The essays in the book are wide-ranging, covering topics of interest for sports fans who enjoy the NFL and NASCAR as well as those who like tennis and watching the Olympics. Many topics feature information about specific sports icons and favorite heroes. Additionally, many of the topics' treatments prompt engagement by purposely challenging the reader to either agree or disagree with the author's analysis.
Chapters on Everyday America and the World of Youth describe the important changes in American society, from Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs, to latch-key kids, to Black Monday. The following ten chapters explore the many aspects of popular culture-everything from advertising to fashion, literature to music, travel to the visual arts-that influenced Americans in the eighties. Supplemental resources include a timeline of important events, an extensive bibliography for further reading and a subject index.
In Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel, Bob Batchelor explores the birth, life, and enduring influence of The Great Gatsby—from the book’s publication in 1925 through today’s headlines filled with celebrity intrigue, corporate greed, and a roller-coaster economy. A cultural historian, Batchelor explains why and how the novel has become part of the fiber of the American ethos and an important tool in helping readers to better comprehend their lives and the broader world around them.
A “biography” of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, this book examines The Great Gatsby’s evolution from a nearly-forgotten 1920s time capsule to a revered cultural touchstone. Batchelor explores how this embodiment of the American Dream has become an iconic part of our national folklore, how the central themes and ideas emerging from the book—from the fulfillment of the American Dream to the role of wealth in society—resonate with contemporary readers who struggle with similar uncertainties today. By exploring the timeless elements of reinvention, romanticism, and relentless pursuit of the unattainable, Batchelor confirms the novel’s status as “The Great American Novel” and, more importantly, explains to students, scholars, and fans alike what makes Gatsby so great.
In Heroines of Film and Television: Portrayals in Popular Culture, award-winning authors from a variety of disciplines examine the changing roles of heroic women across time. In this volume, editors Norma Jones, Maja Bajac-Carter, and Bob Batchelor have assembled a collection of essays that broaden our understanding of how heroines are portrayed across media, offering readers new ways to understand, perceive, and think about women. Contributors bring fresh readings to popular films and television shows such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kill Bill, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Weeds, Mad Men, and Star Trek.
The representations and interpretations of these heroines are important reflections of popular culture that simultaneously empower and constrain real life women. These essays help readers gain a more complete understanding of female heroes, especially as related to race, gender, power, and culture. A companion volume to Heroines of Comic Books and Literature, this collection will appeal to academics and broader audiences that are interested in women in popular culture.
This work examines the musician's life and career by placing him in the context of contemporary American history and culture. Dylan's music and lyrics are at the center of the analysis, while attention is also paid to how his image transformed as he moved from being the "voice of a generation" during the 1960s to becoming a bonafide rock and roll icon. Readers will appreciate the book for its in-depth, scholarly coverage that remains readable and engaging, and gain a full appreciation for Dylan's place in American history and cultural evolution.
Chapters inside the latest volume in the American Popular Culture Through History series explore various aspects of popular culture, including advertising, literature, leisure activities, music visual arts, and travel. Supplemental resources include a timeline of important events, cost comparisons, and an extensive bibliography for further reading.
In Heroines of Comic Books and Literature: Portrayals in Popular Culture, editors Maja Bajac-Carter, Norma Jones, and Bob Batchelor have selected essays by award-winning contributors that offer a variety of perspectives on the representations of heroines in today’s society. Focused on printed media, this collection looks at heroic women depicted in literature, graphic novels, manga, and comic books. Addressing heroines from such sources as the Marvel and DC comic universes, manga, and the Twilight novels, contributors go beyond the account of women as mothers, wives, warriors, goddesses, and damsels in distress.
These engaging and important essays situate heroines within culture, revealing them as tough and self-sufficient females who often break the bounds of gender expectations in places readers may not expect. Analyzing how women are and have been represented in print, this companion volume to Heroines of Film and Television will appeal to scholars of literature, rhetoric, and media as well as to broader audiences that are interested in portrayals of women in popular culture.
Michael Chabon’s America: Magical Words, Secret Worlds, and Sacred Spaces is the first scholarly collection of essays analyzing the work of the acclaimed author. This book demonstrates how Chabon uses a broad range of styles and genres, including detective and comic book fiction, to define the American experience. These essays assess and analyze Chabon’s complete oeuvre, demonstrating his deep connection to the contemporary world and his place as a literary force.
Providing a context for understanding the author’s work from cultural, historical, and stylistic perspectives, Michael Chabon’s America is a valuable study of a celebrated author whose work deserves close examination.
