The Pop-Up Pitch

Dan RoamVisual thinking guru and internationally bestselling author of The Back of the Napkin, Show & Tell, Draw to Win and other books Dan Roam‘s The Pop-Up Pitch: The Two-Hour Creative Sprint to the Most Persuasive Presentation of Your Life, combining the three key elements of persuasive storytelling with his unique visual storytelling approach, to help any presenter capture their audience and have major impact, at auction in a very nice deal, to Colleen Lawrie at Hachette/Public Affairs.

Wild Skills

Technology writer Jessica Carew Kraft‘s Wild Skills: A Modern Woman’s Adventure in Stone Age Living, an exploration of the rewilding movement and the reasons why relearning natural survival skills is more urgent than ever, told through the tales of the author’s own hunting-and-gathering adventures and her research into the latest scientific knowledge about human prehistory, at auction, to Laura Mazer at Seal Press, with Claire Potter editing.

Sharing the Covers

RAND Corporation behavioral scientist, University of Pittsburgh psychologist, and leading authority on sleep issues for couples Wendy Troxel Ph.D.’s Sharing the Covers: Every Couple’s Guide to Better Sleep, sharing stories from a wide range of couples who struggled with a variety of sleeping challenges, as well as science-backed solutions to help couples sleep better together or apart and reap the relationship and overall health benefits that come from healthy sleep, at auction, to Dan Ambrosio at Hachette Go.

Tim Cook

The death of Steve Jobs left a gaping void at one of the most innovative companies of all time. Jobs wasn’t merely Apple’s iconic founder and CEO; he was the living embodiment of a global megabrand. It was hard to imagine that anyone could fill his shoes–especially not Tim Cook, the intensely private executive who many thought of as Apple’s “operations drone.”

But seven years later, as journalist Leander Kahney reveals in this definitive book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level, things at Apple couldn’t be better. Its stock has nearly tripled, making it the world’s first trillion dollar company. Under Cook’s principled leadership, Apple is pushing hard into renewable energy, labor and environmentally-friendly supply chains, user privacy, and highly-recyclable products. From the massive growth of the iPhone to lesser-known victories like the Apple Watch, Cook is leading Apple to a new era of success.

Drawing on unprecedented access with Apple insiders, Kahney tells the inspiring story of how one man attempted to replace someone irreplacable, and–through strong, humane leadership, supply chain savvy, and a commitment to his values–succeeded more than anyone had thought possible.

Keep Going

Keep Going

In his now-classic books Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, both New York Times bestsellers, Austin Kleon gave readers the keys to unlock their creativity and become known for it. Now he offers his most inspiring work yet, Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, offering clear, powerful guidance for how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself—for life.

Some of Austin’s key advice: The creative life is not a linear journey to a finish line, it’s a loop—so find a daily routine, because today is the only day that matters. Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself—sometimes you just have to switch into airplane mode. Get outdoors and take a walk (as director Ingmar Bergman told his daughter, “The demons hate fresh air”). Pay attention, and especially pay attention to what you pay attention to. Worry less about getting things done, and more about the worth of what you’re doing. Instead of focusing on making your mark, work to leave things better than you found them.

Keep Going offers timeless, practical, and ethical principles for anyone trying to sustain a meaningful and productive life.

The Passion Paradox

Common advice is to find and follow your passion. A life of passion is a good life, or so we are told. But it’s not that simple. Rarely is passion something that you just stumble upon, and the same drive that fuels breakthroughs–whether they’re athletic, scientific, entrepreneurial, or artistic–can be every bit as destructive as it is productive. Yes, passion can be a wonderful gift, but only if you know how to channel it. If you’re not careful, passion can become an awful curse, leading to endless seeking, suffering, and burnout.

Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, the authors of Peak Performance, once again team up, this time to demystify passion in The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life, showing readers how they can find and cultivate their passion, sustainably harness its power, and avoid its dangers. They show readers how to develop the right kind of passion, the kind that lets you achieve great things without ruining your life. This thought-provoking book combines captivating stories of extraordinarily passionate individuals with the latest science on the biological and psychological factors that give rise to and help sustain one’s passion.

The Paradox of Democracy

Sean Illing
Zac Gershberg

Vox political reporter Sean Illing, Ph.D., and media scholar Zac Gershberg, Ph.D.’s The Paradox of Democracy: New Media and the Eternal Problems of Politics, explaining how novel forms of communication paradoxically yet almost invariably threaten to overwhelm democracy from the inside, following the historical thread from Greek rhetorical forms, to 19th Century print news, to 20th Century cinema and broadcast media, to the latest Internet platforms, showing how each of these mediums came to threaten the democracies in which they arose, to Charles Myers at the University of Chicago Press.

The Forever Transaction

Robbie Kellman BaxterBusiness strategy consultant and author of The Membership Economy, Robbie Kellman Baxter‘s The Forever Transaction: Rethinking your Business Model So Customers Never Want to Leave, going beyond the stories of subscription natives like Netflix, LinkedIn and Spotify to teach the full range of business models that companies can explore and apply, providing guidance on how to start, scale, and sustain long-term, disruption-proof customer relationships in a world of changing customer expectations, competitive conditions, and pushback from colleagues, in a very nice deal, again to Donya Dickerson at McGraw-Hill.

Small World

Marc LevinsonEconomic historian and author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller, The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, and An Extraordinary Time, Marc Levinson’s Small World: A Brief History of Globalization, the first book for general readers exploring the international flow of goods, people, money, and ideas from ancient Assyrian caravans to the current battles over sea lanes and import duties, investigating what the future may bring for global trade and tensions, at auction to Joe Jackson at Princeton University Press, in a very good deal.

How to Keep Going

Austin KleonNew York Times-bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!Austin Kleon‘s How to Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative, a guide to staying true to your own creative vision when the world seems out of control, by establishing a sustainable daily practice, reclaiming your time and attention, and doing work that helps make a world worth living in, in a major deal, again to Bruce Tracy at Workman.

