Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed
2010 | EPUB | 648.16KB

Why have all the sprinters who have run the 100 meters in under ten seconds been black?
What's one thing Mozart, Venus Williams, and Michelangelo have in common?
Why are baseball players so superstitious?

We love to win and hate to lose, whether it's on the playing field, in the office, or in the classroom. In this bold new look at human behavior, award-winning journalist and Olympian Matthew Syed explores the truth about our competitive nature—why we win, why we don't, and how we really play the game of life.

Bounce reveals how competition—the most vivid, primal, and dramatic of human pursuits—provides vital insight into many of the most controversial issues of our time. From biology and economics to psychology and culture, from genetics and race to sports and politics, Bounce shows how competition provides a master key with which to unlock the mysteries of the world.

Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato

Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato

Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman, Jimmy Soni
2012 | AZW3 | 630.71KB

Marcus Porcius Cato: aristocrat who walked barefoot and slept on the ground with his troops, political heavyweight who cultivated the image of a Stoic philosopher, a hardnosed defender of tradition who presented himself as a man out of the sacred Roman past-and the last man standing when Rome's Republic fell to tyranny. His blood feud with Caesar began in the chamber of the Senate, played out on the battlefields of a world war, and ended when he took his own life rather than live under a dictator.

Centuries of thinkers, writers, and artists have drawn inspiration from Cato's Stoic courage. Saint Augustine and the early Christians were moved and challenged by his example. Dante, in his Divine Comedy, chose Cato to preside over the souls who arrive in Purgatory. George Washington so revered him that he staged a play on Cato's life to revive the spirit of his troops at Valley Forge. Now, in Rome's Last Citizen, Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni deliver the first modern biography of this stirring figure.

Cato's life is a gripping tale that resonates deeply with our own turbulent times. He grappled with terrorists, a debt crisis, endemic political corruption, and a huge gulf between the elites and those they governed. In many ways, Cato was the ultimate man of principle-he even chose suicide rather than be used by Caesar as a political pawn. But Cato was also a political failure: his stubbornness sealed his and Rome's defeat, and his lonely end casts a shadow on the recurring hope that a singular leader can transcend the dirty business of politics.

Rome's Last Citizen is a timeless story of an uncompromising man in a time of crisis and his lifelong battle to save the Republic.

The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov

The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov

The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov by Andrea Pitzer
2013 | EPUB | 4.59MB

A startling and revelatory examination of Nabokov’s life and works—notably Pale Fire and Lolita—bringing new insight into one of the twentieth century’s most enigmatic authors.

Novelist Vladimir Nabokov witnessed the horrors of his century, escaping Revolutionary Russia then Germany under Hitler, and fleeing France with his Jewish wife and son just weeks before Paris fell to the Nazis. He repeatedly faced accusations of turning a blind eye to human suffering to write artful tales of depravity. But does one of the greatest writers in the English language really deserve the label of amoral aesthete bestowed on him by so many critics?

Using information from newly-declassified intelligence files and recovered military history, journalist Andrea Pitzer argues that far from being a proponent of art for art’s sake, Vladimir Nabokov managed to hide disturbing history in his fiction—history that has gone unnoticed for decades. Nabokov emerges as a kind of documentary conjurer, spending the most productive decades of his career recording a saga of forgotten concentration camps and searing bigotry, from World War I to the Gulag and the Holocaust. Lolita surrenders Humbert Humbert’s secret identity, and reveals a Nabokov appalled by American anti-Semitism. The lunatic narrator of Pale Fire recalls Russian tragedies that once haunted the world. From Tsarist courts to Nazi film sets, from CIA front organizations to wartime Casablanca, the story of Nabokov’s family is the story of his century—and both are woven inextricably into his fiction.

The Minimalist Photographer

The Minimalist Photographer

The Minimalist Photographer by Steve Johnson
2013 | EPUB | 20.65MB

This book covers photography from a minimalist perspective, proving that it is possible to take very good photographs with relatively cheap equipment. The minimalist process emphasizes the importance of first knowing what you want to achieve as a photographer and then choosing the most effective equipment, subject matter, and general approach to meet your goals. The minimalist photographer works with the idea that the brain and the eye are far more important than the camera.

Author Steve Johnson begins by asking you, the reader, to look inward and make the connections between your nature and your photography. Why do you want to take photographs and what subject matter are you attracted to? What type of photographer are you now and what type of photographer would you like to become? These are important questions to consider when deciding what approach works best for you.

In subsequent chapters, you'll learn about the equipment and workflow of a minimalist photographer as Johnson discusses the strengths and weaknesses of various types of cameras and explains why the biggest or most expensive piece of equipment is not always the best. He also addresses the importance of lighting and teaches you how to achieve effective lighting without spending a lot of money.

Also included are discussions about aesthetics and composition, as well as a brief history of photography and the future of the art form.

The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars

The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars

The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars by Stephen O'Shea
2001 | EPUB | 3.44MB

Jongleurs performing troubadour poetry in fields and groves frequently dominate our images of Medieval Southern France. While the 12th century reveled in songs of deferred pleasure and adulterous fulfillment, the 13th, as Stephen O'Shea makes clear, took a marked turn toward the violent and intolerant. The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars chronicles the Roman Catholic Church's crusade against--and ultimate annihilation of--the Albigenses, or Cathars, a group of heretical Christians who thrived in what is now the Languedoc region of Southern France. The Cathars held revolutionary beliefs that threatened the authority of the church. The world, they maintained, was not created by a benevolent God. Rather, it was the creation of a force of darkness, immanent in all things. They considered worldly authority a fraud, and authority based on some divine sanction, such as claimed by the church, outright hypocrisy. Innocent III, resolved to eradicate the Cathar threat to church authority, recruited the military powers of France, eager to expand their territory to the south. Together, they systematically exterminated the Cathars and their supporters in a series of crusades between 1209 and 1229. The Dominican-led Inquisition that ensued built upon this momentum of intolerance and tormented Europe for centuries to come.

A journalist and translator, Stephen O'Shea relocated to Southern France for two years in order to complete his research. He writes clearly and with evident passion for his subject. Intended for the general reader, The Perfect Heresy includes historical background and explanations without interrupting the narrative flow; there is also an annotated bibliography to facilitate further reading. O'Shea's examination of the Cathars sheds important new light on Medieval France as well as on the timelessness of religious intolerance.