Floating Gold A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris

Floating Gold A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris

Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris by Christopher Kemp
2012 | EPUB | 1.12MB

“Preternaturally hardened whale dung” is not the first image that comes to mind when we think of perfume, otherwise a symbol of glamour and allure. But the key ingredient that makes the sophisticated scent linger on the skin is precisely this bizarre digestive by-product—ambergris. Despite being one of the world’s most expensive substances (its value is nearly that of gold and has at times in history been triple it), ambergris is also one of the world’s least known. But with this unusual and highly alluring book, Christopher Kemp promises to change that by uncovering the unique history of ambergris.

A rare secretion produced only by sperm whales, which have a fondness for squid but an inability to digest their beaks, ambergris is expelled at sea and floats on ocean currents for years, slowly transforming, before it sometimes washes ashore looking like a nondescript waxy pebble. It can appear almost anywhere but is found so rarely, it might as well appear nowhere. Kemp’s journey begins with an encounter on a New Zealand beach with a giant lump of faux ambergris—determined after much excitement to nothing more exotic than lard—that inspires a comprehensive quest to seek out ambergris and its story. He takes us from the wild, rocky New Zealand coastline to Stewart Island, a remote, windswept island in the southern seas, to Boston and Cape Cod, and back again. Along the way, he tracks down the secretive collectors and traders who populate the clandestine modern-day ambergris trade.

Floating Gold is an entertaining and lively history that covers not only these precious gray lumps and those who covet them, but presents a highly informative account of the natural history of whales, squid, ocean ecology, and even a history of the perfume industry. Kemp’s obsessive curiosity is infectious, and eager readers will feel as though they have stumbled upon a precious bounty of this intriguing substance.

Denial [Audiobook]

Denial [Audiobook]

Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind [Audiobook] by Ajit Varki, Danny Brower
2013 | MP3 VBR V5 | 10 hrs 18 mins | 333.41MB

The history of science abounds with momentous theories that disrupted conventional wisdom and yet were eventually proven true. Ajit Varki and Danny Brower's "Mind over Reality" theory is poised to be one such idea-a concept that runs counter to commonly-held notions about human evolution but that may hold the key to understanding why humans evolved as we did, leaving all other related species far behind.

At a chance meeting in 2005, Brower, a geneticist, posed an unusual idea to Varki that he believed could explain the origins of human uniqueness among the world's species: Why is there no humanlike elephant or humanlike dolphin, despite millions of years of evolutionary opportunity? Why is it that humans alone can understand the minds of others?

Haunted by their encounter, Varki tried years later to contact Brower only to discover that he had died unexpectedly. Inspired by an incomplete manuscript Brower left behind, DENIAL presents a radical new theory on the origins of our species. It was not, the authors argue, a biological leap that set humanity apart from other species, but a psychological one: namely, the uniquely human ability to deny reality in the face of inarguable evidence-including the willful ignorance of our own inevitable deaths.

The awareness of our own mortality could have caused anxieties that resulted in our avoiding the risks of competing to procreate-an evolutionary dead-end. Humans therefore needed to evolve a mechanism for overcoming this hurdle: the denial of reality.

As a consequence of this evolutionary quirk we now deny any aspects of reality that are not to our liking-we smoke cigarettes, eat unhealthy foods, and avoid exercise, knowing these habits are a prescription for an early death. And so what has worked to establish our species could be our undoing if we continue to deny the consequences of unrealistic approaches to everything from personal health to financial risk-taking to climate change. On the other hand reality-denial affords us many valuable attributes, such as optimism, confidence, and courage in the face of long odds.

Presented in homage to Brower's original thinking, DENIAL offers a powerful warning about the dangers inherent in our remarkable ability to ignore reality-a gift that will either lead to our downfall, or continue to be our greatest asset.

Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements

Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements

Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements [Audiobook] by John Emsley
2013 | MP3@96 kbps | 25 hrs 19 mins | 1.02GB

Written by award-winning science writer John Emsley, this informative and highly enjoyable book explains the what, the why and the wherefore of the elements. Arranged alphabetically, from Actinium to Zirconium, it is a complete guide to all the elements that are currently known, with more extensive coverage of those we encounter in our everyday life. The entry on each element reveals where it came from, what role it may have in the human body, the foods that contain it, how it was discovered, its role in human health, the uses and misuses to which it is put, and its environmental role.

The new edition includes the three chemical elements discovered since the first edition - Darmstadtium, Roetgenium, and Copernicium - and the section on "transfermium elements" has now been incorporated into the main part of the book. In addition, Emsley has added new information on the economic uses of elements such as Scandium and Gold.

