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His medium is comics, but a lot of the rules are applicable to other formats and it's hard to imagine a book this curious or this well written about them. He writes with a raw honesty that manages to be both politically biting and hilarious. This book tells the story of how, after playing professional basketball in Inner Mongolia, he met up with co-founder Mark Ames and started an independent newspaper that danced in the flames of Russia's dying society.

The result is a strange and incredible book: stories of seedy dive bars full of drugged-up loose women, intermixed with incredible feats of investigative journalism into the oligarchs dragging Russia down—without any change in tone. It's wonderful. Nobody knows how to take a book and skewer it like Didion. The New York Review of Books pieces reprinted in here are simply some of the best eviscerations of any genre.

It's hard to imagine how people can walk after a review like that. Now, in Nixonland , he examines the turmoil of the s with fresh eyes and the perfidy of the Nixon administration with new depth. I read the book as he was writing it and sent comments—apparently I was the first outside his home to finish it—and the final version hasn't been published. But do be sure to pick it up as soon as it is. Math, mafiosi, movies. The book's editorial line is a bit marred by the inability of the author a B-School prof and manager to reconcile his belief that management power is unjust and that it is necessary.

But solid history and good takedowns of some important figures.

The Tall and Short of It | Parents

Edmund Wilson was the incredible writer you'd expect and this is his masterpiece. Everyone should know about con men. The BBC's Hustle is obviously a television adaptation of the book. I ended up coping by reading every piece of nonfiction he'd ever published. He was a brilliant, tortured man and I see so much of myself in him. His nonfiction was fantastic and I will consider my life a success if I can do half of what he did. But after that it gets much better and the interplay of animal and human stories is a lot of fun.

I've been reading it to the five-year-old, who loves animal stories of all sorts, and she just laps it up. I skip the incredibly dark parts, of course.

The Takeaway

Go read it. Right now.

They use more energy to cover the same distance as people with longer legs, study finds

Yes, I know it's long, but trust me, you'll wish it was longer. I think it may be simply the best nonfiction book. Whyte If Feynman was a sociologist, this is probably the book he'd write. A delightful little thing. Everyone has their own crazy theories about why it is that blacks are disadvantaged in our society. Massey and Denton show it's much more obvious than any of that: they're victims of extreme segregation, with all the negative effects that entails. An absolutely brilliant book. I'm not even sure how to describe it, except to say that it turns one's understanding of history completely upside down.

Bat Boy: The Musical If you ever get a chance, go see it. It's the greatest musical ever. Bad Samaritan s by Ha-joon Chang The best introduction to the real issues of globalization and international development.


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Cohen I really enjoyed this book. It starts with a simple thought experiment: imagine you had a long-lost identical twin who grew up in a conservative home and became a conservative. You, by contrast, grew up in a liberal home and became a liberal. Wouldn't meeting him make you question your beliefs?

And thus, shouldn't the possibility that you could meet him make you question your beliefs? I'm not totally convinced by this; my beliefs are much more shaken by converts—people who were strong believers in X but converted to believing in Y. From this, Cohen heads to a reminiscence of his own upbringing, which I found especially touching, perhaps because he has the identity I wish I had: a Canadian communist in an antireligious Yiddish- speaking home Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg A fantastic book.

Ellsberg turns out to be an incredible writer and he tells not only his own incredible story of the ght to release the Pentagon Papers did you know the New York Times actually stole them from his house? Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart I occasionally have this fantasy, while reading the news, that whatever person I'm reading about has been red and, through some miraculous uke, I have been given their job. Would I make a hash of it? Or, would my naive mind and outsider's expertise allow me to do it in a fascinating new way?

In this book, Rory Stewart describes what happened when he was made a colonial governor of a province in Iraq. Brilliant fellow that he is, he does a remarkably good job all things considered, but also writes a questioning, soul-searching, fascinating book about the experience that highlights what an impossible task it really is. False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy by Dean Baker A short, clear book on why the economy failed, who did it, and how to set it right by someone who was absolutely right about it all along.

If you only want to read one book about the economic crisis, this would be an excellent choice. It was before he really came off his neoliberal high, but after he learned to write, so while they're not always right, they're almost always delightful and Slate gave him a lot more freedom to be playful than the Times does.


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  • A very fun book about a wide range of issues in economics Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman Absolutely fantastic. I went through a stage in my life when I thought that being born with this condition was not fair.

    I would question. I was blessed with a loving and supporting family and wonderful friends who encouraged me to seize every opportunity to live a full and normal life. For me, fairness is an important ingredient that can make your life be better and more fulfilled.


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    • Being fair is one of the most important characteristics of being a kind and caring person, and is key to making the world a more peaceful and friendlier place. When people are not treated fairly, they can become jealous and angry. Many wars have started because people felt like they were not being treated fairly! I have a huge passion for sport and when I was in school, playing sport was tough for me because I had to compete against stronger, faster and bigger boys but I was always determined to play to the best of my ability, even though I knew it would be hard.

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      Living Large

      My dream was to play cricket for my school and be part of an awesome team. To me, this decision was extremely unfair because all I wanted, was to play cricket, just like everyone else. I was shattered when he told me this because that meant that I would not be able to achieve my dream. I still trained and went to every practice even though I knew there was no chance of being included in the team for matches.

      He draws upon his own experience; interviews with others; and biographies of short, successful astronauts, artists, and politicians to show that while size matters, it doesn't determine a person's future. Interviews with a variety of experts are included, and the author does an excellent job of clarifying complicated statistics.

      His message is that height is determined by factors that no individual can control. The book emphasizes that self-esteem is important to success, and attempts to explode the stereotypes and myths that society holds about short people. The book's conversational tone is engaging and flows smoothly…Although the book is focused on height, there are parallels drawn with other body and self-image issues, giving readers of any size much food for thought.

      He lives in New Jersey, and has a wife and three kids.

      Are Tall People Smarter?

      He's shorter than all of them.