In Aging Heroes: Growing Old in Popular Culture, Norma Jones and Bob Batchelor present a collection of essays that address the increasing presence of characters that simultaneously manifest and challenge the accepted stereotypes of aging. The contributors to this volume explore representations in television programs, comic books, theater, and other forms of media. The chapters include examinations of aging male and female actors who take on leading roles in such movies as Gran Torino, Grudge Match, Escape Plan, Space Cowboys, Taken, and The Big Lebowski as well as TheExpendables, Red, and X-Men franchises. Other chapters address perceptions of masculinity, sexuality, gender, and race as manifested by such cultural icons as Superman, Wonder Woman, Danny Trejo, Helen Mirren, Betty White, Liberace, and Tyler Perry’s Madea.
With multi-disciplinary and accessible essays that encompass the expanding spectrum of aging and related stereotypes, this book offers a broader range of new ways to understand, perceive, and think about aging. Aging Heroes will be of interest to scholars of film, television, gender studies, women’s studies, sociology, aging studies, and media studies, as well as to general readers.
In Mad Men: A Cultural History, M. Keith Booker and Bob Batchelor offer an engaging analysis of the series, providing in-depth examinations of its many themes and nostalgic portrayals of the years from Camelot to Vietnam and beyond. Highly regarded cultural scholars and critics, Booker and Batchelor examine the show in its entirety, presenting readers with a deep but accessible exploration of the series, as well as look at its larger meanings and implications. This cultural history perspective reveals Mad Men’s critical importance as a TV series, as well as its role as a tool for helping viewers understand how they are shaped by history and culture.
As a showcase in America’s new “golden age of television,” Mad Men reveals the deep hold history and nostalgia have on viewers, particularly when combined with stunning visuals and intricate writing and storylines. With this volume as their guide, readers will enjoy contemplating the show’s place among the most lauded popular culture touchstones of the twenty-first century. As it engages with ideas central to the American experience—from the evolution of gender roles to family dynamics and workplace relationships—Mad Men: A Cultural History brings to life the significance of this profound yet entertaining series.
The collection spotlights the most important advertising campaigns, brands, and companies in American history, from the late 1800s to modern day. Each fact-driven essay provides insight and in-depth analysis that general readers will find fascinating as well as historical details and contextual nuance students and researchers will greatly appreciate. These volumes demonstrate why advertising is absolutely necessary, not only for companies behind the messaging, but also in defining what it means to be an American.
Organized by subject, the collection enables readers to focus on a given topic or compare different subjects across cult phenomenon. Volume One of the set covers film and television topics, Volume Two examines music and literature, and Volume Three explores sports, clubs, and the cult industry. Through this investigation of sublime, transcendent, and idiosyncratic trends, readers will learn more about iconic individuals, topics, and subjects that form the vast underbelly of American culture. By revealing how tightly interwoven cult topics are with the public's broader notion of popular culture, the collection underscores the blurry line between normal and abnormal, grandiose and degradation.
Providing an exciting picture of American life at the dawn of the 20th century, this volume covers:
- Innovations in technology, such as the airplane and the automobile
-The advent of modern architecture
-The proliferation of advertising aimed at the new middle class
-Fads, games, sports, and hobbies
-Changes in fashion and cuisine
This book also features the burgeoning of the arts, including the school of realism and naturalism in literature, the first truly American music-jazz-and the new performing art that played to American tastes: vaudeville. A wealth of facts, information, and interesting sidelights not available elsewhere makes this a treasure trove for students and interested readers.
Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:First, put away your moral compass—because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it. Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to. Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions. Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world. Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day. Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
From the actor who somehow lived through it all, a “sharply detailed…funny book about a cinematic comedy of errors” (The New York Times): the making of the cult film phenomenon The Room.
In 2003, an independent film called The Room—starring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Ten years later, it’s an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons.
Hailed by The Huffington Post as “possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed,” The Disaster Artist is the hilarious, behind-the-scenes story of a deliciously awful cinematic phenomenon as well as the story of an odd and inspiring Hollywood friendship. Greg Sestero, Tommy’s costar, recounts the film’s bizarre journey to infamy, explaining how the movie’s many nonsensical scenes and bits of dialogue came to be and unraveling the mystery of Tommy Wiseau himself. But more than just a riotously funny story about cinematic hubris, “The Disaster Artist is one of the most honest books about friendship I’ve read in years” (Los Angeles Times).
—Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think
"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
—George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics
—New York Times Book Review
Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?
In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
In his international bestseller The Game, Neil Strauss delved into the secret world of pick-up artists—men who have created a science out of the art of seduction. Not only did he reveal the techniques that they had developed, but he became a master of The Game, and the world's No. 1 PUA, as Style.