At Home in the Universe

At Home in the Universe

At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity by Stuart Kauffman
1996 | EPUB | 4.54MB

A major scientific revolution has begun, a new paradigm that rivals Darwin's theory in importance. At its heart is the discovery of the order that lies deep within the most complex of systems, from the origin of life, to the workings of giant corporations, to the rise and fall of great civilizations. And more than anyone else, this revolution is the work of one man, Stuart Kauffman, a MacArthur Fellow and visionary pioneer of the new science of complexity. Now, in At Home in the Universe, Kauffman brilliantly weaves together the excitement of intellectual discovery and a fertile mix of insights to give the general reader a fascinating look at this new science--and at the forces for order that lie at the edge of chaos.

We all know of instances of spontaneous order in nature--an oil droplet in water forms a sphere, snowflakes have a six-fold symmetry. What we are only now discovering, Kauffman says, is that the range of spontaneous order is enormously greater than we had supposed. Indeed, self-organization is a great undiscovered principle of nature. But how does this spontaneous order arise? Kauffman contends that complexity itself triggers self-organization, or what he calls "order for free," that if enough different molecules pass a certain threshold of complexity, they begin to self-organize into a new entity--a living cell. Kauffman uses the analogy of a thousand buttons on a rug--join two buttons randomly with thread, then another two, and so on. At first, you have isolated pairs; later, small clusters; but suddenly at around the 500th repetition, a remarkable transformation occurs--much like the phase transition when water abruptly turns to ice--and the buttons link up in one giant network. Likewise, life may have originated when the mix of different molecules in the primordial soup passed a certain level of complexity and self-organized into living entities (if so, then life is not a highly improbable chance event, but almost inevitable). Kauffman uses the basic insight of "order for free" to illuminate a staggering range of phenomena. We see how a single-celled embryo can grow to a highly complex organism with over two hundred different cell types. We learn how the science of complexity extends Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection: that self-organization, selection, and chance are the engines of the biosphere. And we gain insights into biotechnology, the stunning magic of the new frontier of genetic engineering--generating trillions of novel molecules to find new drugs, vaccines, enzymes, biosensors, and more. Indeed, Kauffman shows that ecosystems, economic systems, and even cultural systems may all evolve according to similar general laws, that tissues and terra cotta evolve in similar ways. And finally, there is a profoundly spiritual element to Kauffman's thought. If, as he argues, life were bound to arise, not as an incalculably improbable accident, but as an expected fulfillment of the natural order, then we truly are at home in the universe.

Kauffman's earlier volume, The Origins of Order, written for specialists, received lavish praise. Stephen Jay Gould called it "a landmark and a classic." And Nobel Laureate Philip Anderson wrote that "there are few people in this world who ever ask the right questions of science, and they are the ones who affect its future most profoundly. Stuart Kauffman is one of these." In At Home in the Universe, this visionary thinker takes you along as he explores new insights into the nature of life.

Start with Why [Audiobook]

Start with Why [Audiobook]

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action [Audiobook] by Simon Sinek
2011 | MP3@64 kbps + PDF | 7 hrs 14 mins | 197.81MB

Why do you do what you do? Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with "why." It was their natural ability to start with "why" that enabled them to inspire those around them and to achieve remarkable things.

In studying the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way -- and it's the complete opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea "The Golden Circle," and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be lead, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with "why."

Any organization can explain what it does; some can explain how they do it; but very few can clearly articulate why. "Why" is not money or profit-- those are always results.

Why does your organization exist? Why does it do the things it does? Why do customers really buy from one company or another? Why are people loyal to some leaders, but not others?

Starting with "why" works in big business and small business, in the nonprofit world and in politics. Those who start with "why" never manipulate, they inspire. And the people who follow them don't do so because they have to; they follow because they want to.

Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire. This book is for anyone who wants to inspire others or who wants to find someone to inspire them.

Dirty Little Secrets of World War II

Dirty Little Secrets of World War II

Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You by James F Dunnigan
1996 | PDF | 1.42MB

Dirty Little Secrets of World War II exposes the dark, irreverent, misunderstood, and often tragicomic aspects of military operations during World War II, many of them virtually unknown even to military buffs. Like its successful predecessor, Dirty Little Secrets, Dunnigan and Nofi's new book vividly brings to life all theaters and participants of the war. Revelations include:

  • The real death count for the war, and why it has never been previously released.
  • The "new age" general who refused to smoke or drink, who lived on a vitamin-enriched diet, who opposed animal experimentation, and who regularly consulted his astrologer.
  • How equipment developed for the war led to such modern high-tech innovations as "smart bombs," electronic warfare, and nuclear missles.
  • The lackadaisical relationship between Germany and Japan throughout the war.
  • Tricky bits of information about the lingering effects of the war -- like the thousands of live shells and mines that are still buried in Europe and off the East Coast of America.

Spectator in Hell

Spectator in Hell

Spectator in Hell: A British Soldier's Story of Imprisonment in Auschwitz by Colin Rushton
2007 | PDF | 4.02MB

In 1942 the young soldier Arthur Dodd was taken prisoner by the German Army and transported to Oswiecim in Polish Upper Silesia. The German name for the place was 'Auschwitz': a name now synonymous with man's darkest hour.

Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous German death-camp of the Second World War, functioned for the incarceration and extermination of those that the third Reich deemed "undesirables": Jews, homosexuals, Communists. What is less known is that it was the fate of hundreds of British POWs to find it their prison, and to behold the atrocities meted out by Hitler’s SS.

This is the true story of one of those witnesses. Forced to do hard labour, starved and savagely beaten, Arthur thought his life would end in Auschwitz. Determined to go down fighting, he sabotaged Nazi industrial work, risked his life to alleviate the suffering of the Jewish prisoners, and aided a partisan group planning a mass break-out.

Stalin: A Biography

Stalin: A Biography

Stalin: A Biography by Robert Service
2006 | EPUB | 2.13MB

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life--his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers--such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev--found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails

Mr Lincoln's T-Mails: How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War by Tom Wheeler
2008 | EPUB | 1.71MB

The Civil War was the first "modern war." Because of the rapid changes in American society, Abraham Lincoln became president of a divided United States during a period of technological and social revolution. Among the many modern marvels that gave the North an advantage was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay connected to the forces in the field in almost real time.

No leader in history had ever possessed such a powerful tool to gain control over a fractious situation. An eager student of technology, Lincoln (the only president to hold a patent) had to learn to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide him, Lincoln began by reading the telegraph traffic among his generals. Then he used the telegraph to supplement his preferred form of communication—meetings and letters. He did not replace those face-to-face interactions. Through this experience, Lincoln crafted the best way to guide, reprimand, praise, reward, and encourage his commanders in the field.

Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails tells a big story within a small compass. By paying close attention to Lincoln's "lightning messages," we see a great leader adapt to a new medium. No reader of this work of history will be able to miss the contemporary parallels. Watching Lincoln carefully word his messages—and follow up on those words with the right actions—offers a striking example for those who spend their days tapping out notes on computers and BlackBerrys.

An elegant work of history, Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails is an instructive example of timeless leadership lessons.

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence by Joseph J Ellis
2013 | EPUB | 5.37MB

A distinctive portrait of the crescendo moment in American history from the Pulitzer-winning American historian, Joseph Ellis.

The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding. While the thirteen colonies came together and agreed to secede from the British Empire, the British were dispatching the largest armada ever to cross the Atlantic to crush the rebellion in the cradle. The Continental Congress and the Continental Army were forced to make decisions on the run, improvising as history congealed around them. In a brilliant and seamless narrative, Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other.

Revolutionary Summer tells an old story in a new way, with a freshness at once colorful and compelling.

The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition

The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition

The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition by W J Rorabaugh
1981 | EPUB | 1.94MB

Rorabaugh has written a well thought out and intriguing social history of America's great alcoholic binge that occurred between 1790 and 1830, what he terms 'a key formative period' in our history....A pioneering work that illuminates a part of our heritage that can no longer be neglected in future studies of America's social fabric.

A bold and frequently illuminating attempt to investigate the relationship of a single social custom to the central features of our historical experience....A book which always asks interesting questions and provides many provocative answers.

Out of Order [Audiobook]

Out of Order [Audiobook]

Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court [Audiobook] by Sandra Day O'Connor
2013 | MP3@160 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 06 mins | 487.89MB
“I called this book Out of Order because it reflects my goal, which is to share a different side of the Supreme Court. Most people know the Court only as it exists between bangs of the gavel, when the Court comes to order to hear arguments or give opinions. But the stories of the Court and the Justices that come from the ‘out of order’ moments add to the richness of the Court as both a branch of our government and a human institution.”— Sandra Day O’Connor

From Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, comes this fascinating book about the history and evolution of the highest court in the land.

Out of Order sheds light on the centuries of change and upheaval that transformed the Supreme Court from its uncertain beginnings into the remarkable institution that thrives and endures today. From the early days of circuit-riding, when justices who also served as trial judges traveled thousands of miles per year on horseback to hear cases, to the changes in civil rights ushered in by Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall; from foundational decisions such as Marbury vs. Madison to modern-day cases such as Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Justice O’Connor weaves together stories and lessons from the history of the Court, charting turning points and pivotal moments that have helped define our nation’s progress.

With unparalleled insight and her unique perspective as a history-making figure, Justice O’Connor takes us on a personal exploration, painting vivid pictures of Justices in history, including Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the greatest jurists of all time; Thurgood Marshall, whose understated and succinct style would come to transform oral argument; William O. Douglas, called “The Lone Ranger” because of his impassioned and frequent dissents; and John Roberts, whom Justice O’Connor considers to be the finest practitioner of oral argument she has ever witnessed in Court. We get a rare glimpse into the Supreme Court’s inner workings: how cases are chosen for hearing; the personal relationships that exist among the Justices; and the customs and traditions, both public and private, that bind one generation of jurists to the next—from the seating arrangements at Court lunches to the fiercely competitive basketball games played in the Court Building’s top-floor gymnasium, the so-called “highest court in the land.”

