Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius [EPUB]
10 December 2014, 13:14
2014 | EPUB | 0.7MB
The definitive account of the rise and fall of South African Olympic and Gold Medal-winning Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, from his personal and athletic success to the murder charge that rocked the world and put both the man, and post-Apartheid South Africa, on trial.
Oscar Pistorius made history as the first amputee to compete against able-bodied runners at the 2012 London Olympics. A hero in his native South Africa, the “Blade Runner” as he is known for his futuristic prosthetic legs, became a global icon of resilience and determination.
But less than a year later, Pistorius rocked the world once again when he shot his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, through a closed bathroom door in the early hours of February14, 2013. Charged with murder, he claimed self-defense, contending that he had acted in a blind panic, imagining an intruder had broken in. But as the investigation moved to trial—during which the prosecution sought to prove that he killed her in a rage after an argument—a picture emerged of a traumatized individual fascinated with guns and assailed, behind the heroic facade, by anguish and self-doubt.
Acclaimed journalist John Carlin follows the trials of this fallen champion, detailing his fraught upbringing, his almost superhuman rise to athletic glory, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Steenkamp’s death. At the center of Pistorius’s story is South Africa—a young democracy stained by a history of racial disparity and levels of criminal violence that are among the highest in the world.
Thoughtful and probing, Chase Your Shadow offers a piercing look at this intriguing modern tragedy, bringing to life a complex figure and the troubled land that shaped him.
The Devil in Dover [EPUB]
25 November 2014, 05:39
2008 | EPUB | 0.2MB
Local newspaper reporter Lauri Lebo was handed the story of a lifetime when the Dover (Pennsylvania) School Board adopted a measure to require its ninth-grade biology students to learn about intelligent design. In a case that recalled the famed 1925 Scopes “monkey” trial and made international headlines, eleven parents sued the school board. When the case wound up in federal court before a George W. Bush–appointed judge, Lebo had a front-row seat.
Destined to become required reading for a generation of journalists, scientists, and science teachers, as well as for anyone concerned about the separation of church and state, The Devil in Dover is Lebo’s widely praised account of a perfect storm of religious intolerance, First Amendment violations, and an assault on American science education. Lebo skillfully probes the compelling background of the case, introducing us to the plaintiffs, the defendants, the lawyers, and a parade of witnesses, along with Judge John E. Jones, who would eventually condemn the school board’s decision as one of “breathtaking inanity.”
With the antievolution battle having moved to the state level—and the recent passage of state legislation that protects the right of schools to teach alternatives to evolution—the story will continue to be relevant for years to come.
The Decline and Fall of IBM: End of an American Icon? [EPUB]
24 November 2014, 13:30
2014 | EPUB | 1.44MB
IBM is in serious trouble. Big Blue, as the company is known, tends to rely for its success on magical thinking but that magic ran out a long time ago. The company got in trouble back in the 1990s and had to hire for the first time an outside CEO, Lou Gerstner, to save the day. Gerstner pushed IBM into services with spectacular results but this hurt the company, too. As services have became commoditized IBM could only compete by offshoring the work and quality suffered. The other negative impact of Gerstner was his compensation which was for the first time in IBM history very high. Only the Watson family had become rich running IBM with later CEOs like John Opel and John Akers living comfortable lives with lots of perks, but they never got BIG RICH. That changed with Gerstner.
Sam Palmisano an IBM lifer followed Gerstner as CEO and followed, too, the Gerstner playbook. Palmisano retired three years ago with a retirement package worth $241 million, replaced by IBM's first woman CEO, Ginni Rometty, who certainly expects a comparable golden parachute. In order to achieve these numbers, though, IBM has essentially sacrificed both its customers and employees. In order to have ever growing earnings per share the company has cut labor to the bone, off-shored everything it can, dropped quality, deliberately underbid contracts to win them then not performed. IBM's acquisition policy is one of buying companies to get their sales then cutting costs to the bone and under-delivering.
This and share buybacks have kept earnings growing until this house of cards recently began to fall. Ginni Rometty, who will end up taking the fall for Palmisano's flawed strategy, has stated a very specific earnings goal for 2015 that she will destroy the company to achieve if she must. This book how IBM fell from grace, where it is headed, and what specifically can be done to save the company before it is too late.