Now, in this bestselling companion, Strauss reduces three books of life-changing knowledge into a single-volume set. The first book, The Stylelife Challenge, breaks down the knowledge he learned and techniques he invented into simple step-by-step instructions that anyone can follow to meet and land the women of their dreams.
In the second book, Strauss takes readers into the dark side of The Game. The Style Diaries offers a series of tales of seduction and sexual (mis)adventure. From accidentally getting married during a drunken night in Reykjavik, to luring a famous musician's granddaughter into a threesome; to the stress and frustration of the torturous and highly unorthodox "30 Day Sex Experiment," The Style Diaries takes you further into the seduction underworld than ever before. Finally, in the all-new, updated third volume, Strauss collects the greatest, most powerful, field-tested, word-for-word routines.
You don't need money, looks, or fame to succeed with women. All you need is an understanding of how attraction works—and this thirty-day workout program for your social skills, which has already guided countless men from frustration to fulfillment.
The RZA, the Abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan and hip-hop culture's most dynamic genius, imparts the lessons he's learned on the journey that's taken him from the Staten Island projects to international superstar, all along the way a devout student of knowledge in every form he's found it-on the streets, in religion, in martial arts, in chess, in popular culture. Part chronicle of an extraordinary life and part spiritual and philosophical discourse, The Tao of Wu is a nonfiction Siddhartha for the hip-hop generation-an engaging, seeking book that will enlighten, entertain, and inspire.
The legions of Wu-Tang fans are accustomed to this heady mix-their obsession with the band's puzzlelike lyrics and elaborate mythology has propelled the group through fifteen years of dazzling, multiplatform success. In his 2005 bestseller The Wu-Tang Manual, the RZA provided the barest glimpse of how that mythology worked. In The Tao of Wu, he takes us deep inside the complex sense of wisdom and spirituality that has been at the core of his commercial and creative success.
The book is built around major moments in the RZA's life when he was faced with a dramatic turning point, either bad (a potential prison sentence) or good (a record deal that could pull his family out of poverty), and the lessons he took from each experience. His points of view are always surprising and provocative, and reveal a profound, genuine, and abiding wisdom-consistently tempered with humor and peppered with unique, colloquial phraseology. It is a spiritual memoir as the world has never seen before, and will never see again.
This book gives readers an up-close and personal, behind-the-scenes look at the family in the exploding A&E® show—Duck Dynasty®. This Louisiana bayou family operates Duck Commander, a booming family business that has made them millions. You’ll hear all about the Robertson clan from Willie and what it was like growing up in the Robertson household. You’ll sample some of Willie’s favorite family recipes from Phil, Kay, and even some of his own concoctions; and you’ll get to know the beautiful Robertson women. You’ll hear from Korie about the joys and hardships of raising a family, running a business, and wrangling the Robertson men while staying fashionable and beautiful inside and out. Discover more about the family dynamics between brothers Willie, Jase, Jep, and parents Phil and Kay. You’ll even meet a fourth brother who isn’t in the show.
The popularity of Duck Dynasty is skyrocketing, garnering a Wednesday-night top two finish in all of cable. The book releases in time for season two of the show in October 2012.
Hailed by the New York Times as one of the most unexpectedly consistently popular bands on the rock charts, Five Finger Death Punch has become the new heavyweight champ of the metal scene. In this high-energy memoir, Jeremy Spencer, the band’s cofounder and drummer, takes us onstage and behind the scenes, on tour and into the studio to tell the band’s story and his own.
Death Punch’d is a detailed in-depth account of the group’s origins and influences, as well as the infighting and tensions that, when channeled properly, result in the music fans love. It is also the hard-charging, laugh-out-loud tale of how a mischievous boy rose from small-town Indiana to rock royalty—and how he nearly destroyed it all for a good time.
Told in his unique, self-deprecating voice, filled with his twisted and humorous take on living the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll dream turned nightmare, and including dozens of photos, Death Punch’d is a lively, no-holds-barred ride and an inspiring cautionary tale that offers lessons for us all.
“California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again.”
Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson’s vivid account of his experiences with California’s most notorious motorcycle gang, the Hell’s Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Angels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, “For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson’s book is a thoughtful piece of work.” As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell’s Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.
From the Hardcover edition.
'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.
'The terror of being found out.'
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.
From the Hardcover edition.
Fantasy football, fantasy baseball, fantasy basketball, even fantasy sumo wrestling: the world of fantasy sports is huge, and still growing. Today, more than 35 million people in the United States and Canada spend hours upon hours each week on their fantasy sports teams. And as the Senior Fantasy Sports Analyst for ESPN, Matthew Berry is on the front lines of what has grown from a niche subculture into a national pastime.