Dictionary Stories

Dictionary Stories coverJez Burrows opened the New Oxford American Dictionary and sat, mystified. Instead of the definition of “study” he was looking for, he found himself drawn to the strangely conspicuous, curiously melodramatic sentence that followed it: “He perched on the edge of the bed, a study in confusion and misery.” It read like a tiny piece of fiction on the lam and hiding out in the dictionary—and it wasn’t alone. Was it possible to reunite these fugitive fictions? To combine and remix example sentences to form new works? With this spark and a handful of stories shared online, Dictionary Stories: Short Fictions and Other Findings was born.

This genre-bending and wildly inventive collection glows with humor, emotion, and intellect. Effortlessly transcending sentence level, Burrows lights between the profound and the absurd, transporting readers into moments, worlds, and experiences of remarkable variety. Featuring original illustrations by the author, Dictionary Stories is a giddy celebration of the beauty and flexibility of language.

Your Story Is Your Power

Your Story Is Your Power coverIn a very real sense we define our lives through our stories. Understand these stories, along with the motivations behind them, and we can positively change how our future unfolds. With this premise, Elle Luna, artist and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must, and psychotherapist Susie Herrick present Your Story Is Your Power.

Beautifully designed and illustrated with Luna’s watercolor artwork throughout, this inspiring and practical hands-on guide shows women how to uncover and understand their own stories in order to live more confident, unapologetic lives. Your Story Is Your Power is a guided introspection, bringing us from the influences that created the way we think and engage with the world into our own personal stories. By using a series of psychologically astute exercises that focus on the reader’s experience of being female, the reader will identify and understand how she is shaped by family, cultural stereotypes, personality type, personal myths, and more. And as in any successful therapy, the heart of this knowledge gained leads to a clearer sense of self and purpose, both in one’s personal life and in the larger community of women.

Balanced with examples and stories of both authors, along with their shared sense of humor and measured outrage, Your Story Is Your Power is a personal, thoughtful, motivating, gorgeous gift to help every woman take control of her future.

Tim Cook

Author of Inside Steve’s Brain and Jony Ive, tech journalist and editor & publisher Leander Kahney’s Tim Cook, his third book about Apple’s great leaders, the story of how Cook embraced the impossible job of Apple CEO in the wake of Steve Job’s death, and leveraged his skills in global logistics and corporate management to turn Apple into the biggest company in global history, to Niki Papadopoulos at Penguin Random House/Portfolio, in a significant deal.


Brad StuhlbergSteve Magness
National magazine columnist Brad Stulberg and University of Houston running coach Steve Magness, authors of Peak Performance, have sold their next book, Obsessed, a science-backed guide to cultivating, harnessing, and getting the most out of one’s passions, again to Mark Weinstein at Rodale, in a very good deal.

Peak Performance

Peak PerformanceA few common principles drive performance, regardless of the field or the task at hand. Whether someone is trying to qualify for the Olympics, break ground in mathematical theory or craft an artistic masterpiece, many of the practices that lead to great success are the same. In Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success, authors Brad Stulberg — a former McKinsey consultant and journalist who covers health and the science of human performance — and Steve Magness — a performance scientist and coach of Olympic athletes — team up to demystify these practices and demonstrate how everyone can achieve their best.

The first book of its kind, Peak Performance combines the inspiring stories of top performers across a range of capabilities – from athletic, to intellectual, to artistic – with the latest scientific insights into the cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive performance in all domains. In doing so, the book uncovers new linkages that hold promise as performance enhancers but have been overlooked in our traditionally-siloed ways of thinking. The result is a life-changing book in which readers will learn how to enhance their performance by a myriad of ways including: optimally alternating between periods of intense work and rest; developing and harnessing the power of a self-transcending purpose; and priming the body and mind for enhanced productivity. If you want to take your game to the next level, whatever “your game” may be, Peak Performance will teach you how.

Joy of Movement

Kelly McGonigalStanford health psychologist and international bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.’s next book explores the new science behind exercise, showing why and how a vigorous workout improves every aspect of our well-being (from happiness to social connection), and has stronger mood boosting effects than Prozac or therapy, offering a more joyful, effective, and sustainable approach to exercise and personal health, again to Megan Newman at Penguin Random House/Avery, in a major deal.

New York Art Deco

Of all the world’s great cities, perhaps none is so defined by its Art Deco architecture as New York. Lively and informative, New York Art Deco: A Guide to Gotham’s Jazz Age Architecture leads readers step-by-step past the monuments of the 1920s and 30s that recast New York as the world’s modern metropolis. Anthony W. Robins, New York’s best-known Art Deco tour guide, includes an introductory essay describing the Art Deco phenomenon, followed by eleven walking tour itineraries in Manhattan, each accompanied by a map designed by legendary New York cartographer John Tauranac and a survey of Deco sites across the four other boroughs. Also included is a photo gallery of sixteen color plates by nationally acclaimed Art Deco photographer Randy Juster. Robins is a historian and writer who specializes in the architecture of New York City. A former division director at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, has led walking tours of New York for thousands of locals and visitors to the city. In New York Art Deco, Robins has distilled thirty years’ worth of experience into a guidebook for all to enjoy at their own pace.

Your Story is Your Power

Artist and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna, and educator Susie Herrick‘s Your Story is Your Power, an illustrated guide for women, both practical and inspirational, to personal growth and public activism, again to Mary Ellen O’Neill at Workman, in a very good deal.

High-Velocity Hiring

An employee leaves and you post the open position. Resumes trickle in. You interview a few candidates. No one fits the bill. The next thing you know, three months have passed and that desk is still empty… Nothing drives business success like a staff of talented, productive employees. So why accept a hiring process that fails you time and time again? Well, there’s one person who doesn’t: Scott Wintrip. And in High-Velocity Hiring, he provides the tools and systems for creating a hiring process designed for today’s fast-paced, talent-deficient landscape. Using the proven methods Wintrip has applied at some of today’s more forward-thinking companies, you’ll hire top employees faster — and smarter.