Wise, candid, and assured, Out of Order is a rich offering of inspiring stories of one of our country’s most important institutions, from one of our country’s most respected pioneers.

A Matter of Principle

A Matter of Principle

A Matter of Principle by Conrad Black
2011 | EPUB | 6.96MB
"I never ask for mercy and seek no one's sympathy. I would never, as was once needlessly feared in this court, be a fugitive from justice in this country, only a seeker of it."
--Conrad Black, in his statement to the court, June 24, 2011

In 1993, Conrad Black was the proprietor of London's Daily Telegraph and the head of one of the world's largest newspaper groups. He completed a memoir in 1992, A Life in Progress, and "great prospects beckoned." In 2004, he was fired as chairman of Hollinger International after he and his associates were accused of fraud. Here, for the first time, Black describes his indictment, four-month trial in Chicago, partial conviction, imprisonment, and largely successful appeal.

In this unflinchingly revealing and superbly written memoir, Black writes without reserve about the prosecutors who mounted a campaign to destroy him and the journalists who presumed he was guilty. Fascinating people fill these pages, from prime ministers and presidents to the social, legal, and media elite, among them: Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jean Chrétien, Rupert Murdoch, Izzy Asper, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, Eddie Greenspan, Alan Dershowitz, and Henry Kissinger.

Woven throughout are Black's views on big themes: politics, corporate governance, and the U.S. justice system. He is candid about highly personal subjects, including his friendships - with those who have supported and those who have betrayed him - his Roman Catholic faith, and his marriage to Barbara Amiel. And he writes about his complex relations with Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, and in particular the blow he has suffered at the hands of that nation.

In this extraordinary book, Black maintains his innocence and recounts what he describes as "the fight of and for my life." A Matter of Principle is a riveting memoir and a scathing account of a flawed justice system.

The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang

The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang

The Last Ride of the James-Younger Gang: Jesse James and the Northfield Raid 1876 by Sean McLachlan
2012 | AZW3 | 2.95MB

It was the beginning of the end for the James gang. In the past ten years Frank and Jesse James had risen from unknown ex-Confederate guerrillas to become the most famous outlaws in the world. A string of daring robberies had brought them fame, admiration, hatred, and a surprisingly small amount of wealth. In 1876 they planned their most daring raid yet--to ride hundreds of miles from their home state of Missouri to rob the First National Bank at Northfield, Minnesota. With them were Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger, famous outlaws and ex-bushwhackers like James brothers. Charlie Pitts, Bill Chadwell, and Clell Miller, no strangers to gunfighting and outlawry, rode with them. They hit the bank on 7 September 1876.

At least they tried. The tellers fooled the outlaws into thinking they didn't have a key to the safe, and as half of the gang wasted time inside arguing, the outlaws standing guard outside were attacked by the enraged citizenry. A bloody gunfight ensued on Northfield's town square, and before the smoke cleared Chadwell and Miller lay dead and nearly all of the gang had been wounded. They hurried out of town with a posse hot on their trail. Frank and Jesse James split off from their comrades and fought a running battle with several posses before escaping, but the Younger brothers and Pitts made slow progress. They were eventually got cornered and fought a last-ditch gun battle with their pursuers.

This book tells the story of one of the most daring bank jobs in American history. With most of the gang being former bushwhackers, they used many guerrilla tactics in the planning and execution of the raid, yet failed because of poor discipline and their own fame, which meant that every town in the Midwest had their guns loaded waiting to fight off bandits.

Just before the Northfield job, the James gang robbed the Missouri Pacific No. 4 train in order to get money for horses, equipment, and traveling expenses. This heist is also covered in meticulous detail.

Killer History

Killer History

Killer History: Why do they leave all the fun stuff out of the history books by Marek McKenna
2012 | EPUB | 2.32MB

Killer History provides a funny and irreverent look at the past. We explore the more human side of the historical events and history makers. Killer history examines how excessive presidential drinking nearly caused Work War III, a mass murder’s trial that was too obscene for Jesus, the scandals of the Grant Administration, the baby daddy scandal that did not sink a US presidential election.

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris
2009 | MOBI | 7.2MB

This history of the foundational war in the Arab-Israeli conflict is groundbreaking, objective, and deeply revisionist. A riveting account of the military engagements, it also focuses on the war's political dimensions. Benny Morris probes the motives and aims of the protagonists on the basis of newly opened Israeli and Western documentation. The Arab side—where the archives are still closed—is illuminated with the help of intelligence and diplomatic materials.

