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Malcolm Gladwell's Bookcase

Malcolm Timothy Gladwell, CM (born September 3, 1963) is an English-born Canadian journalist, bestselling author, and speaker. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996. He has written five books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009), a collection of his journalism, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (2013). All five books were on The New York Times Best Seller list.

Photo by: Kris Krüg

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Facing the Challenges of Prisoner Re-entry

As our justice system has embarked upon one of the greatest social experiments of our time-the expansive use of prisons as our response to crime-we have forgotten the iron law of imprisonment: they all come back. In 2002 alone, more than 630,000 individuals left federal and state prisons-compared with the 150,000 who made a similar journey 30 years ago. Sadly, in the intense political debate over America's punishment policies, the impact of these returning prisoners on families and communities has been largely overlooked. In But They All Come Back, Jeremy Travis continues his pioneering work on prisoner reentry. He describes the new realities of punishment in America and explores the nexus of returning prisoners with seven policy domains: public safety, families and children, work, housing, public health, civic identity, and community capacity. Travis proposes a new architecture for our criminal justice system, organized around five principles of reentry, that will encourage change and spur innovation. It is a Herculean synthesis and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in prisoner reentry and social justice

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

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A Novel

A return to the form that launched Iain Pears onto bestseller lists around the world: a vast historical mystery, marvelous in its ambition and ingenius in its complexity.

In his most dazzling novel since the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents.

A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone’s Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.

Chronologically, it moves backwards–from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890, and finally to Venice in 1867– and in the process the quest to uncover the truth plays out against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe’s first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century’s arms race.

Like Fingerpost, Stone’s Fall is an intricately plotted and richly satisfying puzzle–an erudite work of history and fiction that feels utterly true and oddly timely–and marks the triumphant return of one of the world’s great storytellers.

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The Younger Brothers Story

In the lore of the Wild West, the Younger brothers have been glorified as heroes and outlaws. Like Jesse and Frank James, with whom the Youngers once rode, these men are remembered for bank robberies, the Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid, and their hooliganism. Ride the Razor's Edge dramatically describes their adventures, while also placing their actions in the wider perspective of the times in which they lived. The story tracks the deeds and misdeeds of Cole Younger and his brothers James, John, and Bob, and tells the story of a troubled state during the late 1800s. From their Civil War battles against the Union with William Quantrill and his band of guerrillas, to the raid in Lawrence, Kansas, to their first bank robbery in Liberty, Missouri, the Youngers were both heroes and foes of their state. Using family records, personal letters, and interviews with a nephew of the Youngers, author Carl W. Breihan lends credence to the captivating legends of these notorious brothers, making this story an enthralling and entertaining one. This is a tale of struggles--with the Union armies, Kansas Jayhawks, and personal ideals. Breihan's account continues through Cole's and James's years in a Minnesota prison to Cole Younger's fight to adapt to life after his pardon.

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Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

Freakonomics lived on the New York Times bestseller list for an astonishing two years. Now authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with more iconoclastic insights and observations in SuperFreakonomics—the long awaited follow-up to their New York Times Notable blockbuster. Based on revolutionary research and original studies SuperFreakonomics promises to once again challenge our view of the way the world really works.

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Reflections on the Celebration of Violence

From the one-of-kind mind of Bill James, famous for revolutionizing the way we think about baseball, comes a “thought-provoking meditation” (Seattle Times) and epic tour through American crime—now available in paperback.

The man who revolutionized the way we think about baseball examines our cultural obsession with murder—delivering a unique, engrossing, brilliant history of tabloid crime in America.

Celebrated writer and contrarian Bill James has voraciously read true crime throughout his life and has been interested in writing a book on the topic for decades. With Popular Crime, James takes readers on an epic journey from Lizzie Borden to the Lindbergh baby, from the Black Dahlia to O. J. Simpson, explaining how crimes have been committed, investigated, prosecuted and written about, and how that has profoundly influenced our culture over the last few centuries—even if we haven’t always taken notice.

Exploring such phenomena as serial murder, the fluctuation of crime rates, the value of evidence, radicalism and crime, prison reform and the hidden ways in which crimes have shaped, or reflected, our society, James chronicles murder and misdeeds from the 1600s to the present day. James pays particular attention to crimes that were sensations during their time but have faded into obscurity, as well as still-famous cases, some that have never been solved, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Satisfyingly sprawling and tremendously entertaining, Popular Crime is a professed amateur’s powerful examination of the incredible impact crime stories have on our society, culture and history.

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Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States

"Dr. Nelli . . . describes the kinds of crime that prevailed in Italian immigrant enclaves in America; like most American crime, then as now, Italian crime was one aspect of the so-called culture of urban poverty—boys graduated from street gangs to criminal gangs. None of these gangs were very big until Prohibition brought the Great Leap Forward, to a level that Dr. Nelli calls 'entrepreneurial crime.' His fine account makes sense of many murderous incidents, differentiates among places, and sketches individuals and the talents (Torrio's brains, Capone's brutality) that enabled them to rise in the underworld."—New Yorker

"A definitive history of organized crime in America."—American Historical Review

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“Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.” —Michael R. Bloomberg

“This book ought to chill any executive who feels bulletproof —and inspire entrepreneurs aiming their guns.” —Forbes

The Innovator’s Dilemma is the revolutionary business book that has forever changed corporate America. Based on a truly radical idea—that great companies can fail precisely because they do everything right—this Wall Street Journal, Business Week and New York Times Business bestseller is one of the most provocative and important business books ever written. Entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs ignore its wisdom and its warnings at their great peril.