High-Velocity Hiring replaces the old, worn-out way of hiring with the simple but revolutionary approach of actively cultivating top talent before positions open. The old way is slow and inefficient. Wintrip’s way is dynamic and proven-effective. You’ll enrich and maintain a flow of high-quality candidates, harness this flow by identifying the most talented people, and channel it into a pool of ready-to-hire prospective employees. More than ever, hiring the best people requires foresight, planning, alertness, and decisive action. With High-Velocity Hiring, you have everything you need to seize the high-ground in the war for talent and maintain it for long-term growth and profitability.

The Financial Diaries

Deep within the American Dream lies the belief that hard work and steady saving will ensure a comfortable retirement and a better life for one’s children. But even for many families who seem to be doing everything right in an era of unprecedented prosperity, this ideal is still out of reach.

In The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty, NYU economist Jonathan Morduch and Center for Financial Services Innovation SVP Rachel Schneider draw on the groundbreaking U.S. Financial Diaries project, which followed the lives of 235 low- and middle-income families as they navigated through a full year. Combining hard facts with in-depth personal stories, The Financial Diaries presents an unparalleled inside look at the economic stresses of today’s families and offers powerful, fresh ideas for solving them.

Finding Fibonacci

In 2000, Keith Devlin — Stanford mathematician, author of 30+ popular math books, and NPR’s “Math Guy” — set out to research the life and legacy of the medieval mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, popularly known as Fibonacci, whose book Liber abbaci has quite literally affected the lives of everyone alive today. Although he is most famous for the Fibonacci numbers — which, it so happens, he didn’t invent — Fibonacci’s greatest contribution was as an expositor of mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. In 1202, Liber abbaci — the “Book of Calculation” — introduced modern arithmetic to the Western world. Yet Fibonacci was long forgotten after his death, and it was not until the 1960s that his true achievements were finally recognized.

Finding Fibonacci: The Quest to Rediscover the Forgotten Mathematical Genius Who Changed the World is Devlin’s compelling firsthand account of his ten-year quest to tell Fibonacci’s story. Devlin, a math expositor himself, kept a diary of the undertaking, which he draws on here to describe the project’s highs and lows, its false starts and disappointments, the tragedies and unexpected turns, some hilarious episodes, and the occasional lucky breaks. You will also meet the unique individuals Devlin encountered along the way, people who, each for their own reasons, became fascinated by Fibonacci, from the Yale professor who traced modern finance back to Fibonacci, to the Italian historian who made the crucial archival discovery that brought together all the threads of Fibonacci’s astonishing story.

Mindful Money

Mindful MoneyIs it possible both to be a conscientious citizen of the world and grow one’s own wealth? Jonathan DeYoe, the author of Mindful Money: Simple Practices for Reaching Your Financial Goals and Increasing Your Happiness Dividend, says yes, and he explains exactly how.

Money drives many of our decisions. We all worry about earning it, spending it, and saving it ― regardless of our income level or spiritual perspective. Yet few of us understand money’s true nature. Jonathan K. DeYoe, a California-based financial adviser with twenty years’ experience as well as a longtime Buddhist, helps you create a unique financial plan that is guided by your deepest beliefs, and shows you how to save, invest, pay off debt, and fund your retirement and dreams by building a lifetime income stream. With a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winner Alice Walker, Mindful Money does all this while emphasizing that money is a tool you can use to support your lifestyle, reach your goals, and earn the “happiness dividend” everyone deserves.

An Extraordinary Time

An Extraordinary TimeThe 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.

The Buddha Before Buddhism

Buddha Before BuddhismOne 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.

Draw to Win

Draw to Win 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.

Dictionary Stories

Jez BurrowsDesigner, illustrator, and creator of, Jez Burrows’ Dictionary Stories, a touching, charming illustrated collection of very very short stories (love, horror, noir, and more) composed entirely with example sentences from various dictionaries, to Hannah Robinson at Harper Perennial.

The Work of Art: Paulette Tavormina

Paulette TavorminaTWOA logoA conversation with photographer Paulette Tavormina about her stunning, moody still lifes shot in the style of Old Master painters. She discussed learning the importance of authentic detail while making movie props (such as recreating Nixon’s resignation letter), why it can take as long as a week to stage a single photograph, the differences between painting and photographing the same scene, and the surprising satisfaction of social media as a venue to show her work.

Paulette began her career photographing works of art for a major auction house and working as a Hollywood food and prop stylist. Her own fine art photos have been shown across Europe and the United States, and her first solo museum show is this year at the Academy Art Museum in Maryland and travels to Notre Dame University’s Snite Museum of Art later this year. Her book of still life photographs, Seizing Beauty, was recently published by Monacelli Press.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded June 21, 2016)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

Publishers Weekly, June 2016

Could Publishers and Agents Agree on a Flat Royalty Rate?
Insiders say the problem is still e-book royalties

Publishers Weekly, June 3, 2016

By Rachel Deahl

Since e-books became a crucial source of revenue for publishers six years ago, the royalty rate on the format has been an ongoing bone of contention between authors (and their agents) and publishers. While authors and agents have stood firm on their position that the standard rate of 25% (which refers to the percentage of net profits authors receive on e-books sold) must change, publishers haven’t budged. Could a flat royalty system, in which one rate is used across formats, be a solution? Though some industry members believe a single rate could simplify a complicated royalty structure, agents said the move wouldn’t address the real problem: authors being shortchanged on the profits from their e-books.

Continue reading

The Work of Art: Brittani Sensabaugh

Brittani SensabaughTWOA logoA conversation with photographer and activist Brittani Sensabaugh about “the power of melanin” and her 222 Movement. She talks about using photography to document and celebrate an oppressed culture, mixing art and activism, and teaching young people not just creative skills but psychological strength. Brittani lives in Oakland, California, and travels to cities around the country documenting “communities that have been forgotten and people who feel they have no voice.” In the past year she has had solo exhibitions on both coasts. Her work has been covered by the PBS Newshour, Teen Vogue, and nearly every major Bay Area periodical.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded May 19, 2016)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

Finding Fibonacci

Keith DevlinStanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy,” Keith Devlin‘s Finding Fibonacci, telling the tale of his ten-year detective project to uncover and present the life story (in his previous book The Man of Numbers) of medieval mathematician Leonardo of Pisa (popularly known today as Fibonacci), whose 1202 book ‘Liber abbaci‘ quite literally changed the world, and the parallels with Devlin’s own passion to make the tools of mathematics accessible to ordinary people, to Vickie Kearn at Princeton University Press, on an exclusive submission.

