers to your advantage in The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion: Lady Snark’s Guide to Common Discourtesy. From dealing with drunks to sabotaging your husband’s mistress, The Perfect Insult for Every Occasion is a funny and offbeat tour of the dark side of manners. Aggravating coworkers, nasty neighbors, mean in-laws? They’re all rendered powerless when you have the perfect comeback-for any situation. Public radio’s A Way With Words says “It’s a humorous question-and-answer back-and-forth of what happens when high and low culture meet, with quizzes, example sentences, and smart-aleck remarks.” A.C. Kemp’s innovative classes on slang and American culture have been profiled in the Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor. (Adams Media)
Jessica Hagy is a different kind of thinker. She has an astonishing talent for visualizing relationships, capturing in pictures what is difficult for most of us to express in words. At ThisIsIndexed.com, she posts charts, graphs, and Venn diagrams drawn on index cards that reveal in a simple and intuitive way the large and small truths of modern life. Praised throughout the blogosphere as “brilliant,” “incredibly creative,” and “comic genius,” Jessica turns her incisive, deadpan sense of humor on everything from office politics to relationships to religion in her new collection, Indexed. With new material along with some of her greatest hits, this utterly unique book will thrill readers who demand humor that makes them both laugh and think. (Viking Studio/Penguin)
Publishers Weekly, in a STARRED review, says “In her introduction, certified credit counselor Erica Sandberg writes, ‘When I became pregnant with my daughter Lillian, I was caught off-guard by how little I — someone who has been in the personal finance field for over a decade — knew about the monetary aspects of pregnancy and new parenthood.’ Expecting Money: The Essential Financial Plan for New and Growing Families is Sandberg’s response to that uncertainty, a compilation of the advice that she craved for herself. Sandberg opens with familiar chapters like ‘The Meaning of Money’ and ‘The Dangers of Debt’ that prepare readers for an uncluttered financial picture going into familyhood. The different needs of different families are addressed in chapters like ‘On the Double: Partner Issues’ and ‘On Your Own: Single Solutions.’ Most valuable of all, Sandberg costs out what new parents need to spend on the average (U.S.) baby’s clothing, child care and other basic needs, even going so far as to compare the costs for different birthing options. Later she compares types of day care and analyzes different ways of meeting long-term needs. These concrete details are what make this book most valuable and helpful for new parents who need real numbers and facts to plan out their family’s financial future.” (Kaplan Publishing)
What happens when a species vanishes? Once gone, can it be brought back? In American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, national journalist Susan Freinkel explores these timely questions through the story of one of this country’s most important native trees, at least until the early 20th century, when it was obliterated by an imported plague known as chestnut blight. Billions of trees died in what has been described as “the worst ecological disaster to hit North America since the Ice Age.” Now, a handful of hardy optimists are working to resurrect the tree, some relying on age-old breeding methods and others on modern gene-splicing techniques. Publishers Weekly says “time after time, this impassioned book strikes resonant emotional chords that transform dry facts into dynamic prose.” Mary Roach, bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife says “In prose as strong and quietly beautiful as the American chestnut itself, Freinkel profiles the silent catastrophe of a near-extinction and the impassioned struggle to bring a species back from the brink. A perfect book.” (University of California Press)
The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics is the official companion book to the hit prime-time TV crime series NUMB3RS. The authors are acclaimed popular mathematics writer Keith Devlin, known to millions of NPR listeners as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon, and Caltech professor Gary Lorden, the principal math advisor to the TV show. The book explains the actual mathematical techniques used by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to catch and convict criminals. (Penguin Group/Plume)
Probiotics are the powerful health-promoting microbes in each of us. Because of their remarkable benefits and safety, probiotics have become the focus of intense scientific interest. Consumer Reports recently proclaimed, “If they’re not in your diet, they should be.” In The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements, one of the most prominent researchers in the field, Gary Huffnagle, Ph.D., and best-selling co-author Sarah Wernick present an up-to-the-minute, highly accessible guide to this emerging field. The book demonstrates how probiotics can improve overall health, enhance immune function, fight chronic bowel diseases, prevent and relieve allergies and asthma, counter antibiotic side effects and more, and the book offers comprehensive step-by-step guidance on including probiotic foods and supplements in your lifestyle. Publishers Weekly says the book offers “a convincing health plan that’s easy to understand and to follow.” (Bantam/Random House)
As Americans personal debt skyrockets, and new bankruptcy laws make it harder than ever to find ones way back to solvency, more and more Americans find themselves facing financial crisis. In Help! I Can’t Pay My Bills: Surviving a Financial Crisis, a readable, accessible volume, CPA Sally Herigstad shows how to get out of debt and on the road to financial security. Having survived a financial crisis herself, Herigstad is familiar with both the emotional and financial issues caused by money problems. (St. Martin’s Press)
Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood, is an intimate and inspiring guide to the Zen wisdom found in the everyday lessons of early motherhood. The author, Karen Maezen Miller is a mother, wife, writer and Zen Buddhist priest. She began her Zen training in 1993 as a student of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, the founding abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, one of the first Japanese masters to bring Zen to the West and a seminal figure in 20th century Zen. Momma Zen reveals how the daily challenges of parenthood can become the mostprofound spiritual journey of our lives. Combining humor, honesty and plainspoken advice, Momma Zen distills the doubts and frustrations of early motherhood into vignettes of Zen wisdom. (Shambhala/Trumpeter Books).