Morris stresses the jihadi character of the two-stage Arab assault on the Jewish community in Palestine. Throughout, he examines the dialectic between the war's military and political developments and highlights the military impetus in the creation of the refugee problem, which was a by-product of the disintegration of Palestinian Arab society. The book thoroughly investigates the role of the Great Powers—Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—in shaping the conflict and its tentative termination in 1949. Morris looks both at high politics and general staff decision-making processes and at the nitty-gritty of combat in the successive battles that resulted in the emergence of the State of Israel and the humiliation of the Arab world, a humiliation that underlies the continued Arab antagonism toward Israel.

Anything for a Vote

Anything for a Vote

Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in US Presidential Campaigns by Joseph Cummins
2012 | EPUB | 3.67MB

Full of sleazy anecdotes from every presidential election in United States history, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren’t), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of all—political campaigning.

Today’s political pundits express shock and disappointment when candidates resort to negative campaigning. But history reveals that smear campaigns are as American as apple pie. Anything for a Vote is an illustrated look at 200-plus years of dirty tricks and bad behavior in presidential elections, from George Washington to Barack Obama and John McCain. Let the name-calling begin!

  • 1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women’s clothing: “He is laced up in corsets!”
  • 1864: Presidential candidate George McClellan describes his opponent, Abraham Lincoln, as “nothing more than a well-meaning baboon!”
  • 1960: Former president Harry Truman advises voters that “if you vote for Richard Nixon, you ought to go to hell!”

Full of sleazy anecdotes from every presidential election in United States history, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren’t), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of all—political campaigning.

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human

The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall
2012 | EPUB | 2.77MB

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but why?

In this delightful and original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems—just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival.

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?

Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more “truthy” than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler’s ambitions were partly fueled by a story.

But as Gottschall shows in this remarkable book, stories can also change the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.

The Sugar Islands

The Sugar Islands

The Sugar Islands: A Collection of Pieces Written About the West Indies Between 1928 and 1953 by Alec Waugh
2011 | EPUB | 2.13MB

Alec Waugh first saw the West Indies on a trip round the world in 1926 when his ship called in at Guadeloupe. Fifteen months later he returned for a long stay at Martinique; it was the beginning of a lifelong interest in these fascinating islands that were to provide him with the material for many books and articles. In The Sugar Islands, a book to be dipped into at leisure, Mr. Waugh has selected pieces from his writings, with the intention of compiling both a travelogue (there is a wealth of interesting information for the would-be traveller about the ways of life and customs of each island) and a chronological commentary on the development of the islands during the last thirty years.

The book is divided into four parts. In the first, the author gives an idea of the background of the West Indies by drawing a detailed picture of the colourful life of Martinique. He tells the story of a 17th-century Frenchman who joined the famous pirates of Tortugja and the history of the long bloodbath that preceeded the declaration of independence of Haiti, the Black Republic.

The second part of the book comprises four character sketches, including three stories of black magic, and two sections deal with the individual charm and interest of each of the islands: Montserrat, Barbados, Anguilla, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Tortola, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saba, Antigua, Dominica and Puerto Rico.

Creatures of Empire

Creatures of Empire

Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America by Virginia DeJohn Anderson
2006 | EPUB | 0.73MB

When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans--not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestock played a vitally important role in the settling of the New World.

Livestock, Anderson writes, were a central factor in the cultural clash between colonists and Indians as well as a driving force in the expansion west. By bringing livestock across the Atlantic, colonists believed that they provided the means to realize America's potential. It was thought that if the Native Americans learned to keep livestock as well, they would be that much closer to assimilating the colonists' culture, especially their Christian faith. But colonists failed to anticipate the problems that would arise as Indians began encountering free-ranging livestock at almost every turn, often trespassing in their cornfields. Moreover, when growing populations and an expansive style of husbandry required far more space than they had expected, colonists could see no alternative but to appropriate Indian land. This created tensions that reached the boiling point with King Philip's War and Bacon's Rebellion. And it established a pattern that would repeat time and again over the next two centuries.

A stunning account that presents our history in a truly new light, Creatures of Empire restores a vital element of our past, illuminating one of the great forces of colonization and the expansion westward.

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade--and How We Can Fight It by David Batstone
2010 | EPUB | 1.17MB

Human trafficking generates $32 billion annually and enslaves over 30 million people, half of them children. Award-winning journalist David Batstone, whom Bono calls "a heroic character," profiles the new generation of abolitionists who are leading the movement. This groundbreaking global report is now updated with the latest findings, new stories, and statistics that highlight what is being done to end this appalling epidemic—and how you can join the movement.

From Techie to Boss: Transitioning to Leadership

From Techie to Boss: Transitioning to Leadership

From Techie to Boss: Transitioning to Leadership by Scott Cromar
2013 | EPUB | 3.37MB

From Techie to Boss teaches technical people who are making or mulling the transition from team player to team leader all the management techniques and soft leadership skills they never needed before--but need now, pronto.