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The Rise of America's Prison Empire

In the prison business, all roads lead to Texas. A pioneer in criminal justice severity―from assembly-line executions to supermax isolation, from mandatory sentencing to prison privatization―Texas is the most locked-down state in the most incarcerated country in the world. Texas Tough, a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, explains how a plantation-based penal system once dismissed as barbaric became a template for the nation.

Drawing on the individual stories as well as authoritative research, Texas Tough reveals the true origins of America's prison juggernaut and points toward a more just and humane future.

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Stickups and Street Culture

One of the most feared crimes among urban dwellers, armed robbery poses a serious risk of injury or death, and presents daunting challenges for law enforcement. Yet little is known about the complex factors that motivate assailants who use a weapon to take property by force or threat of force.

Armed Robbers in Action is not like previous studies that focus on the often distorted accounts of incarcerated offenders. Richard T. Wright and Scott H. Decker conducted dangerous, life-threatening field research on the streets of St. Louis to obtain more forthright responses from robbers about their motives and methods. They also visited several crime scenes to examine how situational and spatial features of the setting contributed to the offense. Quoting extensively from their conversations with the offenders, the authors consider the circumstances underlying the decision to commit an armed robbery, explore how and why targets are chosen, and detail the various tactics used in a hold-up.

By analyzing the criminals' candid perspectives on their actions and their social environment, the authors provide a fuller understanding of armed robbery. They conclude with an insightful discussion of the implications of their findings for crime prevention policy.

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Punishment and the Myth of Free Markets

It is widely believed today that the free market is the best mechanism ever invented to efficiently allocate resources in society. Just as fundamental as faith in the free market is the belief that government has a legitimate and competent role in policing and the punishment arena. This curious incendiary combination of free market efficiency and the Big Brother state has become seemingly obvious, but it hinges on the illusion of a supposedly natural order in the economic realm. The Illusion of Free Markets argues that our faith in “free markets” has severely distorted American politics and punishment practices.

Bernard Harcourt traces the birth of the idea of natural order to eighteenth-century economic thought and reveals its gradual evolution through the Chicago School of economics and ultimately into today’s myth of the free market. The modern category of “liberty” emerged in reaction to an earlier, integrated vision of punishment and public economy, known in the eighteenth century as “police.” This development shaped the dominant belief today that competitive markets are inherently efficient and should be sharply demarcated from a government-run penal sphere.

This modern vision rests on a simple but devastating illusion. Superimposing the political categories of “freedom” or “discipline” on forms of market organization has the unfortunate effect of obscuring rather than enlightening. It obscures by making both the free market and the prison system seem natural and necessary. In the process, it facilitated the birth of the penitentiary system in the nineteenth century and its ultimate culmination into mass incarceration today.

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The Hidden Role of Chance

Fooled by Randomness is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are The Black Swan, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes.

Now in a striking new hardcover edition, Fooled by Randomness is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. Nassim Nicholas Taleb–veteran trader, renowned risk expert, polymathic scholar, erudite raconteur, and New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan–has written a modern classic that turns on its head what we believe about luck and skill.

This book is about luck–or more precisely, about how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill–the world of trading–Fooled by Randomness provides captivating insight into one of the least understood factors in all our lives. Writing in an entertaining narrative style, the author tackles major intellectual issues related to the underestimation of the influence of happenstance on our lives.

The book is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: the baseball legend Yogi Berra; the philosopher of knowledge Karl Popper; the ancient world’s wisest man, Solon; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Odysseus. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.

However, the most recognizable character of all remains unnamed–the lucky fool who happens to be in the right place at the right time–he embodies the “survival of the least fit.” Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru’s insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained by chance.

Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover nonexistent messages in random events? It may be impossible to guard ourselves against the vagaries of the goddess Fortuna, but after reading Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.

PRAISE FOR FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS:

Named by Fortune One of the Smartest Books of All Time

A Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year

“[Fooled by Randomness] is to conventional Wall Street wisdom approximately what Martin Luther’s ninety-five theses were to the Catholic Church.” –Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink

“The book that rolled down Wall Street like a hand grenade.” –Maggie Mahar, author of Bull! A History of the Boom, 1982—1999

“Fascinating . . . Taleb will grab you.” –Peter L. Bernstein, author of Capital Ideas Evolving

“Recalls the best of scientist/essayists like Richard Dawkins . . . and Stephen Jay Gould.” –Michael Schrage, author of Serious Play: How the World’s Best Companies Simulate to Innovate

“We need a book like this. . . . Fun to read, refreshingly independent-minded.” –Robert J. Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance

“Powerful . . . loaded with crackling little insights [and] extreme brilliance.” –National Review

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The Story of Success

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?

His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band.

Brilliant and entertaining, Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

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What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from The New Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head." What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.

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