P.K. is our fearless leader and owner of the Towne Book Center and Cafe. He most enjoys history, biography and business books.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - The riveting, tick-tock account of the largest manmade explosion in history prior to the atomic bomb, and the equally astonishing tales of survival and heroism that emerged from the ashes, from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author John U. Bacon
After steaming out of New York City on December 1, 1917, laden with a staggering three thousand tons of TNT and other explosives, the munitions ship Mont-Blanc fought its way up the Atlantic coast, through waters prowled by enemy U-boats. As it approached the lively port city of Halifax, Mont-Blanc's deadly cargo erupted with the force of 2.9 kilotons of TNT--the most powerful explosion ever visited on a human population, save for HIroshima and Nagasaki. Mont-Blanc was vaporized in one fifteenth of a second; a shockwave leveled the surrounding city. Next came a thirty-five-foot tsunami. Most astounding of all, however, were the incredible tales of survival and heroism that soon emerged from the rubble.
This is the unforgettable story told in John U. Bacon's The Great Halifax Explosion a ticktock account of fateful decisions that led to doom, the human faces of the blast's 11,000 casualties, and the equally moving individual stories of those who lived and selflessly threw themselves into urgent rescue work that saved thousands.
The shocking scale of the disaster stunned the world, dominating global headlines even amid the calamity of the First World War. Hours after the blast, Boston sent trains and ships filled with doctors, medicine, and money. The explosion would revolutionize pediatric medicine; transform U.S.-Canadian relations; and provide physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who studied the Halifax explosion closely when developing the atomic bomb, with history's only real-world case study demonstrating the lethal power of a weapon of mass destruction.
Mesmerizing and inspiring, Bacon's deeply-researched narrative brings to life the tragedy, brvery, and surprising afterlife of one of the most dramatic events of modern times.
New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs undergoes a hilarious, heartfelt quest to understand what constitutes family--where it begins and how far it goes--and attempts to untangle the true meaning of the "Family of Humankind."
A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: "You don't know me, but I'm your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database."
That's enough family members to fill Madison Square Garden four times over. Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them? So began Jacobs's three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history.
Jacobs's journey would take him to all seven continents. He drank beer with a US president, found himself singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. After all, we can choose our friends, but not our family.
"Whether he's posing as a celebrity, outsourcing his chores, or adhering strictly to the Bible, we love reading about the wacky lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs" (Entertainment Weekly). Now Jacobs upends, in ways both meaningful and hilarious, our understanding of genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. It's All Relative is a fascinating look at the bonds that connect us all.
Entrepreneur and bestselling author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries reveals how entrepreneurial principles can be used by businesses of all kinds, ranging from established companies to early-stage startups, to grow revenues, drive innovation, and transform themselves into truly modern organizations, poised to take advantage of the enormous opportunities of the twenty-first century.
In The Lean Startup, Eric Ries laid out the practices of successful startups - building a minimal viable product, customer-focused and scientific testing based on a build-measure-learn method of continuous innovation, and deciding whether to persevere or pivot. In The Startup Way, he turns his attention to an entirely new group of organizations: established enterprises like iconic multinationals GE and Toyota, tech titans like Amazon and Facebook, and the next generation of Silicon Valley upstarts like Airbnb and Twilio.
Drawing on his experiences over the past five years working with these organizations, as well as nonprofits, NGOs, and governments, Ries lays out a system of entrepreneurial management that leads organizations of all sizes and from every industry to sustainable growth and long-term impact. Filled with in-the-field stories, insights, and tools, The Startup Way is an essential road map for any organization navigating the uncertain waters of the century ahead.
A beloved folk singer presents an impassioned account of the fall and rise of the small American towns she cherishes
Dubbed by the New Yorker as "one of America's very best singer-songwriters," Dar Williams has made her career not in stadiums, but touring America's small towns. She has played their venues, composed in their coffee shops, and drunk in their bars. She has seen these communities struggle, but also seen them thrive in the face of postindustrial identity crises.
Here, Williams muses on why some towns flourish while others fail, examining elements from the significance of history and nature to the uniting power of public spaces and food. Drawing on her own travels and the work of urban theorists, Williams offers real solutions to rebuild declining communities.
What I Found in a Thousand Towns is more than a love letter to America's small towns, it's a deeply personal and hopeful message about the potential of America's lively and resilient communities.