Veteran team lead and project manager Scott Cromar lays out the classical management training course, but stripped down to precisely the essentials that techies need to start managing on the fly. He gets it that a front-line techie getting a field promotion to team leader just doesn't have the time to wade through an MBA textbook bulging with irrelevant material.

The author appreciates how you got to the place where you need this book. Management tapped you instead of some experienced manager from the outside because you know the technical challenges, company culture, and team players better than anyone else: you're ready to hit the ground running. But the skills that make you an excellent techie are not sufficient to make you a successful manager. The rules of your world have abruptly changed. You will now be judged not by your puzzle-solving elegance but by how effectively your team contributes to the organization's bottom line.

  • Techniques and tips for all aspects of management--project, time, scope, risk, dependency, earned value, quality, team roles, distributed team, global team, and conflict management
  • 90-day plan pointers, such as managing your boss, selecting early wins, defining scope, gathering requirements, developing a WBS, documenting procedures, and compliance
  • Troubleshooting techniques such as Current Reality Tree and Ishikawa diagrams
  • Project scheduling methods, including work breakdown structures and dependency management with GANTT and PERT charts
  • Requirements analysis using UML and Agile

This book teaches management-caliber techies the skills they'll need to make the jump to being successful project managers and multifunctional operational team leaders, on their way to becoming senior project managers, system and network administrators, and program managers.

Control Your Retirement Destiny

Control Your Retirement Destiny

Control Your Retirement Destiny: Achieving Financial Security Before the Big Transition by Dana Anspach
2013 | EPUB | 5.16MB

People in their fifties start to wonder: When should I retire? Once I do, when should I take Social Security? Do I need to buy an annuity to make sure I have enough money to last my whole life? Should I move everything into Treasury Bills and other “safe” investments? In short, what do I need to do now to ensure a comfortable retirement in five or ten years?

Control Your Retirement Destiny: Achieving Financial Security Before the Big Transition provides practical, how-to knowledge on what you need to do to get your finances in order to prepare for a transition out of the workforce. While never easy, retirement investing in your 20s to your early 50s has been straightforward. But as you get closer to the big event—retirement—it takes a different kind of planning to align investments, retirement accounts, taxes, Social Security, and pension decisions, all for a single objective: providing reliable, life-long income. Control Your Retirement Destiny teaches you how each part works, how one decision affects another, and--most importantly--how to focus on the items you can control rather than on the items you can’t. When you put it all together in a plan that works for you, you’ll have more choices and a greater sense of security about the financial decisions you are making.

Transitioning out of work is scary. Control Your Retirement Destiny equips you with the knowledge you’ll need to make sure you’ve thought of everything. When your finances and your future intersect, you’ll be ready. This book:

  • Covers all the major topics in retirement planning—investments, Social Security, annuities, taxes, healthcare, part-time work, and more.
  • Illustrates which items you can control, and how to focus on them.
  • Provides examples of how planning decisions can result in a more secure outcome when they are coordinated.
  • Provides actionable knowledge about important money decisions faced by upcoming retirees.

Control Your Retirement Destiny enables you to take charge of your financial future right now to ensure a happy, financially secure retirement.

What you’ll learn
You will be able to:

  • Apply an improved and coordinated process to make better financial decisions
  • Focus on items within your control like tax management, risk management, and developing and sticking with a plan
  • Determine how much investment risk you should take
  • Decide if you need guaranteed income, and if so, how to buy it
  • Choose investments that are best suited to meet your future income needs
  • Avoid big retirement planning mistakes
  • Find sources of reliable information

Who this book is for

Control Your Retirement Destiny: Achieving Financial Security Before the Big Transition is for men and women who are 50-plus, have money in 401(k)s and IRAs and other assets, and are beginning to think about when and how they might transition out of regular, full-time work. They are wondering when to start Social Security, how to choose investments that will provide security, how to account for medical costs and taxes in retirement, and most importantly, how to put all of these things together into a plan that ensures financial security. Readers will be in the top 50% of the population in terms of income and assets, age 50+, do-it-yourself investors, index investors, or investors who aren’t getting the answers they need from their current broker, advisor, or mutual fund company.

Table of Contents:

  1. Your Finances: Why It’s Different Over 50
  2. Start with the Planning Basics
  3. The Biggest Decision You’ll Make: When to Begin Social Security
  4. Investing: How Much Risk to Take
  5. How to Manage Taxes
  6. Insurance
  7. Using Your Company Benefits
  8. Should You Buy an Annuity?
  9. How to Use Reverse Mortgages
  10. Accounting for Healthcare Costs in Retirement
  11. Working in Retirement
  12. Who to Listen To

Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose

Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose

Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose [Second Edition] by Ayala Malach Pines
2005 | PDF | 3.52MB

Falling in Love is the first book to unlock the mysteries of how and why we fall in love. Renowned psychologist Ayala Pines shows us why we fall for the people we do, and argues convincingly that we love neither by chance nor by accident. She offers sound advice for making the right choices when it comes to this complicated emotion. Packed with helpful suggestions for those seeking love and those already in it, this book is about love's many puzzles.