Office Haiku: Poems Inspired by the Daily Grind, by James Rogauskas, is a wry and witty poetry collection. In this spare, refined art form, the author takes aim at daydreaming, boredom, co-worker jealousy, and the innumerable little annoyances of 9-to-5 life, with sections including “Monday Mornings Suck,” “Paper Cuts, Office Equipment, and Other Maladies,” and “Departmental Meetings.” For every Dilbert strip taped to a filing cabinet or pinned to a bulletin board, there is a haiku from this collection waiting to take its place alongside. (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press).
One month after his son Nick’s birth, Chuck Acquisto secretly began writing every day to at least one successful person in the world, asking for advice on achieving success in life to pass along to his son. Former President George Bush was the first to reply to Nicholas. Then Oprah. Charlton Heston sent his autobiography with his letter to Nick. Comedian/actor Robin Williams responded, twice. To Chuck’s surprise, scores of mostly handwritten letters continued to arrive at his law office. Nine baseball Hall of Famers, eight Academy Award winners, seven golfing legends, six Heisman Trophy recipients, five best-selling authors, four Top 40 singers, three famous attorneys, two former U.S. Presidents (and the current President) and a “Patridge Family” star are a small sample of the hundreds of responses received by Nicholas. Wisdom to Grow On: Incredible Letters And Inspiring Advice for Getting the Most Out of Life, is the result, a touching, inspirational collection of letters of advice from a wide range of sports legends, politicians, beloved entertainers and many other famous individuals, giving a young boy advice on how to achieve success. Chuck is donating all the book’s proceeds to the San Francisco-based Good Tidings Foundation. (Running Press/Perseus).
Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later, by Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Jamie Howren, is the companion volume to a traveling museum exhibit profiling and celebrating the personal triumphs of 30 Vietnam-era POWs. Open Doors takes an intimate look at these men – the longest-held group of POWs in our nation’s history – as husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. It is a tribute to their individual persistence in the pursuit of personal and professional happiness upon their return from Hanoi, echoing the comments of Commander Paul Galanti, U.S. Navy (Ret.): “There’s no such thing as a bad day when you have a door knob on the inside of the door.” (Potomac Books).
Merriam-Webster, move over! One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, by Craig Conley, is a surprising and fascinating compendium of 1,000+ definitions of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Until now, no English dictionary ever found the fun or the fascination in revealing the meanings of letters. One-Letter Words, A Dictionary illuminates the more than 800 surprising definitions associated with each letter in the English alphabet. For instance, Conley uncovers 69 different definitions for the letter X, the most versatile and printed letter in the English language. Using facts, figures, quotations, and etymologies, the author provides a complete and enjoyable understanding of the one-letter word. With the letter B, Conley teaches us that its many different meanings span multiple subjects including science – B denotes a blood type and also is a symbol for the element Boron on the Periodic table – and history – in the Middle Ages, B was branded on a blasphemer’s forehead. With the letter A, he reminds us that A is not only a bra size, but also a musical note. This book is the essential desk companion, gift, or reference volume for a vast array of readers, puzzle lovers, teachers, students, librarians, or armchair linguists. Once they pick it up they’ll never be able to put it down. (HarperCollins).