In his New York Times-bestselling Fantasy Life, Berry celebrates every aspect of the fantasy sports world. Brilliant trash talk. Unbelievable trophies. Insane draft day locations. Shake-your-head-in-disbelief punishments. Ingenious attempts at cheating. And surprisingly uplifting stories that remind us why we play these games in the first place.
Written with the same award-winning style that has made Berry one of the most popular columnists on ESPN.com, Fantasy Life is a book for both hard-core fantasy players and people who have never played before. Between tales of love and hate, birth and death, tattoos and furry animal costumes, the White House Situation Room and a 126-pound golden pelican, Matthew chronicles his journey from a fourteen-year-old fantasy player to the face of fantasy sports for the largest sports media company in the world.
Fantasy will save your life. Fantasy will set you free. And fantasy life is most definitely better than real life. You’ll see.
The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.
Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets and backstage stories.
With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.
MO' META BLUES
The World According to Questlove
Mo' Meta Blues is a punch-drunk memoir in which Everyone's Favorite Questlove tells his own story while tackling some of the lates, the greats, the fakes, the philosophers, the heavyweights, and the true originals of the music world. He digs deep into the album cuts of his life and unearths some pivotal moments in black art, hip hop, and pop culture.
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is many things: virtuoso drummer, producer, arranger, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader, DJ, composer, and tireless Tweeter. He is one of our most ubiquitous cultural tastemakers, and in this, his first book, he reveals his own formative experiences--from growing up in 1970s West Philly as the son of a 1950s doo-wop singer, to finding his own way through the music world and ultimately co-founding and rising up with the Roots, a.k.a., the last hip hop band on Earth. Mo' Meta Blues also has some (many) random (or not) musings about the state of hip hop, the state of music criticism, the state of statements, as well as a plethora of run-ins with celebrities, idols, and fellow artists, from Stevie Wonder to KISS to D'Angelo to Jay-Z to Dave Chappelle to...you ever seen Prince roller-skate?!?
But Mo' Meta Blues isn't just a memoir. It's a dialogue about the nature of memory and the idea of a post-modern black man saddled with some post-modern blues. It's a book that questions what a book like Mo' Meta Blues really is. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.
It's a rare gift that gives as well as takes.
It's a record that keeps going around and around.
A GoodReads Reader's Choice
In One Summer Bill Bryson, one of our greatest and most beloved nonfiction writers, transports readers on a journey back to one amazing season in American life.
The summer of 1927 began with one of the signature events of the twentieth century: on May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first man to cross the Atlantic by plane nonstop, and when he landed in Le Bourget airfield near Paris, he ignited an explosion of worldwide rapture and instantly became the most famous person on the planet. Meanwhile, the titanically talented Babe Ruth was beginning his assault on the home run record, which would culminate on September 30 with his sixtieth blast, one of the most resonant and durable records in sports history. In between those dates a Queens housewife named Ruth Snyder and her corset-salesman lover garroted her husband, leading to a murder trial that became a huge tabloid sensation. Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole in Newark, New Jersey, for twelve days—a new record. The American South was clobbered by unprecedented rain and by flooding of the Mississippi basin, a great human disaster, the relief efforts for which were guided by the uncannily able and insufferably pompous Herbert Hoover. Calvin Coolidge interrupted an already leisurely presidency for an even more relaxing three-month vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The gangster Al Capone tightened his grip on the illegal booze business through a gaudy and murderous reign of terror and municipal corruption. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed and forever changed the motion picture industry. The four most powerful central bankers on earth met in secret session on a Long Island estate and made a fateful decision that virtually guaranteed a future crash and depression.
All this and much, much more transpired in that epochal summer of 1927, and Bill Bryson captures its outsized personalities, exciting events, and occasional just plain weirdness with his trademark vividness, eye for telling detail, and delicious humor. In that year America stepped out onto the world stage as the main event, and One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Lisa, a seventeen-year-old from Queens, New York, found out she was pregnant, she knew she only had one choice—to keep the child and give him the best life she could. That baby was Terrence Jenkins, better known to the world as Terrence J. From hosting gigs on BET's 106 and Park and E! News to roles in some of Hollywood's biggest movies, Terrence J is living a life he could have only imagined when he was a young boy. But it was the lessons he learned from his mother that helped make him a man—lessons about sacrifice, courage, loyalty, dreams, and perseverance. Through her words and her actions, Lisa showed Terrence the right path.
