Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Who's On Top: Nonfiction

This Week's Spotlight:
Hardcover:
MY WAY
by Paul Anka with David Dalton

Teen idol of the 1950s who virtually invented the singer/songwriter/heartthrob combination that still tops pop music today, Paul Anka rocketed to fame with a slew of hits—from “Diana” to “Put Your Head on my Shoulder”—that earned him a place touring with the major stars of his era, including Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Buddy Holly. He wrote Holly’s last hit, and just missed joining the rocker on his final, fatal plane flight. Anka also stepped in front of the camera in the teen beach-party movie era, scoring the movies and romancing their starlets, including Annette Funicello.

When the British invasion made his fans swoon for a new style of music—and musician--Anka made sure he wasn’t conquered. A rapier-canny businessman and image-builder who took his career into his own hands—just as he had from the very beginning, swiping his mother’s car at fourteen to drive himself, underage, to his first gigs in Quebec—Anka toured the world until he could return home in triumph. A charter member of the Rat Pack, he wrote the theme music for The Tonight Show as well as his friend Frank Sinatra’s anthem “My Way”. By the 1970s, a multi-decade string of pop chart-toppers, including “Puppy Love” and “(You’re) Having My Baby”, cemented his status as an icon.
My Way is bursting with rich, rollicking stories of the business and the people in Anka’s life: Elizabeth Taylor, Dodi Fayed, Tom Jones, Michael Jackson, Adnan Khashoggi, Little Richard, Brooke Shields, Johnny Roselli, Sammy Davis, Jr., Brigitte Bardot, Barnum & Bailey Circus acrobats, and many more. Anka is forthcoming, funny and smart as a whip about the business he’s been in for almost six decades. My Way moves from New York to Vegas, from the casino stage to backstages all over the world. It’s the most entertaining autobiography of the year.



Paperback:
THINKING
by FAST AND SLOW, by Daniel Kahneman

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.


Ebook:  
AMERICAN ROSE  
by Karen Abbott  

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

With the critically acclaimed Sin in the Second City, bestselling author Karen Abbott “pioneered sizzle history” (USA Today). Now she returns with the gripping and expansive story of America’s coming-of-age—told through the extraordinary life of Gypsy Rose Lee and the world she survived and conquered.

America in the Roaring Twenties. Vaudeville was king. Talking pictures were only a distant flicker. Speakeasies beckoned beyond dimly lit doorways; money flowed fast and free. But then, almost overnight, the Great Depression leveled everything. When the dust settled, Americans were primed for a star who could distract them from grim reality and excite them in new, unexpected ways. Enter Gypsy Rose Lee, a strutting, bawdy, erudite stripper who possessed a preternatural gift for delivering exactly what America needed.

With her superb narrative skills and eye for compelling detail, Karen Abbott brings to vivid life an era of ambition, glamour, struggle, and survival. Using exclusive interviews and never-before-published material, she vividly delves into Gypsy’s world, including her intensely dramatic triangle relationship with her sister, actress June Havoc, and their formidable mother, Rose, a petite but ferocious woman who seduced men and women alike and literally killed to get her daughters on the stage.

American Rose chronicles their story, as well as the story of the four scrappy and savvy showbiz brothers from New York City who would pave the way for Gypsy Rose Lee’s brand of burlesque. Modeling their shows after the glitzy, daring reviews staged in the theaters of Paris, the Minsky brothers relied on grit, determination, and a few tricks that fell just outside the law—and they would shape, and ultimately transform, the landscape of American entertainment.

With a supporting cast of such Jazz- and Depression-era heavyweights as Lucky Luciano, Harry Houdini, FDR, and Fanny Brice, Karen Abbott weaves a rich narrative of a woman who defied all odds to become a legend—and whose sensational tale of tragedy and triumph embodies the American Dream.


Top 5 Nonfiction:
Hardcover:
1. LEAN IN, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell
2. THE ATHENA DOCTRINE, by John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio
3. GULP, by Mary Roach
4. UNSINKABLE, by Debbie Reynolds and Dorian Hannaway
5. THE WAY OF THE KNIFE, by Mark Mazzetti

Paperback:
1. PROOF OF HEAVEN, by Eben Alexander
2. WILD, by Cheryl Strayed
3. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, by Ben C. Carson and Candy Carson
4. AMERICAN SNIPER, by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
5. QUIET, by Susan Cain

Ebook:
1. BOSSYPANTS, by Tina Fey
2. BRAIN ON FIRE, by Susannah Cahalan
3. LEAN IN, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell
4. KILLING KENNEDY, by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
5. PROOF OF HEAVEN, by Eben Alexander

Disclaimer: All blurbs can be found on Goodreads.com, all list can be found at NYTimes.com.

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