The Dynamite Fiend: The Chilling Tale of a Confederate Spy, Con Artist, and Mass Murderer, by Ann Larabee, Ph.D., is a fascinating historical true crime story about a former Confederate secret service agent who later went on to terrorize the Atlantic shipping lanes and cause one of the bloodiest catastrophes of the nineteenth century. It brings to light the stunning story behind one of the most devious criminals of the nineteenth century, Alexander “Sandy” Keith. Beginning his dark career as a Confederate secret agent, Keith helped orchestrate some of the most infamous terrorist plots of the Civil War. In peacetime, dogged by creditors and victims of his frauds, Keith kept on the move, leaving more scams, schemes, and cheated women in his wake. As his situation became more desperate, his obsession with explosives and violence became more intense, leading to a horrifying plot that he put together while posing as a prosperous American businessman living in Germany. In 1875, one of Keith’s bombs exploded on a dock, killing eighty people and injuring fifty more. The world heralded the deed as the “Crime of the Century” and Keith became the “Dynamite Fiend” and a true mass murderer. In The Dynamite Fiend, author Ann Larabee unfolds this engrossing tale of hidden identity, technological obsession, and an unparalleled lust for power and profit. (Palgrave/St. Martin’s Press)
Kitty Bartholomew’s Decorating Style: Affordable, Beautiful and Comfortable Decor for Real People Living with Real Budgets, by beloved TV personality Kitty Bartholomew and interior design journalist Kathy Price-Robinson, offers a wide range of clever, creative, non-costly ideas that have wowed millions of viewers of Kitty’s HGTV show and her enormously popular appearances on Oprah. Kitty believes that home decorating can be stylish and comfortable, budget-conscious and beautiful. Rather than suggest expensive, over-the-top solutions to decorating dilemmas, she comes up with inventive, resourceful ideas that are within the average person’s means. In this, her first book, Kitty brings her knowledge, decorating savvy, and enthusiasm to bear on every aspect of home design, from window, door, ceiling, wall, and floor treatments to furniture, lighting, and mirrors. There’s even a chapter on flea-market shopping, where readers will learn how to find the treasures buried among the trash and how to turn them into better-than-new décor. (Rodale Books)
More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement, by technologist Ramez Naam, an exciting tour of the way emerging technologies — from cloning and genetic engineering to life-extension techniques and brain-computer interfaces — are affecting our lives. Throughout this remarkable trip, Naam shares an impassioned vision for the future, with revealing insight into the ethical dilemmas posed by twenty-first-century science. Encouraging us to celebrate rather than fear these innovations, his powerful book separates fact from myth with elegant lucidity, arguing that these controversial technologies have the power to transform the human race for the better. (Broadway Books/Random House)
The Math Instinct: Why You’re a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs), by Stanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy” Keith Devlin, an accessible, entertaining look at the instinctive math used by dogs, cats, birds, bees and, yes, even humans. Filled with wonderful stories and examples, it offers the inverse message of John Allen Poulos’ Innumeracy, by explaining and celebrating the innate math sense of all kinds of animals and giving even the most number-phobic readers greater confidence in their own mathematical abilities. (Thunder’s Mouth Press/Avalon Publishing)
Rid yourself of eczema forever. Eczema-Free for Life, by dermatologist Adnan Nasir, M.D. Ph.D. and journalist Priscilla Burgess, is the only comprehensive, up-to-date medical guide for eczema sufferes and their families, reflecting the latest research on eczema’s underlying genetic causes, debunking myths such as the effect of diet on the malady, and offering new techniques to fight the condition. Based on new research, this book has everything the millions of eczema sufferers need to know to free themselves from unbearable itching and unsightly rashes. Dr. Nasir offers guidance for home care and ways to cope with the psychological impact of the disorder. None of the popular books about eczema currently on the market is written by a practicing dermatologist and none is based on up–to–date science. New research has conclusively demonstrated that eczema is the result of the abnormal development of some twenty genes responsible for controlling how the skin interacts with the environment. Dr. Nasir will explain new and more powerful treatments that are being developed based on these new discoveries as well as point out reliable holistic remedies that have worked for centuries. (HarperCollins)
A Path and a Practice: Using Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life, by William Martin, is a new translation of the Tao revealing it as not just a collection of wise insights but as a cohesive guide to our spiritual path. Before now, no modern translation has captured the essential thrust of Lao Tzu’s work as a practical guide to living an awakened life. Now Bill, whose acclaimed previous reinterpretations of the Tao (for parents, couples, and elders) have introduced or reacquainted this classic text to thousands of readers, strikingly translates the Tao for our times. He frames his new translation with two illuminating, groundbreaking sections: “A Path,” which introduces the Tao’s nonlinear construction and explains how it works its themes, and “A Practice,” which provides practical guidance for readers exploring each of the Tao’s themes in depth. This new translation for the first time reveals how directly the Tao speaks to readers who are on or about to embark upon a spiritual journey. (Marlowe & Co./Avalon Publishing)