High Velocity Hiring

Scott WintripLeader of the emerging on-demand hiring movement, and recruiting consultant to major enterprises including Bank of America, Boeing, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, and Wells Fargo, Scott Wintrip’s High Velocity Hiring, presenting his innovative, proven methodology that is fundamentally changing the way recruiting is done, offering business leaders in any organization a proven, actionable program to identify, cultivate, and hire the very best candidates to fill key jobs the instant they open, to Donya Dickerson at McGraw-Hill.

The Hustle Economy

The Hustle EconomyTo 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

The Work of Art: Shawn Feeney

Shawn FeeneyTWOA logoA conversation with visual and sound artist Shawn Feeney about building a creative community in small towns and large cities, working with crime victims as a forensic artist, how his pumpkin carvings landed him a gig on a reality TV show, the relative benefits of attending art school versus learning on the job, and much more.

Shawn earned his BA in Music from Harvard and his MFA in Intermedia from the University of Auckland, and also holds Certificates in Forensic Facial Imaging from the FBI Academy. As a visual artist he has worked at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic and for the Suffolk County police department in New York. As a musician he has composed for the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge Mass, and toured as bassist with Regina Spektor. His work has been presented at MOMA in New York, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, and many other institutions around the world.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded April 3, 2016)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Disruption Dilemma

Disruption_cover_sm“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.

Peak Performance

Brad StuhlbergSteve MagnessJournalist and health programs expert Brad Stulberg and University of Houston running coach Steve Magness’s Peak Performance: Take Advantage of the New Science of Success, presenting the emerging scientific understanding of the neurochemistry and cognitive principles driving great performance in athletic, intellectual, artistic, and other arenas, along with in-depth examples of top performers across a range of fields, showing readers how to optimize their own personal performance, in a very nice deal to Mark Weinstein at Rodale.

The Work of Art: Alexa Meade

Alexa MeadeTWOA logoA conversation with artist Alexa Meade about turning three dimensions into two, painting as a performance in front of thousands, avoiding the “uncanny valley” when making portraits, the publicity advantages of social media over traditional media, and how being helpful and handy can be the path to a woman’s heart.

While Alexa works with traditional brushes and paints, her artistic process is unusual: she paints portraits ON her human models, taking a three-dimensional scene and making it look like a two-dimensional painting. Other current projects include a residency working with scientists at the Perimeter Institute, exploring emerging virtual reality tools, designing toys, and turning her own home into a full-size funhouse. She is based in Los Angeles, and she gives lectures and has done residencies and exhibitions across the United States and Europe.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded October 26, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

Mindful Money

Jonathan DeYoePersonal wealth advisor and money manager Jonathan DeYoe’s Mindful Money: Simple Practices to Increase Your Happiness Dividend, with a foreword by one of his clients, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, a financial self-help book rooted in the proven benefits of mindfulness, helping readers understand their illusions about money and develop a values-based financial plan that takes advantage of their own spiritual and emotional strengths, to Georgia Hughes at New World Library.

Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas

Right Concentration coverNo 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)

The Steal Like an Artist Journal

Steal Like an Artist Journal coverFrom 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)

Out of Sync

Rachel SchneiderJonathan MorduchCo-directors of the Ford, Citibank and Omidyar foundation-backed “U.S. Financial Diaries” project, NYU economist and co-author of current Facebook “A Year of Books” pick Portfolios of the Poor Jonathan Morduch, and Center for Financial Services Innovation SVP Rachel Schneider’s Out of Sync: Income, Cash Flow, and the Future of Working America, revealing how households cope with the hidden, vital factor of income volatility and offering policy changes and private sector innovations to address these challenges, to Seth Ditchik at Princeton University Press in a very nice deal after a multi-day auction.

The Work of Art: Nathaniel Stookey

Nathaniel StookeyTWOA logoA conversation with classical composer Nathaniel Stookey about writing for children and adults, how to fight loneliness with artistic collaborations (and lots of time in local bars and cafes), finding joy in urban planning and other areas outside the arts, and bringing humor to the classical music world.

First commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony when he was 17-years old, Nathaniel’s best known work is “The Composer is Dead,” a collaboration with the children’s book author known as Lemony Snicket, which has become one of the most widely performed classical works of the 21st century. He has had works commissioned by Frederica von Stade and the Kronos Quartet and spent several months at the San Francisco city dump’s Artist in Residence program, where he wrote the music and created instruments from discarded trash for the work he titled “Junkestra“.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded September 23, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Work of Art: Charlie Varon

Charlie VaronTWOA logoA conversation with theater artist Charlie Varon about the differences between storytelling and solo performance, artistic bravado versus artistic bravery, how writing and playing different characters helps him see the world better through others’ eyes, the “necessary narcissism” to create works of art, and much more.

Charlie is a playwright, performer, director and teacher. One of the driving forces at San Francisco’s solo performance theater The Marsh, some of his best known shows include “Rabbi Sam,” and “Rush Limbaugh in Night School,” which won 2 Bay Area Critics Circle Awards and the American Theater Critics Association’s Osborn Award. As a director, he has shaped hit shows including Dan Hoyle‘s “Tings Dey Happen” and “The Real Americans.” He teaches workshops on solo performance and writing for the theater, and he is currently working with cellist Joan Jeanrennaud, formerly of the Kronos Quartet, on a new work, “Duet for Cello and Storyteller.”

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded September 17, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Hustle Economy

Jessica HagyJason OberholtzerCartoonist and author of Indexed, How to be Interesting and The Art of War Visualized, Jessica Hagy and I Love Charts creator and producer Jason Oberholtzer‘s The Hustle Economy, with essays and illustrations offering career advice from some of the most dynamic and successful young writers, artists, designers, directors, creatives, hustlers, and media personalities, with a combined audience of more than 2 million social media followers, who have managed to thrive in the “gig economy,” in a very nice deal to Jordana Tusman at Running Press.

The Work of Art: Rafael Yglesias

TWOA logoRafael YglesiasA conversation with novelist and screenwriter Rafael Yglesias about the different pleasures in writing for the page versus the screen, growing up in a family of writers, the importance of patience, the best sources of input for revising one’s own writing, and why he considers autobiographical fiction more deeply honest than memoir.

Rafael is a novelist and screenwriter for feature films and television. He is the author of ten novels, including his most recent, The Wisdom of Perversity. His previous novel, A Happy Marriage, won the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.

As a screenwriter, he was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for his screenplay for the Johnny Depp/Heather Graham thriller “From Hell.” Other screenplay adaptations he has written include Roman Polanski’s movie of Ariel Dorfman’s stage play “Death and the Maiden,” and the 1998 film of “Les Misérables,” starring Liam Neeson. He is currently a writer and executive producer of the NBC television series “Aquarius,” starring David Duchovny.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded September 5, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Work of Art: Ian Boyden

TWOA logoIan BoydenA conversation with Ian Boyden, a visual artist who works in painting, sculpture, land art and other media. He has a background and degrees in art history as well as East Asian studies and has spent years studying, making and exhibiting his art in Asia, much of it in Suzhou, China. He was recently named Executive Director of the San Juan Islands Museum of Art.

We discussed art, Buddhism, living in China, the environment, nirvana and much more. His art made about and from the remnants of the Tripod Fire in the Cascade Mountains was featured here.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded August 8, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Power of Compassion

Kelly McGonigalStanford health psychologist, TED Global speaker, and internationally bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.’s The Power of Compassion, an original audio program on the methods and benefits of developing compassion, based in part on her work at Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), to Jennifer Brown at Sounds True.

The Work of Art: Austin Kleon – Part One

TWOA logoAustin KleonPart One of a conversation with writer and artist Austin Kleon, author of two New York Times bestsellers, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, as well as Newspaper Blackout and the forthcoming Steal Like an Artist Journal: A Notebook for Creative Kleptomaniacs.

We discussed how he uses his own limitations as a source of creativity, how to encourage oneself to take artistic risks, the value of old fashioned tools as well as social media to build community, and how to keep one’s art fresh and original. He even made a new blackout poem to reflect the conversation.

Listen to Part One of the full interview:


(Recorded July 22, 2015)

Part Two of the interview is available here.

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Work of Art: Austin Kleon – Part Two

TWOA logoAustin KleonPart Two of a conversation with writer and artist Austin Kleon, author of two New York Times bestsellers, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, as well as Newspaper Blackout and the forthcoming Steal Like an Artist Journal: A Notebook for Creative Kleptomaniacs.

We discussed why women artists are better role models for maintaining work-family balance, how to raise creative children, the value of sales and other business skills for artists, and the difference between creation, curation, and criticism. He even made a new blackout poem to reflect the conversation.

Listen to Part Two of the full interview:


(Recorded July 22, 2015)

Part One of the interview is available here.

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Work of Art: Travis Jensen

TWOA logoTravis JensenA conversation with photographer Travis Jensen, a well-known San Francisco-based street photographer who also shoots a wide range of editorial and commercial work. Other photographers Travis mentions in this interview include Brad Evans and Rasta Dave 52.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded July 12, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

The Work of Art: Ann Packer

TWOA logoAnn PackerA conversation with writer Ann Packer, the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Dive From Clausen’s Pier and Songs Without Words, and the short story collections Swim Back to Me and Mendocino and Other Stories. Her newest novel is The Children’s Crusade.

Listen to the full interview:


(Recorded June 24, 2015)

The complete series of conversations is available at The Work of Art. You can subscribe to future interview episodes via RSS, iTunes or email.

Draw Me the Money

Dan RoamVisual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin and Show & Tell Dan Roam‘s Draw Me the Money, extending the techniques in his earlier books to create a concise guide that walks readers step-by-step through the Ten Commandments of business visualization and introduces the Ten Tools for creating pictures that make a difference, again to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio/Penguin Random House in a significant deal.

The Upside of Stress

Upside of Stress coverNearly 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)


Joshua GansOne of the world’s leading young economists Joshua Gans‘ Disruption, synthesizing Clayton Christensen’s legendary business theory with two decades of more recent research and insights to yield important new lessons for companies of every scale, showing how and why all incumbents are at risk of being disrupted and what they must do to shield themselves successfully, to Emily Taber at MIT Press.

The Crossroads of Should and Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must coverWho 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)

The Membership Economy

Membership Economy coverIn 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)

The Art of War Visualized

The Art of War Visualized coverIt’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)

Steal Like an Artist Journal

Austin KleonAuthor of Newspaper Blackout and the New York Times bestsellers Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like an Artist Journal: A Notebook for Creative Kleptomaniacs, a guided creativity journal with exercises, inspirational quotes, prompts, and blank pages for writing down and sketching out new (and lifted) ideas, in a good deal, again to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

The Book of Eights

Gil FronsdalLeading American Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal’s first-ever translation of the The Book of Eights (Atthakavagga), one of the earliest Buddhist discourses, which provides a foundation of teachings that does not rely on any supernatural beliefs, in a nice deal to Dave O’Neal at Shambhala.


Well-Designed coverInnovators 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)

Publishers Weekly, July 2014

Spotlight Falls on E-book Subscription Services

Amazon’s entry into the e-book subscription business has raised some eyebrows, and some hackles

Publishers Weekly, Jul 25, 2014

by Rachel Deahl

Oyster, the e-book subscription service with nearly half a million titles, launched in 2013. Scribd, its main competitor, also launched last year. While each generated some interest from publishers and consumers, it wasn’t until the July 18 launch of Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s e-book subscription service, that pundits and media outlets began parsing what these new business models mean for the future of books.