The second edition furthers the work of the popular and successful first edition. With expanded research, theory, and practice, this book once again provides one of a kind understandings of the experience of love. The new edition offers updated references to recent research, new chapter exercises, and "case examples" of romantic stories to begin each chapter.

Color, Space, and Style

Color, Space, and Style

Color, Space, and Style: All the Details Interior Designers Need to Know but Can Never Find by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley
2007 | PDF | 116.73MB

A comprehensive handbook of all the crucial information interior designers need to know on a daily basis.

In the World of interior design, thousands of bits of crucial information are scattered across a wide array of sources. Color, Space, and Style collects the information essential to planning and executing interiors projects of all shapes and sizes, and distills it in a format that is as easy to use as it is to carry.

  • Section 1, Fundamentals, provides a step-by-step overview of an interiors project, describing the scope of Professional services, the project schedule, and the Design and presentation tools used by designers.
  • Section 2, Space examines ways of composing rooms as spatial Environments while speaking to functional and life-safety concerns.
  • Section 3, Surface, identifies options in color, material, texture, and pattern, while addressing maintenance and performance issues.
  • Section 4, Environments, looks at aspects of interior design that help create a specific mood or character, such as Natural and artificial lighting, Sound and smell.
  • Section 5, Elements, describes the selection and specification of Furniture and fixtures, as well as other Components essential to an interior environment, such as artwork and accessories.
  • Section 6, Resources, gathers a Wealth of useful data, from Sustainability guidelines to Online sources for interiors-related research.

Throughout Color, Space, and Style appear interviews with top practitioners drawn from across the field of interior design.

Field Guide: How to be a Graphic Designer

Field Guide: How to be a Graphic Designer

Field Guide: How to be a Graphic Designer by Ana Labudovic, Nenad Vukusic
2009 | PDF | 100.07MB

This is the first and most complete handbook for the aspiring graphic designer. Fully illustrated with both contemporary and historical references, this book provides up and coming designers with all the practical insight they need to make it in the world of graphic design. From how to be more creative and how to stay on top creatively to the ins and outs of running a design business to the challenges of working in-house, this book will help anyone interested in graphic design decide on the right path for their career and give them the tools to make it into the career they want. The book provides inspiration from the top designers in the world on how they do what they do so well and also provides a complete reference of all the top design schools worldwide.

Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History

Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History

Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock by Phil Sutcliffe
2011 | PDF | 122.78MB

Queen were renowned for electrifying live performances, envied for rumors of rock ’n’ roll excess, and beloved for music that melded an array of genres. Now available in paperback is the first book truly befitting this larger-than-life rock band.

Packed with stunning performance and offstage photographs—dozens of them previously unpublished—as well as handbills, posters, backstage passes, tickets, T-shirts, LPs, and singles gathered from around the globe, this is the ultimate visual history for Queen fans everywhere. All told, more than 500 photos and artifacts are accompanied by specially commissioned pieces from a host of today’s top rock journalists in Europe and North America. A history of the band written by longtime UK music writer Phil Sutcliffe spans the pre-Queen years to current work with Paul Rodgers. Complementing this thorough account are reviews of all studio and live albums; complete year-by-year tour dates; an extensive annotated discography; reflections on the band and their music from some of rock’s top performers past and present; and exclusive insights from former crew chief Peter Hince, longtime producer Reinhold Mack, and Mercury collaborator Billy Squier.

Queen created one of the most compelling catalogs and lasting legacies in rock. Little surprise, then, that forty years after their debut, they are enthroned among rock royalty. Here is the book that dares to tackle their towering achievements.

Marijuana Gateway to Health

Marijuana Gateway to Health

Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease by Clint Werner
2011 | PDF | 59.65MB

This is a rare and special book. To write a book like this, an author must be a courageous, independent, and discerning investigator with impeccable journalistic integrity. Unfortunately, these qualities are sorely lacking in today's world of investigative reporting. And, unfortunately, the lack of such qualities leads to terrible misinformation, not only about cannabis but about many other "controversial" issues.

This book is meticulously researched and intelligently organized, and its massive research content is masterfully distilled. It is also well written, and that allows the reader to easily understand the scientific foundations for the ultimate research conclusions. If everyone in the U.S. read this book, our entire medical establishment would be turned up-side-down. Or maybe I should say, right-side-up. In one word: Brilliant! - By Andreas V.

Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers

Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers edited by Christopher Brickell
2011 | PDF | 228.02MB

Since its first publication in 1987, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers has sold nearly three million copies worldwide.

Packed with 8,000 plants for every climate — inside and out — from trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, biennials, bulbs, water plants, and cacti, the AHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers is a must-have reference for all gardeners!