From an early age Terrence's mother pushed him to succeed and led by example. Most important, she put her son first—even if it meant leaving behind the only life she had ever known in New York City in search of a safer environment for her son, having the drive to go back to school to learn a new skill, or having the courage to start her own business and build it from the ground up. Her drive eventually became Terrence's drive.
Inspirational, funny, current, and down-to-earth, The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom offers advice for a new generation. With stories, lessons, and advice from one of the top young names in Hollywood, along with input from some of his famous friends like Kevin Hart, Ludacris, T.I., Trey Songz, and Laz Alonso, Terrence J offers a positive, powerful message: with a strong family bond, the possibilities are endless.
When Freakonomics was first published, the authors started a blog—and they’ve kept it up. The writing is more casual, more personal, even more outlandish than in their books. In When to Rob a Bank, they ask a host of typically off-center questions: 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?
Over the past decade, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have published more than 8,000 blog posts on Freakonomics.com. Many of them, they freely admit, were rubbish. But now they’ve gone through and picked the best of the best. 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 ROI 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.
These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: Freakonomics.
Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they explore the hidden side of . . . well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan.
What unites all these stories is a belief that the modern world, despite a great deal of complexity and downright deceit, is not impenetrable, is not unknowable, and—if the right questions are asked—is even more intriguing than we think. All it takes is a new way of looking.
Freakonomics establishes this unconventional premise: If morality represents how we would like the world to work, then economics represents how it actually does work. It is true that readers of this book will be armed with enough riddles and stories to last a thousand cocktail parties. But Freakonomics can provide more than that. It will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.
Bonus material added to the revised and expanded 2006 editionThe original New York Times Magazine article about Steven D. Levitt by Stephen J. Dubner, which led to the creation of this book.Seven “Freakonomics” columns written for the New York Times Magazine, published between August 2005 and April 2006.Selected entries from the Freakonomics blog, posted between April 2005 and May 2006 at http://www.freakonomics.com/blog/.
For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson
He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.
This extraordinary biography—written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family—covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Henson's family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives, Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten-year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub.
An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose dealmaking prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing, his love of fast cars and expensive art, and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well founded.
An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.
Praise for Jim Henson
“Jim Henson vibrantly delves into the magnificent man and his Muppet methods: It’s an absolute must-read!”—Neil Patrick Harris
“An exhaustive work that is never exhausting, a credit both to Jones’s brisk style and to Henson’s exceptional life.”—The New York Times
“[A] sweeping portrait that is a mix of humor, mirth and poignancy.”—Washington Independent Review of Books
“A meticulously researched tome chock-full of gems about the Muppets and the most thorough portrait of their creator ever crafted.”—Associated Press
“Jim was one of my closest friends. And yet I found out things about him in Jim Henson that were new to me. Brian Jay Jones has captured the layers of Jim’s genius and humanity, as well as the flaws that made Jim, like all of us, so delightfully imperfect. I thank Brian for giving Jim life again. This book has captured the spirit of Jim Henson.”—Frank Oz
From the Hardcover edition.
Heller turns the music industry inside out, exposing its strange logic and larger-than-life personalities. Ruthless provides keen insight into the popular music scene, with an unforgettable portrait of its rollicking excesses, life-churning drama, and multimillion-dollar highs.
Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star’s life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990s— including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee’s meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.
Chuck Klosterman, “The Ethicist” for The New York Times Magazine, has walked into the darkness. In I Wear the Black Hat, he questions the modern understanding of villainy. When we classify someone as a bad person, what are we really saying, and why are we so obsessed with saying it? How does the culture of malevolence operate? What was so Machiavellian about Machiavelli? Why don’t we see Bernhard Goetz the same way we see Batman? Who is more worthy of our vitriol—Bill Clinton or Don Henley? What was O.J. Simpson’s second-worst decision? And why is Klosterman still haunted by some kid he knew for one week in 1985?
Masterfully blending cultural analysis with self-interrogation and imaginative hypotheticals, I Wear the Black Hat delivers perceptive observations on the complexity of the antihero (seemingly the only kind of hero America still creates). As the Los Angeles Times notes: “By underscoring the contradictory, often knee-jerk ways we encounter the heroes and villains of our culture, Klosterman illustrates the passionate but incomplete computations that have come to define American culture—and maybe even American morality.” I Wear the Black Hat is a rare example of serious criticism that’s instantly accessible and really, really funny.
There's more to being a Goth than throwing on some black velvet, dyeing your hair, and calling it a day (or a night). How do you dress with morbid flair when going to a job interview? Is there such a thing as growing too old to be a Goth? How do you explain to your grandma that it's not just a phase?