Continue reading

The Crossroads of Should and Must

Elle LunaArtist, designer and writer Elle Luna‘s The Crossroads of Should and Must, a deeply personal and universally inspiring call to pursue one’s true path, building on her online post of the same title that went viral (over a quarter million visitors, and public praise from several Twitter founders and many more tech and creativity luminaries), in a very good deal after a crowded auction, to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

Right Concentration

Leigh BrasingtonLegendary American Buddhist teacher Leigh Brasington‘s Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas, the first book to offer a comprehensive guide to reaching each of the meditative concentration states as taught by the Buddha himself, in a nice deal to Dave O’Neal at Shambhala.

Paradise in Plain Sight

Paradise in Plain Sight coverWhen 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)

Something Other Than God

Something Other Than God coverJennifer 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)

Investing Psychology

Investing Psychology coverFor 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)

Show and Tell

Show and Tell coverFor 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)

Show Your Work!

Show Your Work coverIn 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 Art of War Visualized

Jessica HagyCartoonist and author of Indexed and How to be Interesting Jessica Hagy‘s newly illustrated edition of The Art of War Visualized, illuminating Sun Tzu’s 2,500-year old text not only as manual of strategy for warriors and leaders but also as a guide for personal empowerment — in her signature thought-provoking visual style, in a very nice deal to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

The Doodle Revolution

Doodle Revolution coverThe 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)

The Membership Economy

Robbie Kellman BaxterBusiness strategy consultant Robbie Kellman Baxter‘s The Membership Economy: Moving Your Business Model From Ownership to Access, based on more than a decade advising major corporations including eBay/PayPal, Netflix, Oracle and many others on their subscription-based business models, offering specific frameworks and tactics to help reinvent any kind of business into one where customers are evangelists, revenues are predictable and smooth, and sales, retention and acquisition run on a virtuous cycle, in a nice deal to Donya Dickerson and Mary Glenn at McGraw-Hill.

Jony Ive

Jony Ive coverJony 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, 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)


Marc LevinsonEconomic historian and author of The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America and The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, Marc Levinson‘s untitled look at the political and economic world in 1973, examining the many global trend lines that shifted in the early 1970s and how those shifts reverberate well into the present day, at auction in a good deal, to Alex Littlefield at Basic Books.

The Upside of Stress

Kelly McGonigalStanford health psychologist, TED Global speaker, and international bestselling author of The Willpower Instinct Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.’s The Upside of Stress, teaching how mastering and using stress is actually the key to our well-being, in a major deal, again to Megan Newman at Avery/Penguin.

The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union

The Interloper coverLee 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)


Jon KolkoAustin Center for Design Director Jon Kolko‘s Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love, demonstrating his proven method for using design thinking to guide the entire product strategy process and create powerful, emotionally resonant offerings, at auction in a very nice deal, to Jeff Kehoe at Harvard Business Review Press.

Overweight Sensation

Overweight Sensation coverAllan 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)

Show Your Work!

Austin KleonNew York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist Austin Kleon‘s Show Your Work! How to Share What You Do With the World, teaching how to think about your work (art, business, anything!) as a never-ending process, build meaningful relationships by sharing that process, deal with the ups and downs of putting your work out in the world, and influence others by letting them steal from you, in a significant deal, again to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

The Nature of the Future

Nature of the Future coverIn 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)

The Infinite Resource

infinite Resource coverClimate 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)

Paradise in Plain Sight

Karen Maezen MillerAll-American mom, Zen Buddhist priest, and author of Momma Zen and Hand Wash Cold Karen Maezen Miller‘s Paradise in Plain Sight: The Way of the Zen Gardener, using the lessons she learned from owning and tending Southern California’s oldest private Japanese garden to illustrate how a seeker becomes a sage, and showing readers how to cultivate the ground beneath their own feet, in a nice deal, again to Georgia Hughes at New World Library.

How to be Interesting

How to Be Interesting coverYou 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)

Something Other Than God

Jennifer FulwilerBible Belt atheist-turned-spiritual seeker, religious blogger, and subject of the reality TV show “Minor Revisions,” Jennifer Fulwiler‘s Something Other Than God, a memoir about her conversion to Catholicism, at auction in a very nice deal, to Mark Brumley at Ignatius Press.

Show & Tell

Dan RoamVisual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin and Blah Blah Blah Dan Roam‘s Show & Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations, teaching readers how to use his unique visual thinking tools and techniques to increase business and personal success, in a significant deal, again to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio/Penguin.

Investing Psychology

Tim RichardsNoted finance and investing blogger, frequently featured on leading finance sites including Abnormal Returns, Business Insider, FT Alphaville and, Tim RichardsInvesting Psychology, on behavioral bias and investing psychology, at auction to Laura Walsh at Wiley.

Fake Science 101

Elusive Victories coverFor 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)

Nano Workouts

Joakim ChristoffersonTumblr sensation Joakim Christofferson‘s Nano Workouts: Get in Shape and Lose Weight During Everyday Activities , a fun, clever illustrated book showing how idle moments and everyday activities can be transformed into quick, easy workout opportunities, to Keith Riegert at Ulysses Press.


Jony Ive

Leander KahneyAuthor of the NYT bestseller Inside Steve’s Brain and The Cult of Mac Leander Kahney‘s Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, presenting the biography, philosophy and methodology of the most celebrated and secretive industrial designer in the world, revealing how he designs Apple’s products and fosters a culture of innovation, in a significant deal to Brooke Carey at Portfolio/Penguin.

Elusive Victories

Elusive Victories coverElusive 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)

How to be Interesting

Jessica HagyWhimsical cartoonist, Smithsonian and Forbes visual blogger, and author of Indexed Jessica Hagy‘s How to be Interesting: You Don’t Have to be Wealthy to Lead a Rich Life, a funny, thought-provoking guide to finding one’s personal route through life, based on her Forbes column that has already been viewed on-line nearly a million times and shared on Facebook and Twitter over 50,000 times, at auction in a very nice deal to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist coverWhen 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)

The Doodle Revolution

Sunni BrownOne of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” co-author of Gamestorming, and presenter of one of the 50 most viewed TED Talks, visual thinking and creativity consultant Sunni Brown‘s The Doodle Revolution, a guide to help even the most non-visual person use the power of the pen to clarify and visualize complex concepts, solve business problems faster and elevate cognitive performance, at auction in a significant deal to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio/Penguin.