The latest from Bill Ziegler and David Ramage, Future Focused Leaders, provides school leaders with practical, relevant, and useable strategies for immediate application that promote sustainable innovation in leadership. Organized by three main overviews--Relate, Innovate, and Invigorate--each chapter ends with action steps for school leaders to take in order to strengthen their overall leadership abilities.
A revised and updated edition of the acclaimed Wall Street Journal bestseller that explores why some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams while others amplify it to produce better results.
We've all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drains intelligence, energy, and capability from the people around them and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, light bulbs go off over people's heads; ideas flow and problems get solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now when leaders are expected to do more with less.
In this engaging and highly practical book, leadership expert Liz Wiseman explores these two leadership styles, persuasively showing how Multipliers can have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations--getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talent, and cultivating new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation.
In analyzing data from more than 150 leaders, Wiseman has identified five disciplines that distinguish Multipliers from Diminishers. These five disciplines are not based on innate talent; indeed, they are skills and practices that everyone can learn to use--even lifelong and recalcitrant Diminishers. Lively, real-world case studies and practical tips and techniques bring to life each of these principles, showing you how to become a Multiplier too, whether you are a new or an experienced manager. This revered classic has been updated with new examples of Multipliers, as well as two new chapters one on accidental Diminishers, and one on how to deal with Diminishers.
Just imagine what you could accomplish if you could harness all the energy and intelligence around you. Multipliers will show you how.
Serial meets Ruth Ware's In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case--and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim's daughter.
The only thing more dangerous than a lie...is the truth.
Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family's reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie's closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that's where she intends to stay.
The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past--starting with her last name.
When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie's father's murder, Josie's world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie's long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past--and the lies on which she has staked her future.
An extraordinary portrait of the fastest-growing city in the world--and the rise of a new global elite
Since the opening up of India's economy in 1991, wealth has poured into the country, and especially into Delhi. Capital bears witness to the astonishing metamorphosis of India's capital city, charting its emergence from a rural backwater to the center of India's new elites. No other place on earth better embodies the breakneck, radically disruptive nature of the global economy's growth over the past twenty years. In a series of extraordinary meetings with a wide swath of the population--from Delhi's forgotten poor to its rich tech entrepreneurs-- Commonwealth Writers' Prize winner Rana Dasgupta presents an intimate portrait of the people living, suffering, and striving for more in this tumultuous city of extremes, as well as an uncanny glimpse of our shared global future.
From an author of rare, haunting power, a stunning novel about a young African-American woman coming of age--a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, family, and country
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother's childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor--someone, or something, to love.
In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi's life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman's understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.
In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle--a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
In this new edition, Thomas L. Friedman includes fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. Weaving new information into his overall thesis, and answering the questions he has been most frequently asked by parents across the country, this third edition also includes two new chapters--on how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur in a flat world; and on the more troubling question of how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers and public figures.
At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.
Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.
Award-winning BBC journalist John Sweeney is one of the few foreign journalists to have witnessed the devastating reality of life in the controversial and isolated nation of North Korea, having entered the country undercover, posing as a university professor with a group of students from the London School of Economics Huge factories with no staff or electricity; hospitals with no patients; uniformed child soldiers; and the world-famous and eerily empty DMZ the DeMilitarized Zone, where North Korea ends and South Korea begins all framed by the relentless flow of regime propaganda from omnipresent loudspeakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent Drawing on his own experiences and his extensive interviews with defectors and other key witnesses, Sweeney'sNorth Korea Undercover pulls back the curtain, providing a rare insight into life there today, examining the country's troubled history and addressing important questions about its uncertain future.
Groundbreaking and comprehensive, "Driven to Distraction "has been a lifeline to the approximately eighteen million Americans who are thought to have ADHD. Now the bestselling book is revised and updated with current medical information for a new generation searching for answers.
Through vivid stories and case histories of patients both adults and children Hallowell and Ratey explore the varied forms ADHD takes, from hyperactivity to daydreaming. They dispel common myths, offer helpful coping tools, and give a thorough accounting of all treatment options as well as tips for dealing with a diagnosed child, partner, or family member. But most importantly, they focus on the positives that can come with this disorder including high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm.
Tom Friedman is one of the country's leading and most recognized opinion writers, with a record of multiple best-selling books, successful TV documentaries, and regular speaking engagements around the world. When President Obama wanted to discuss the Iran deal, his chosen format was a video interview with Friedman.
Friedman's last two books focused on environmental change and the decline of manufacturing. "Thank You For Being Late" takes a much wider view, connecting farflung and unfamiliar dots to give readers a new picture of their world, much as "The World Is Flat" did in its day.
