A wonderful saga of Texas history.
Publisher’s Weekly review (edited): The sweeping history of the McCullough dynasty unfolds across generations and through alternating remembrances of three masterfully drawn characters: Eli, the first white male born in a newly founded Texas, captured and raised by Comanche Indians; Eli’s self-sacrificing son, Peter, who shuns everything his power-hungry father represents; and Jeannie, Eli’s fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who inherits the family fortune. But it’s the engrossing, sometimes grotesque descriptions of Eli’s early tribal years—scalpings, mating rituals, and a fascinating few pages about the use of buffalo body parts that recalls Moby Dick—that are the stuff of Great American Literature. Like all destined classics, Meyer’s second novel speaks volumes about humanity—our insatiable greed, our inherent frailty, the endless cycle of conquer or be conquered. So, too, his characters’ successes and failures serve as a constant reminder: “There is nothing we will not have mastered, except, of course, ourselves.”
Biography of the most famous rodeo cowboy of all time. Full of wonderful stories about feats, pranks, and characters, in and out of the arena. Richards was Casey’s lifelong friend, but he can write. The book helps explain why I became a law professor—because my preferred career (rodeo cowboy) didn’t work out.
Amazon.com description (edited): Rodeo superstar Casey Tibbs lives again in Rusty Richards' authorized biography of the memorable, charismatic cowboy from South Dakota. Movingly written, Richards spent over twenty years meticulously researching, interviewing, and capturing vibrant memories and recollections of the six-time world champion saddle bronc rider. Born in a log home in the wilds of South Dakota, the youngest of ten children, Tibbs grew to be the most well-known, popular rodeo star of all time. In addition, Richards recounts Casey's phenomenal success in Hollywood and his friendship with Audie Murphy, his Las Vegas associations, and his world tours promoting rodeo and the Wild West. Richards does not gloss over Casey's battles with alcohol and gambling addictions, either. This is a biography that inspires, amuses, saddens, and gives real meaning to determination and grit. Casey Tibbs deserves to have his story told, and Rusty Richards has done an excellent job of doing so.
Regardless of whether you are reading for motivation, inspiration, consolation, or gratification, Anne Lamott’s stories will have something that speaks directly to you, almost as if she knew what you were experiencing and wanted to give you her take on it. Her writing is superb and brutally honest.
Amazon.com description: Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It’s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in Small Victories, Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us—our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found. Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in Small Victories are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible.
“THE TIME IT NEVER RAINED was inspired by actual events [in West Texas] when the longest and most severe drought in living memory [in the 1950s] pressed ranchers and farmers to the outer limits of courage and endurance.” –Elmer Kelton. Kelton paints a portrait of the conflict between the West Texas rural ethic of rugged individualism and then-new Washington programs to support agriculture with federal subsidies. I also like his uncanny ear for how conversation sounds in West Texas.
Amazon.com description (edited): Rio Seco, meaning "dry river" in Spanish, symbolizes the biggest enemy of the ranchers and farmers in 1950s Texas, an enemy they can't control: drought. To cranky Charlie Flagg, an honest, decent rancher, the drought of the early 1950s is a battle that he must fight on his own grounds. Refusing the questionable "assistance" of federal aid programs and their bureaucratic regulations, Charlie and his family struggle to make the ranch survive until the time it rains again―if it ever rains again. Charlie Flagg, among the strongest of Elmer Kelton's memorable creations, is no pasteboard hero. He is courageous and self-sufficient but as real as his harsh and unforgiving West Texas home country. His battle with an unfathomable foe is the stuff of epics and legends.
Amazon.com description (edited): The most momentous change in American warfare over the past decade has taken place away from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, in the corners of the world where large armies can’t go. The Way of the Knife is the untold story of that shadow war: a campaign that has blurred the lines between soldiers and spies and lowered the bar for waging war across the globe. America has pursued its enemies with killer drones and special operations troops; trained privateers for assassination missions and used them to set up clandestine spying networks; and relied on mercurial dictators, untrustworthy foreign intelligence services, and proxy armies. This new approach to war has been embraced by Washington as a lower risk, lower cost alternative to the messy wars of occupation and has been championed as a clean and surgical way of conflict. But the knife has created enemies just as it has killed them. It has fomented resentments among allies, fueled instability, and created new weapons unbound by the normal rules of accountability during wartime. At the heart of the book is the story of two proud and rival entities, the CIA and the American military, elbowing each other for supremacy. Sometimes, as with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, their efforts have been perfectly coordinated. Other times, including the failed operations disclosed here for the first time, they have not. For better or worse, their struggles will define American national security in the years to come.
This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for history. It’s an extraordinarily well-researched expose of the Attica prison riots.