The Willpower Instinct

Willpower InstinctKelly 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)

Blah Blah Blah

Great A&P coverEver 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)

Among Righteous Men

Great A&P coverJournalist 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)

The Great A&P

Great A&P coverFrom 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)

100 Plus

100 Plus coverHumanity 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)

Steal Like an Artist

Austin KleonWriter, artist and creator of Newspaper Blackout Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told Me About The Creative Life, based on his speech to art students that became a viral sensation on-line with more than 1.2 million pageviews, at auction in a very nice deal to Bruce Tracy at Workman Publishing.

La Stampa, July 2011

The second life of literary agents

La Stampa, 16/7/2011

Giuseppe Granieri

[Translation via Google translate:] “I talked to many authors,” says Julie Ortolon, “and all seem to agree that it is not a good idea for agents to become publishers. But as we consider the staff assisting with the self-publishing authors?”

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Paid Content/GigaOm, July 2011

Stanford Math Professor Tests A New Book Publishing Equation

Paid Content/GigaOm, July 13, 2011

by Laura Hazard Owen

When a section was cut from Stanford mathematics professor Keith Devlin’s new book The Man Of Numbers, Devlin could have pitched it as an article to Scientific American or Wired. Instead, he decided to self-publish it as an e-single, “Leonardo & Steve: The Young Genius Who Beat Apple to Market by 800 Years.” And his publisher, Bloomsbury, went for it.

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The Man of Numbers

Man of Numbers coverIn 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)

Leonardo & Steve

Leonardo & Steve coverIn 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.

PBS Media Shift, June 2011

Literary Agents Try New Role as Self-Publishing Consultants

PBS Media Shift, June 16, 2011

by Carla King

With big publishing buying only the crème de la crème of books, and more authors turning to self-publishing, many literary agents are getting squeezed right out of the middle.

But some savvy agents are acting as literary consultants to help their authors self-publish, a role that offers up new opportunities and challenges for everybody in the industry.

I talked with three agents about their experiments to serve authors by widening their middle ground.

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Overweight Sensation

Mark CohenCulture journalist Mark Cohen‘s Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman, 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), for publication in time for the 50th anniversary of Sherman’s greatest hit, “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,” to Stephen Hull at the University Press of New England.

Marketwatch, May 2011

E-books causing seismic shift in publishing
Commentary: Are publishers more prepared than music honchos?

Marketwatch, May 26, 2011

by Therese Poletti

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — One doesn’t have to be in Manhattan this week at BookExpo America to figure out that the electronic book is causing a seismic shift in the publishing industry.

Some other events in recent weeks have provided further evidence that book publishing — as the music business already experienced — is being turned quickly upside down by the growth of digital books and e-readers.

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The Infinite Resource

Ramez NaamFormer Microsoft executive, fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and author of More Than Human Ramez Naam‘s The Infinite Resource, arguing that the most valuable resource on earth is our capacity for expanding human knowledge and exploring mankind’s past leaps in understanding to find the keys to overcoming the enormous challenges we face today, to Stephen Hull at the University Press of New England.

Changing Planet, Changing Health

Changing Planet, Changing Health coverClimate 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)

Marketplace, March 2011

CliffsNotes goes digital

Marketplace Radio, March 10, 2011

by Jennifer Collins

Kai Ryssdal: John Wiley and Sons reports profits today. The publisher behind the “For Dummies” books and Frommer’s travel guides did all right. Sales were up, as were profits.

Back in the day, you may well have used another Wiley publication to get you through a class or two. CliffsNotes, the study guides. CliffsNotes have been around since the 1950s, so Wiley’s looking for ways to put a new shine on the old brand.

Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports.

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Kill or Capture

Kill or Capture coverKill 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)

Elusive Victory

Andy PolskyCUNY/Hunter College professor Andrew J. Polsky, Ph.D.‘s Elusive Victory: Why Presidents Fail at War, a penetrating work of history and political analysis examining the multiple dimensions of wartime presidential leadership and making the insightful, surprising argument that American presidents have repeatedly failed as wartime leaders, to Tim Bent at Oxford University Press.

Fool Me Once

Fool Me Once coverGonzo 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)

Fake Science 101

phil Edwards“Senior Fake Scientist” Phil EdwardsFake Science 101: For When the Facts Are Too Confusing, based on his popular Fake Science blog, a faux textbook covering everything the average person should pretend to know, providing a laugh-out-loud tour of all the subjects you cheated on in school, to Brendan O’Neill at Adams Media.

The Nature of the Future

marina GorbisExecutive Director of the Institute for the Future Marina GorbisThe Nature of the Future, explaining the new organizational landscape and offering a practical roadmap for the transition from the era of hierarchies to the era of networks, at auction in a good deal to Emily Loose at Free Press/Simon & Schuster.

From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call

From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales CallWhen 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)

Writer’s Digest, September 2010

Ask the Pro: Literary Agent Ted Weinstein

Writer’s Digest, September 2, 2010

by Kara Gebhart Uhl

BEST ENCOUNTER AT A WRITING CONFERENCE: A slightly wild-eyed writer sat across from me with a haphazard stack of papers and proceeded to pitch me the proposal he had stayed up all night working on at Kinko’s after his own printer had run out of ink. I agreed to read the proposal and called him back a few days later to say I’d be interested in representing it if he would work with me to cut it in half. We revised it together, I sold it to an imprint at Simon & Schuster that published it well, and it was even optioned for a movie. Only later did I find out that 26 other agents had already turned down [Bob Welch’s] proposal for what became American Nightingale.