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago's early work, Michel Faber's cult classic "Under the Skin," and Lionel Shriver's "We Need to Talk about Kevin," "I m Thinking of Ending Things" is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page and never lets you go.
One of the most thought-provoking books ever written about the Middle East, "From Beirut to Jerusalem" remains vital to our understanding of this complex and volatile region of the world. Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman drew upon his ten years of experience reporting from Lebanon and Israel to write this now-classic work of journalism. In a new afterword, he updates his journey with a fresh discussion of the Arab Awakenings and how they are transforming the area, and a new look at relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Israelis and Israelis. Rich with anecdote, history, analysis, and autobiography, "From Beirut to Jerusalem "will continue to shape how we see the Middle East for many years to come.
Shaped by his twenty-five years traveling the world, and enlivened by encounters with villagers from Rio to Beijing, tycoons, and presidents, Ruchir Sharma’s The Rise and Fall of Nations rethinks the "dismal science" of economics as a practical art. Narrowing the thousands of factors that can shape a country’s fortunes to ten clear rules, Sharma explains how to spot political, economic, and social changes in real time. He shows how to read political headlines, black markets, the price of onions, and billionaire rankings as signals of booms, busts, and protests. Set in a post-crisis age that has turned the world upside down, replacing fast growth with slow growth and political calm with revolt, Sharma’s pioneering book is an entertaining field guide to understanding change in this era or any era.
Surprising and erudite, eloquent and witty, When to Rob a Bank demonstrates the brilliance that has made the Freakonomics guys an international sensation, with more than 7 million books sold in 40 languages, and 200 million downloads of their Freakonomics Radio podcast.
When to Rob a Bank is Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner s curated collection from the most readable economics blog in the universe. Drawn from 10 years of entries on Freakonomics.com, where they employ a style that is more casual, more personal, and more outlandish than in their books, they answer such questions as: Why don't flight attendants get tipped? If you were a terrorist, how would you attack? And why does KFC always run out of fried chicken?
You'll discover: What people lie about, and why the best way to cut gun deaths, why it might be time for a sex tax, and yes, when to rob a bank (Short answer: never; the R.O.I. is terrible)
You'll also learn a great deal about Levitt and Dubner's own quirks and passions, from gambling and golf to backgammon and the abolition of the penny.
The #1 "New York Times" bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly Wilbur and Orville Wright.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.
In this enjoyable, fast-paced tale ("The Economist"), master historian David McCullough shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly ("The Washington Post) "and captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished ("The Wall Street Journal"). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished "The Wright Brothers" soars ("The New York Times Book Review")."
As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they didn't get in life. The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who give so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.
When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon beover. Instead, Washington rallied thanks in largepart to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring.
Washington realized that he couldn t beat theBritish with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members identities that one spy s name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring sactivities to piece together evidence that these six individuals turned the tide of the war.
In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, the unexpected apex of a personal journey from small-town South Carolina to prestigious academic appointments and finally public service in Washington s halls of power.
There would be no time to celebrate.
The bursting of a housing bubble in 2007 exposed the hidden vulnerabilities of the global financial system, bringing it to the brink of meltdown. From the implosion of the investment bank Bear Stearns to the unprecedented bailout of insurance giant AIG, efforts to arrest the financial contagion consumed Bernanke and his team at the Fed. Around the clock, they fought the crisis with every tool at their disposal to keep the United States and world economies afloat.
The Sociology Book" takes on some of humankind's biggest questions: What is society? What makes it tick? Why do we interact in the way that we do with our friends, coworkers, and rivals?
What drug lords learned from big business
How does a budding cartel boss succeed (and survive) in the $300 billion illegal drug business? By learning from the best, of course. From creating brand value to fine-tuning customer service, the folks running cartels have been attentive students of the strategy and tactics used by corporations such as Walmart, McDonald s, and Coca-Cola.
And what can government learn to combat this scourge? By analyzing the cartels as companies, law enforcers might better understand how they work and stop throwing away $100 billion a year in a futile effort to win the war against this global, highly organized business.
Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.
Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments.
A sparkling debut combining the charming pluck of Eloise, the poignant psychological quirks of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and the page-turning spirit of Where d You Go, Bernadette.
Reclusive literary legend M. M. Mimi Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years, but now she s writing her first book in decades and to ensure timely completion her publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress.