Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

HD 53 .G742 2016

“In his new compelling book, Adam Grant, one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders, again addresses the challenge of improving the world around us, but now from the perspective of becoming a trailblazer: choosing to go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we stand up for new ideas, policies, and practices without risking our reputations, relationships, and careers?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning the worlds of business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant debunks the common belief that successful non-conformists are born leaders who boldly embrace risk. Originals explains how anyone can spot opportunities for change, recognize a good idea, overcome anxiety and ambivalence, and make suggestions without being silenced. You’ll learn the successful techniques of

  • An entrepreneur who pitches his startups by highlighting the reasons not to invest in them
  • A woman at Apple who dared to challenge Steve Jobs from three management levels below
  • An analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA
  • A billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him
  • A movie producer who asked a single question that saved Disney’s first animated film based on an original story from the cutting room floor

Grant demonstrates how originality can be launched, unleashed, and sustained, offering practical insights on how individuals can find allies in unlikely places, leaders can fight groupthink, and parents and teachers can nurture children to think for themselves.

The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about how rejecting conformity can improve our circumstances and propel us forward. People who champion originality have the same fears and doubts as the rest of us, but what sets them apart is that they don’t freeze or faint in the face of a challenge – they take action anyway. Originals will give you the knowledge and the courage to advance your own ideas.
(publisher description)

Patient H.M.

Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich

RC 394 .A5 D58 2016

“In the late 1930s, in asylums and hospitals across America, a group of renowned neurosurgeons embarked on a campaign to develop and refine a new class of brain operation – the lobotomy – that they hoped would eradicate everything from schizophrenia to homosexuality. These “psychosurgeons,” as they called themselves, occupied a gray zone between medical research and medical practice, and ended up subjecting untold numbers of people to the types of surgical experiments once limited to chimpanzees.

The most important test subject to emerge from this largely untold chapter in American history was a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison. In 1953, Henry – who suffered from severe epilepsy – received a radical new version of the lobotomy, one that targeted the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry left the operating room profoundly amnesic, unable to create new long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H.M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pic who would teach us much of what we know about memory today.

Luke Dittrich uses the case of Patient H.M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons conducted their human experiments, and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Throughout, Dittrich delves into the enduring mysteries of the mind while exposing troubling stories of just how far we’ve gone in our pursuit of knowledge.

It is also, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison – and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation – experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves.

Patient H.M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.”
(publisher description)

The Firebrand and the First Lady

The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott

E 807.1 .R48 B45 2016

“A groundbreaking book – two decades in the works – that tells the story of how a brilliant writer-turned-activist, granddaughter of a mulatto slave, and the first lady of the United States, whose ancestry gave her membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, forged an enduring friendship that changed each of their lives and helped to alter the course of race and racism in America.

Pauli Murray first saw Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, at the height of the Depression, at a government-sponsored, two-hundred-acre camp for unemployed women where Murray was living, something the first lady had pushed her husband to set up in her effort to do what she could for working women and the poor. The first lady appeared one day unannounced, behind the wheel of her car, her secretary and a Secret Service agent her passengers. To Murray, then aged twenty-three, Roosevelt’s self-assurance was a symbol of women’s independence, a symbol that endured throughout Murray’s life.

Five years later, Pauli Murray, a twenty-eight-year-old aspiring writer, wrote a letter to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt protesting racial segregation in the South. The president’s staff forwarded Murray’s letter to the federal Office of Education. The first lady wrote back.

Murray’s letter was prompted by a speech the president had given at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, praising the school for its commitment to social progress. Pauli Murray had been denied admission to the Chapel Hill graduate school because of her race.

She wrote in her letter of 1938:

“Does it mean that Negro students in the South will be allowed to sit down with white students and study a problem which is fundamental and mutual to both groups? Does it mean that the University of North Carolina is ready to open its doors to Negro students . . . ? Or does it mean, that everything you said has no meaning for us as Negroes, that again we are to be set aside and passed over . . . ?”

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to Murray: “I have read the copy of the letter you sent me and I understand perfectly, but great changes come slowly . . . The South is changing, but don’t push too fast.”

So began a friendship between Pauli Murray (poet, intellectual rebel, principal strategist in the fight to preserve Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, cofounder of the National Organization for Women, and the first African American female Episcopal priest) and Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady of the United States, later first chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women) that would last for a quarter of a century.

Drawing on letters, journals, diaries, published and unpublished manuscripts, and interviews, Patricia Bell-Scott gives us the first close-up portrait of this evolving friendship and how it was sustained over time, what each gave to the other, and how their friendship changed the cause of American social justice.”
(publisher description)

Ctrl + Z

Ctrl + Z: The Right to be Forgotten by Meg Leta Jones

K 3264 .C65 J66 2016

“‘The Internet never forgets.’
That’s the adage of the Digital Age, a time when the information we share or is collected threatens to linger forever. The Internet is full of personal data from our pasts that can haunt our futures. The consequences can be serious, affecting relationships, employment, academic success, and any number of other unforeseeable opportunities.

One possible solution to this threat is a digital right to be forgotten. Such a right, like the one established in the European Union, could mean that Google (and other Internet entities) would have a legal duty to delete, hide, or anonymize information at the request of users from around the world. Critics of the idea say that it’s an attack on free speech and open access and that it is technologically impossible. What does a digital right to be forgotten mean for the United States and the global Internet community?

Ctrl + Z breaks down the debate and provides guidance for a way forward. Our existing perspectives, it argues, are too limited: we imagine that we can either easily forget everything or that we can forget nothing at all. By looking at new theories of privacy and organizing the many potential applications of law and technology, scholar Meg Leta Jones offers us a new set of nuanced choices. And to help us choose, she provides a digital information life cycle, reflects on particular legal cultures, and analyzes international interoperability. In the end, Jones argues, the right to be forgotten can be innovative, liberating, and globally viable.”
– publisher description

Deadly Injustice

Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal Justice System
edited by Devon Johnson, Particia Y. Warren, & Amy Farrell

HV 9950 .D425 2015

“The murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial and acquittal of his assailant, George Zimmerman, sparked a passionate national debate about race and criminal justice in America. Combined with intense outrage at New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and escalating anger over the effect of mass incarceration of the nation’s African American community, the Trayvon Martin case brought the racialized nature of the American justice system to the forefront of our national consciousness. Deadly Injustice uses the Trayvon Martin case as a springboard to examine race, crime, and justice in our criminal justice system. Contributors explore how race and racism inform how Americans think about criminality; how crimes are investigated and prosecuted; and how highly publicized criminal cases go on to shape public views about offenders and the criminal process. With a foreword by Lawrence D. Bobo, the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, Deadly Injustice is a timely, well-argued collection that illuminates the tragic and consequential death of Trayvon Martin.”
– publisher description

How to Listen to Jazz

How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia

ML 3506 .G55 2016

“Jazz is the great American art form; its very essence is predicated on freedom and creativity. Its sound unequivocally calls forth narratives of past struggles and future dreams. Yet jazz can be as inscrutable as it is mesmerizing, especially to outsiders who don’t know what to make of improvisation or unexpected shifts in melody or tempo. How does a casual listener learn to understand and appreciate the nuances between the unapologetic and innovative sounds of Louis Armstrong, the complexity of Coleman Hawkins’s saxophone, and the exotic and alluring compositions of Duke Ellington? How does Thelonious Monk fit in alongside Benny Goodman and John Coltrane?

In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively, accessible introduction to the art of listening to jazz. Covering everything from the music’s structure and history to the basic building blocks of improvisation, Gioia shows exactly what to listen for in a jazz performance. He shares listening strategies that will help readers understand and appreciate jazz for the rest of their lives, and provides a history of the major movements in jazz right up to the present day. He concludes with a guide to 150 elite musicians who are setting the tone for twenty-first-century jazz.

Both an appreciation of and an introduction to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-read for anyone who’s ever wanted to understand America’s greatest contribution to the world of music.”
– publisher description

You May Also Like

You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice by Tom Vanderbilt

BF 611 .V36 2016

“Why is showing up to work wearing the same outfit as a coworker so embarrassing? Why do we venerate so many artists who were controversial or ignored during their lifetimes? What makes an ideal cat an ideal cat, or an ideal beer an ideal beer, in the eyes of expert judges? From the tangled underpinning of our food taste to our unsettling insecurity before unfamiliar works of art to the complex dynamics of our playlists and the pop charts, our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces. And in the digital age, a nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars” is helping dictate our choices. Taste has moved online – there are more ways than ever for us, and companies, to see what and how we are consuming. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies, how to spot a fake Yelp review, or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.

With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. Comprehensively researched and singularly insightful, You May Also Like is a joyous intellectual journey that helps us better understand how we perceive, judge, and appreciate the world around us.”
– publisher description