A provocative work by medical ethicist James Hughes, Ph.D., Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future argues that technologies pushing the boundaries of humanness can radically improve our quality of life if they are controlled democratically. Hughes challenges both the technophobia of Leon Kass and Francis Fukuyama and the unchecked enthusiasm of others for limitless human enhancement. He argues instead for a third way, “democratic transhumanism,” by asking the question destined to become a fundamental issue of the twenty-first century: How can we use new cybernetic and biomedical technologies to make life better for everyone? These technologies hold great promise, but they also pose profound challenges to our health, our culture, and our liberal democratic political system. By allowing humans to become more than human – “posthuman” or “transhuman” – the new technologies will require new answers for the enduring issues of liberty and the common good. What limits should we place on the freedom of people to control their own bodies? Who should own genes and other living things? Which technologies should be mandatory, which voluntary, and which forbidden? For answers to these challenges, Citizen Cyborg proposes a radical return to a faith in the resilience of our democratic institutions. (Westview/Perseus Books)
“I was 28 years old when I voted for the first time. I dropped the ball and now it’s come to this,” begins Stephen Elliott in Looking Forward to It: Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the American Electoral Process. From crashing campaign parties to clashing with seasoned journalists, Steve offers uncommon — and often hilarious — insight into the 2004 presidential election. Dave Eggers says Looking Forward to It is “Savvy, loose, very funny and — truly — full of rare insights.” (Picador USA)
The Identity Theft Protection Guide: Safeguard Your Family, Protect Your Privacy, Recover a Stolen Identity, by Amanda Welsh Ph.D., is the first comprehensive, down-to-earth consumer guide to help families guard themselves against identity theft and protect their computer security and personal privacy in the information age. (St. Martin’s Press)
American Nightingale: The True Story of Frances Slanger, the Forgotten Heroine of Normandy, by Bob Welch is the heart-wrenching and inspirational story of the first American nurse to die after the WWII landings at Normandy. Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Americana, says “Through indefatigable research and a nearly obsessive quest to inhabit a great moment in time, Bob Welch achieves something rare among works of military history: He brings one person, a single extraordinary person, to vivid life upon the page. Read American Nightingale, and you’ll never think of D-Day in the same way again.” James Bradley, best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys, says “Bob Welch has done the country a service by recalling Frances Slanger’s story… enrich your life and read this touching story.” (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster)
The Weight Loss Diaries, by Courtney Rubin, is an unsparing, empowering and inspirational memoir by Shape Magazine’s popular “Weight Loss Diary” columnist, looking at her daily struggles with weight, the challenges and triumphs of taking up marathon running, and her larger efforts to keep food and weight issues from consuming her life. (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill)
Lessons to Learn: Voices from the Front Lines of Teach for America, by Molly Ness, offers an in-depth look at the innovative national program that places young teachers in disadvantaged public school districts. The book includes interviews and essays from Teach For America corps members as well as a wide range of education experts, reflecting on the program’s successes and failures, the life lessons gathered along the way, and the broader challenges facing our nation’s public schools. (RoutledgeFalmer)
Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe, by Valarie Ziegler Ph.D., is the first full-length biography of the noted suffragist, author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and creator of Mother’s Day. The work won the 2002 Trinity Prize, which recognizes and encourages an emerging writer or scholar whose cross-disciplinary work offers new perspectives on biblical, cultural, ethical, theological or religious issues with broad applications for a general audience. Publishers Weekly called Diva Julia “A revealing treatment of Julia Ward Howe’s life…. able to meaningfully discuss the larger implications of Howe’s message during difficult times…. No one has been so thorough or bold as Ziegler.” (Trinity Press/Continuum)
The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions, by Bob Carroll Ph.D., was praised by John Allen Paulos, the author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper,as “a refreshing compendium of clear thinking, a welcome and potent antidote to the reams of books on the supernatural and pseudoscientific.” The GuardianUK called it “A handy volume… [with a] coolly rational tone,” and New Scientist said “this superb work… elegantly written and level-headed… is a treat to savour.” (John Wiley & Sons)
Paris in Mind: Three Centuries of Americans Writing About Paris, edited with an introduction by Jennifer Lee, received superb reviews in many of America’s most prestigious publications. It features a wide range of notable Americans writing about the City of Light, with sections devoted to love and seduction, cooking and gastronomy, how to be “civilized,” and that timely topic, the love-hate relationship between Americans and the French. John Leonard in Harper’s Magazine praised it as “an engaging anthology,” while Newsday’s Hillary Frey called it “impressive in its scope… There are real gems here.” MSNBC’s Fall travel books preview urged readers to “Pick up this slim paperback to read on the plane on your way to de Gaulle.” Frank Prial in the New York Times imagined Josephine Baker singing ‘I have two loves, My own country and Paris‘ as “the musical theme for this attractive book,” and Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post called Paris in Mind “Terrific in just about every respect.” (Vintage Books/Random House)
Reel Views: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Modern Movies on DVD and Video, by James Berardinelli, is a compendium of reviews by one of America’s best known and most respected independent film critics, whose reviews appear on the Reel Views Web site. In his forward to the book, noted film critic Roger Ebert says “James Berardinelli stands above the crowd. He is opinionated, well-informed and a good writer of literate, intelligent reviews.” (Justin, Charles & Co.)