Amazon.com description (edited): On September 9, 1971, nearly 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions during the four long days and nights that followed. On September 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed thirty-nine men—hostages as well as prisoners—and severely wounded more than one hundred others. In the ensuing hours, weeks, and months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners. And, ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors and the families of the men who had been killed. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.
THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern is a gorgeously written first novel about magic, love, rivalry, art, and above all the relationships that transcend definition and bind us to those we love (and, at times, to those we hate). The novel, at its core, is both dark and exhilaratingly hopeful, with rich, evocative imagery and beautiful language that transports the reader to a realm that is not pure fantasy, but unquestionably stretches the bounds of imagination. When I read THE NIGHT CIRCUS a couple of years ago, it was my must-read recommendation for friends who love exquisite writing and don’t mind voyaging to the dark side to better appreciate glimpses of light. It’s still at the top of my list; I wish I could read it again for the first time.
Amazon.com description (edited): The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.
Amazon.com description (edited): Moby-Dick is the story of Captain Ahab's quest to avenge the whale that 'reaped' his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel's narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader. Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education: in the practice of whaling, in the art of writing.
Amazon.com description (edited): Referring to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H. L. Mencken noted that his discovery of this classic American novel was "the most stupendous event of my whole life"; Ernest Hemingway declared that "all modern American literature stems from this one book," while T. S. Eliot called Huck "one of the permanent symbolic figures of fiction, not unworthy to take a place with Ulysses, Faust, Don Quixote, Don Juan, Hamlet." The novel's preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author's remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book's understated development of serious underlying themes: "natural" man versus "civilized" society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.
Excellently written in Wolfe’s unique style and you won’t want to put it down. Of particular interest to law students, Wolfe’s realistic, if not cynical, story of the investigation of a young black male’s death in an automobile accident caused by a “Master of the Universe.”
Publishers Weekly review (edited): Both his cynical irony and sense of the ridiculous are perfectly suited to his subject: the roiling, corrupt, savage, ethnic melting pot that is New York City. Ranging from the rarefied atmosphere of Park Avenue to the dingy courtrooms of the Bronx, this is a totally credible tale of how the communities uneasily coexist and what happens when they collide. On a clandestine date with his mistress one night, top Wall Street investment banker and snobbish WASP Sherman McCoy misses his turn on the thruway and gets lost in the South Bronx; his Mercedes hits and seriously injures a young black man. The incident is inflated by a manipulative black leader, a district attorney seeking reelection and a sleazy tabloid reporter into a full-blown scandal, a political football and a hokey morality play. His reporter's eye has seized every gritty detail of the criminal justice system, and he is also acute in rendering the hierarchy at a society party. He convincingly equates the jungles of Wall Street and the Bronx: in both places men casually use the same four-letter expletives and, no matter what their standing on the social ladder, find that power kindles their lust for nubile young women. Erupting from the first line with noise, color, tension and immediacy, this immensely entertaining novel accurately mirrors a system that has broken down: from the social code of basic good manners to the fair practices of the law.
This book was so much fun. I passed on my copy long ago, but it is readily available. I actually bought the ebook again for travel reading
Amazon.com description (edited): If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendy's combined. Former New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.
I spent several lovely days completely wrapped up in the (fictional) life of a Count Alexander Rostov, who returns to Moscow during the Russian Revolution, is sentenced to house arrest in an elegant hotel, and finds ingenious ways to adapt to the cataclysmic events that surround him. My favorite quote: “For most of us, the late 1920s were not characterized by a series of momentous events. Rather, the passage of those years was like the turn of a kaleidoscope. At the bottom of a kaleidoscope’s cylinder lie shards of colored glass in . . . a pattern so colorful, so perfectly intricate, it seems certain to have been designed with the utmost care. Then by the slightest turn of the wrist, the shards begin to shift and settle into a new configuration—a configuration with its own symmetry of shapes, its own intricacy of colors, its own hints of design. So it was in the city of Moscow in the late 1920s. And so it was at the Metropol hotel.”
Amazon.com description (edited): In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Amazon.com description (edited): The Middle East has long been a region of rival religions, ideologies, nationalisms, and ambitions. All of these conflicts―including the hostilities between Arabs and Israelis, and the violent challenges posed by Iraq's competing sects―are rooted in the region's political inheritance: the arrangements, unities, and divisions imposed by the Allies after the First World War. In A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies drew lines on an empty map that remade the geography and politics of the Middle East. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when all seemed possible, he delivers in this sweeping and magisterial book the definitive account of this defining time, showing how the choices narrowed and the Middle East began along a road that led to the conflicts and confusion that continue to this day.