Jillian Venters, a.k.a. "the Lady of the Manners," knows how to be strange and unusual without sacrificing politeness and etiquette. In Gothic Charm School, she offers the quintessential guide to dark decorum for all those who have ever searched for beauty in dark, unexpected places, embraced their individuality, and reveled in decadence . . . and for families and friends who just don't understand.
As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.
In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice—the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish—becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.
By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counter intuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate, timid pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed—beloved by Teddy Roosevelt, Helen Keller, and Hollywood’s “Little Rascals”—come to be known as a brutal fighter?
Her search for answers takes her from nineteenth-century New York City dogfighting pits—the cruelty of which drew the attention of the recently formed ASPCA—to early twentieth‑century movie sets, where pit bulls cavorted with Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton; from the battlefields of Gettysburg and the Marne, where pit bulls earned presidential recognition, to desolate urban neighborhoods where the dogs were loved, prized—and sometimes brutalized.
Whether through love or fear, hatred or devotion, humans are bound to the history of the pit bull. With unfailing thoughtfulness, compassion, and a firm grasp of scientific fact, Dickey offers us a clear-eyed portrait of this extraordinary breed, and an insightful view of Americans’ relationship with their dogs.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.
Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has (whether or not they’re willing to admit it). Released in 1974—decades before video games and the Internet took over the gaming world—Dungeons & Dragons became one of the original nerd subcultures, and is still revered by over thirty million fans today. Now Forbes senior editor David M. Ewalt explores the rich history of the game, revealing the magic that enlivened his youth, and has since re-entered his adult life in a whole new way.
From its roots on the battlefields of ancient Europe, through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides, and to its apotheosis as father of the modern video game industry, Of Dice and Men recounts the development of a game played by some of most fascinating people in the world. Chronicling the surprising history of D&D’s origins (one largely unknown even to hardcore players) while examining the game’s profound impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp cultural analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences.
An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America’s most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.
Ronson investigates the strange things we’re willing to believe in, from lifelike robots programmed with our loved ones’ personalities to indigo children to hypersuccessful spiritual healers to the Insane Clown Posse’s juggalo fans. He looks at ordinary lives that take on extraordinary perspectives, for instance a pop singer whose life’s greatest passion is the coming alien invasion, and the scientist designated to greet those aliens when they arrive. Ronson throws himself into the stories—in a tour de force piece, he splits himself into multiple Ronsons (Happy, Paul, and Titch, among others) to get to the bottom of credit card companies’ predatory tactics and the murky, fabulously wealthy companies behind those tactics. Amateur nuclear physicists, assisted-suicide practitioners, the town of North Pole, Alaska’s Christmas-induced high school mass-murder plot: Ronson explores all these tales with a sense of higher purpose and universality, and suddenly, mid-read, they are stories not about the fringe of society or about people far removed from our own experience, but about all of us.
Incisive and hilarious, poignant and maddening, revealing and disturbing—Ronson writes about our modern world, the foibles of contemporary culture, and the chaos that lies at the edge of our daily lives.
“Nobody, but nobody, can hate like Joan Rivers. It is a gift. It is also shocking, the things she makes us laugh at…Joan Rivers is extraordinary, but she's not for the easily offended—or for anyone who gets offended at all. ”—People
Joan Rivers, comedienne, actress, jewelry monger, and an award-winning international star (she can sneer in eight different languages) lives by her own golden rule: Do unto others before they do unto you—and for God’s sakes, do it funny! Her career in comedy may have begun with self-loathing, but, after looking at the human decrepitude around her, she figured Why stop here when there are so many other things to hate? With all of her diverse experiences, Joan has looked down at, turned away from, and thrown up over a lot of hateful things, deplorable places, and despicable people. Thank God she took notes.
Here—uncensored and uninhibited—Joan says exactly what’s on her mind…And HER mind is a terrible thing to waste. She proudly kicks the crap out of ugly children, dating rituals, funerals, and lousy restaurants. She nails First Ladies, closet cases, and hypocrites to the wall. She shows no mercy towards doctors and feminists, and even goes after Anne Frank and Stephen Hawking. Joan lets everyone—including herself—have it in this one hundred percent honest and unabashedly hilarious love letter to the hater in all of us.
Join me on a global adventure in search of the 7 dragon balls, as we head west toward Japan, the birthplace of Dragon Ball. Along the way we'll meet 81 fans from 25 countries who will share their Dragon Ball story. From artists to authors, collectors to philosophers, we'll hear their Dragon Soul and discover how Dragon Ball changed their lives. Includes over 100 images.