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Secrets of the Moneylab

Secrets of the Moneylab coverBooks 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)

The Postcatastrophe Economy

The Postcatastrophe Economy coverOne 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)


Invisible coverA 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)

Down and Derby

Down & Derby coverWhen 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)

Publishers Weekly, May 2010

Agents Weigh the Growth Of Alternate Publishing Options

Publishers Weekly, May 24, 2010

by Rachel Deahl

In a week that saw Barnes & Noble announce a new selfpublishing unit, one small deal that had the publishing industry paying attention was J.A. Konrath’s decision to do his next book, Shaken, with Amazon’s publishing arm, AmazonEncore. Reports quickly surfaced that Konrath would be making a roughly 70% return on the list price of his forthcoming e-book–$2.10 off a $2.99 Kindle edition. While a rep from Amazon confirmed that royalty does not apply to Konrath’s deal with AmazonEncore, the deal still had some in the industry saying the move signaled a “game changer” for corporate publishing. Since Konrath is presumably getting a high digital royalty rate on Shaken, many wondered whether the big six should be quaking in their proverbial New York City boots.

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Hand Wash Cold

hand Wash Cold coverWe’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 Secret Miracle

Secret Miracle coverThe 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)

Blah Blah Blah

Dan RoamStrategy consultant, visual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin Dan Roam‘s Blah Blah Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work, explaining why it is essential to use both visual AND verbal thinking to understand and communicate ideas in business, politics and life, and presenting his unique, groundbreaking toolkit for Visual-Verbal Interdependent Thinking, in a significant deal, again to Adrian Zackheim and Courtney Young at Portfolio/Penguin.

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen coverAncient 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)

Changing Planet, Changing Health

Paul EpsteinAssociate Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School Paul Epstein M.D. and science journalist Dan Ferber‘s Changing Planet, Changing Health, examining the full range of global warming’s damaging health effects and proposing a comprehensive array of innovative measures to ease them, to Hannah Love at the University of California Press.

Beyond Dealmaking

Beyond Dealmaking coverGetting 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)

Guidebook to Art Deco New York

Tony RobinsHistorian and former Landmarks Preservation Commission staffer Anthony Robins‘s Guidebook to Art Deco New York, an illustrated guide with step-by-step tours of New York City’s lovingly restored Art Deco architectural treasures, based on the author’s popular lectures and walking tours, to James Peltz at SUNY Press.

Why Boys Fail

Why Boys Fail coverBoys 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)

Unfolding the Napkin

Unfolding the Napkin coverVisual 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)

Your Money Ratios

Your Money Ratios coverFor 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)

The Willpower Instinct

Kelly McGonigalStanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.’s, The Willpower Instinct, based on her wildly popular course and Psychology Today blog of the same name, explaining the new science of self-control that is emerging from psychology, neuroscience, medicine and economics to shatter long-standing myths and help readers create environments that boost their willpower and master practical strategies for self-control without suffering, at auction in a significant deal to Rachel Holtzman at Avery/Penguin.

Kill or Capture

Matthew AlexanderAir Force interrogator, Bronze Star Medal winner and author of How to Break a Terrorist Matthew Alexander’s Kill or Capture, a true-life thriller that tells the story of his breathless, “outside the wire” pursuit of the notorious mass murderer behind Al Qaeda in Iraq’s suicide bombing campaign, to Marc Resnick at St. Martin’s Press.

The Interloper

Peter SavodnikNational journalist Peter Savodnik‘s The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside The Soviet Union, a compelling, carefully reported historical account of Oswald’s two-and-a-half years seeking asylum in the Soviet Union, demonstrating that his experience reflected powerful emotional and political currents already coursing through the American consciousness, to Lara Heimert at Basic Books.

The Man of Numbers

Keith DevlinStanford mathematician and NPR’s “Math Guy” Keith Devlin‘s The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution, the great untold story of how a 12th Century Italian mathematician brought Arabic numbers to the West, triggering revolutions in everything from banking to the age of exploration to architecture, at auction to George Gibson at Bloomsbury USA.

The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America

Marc LevinsonCouncil on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Marc Levinson‘s The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, an insightful look at the birth of mega-retailing and the modern consumer economy, by the author of The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, at auction to Thomas LeBien at Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Inside Steve’s Brain

Inside Steve's Brain, Expanded coverSteve 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)

CNet, July 2009

Readers as patrons in the digital age

CNet, August 27, 2009

by Elinor Mills

A few months ago someone sent me a link to a short story a friend of his had written and posted online. I made the mistake of glancing at it while at work and then got so absorbed I couldn’t stop reading until I was done. The story, Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store, was so interesting and well written, I just wanted more.

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From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call

Leading sales consultant Richard Schroder‘s From a Good Sales Call to a Great Sales Call, with a foreword by Stephan Schiffman, presenting his innovative win/loss analysis and training program for salespeople to gather meaningful feedback and learn from lost opportunities so next time they close the sale, used by Fidelity, ADP, Schwab and many others, to Donya Dickerson at McGraw-Hill.

Among Righteous Men

Christian Science Monitor reporter Matt Shaer‘s Among Righteous Men: A Tale of Vigilantes and Vindication in Hasidic Crown Heights, an unflinching account of the bitter, on-going feud in Crown Heights between two rival Hasidic vigilante groups, to Eric Nelson at John Wiley & Sons.

Hand Wash Cold

Karen Maezen MillerAll-American mom, Zen Buddhist priest and author of Momma Zen Karen Maezen Miller‘s Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, an inspirational guide to practical spirituality for anyone seeking transformative insights in the midst of his or her everyday life, to Georgia Hughes at New World Library.

Down & Derby

Jennifer BarbeeAlex CohenJennifer “Kasey Bomber” Barbee and NPR host Alex “Axles of Evil” Cohen’s Down & Derby: The Insider’s Guide To Roller Derby, an illustrated celebration of the history and recent resurgence of the explosive sport, to Denise Oswald in her first acquisition as Editorial Director at Soft Skull Press/Counterpoint.

100 Plus

Sonia ArrisonTechnology and policy analyst Sonia Arrison‘s 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, with a foreword by PayPal founder and longevity research philanthropist Peter Thiel, exploring the implications of our increasing lifespans — and healthspans — and explaining how nearly every aspect of our financial, family, religious, and environmental outlooks will need reshaping, in a pre-empt to Amanda Moon at Basic Books.