A gut-wrenching portrait of wrongful execution, The Wrong Carlos is a comprehensive account of the case of Carlos DeLuna, who was convicted of the murder of Wanda Lopez in 1983 and executed six years later. Professor Liebman of Columbia Law and his team of students copiously describe their investigation into the case, the faulty eyewitness testimony that formed the bulk of evidence against DeLuna, and the failure to investigate Carlos Hernandez, a friend of DeLuna who bore a striking resemblance and had a reputation for wielding a knife like the one used to kill Lopez. Seamlessly writing as journalists, detectives, and legal research experts, the authors offer a compelling look at a case that was flawed at every level and its haunting outcome.
Amazon.com description (edited): In 1989, Texas executed Carlos DeLuna, a poor Hispanic man with childlike intelligence, for the murder of Wanda Lopez, a convenience store clerk. His execution passed unnoticed for years until a team of Columbia Law School faculty and students almost accidentally chose to investigate his case and found that DeLuna almost certainly was innocent. Everything that could go wrong in a criminal case did. This book and its website (thewrongcarlos.net) reproduce law-enforcement, crime lab, lawyer, court, social service, media, and witness records, as well as court transcripts, photographs, radio traffic, and audio and videotaped interviews, documenting one of the most comprehensive investigations into a criminal case in U.S. history. The principal investigators conclude with novel suggestions for improving accuracy among the police, prosecutors, forensic scientists, and judges.
I wish I had known these concepts when I was in law school.
Amazon.com review (edited): In Focus, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long-overdue discussion of this little-noticed and underrated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Attention works much like a muscle: use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to contend with, let alone thrive in, a complex world. Goleman analyzes attention research as a threesome: inner, other, and outer focus. He shows why high-performers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business. Those who excel rely on what Goleman calls smart practice that helps them improve habits, add new skills, and sustain excellence. Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus reveals what distinguishes experts from amateurs and stars from average performers.
This memoir is written by a kid born in Appalachia, who spent his growing up years in Rust Belt Ohio. He ended up at Ohio State and then [Yale] Law. He explains (from San Francisco) how the country has ended up where it is today and the disenfranchisement of the blue collar workers of the country and their families.
Short but meaningful. Central character is a lawyer. But there is a lot more to the recommendation. I think that (and hope that) our students are the involved civic leaders of the future. If so, they will need to have some ideas and some facts on which to make decisions as voters and leaders of our civil society. The book is a true story of the pains and accomplishments of a young lawyer who has troubled family roots and little support (except for grandparents—yeah for grandparents say the old man who is one) in education and social skills, yet graduates from [Yale] Law. The recommendation is made because the problems of the people that the young lawyers proceeds from are widespread and are going to generate a lot of the social and political forces and changes of the next generation. Without being political, the people he talks about and others similarly situated elected our current president—how and why did such a surprise occur? What does that mean for our students who I hope will be the involved citizens of the coming decades? Whatever their own backgrounds, they need to see the realities of the backgrounds of many of our citizens today, and this book is a well written and edited story about those people.
Amazon.com review (edited): From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.
This was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and national bestseller. The book is a non-fiction account of Teddy Roosevelt’s trip down an unmapped Amazon tributary with his son Kermit, after Roosevelt’s humiliating election defeat in 1912. From a review: “Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attacks, disease, drowning, and murder within their own ranks. Three men died and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The RIVER OF DOUBT brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.”
Amazon.com description (edited): At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth. The River of Doubt—it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron. Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find [following his election defeat], the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.
THIS IS WATER is David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to the Kenyon College graduating class of 2005. I reread it every year around graduation time for its timeless thoughts on living. I recommend it because I hope it might resonate with some of our students the way it did for me when I was in school. I would also add that it is probably the quickest read on this list so you have no excuse not to read it, and it might open up a door to some of David Foster Wallace’s other challenging and rewarding books. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Amazon.com description (edited): Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace's electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others. After his death, it became a treasured piece of writing reprinted in The Wall Street Journal and the London Times, commented on endlessly in blogs, and emailed from friend to friend. Writing with his one-of-a-kind blend of causal humor, exacting intellect, and practical philosophy, David Foster Wallace probes the challenges of daily living and offers advice that renews us with every reading. [N.B. Wallace’s papers are in the UT Ransom Center archives.]