We'll meet such famous fans as Lawrence Simpson (MasakoX) from Team Four Star, Malik from Dragon Ball New Age, Salagir from Dragon Ball Multiverse, MMA fighter Marcus Brimage, YouTube celebrities SSJGoshin4, Nelson Junior (Casa do Kame), and film critic Chris Stuckmann, famous cosplayers "Living Ichigo," Atara Collis, and Jah'lon Escudero, the creators of Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope, Twitter star @Goku, authors Patrick Galbraith, Nestor Rubio, and Vicente Ramirez, and dozens more.
Joining us will be 27 professionals from 7 countries, including American voice actors Chris Sabat (Vegeta), Sean Schemmel (Goku), Chris Ayres (Freeza), Chris Rager (Mister Satan), Mike McFarland (Master Roshi), Chuck Huber (Android 17), Kyle Hebert (Son Gohan), Jason Douglas (Beerus), Chris Cason (Tenshinhan), FUNimation employees Justin Rojas, Adam Sheehan, and Rick Villa, Dragon Ball Z composer Bruce Faulconer, Dragon Ball manga editor Jason Thompson, Canadian voice actors Peter Kelamis (Goku) and Brian Drummond (Vegeta), Latin American voice actors Mario Castaneda (Goku), Rene Garcia (Vegeta), Eduardo Garza (Krillin), French voice actor Eric Legrand (Vegeta), French journalist Olivier Richard, Spanish voice actors Jose Antonio Gavira (Goku), Julia Oliva (Chichi), and manga editor David Hernando, Danish voice actors Caspar Philllipson (Goku) and Peter Secher Schmidt (Freeza), and Brazilian voice actor Wendel Bezerra (Goku).
Gather your belongings, jump on your magic cloud, and embark on a grand adventure, in Dragon Soul: 30 Years of Dragon Ball Fandom!
Hand-drawn illustrations and full-color and black-&-white photographs provide the reader with steps in the cultivation process and exact identification of desired species.
The four species detailed include two species that have previously had very little coverage: Psilocybe mexicana (a tiny mushroom used for millennia by indigenous Mexican shamans) and Psilocybe azurescens (a newly described species native to the Pacific Northwest and easily grown outdoors on woodchips).
This innovative book also offers a wealth of information about the use of psilocybin-containing mushrooms in both traditional and modern contexts. Contributing ethnobotanist Kathleen Harrison highlights the history, ritual and mythology of sacred Psilocybe mushrooms used in indigenous shamanic settings. The book’s authors offer insights into how these principles might be put into practice by the modern voyager, to provide, safe, healing and fruitful journeys.
IN REAL LIFE: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age
As the host of the wildly popular TV series Catfish which investigates online relationships to determine whether they are based on truth or fiction (spoiler: it's almost always fiction).
Nev has become the Dr. Drew of online relationships. His clout in this area springs from his own experience with a deceptive online romance, about which he made a critically acclaimed 2010 documentary (also called Catfish). In that film Nev coined the term "catfish" to refer to someone who creates a false online persona to reel someone into a romantic relationship. The meme spread rapidly.
Now Nev brings his expertise to the page, sharing insider secrets about:
-what motivates catfish
-why people fall for catfish
-how you can avoid being deceived
-rules for dating -- both online and off
-how to connect authentically with others over the internet
-how to turn an online relationship into a real-life relationship
...and much, much more.
Peppered throughout with Nev's personal stories, this book delves deeply into the complexities of online identity. Nev shows us how our digital lives are affecting our real lives, and provides essential advice about how we should all be living and loving in the era of social media.
From the moment he began writing his syndicated sex-advice column, Savage Love, Dan Savage has never been shy about expressing his opinion on controversial topics—political or otherwise. Now, he addresses issues ranging from parenting and the gay agenda to the Catholic Church and health care. Among them:
Why straight people should have straight “pride” parades, tooWhy Obamacare, as good as it is, is “still kinda evil”Why what passes for sex-ed in America is more like “sex dread”Why the Bible is “only as good and decent as the person reading it”
Speaking to a broad range of subjects with brutal honesty and irreverent humor, American Savage cements Dan Savage’s place as a provocative and insightful voice in American culture.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
How Will You Survive?
In the apocalyptic world we live in, Mother Nature is angry. Danger waits at every turn, and catastrophes like the Los Angeles sharknados have taught us that we need to be ready for anything. Too many lives have already been lost.
But fear not. How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters is the first and only comprehensive guide to surviving the very worst that Mother Nature can throw our way. Inside this life-saving reference, you’ll find:
• Vital information about dozens of unnatural disasters and ungodly monsters that can injure, maim, or kill you, from arachnoquakes and ice twisters to piranhacondas and mega pythons;
• Easy-to-understand survival tips for avoiding a bloody demise;
• Inspirational words of wisdom from survivors, including Fin Shepard and April Wexler;
• Useful resources, such as the Shepard Survival Assessment Test (S.S.A.T), and much more.
With this essential book in hand, you too can be a hero who laughs in the face of calamity while saving friends and family. Or you can just avoid getting savagely ripped apart by a robocroc. Either way, you’ve been warned. Now be prepared.
Sharknado 2: The Second One premieres July 30 at 9/8c on Syfy!
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The names change, but the game remains the same. In Pimpology, Ken Ivy pulls a square's coat on the unwritten rules that took him from the ghetto streets to the executive suites. Ken's lessons will serve any person in any interaction: Whether at work, in relationships, or among friends, somebody's got to be on top. To be the one with the upper hand, you've got to have good game, and good game starts with knowing the rules.
If you want the money, power, and respect you dream of, you can't just "pimp your ride," you need to pimp your whole life. And unless you've seen Ray Charles leading Stevie Wonder somewhere, you need Ken's guidelines to do it. They'll reach out and touch you like AT&T and bring good things to life like GE. Then you can be the boss with the hot sauce who gets it all like Monty Hall.
For years, rappers from Nas to Ja Rule have hero-worshipped the legendary drug dealers who dominated Queens in the 1980s with their violent crimes and flashy lifestyles. Now, for the first time ever, this gripping narrative digs beneath the hip-hop fables to re-create the rise and fall of hustlers like Lorenzo “Fat Cat” Nichols, Gerald “Prince” Miller, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, and Thomas “Tony Montana” Mickens. Spanning twenty-five years, from the violence of the crack era to Run DMC to the infamous murder of NYPD rookie Edward Byrne to Tupac Shakur to 50 Cent’s battles against Ja Rule and Murder Inc., to the killing of Jam Master Jay, Queens Reigns Supreme is the first inside look at the infamous southeast Queens crews and their connections to gangster culture in hip hop today.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
She met the Beatles in 1964 when she was cast as a schoolgirl in A Hard Day’s Night. Ten days later a smitten George Harrison proposed. For twenty-year-old Pattie Boyd, it was the beginning of an unimaginably rich and complex life as she was welcomed into the Beatles inner circle—a circle that included Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Jeff Beck, and a veritable who’s who of rock musicians. She describes the dynamics of the group, the friendships, the tensions, the musicmaking, and the weird and wonderful memories she has of Paul and Linda, Cynthia and John, Ringo and Maureen, and especially the years with her husband, George.
It was a sweet, turbulent life, but one that would take an unexpected turn, starting with a simple note that began “dearest l.”
I read it quickly and assumed that it was from some weirdo; I did get fan mail from time to time.... I thought no more about it until that evening when the phone rang. It was Eric [Clapton]. “Did you get my letter?”... And then the penny dropped. “Was that from you?” I said....It was the most passionate letter anyone had ever written me.
For the first time Pattie Boyd, former wife of both George Harrison and Eric Clapton, a high-profile model whose face epitomized the swinging London scene of the 1960s, a woman who inspired Harrison’s song “Something” and Clapton’s anthem “Layla,” has decided to write a book that is rich and raw, funny and heartbreaking—and totally honest and open and breathtaking. Here is the truth, here is what happened, here is the story you’ve been waiting for.
From the Hardcover edition.
As the leading name in the world of horror, Fangoria magazine has been the source of information for fans of fright flicks for more than twenty years—covering feature films, video games, comic books, collectibles, and all aspects of horror entertainment. Working closely with Fangoria’s experts, including Editor in Chief Anthony Timpone, Adam Lukeman has compiled a must-have guide for casual horror fans and hardcore horror junkies with Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen.
With a brief synopsis for each of the included films, lists of cast and crew, “Terror Trivia,” and little-known facts about these lesser-known but must-see gems, Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen offers a feast of gruesome information. Featured here are flicks that were dumped by their distributors or were initially flops, like Cherry Falls, Manhunter, and Pumpkinhead, foreign winners such as Cronos, The Vanishing, and Funny Games, and straight-to-video sleepers waiting to be discovered, including Shadowbuilder, Jack Be Nimble, and Nomads. There are even surprise entries directed by industry giants—movies like George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead, Brian De Palma’s Sisters, or Dario Argento’s Opera—that are frequently overshadowed by the filmmakers’ other, better-known works but are worthy of further examination.
Entertaining and informative, Fangoria’s 101 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen offers more than a hundred reasons to look beyond the often ho-hum Hollywood hype fests . . . when you’re really in the mood to feel your flesh crawl.
From the Trade Paperback edition.