For a fun summer read, I recommend the new YA novel, DEAR READER. Flannery Field’s favorite teacher, Miss Sweeney, fails to show up to teach WUTHERING HEIGHTS to her AP English class and seems to have gone missing. Flannery finds Miss Sweeney’s copy of WUTHERING HEIGHTS and discovers it has transformed into Miss Sweeney’s real-time diary. Miss Sweeney seems to be in trouble, so Flannery decides to do a very uncharacteristic thing and follow Miss Sweeney to Manhattan. During her search for Miss Sweeney, Flannery meets a charming Brit named Heath who joins her on her search. As Miss Sweeney’s diary entries become more troubling, Flannery’s search for her teacher becomes more urgent. The book will be released on May 9 by Flatiron Press, and yes, the author is my sister.
Amazon.com description (edited): Gilmore Girls meets WUTHERING HEIGHTS in Mary O'Connell's DEAR READER, a whip-smart, poignant, modern-day take on Emily Brontë’s classic novel. But when Miss Sweeney doesn't show up to teach Flannery's favorite book, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, leaving behind her purse and her personal copy of the text, Flannery knows something is wrong. It seems Miss Sweeney is in New York City―and she's in trouble. So Flannery does something very unFlannery-like: she skips school and sets out for Manhattan, with the book as her guide. But as soon as she arrives, she meets a boy named Heath. Heath is British, on a gap year, incredibly smart―yet he's never heard of Albert Einstein or Anne Frank. In fact, Flannery can't help thinking that he seems to have stepped from the pages of Brontë's novel. Could it be?
Amazon.com description: 'The Enchanted April', a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, follows four dissimilar women in 1920s England who leave their rainy, grey environments to go on holiday in Italy. Mrs Arbuthnot and Mrs Wilkins, who belong to the same ladies' club but have never spoken, become acquainted after reading a newspaper advertisement for a small medieval castle on the Mediterranean to be let furnished for April. They find some common ground in that both are struggling to make the best of unhappy marriages. They also reluctantly take on the waspish, elderly Mrs Fisher and the stunning but aloof Lady Caroline Dester to defray expenses. The four women come together at the castle and find rejuvenation in the tranquil beauty of their surroundings, rediscovering hope and love.
This book is a collection of columns Amar has written over the last twenty years for Slate, the Daily Beast, the New Republic, and the Washington Post, among others. The columns are topical but not trite. There is serious analysis of serious constitutional issues. At several points Amar devises what he calls “legal contraptions” to demonstrate how the Constitution might be adapted to accommodate contemporary concerns. For anyone with an interest in U.S. constitutional law, Amar’s book should fill the bill for summer reading.
Amazon.com description (edited): America's Constitution, Chief Justice John Marshall famously observed in McCulloch v. Maryland, aspires “to endure for ages to come.” The daily news has a shorter shelf life, and when the issues of the day involve momentous constitutional questions, present-minded journalists and busy citizens cannot always see the stakes clearly. In THE CONSTITUTION TODAY, Akhil Reed Amar, America's preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today's headlines. Amar shows how the Constitution's text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic. Prioritizing sound constitutional reasoning over partisan preferences, he makes the case, for example, for diversity-based affirmative action and a right to have a gun in one's home for self-protection, and against spending caps on independent political advertising and bans on same-sex marriage. Leading readers through the particular constitutional questions at stake while outlining his abiding views regarding the Constitution's letter, its spirit, and the direction constitutional law must go, Amar offers an essential guide for anyone seeking to understand America's Constitution and its relevance today.
Barely fictionalized story of the author’s grandfather’s return to Eastern Europe and his life during WWI. This story involves great conflict, violence and loss, but it is conveyed in a resigned Eastern European voice and written with a sophisticated understanding of language. It depicts vividly the circumstances of life in desperate situations and of perseverance through them.
Amazon.com description (edited): THE SOJOURN, finalist for the National Book Award and winner of both the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and inaugural Chautauqua Prize, is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a family tragedy and returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When World War One comes, Jozef joins his adopted brother as a sharpshooter in the Kaiser’s army, surviving a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy. A stirring tale of brotherhood, coming-of-age, and survival, that was inspired by the author’s own family history, this novel evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amidst the unfolding tragedy in Europe.
This book tells the human story behind the book THINKING FAST AND SLOW and the experiments that led to the emergence of behavior economics. It is filled with interesting factoids and insights into scientific collaboration between these two Israeli scientists. Some fascinating stories about the Yom Kippur war and the Israeli army are a bonus.
Amazon.com description (edited): Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms. The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield―both had important careers in the Israeli military―and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind’s view of its own mind.
It is a beautifully written story of two young people during WWII. One is a German boy who loves radios and the other is a blind young Frenchwoman who flees from Paris to the northern coastal town of St. Malo where the Nazis try to hold out against the Allies who bomb the town ‘round the clock. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2015. It is a story of many forms of love and courage.
Amazon.com description (edited): From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.