This fully revised and updated edition features a brighter, clearer design and improved navigation — cataloging plants by color, season, and size — that makes the book more intuitive for the reader.

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is one of the oldest national gardening organizations in the country. Since 1922, they have provided America's gardeners with the highest quality gardening and horticultural education possible.

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture by Peter Kobel
2007 | EPUB | 15.23MB

A gorgeous, lavish history of silent movies - with more than 400 amazing images - captures the birth of film and icons like Chaplin, Garbo, Clara Bow, and Valentino.

Drawing on the extraordinary collection of The Library of Congress, one of the greatest repositories for silent film and memorabilia, Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film. From its birth in the 1890s, with the earliest narrative shorts, through the brilliant full-length features of the 1920s, SILENT MOVIES captures the greatest directors and actors and their immortal films.

SILENT MOVIES also looks at the technology of early film, the use of color photography, and the restoration work being spearheaded by some of west Hollywood's most important directors, such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola.

Richly illustrated from the Library of Congress's extensive collection of posters, paper prints, film stills, and memorabilia-most of which have never been in print-SILENT MOVIES is an important work of history that will also be a sought-after gift book for all lovers of film.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most [Audiobook] by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen
2000 | MP3@64 kbps + PDF | 5 hrs 43 mins | 156.83MB

Everyone has difficult conversations, no matter how confident or competent they are. And too often, no matter what you try, things don't go well. Should you say what you're thinking and risk starting a fight? Swallow your views and feel like a doormat? Or should you let them have it? But...what if you're wrong?

Difficult Conversations shows you a way out of this dilemma; it teaches you how to handle even the toughest conversations more effectively and with less anxiety. Based on 15 years of work at the Harvard Negotiation Project and consultations with thousands of people, the authors answer the question: When people confront the conversations they dread the most, what works?

Difficult Conversations walks you through a proven, step-by-step approach for understanding and conducting tough conversations. It shows you how to get ready, how to start the conversations in ways that reduce defensiveness, and how to keep the conversation on a constructive track regardless of how the other person responds. Whether you're dealing with your baby-sitter or biggest client, your boss or your brother-in-law, Difficult Conversations can help.

Naked in Baghdad [Audiobook]

Naked in Baghdad [Audiobook]

Naked in Baghdad: The Iraq War and the Aftermath as Seen by NPR's Correspondent [Audiobook] by Anne Garrels
2003 | MP3@64 kbps | 7 hrs 02 mins | 192.42MB

As NPR's senior foreign correspondent, Anne Garrels has covered conflicts in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. She is renowned for the direct, down-to-earth reportage and her independent-minded insight into what she observes. One of only sixteen un-imbedded American journalists who stayed in the now-legendary Palestine Hotel in Baghdad throughout the American invasion, Garrels was uniquely placed to describe our latest war.

At the heart of Garrels' narrative is her evolving relationship with her Iraqi driver, Tahir, who becomes her friend and confidant, often serving as her eyes and ears among the populace and taking her where no other reporter was able to penetrate; Tahir's own opinions and poignant personal story provide a trenchant counterpoint to the headline news. The diary is also punctuated by e-mail bulletins sent by Garrels' husband, Vint Lawrence, to friends around the world, providing a private view of the rough-and-tumble, often dangerous life of a foreign correspondent, along with much-needed comic relief.

The result is an enthralling, deeply personal, utterly authentic picture of this war that no one else could have written. As Chicago Sun Times critic Lloyd Sachs wrote about Garrels' work from Baghdad, "a few choice words, honestly delivered, are worth more than a thousand pictures, in your mind's eye, they carry lasting truth."

The Economist Audio Edition [June 22, 2013]

The Economist Audio Edition [June 22, 2013]

The Economist Audio Edition [June 22, 2013]
English | MP3@48 kbps + EPUB + MOBI | 7 hrs 30 mins | 156.69MB

The audio edition contains word-for-word recordings of all articles published in The Economist, read by professional broadcasters and actors. It is ideal for anyone who wants to listen to articles while travelling, exercising or just relaxing.

The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by "The Economist Newspaper Ltd" and edited in London. It has been in continuous publication since James Wilson established it in September 1843. As of summer 2007, its average circulation topped 1.2 million copies a week, about half of which are sold in North America. Consequently it is often seen as a transatlantic (as opposed to solely British) news source.

The aim of The Economist is "to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress."Subjects covered include international news, economics, politics, business, finance, science, technology, and the arts. The publication is targeted at the high-end "prestige" segment of the market and counts among its audience influential business and government decision-makers.

It takes a strongly argued editorial stance on many issues, especially its support for free trade and fiscal conservatism; it can thus be considered as a magazine which practises advocacy journalism.

Although The Economist calls itself a newspaper and refers to its staff as correspondents, it is printed in magazine form on glossy paper, like a newsmagazine.

Articles in this issue:

  • Politics this week
  • Business this week
  • KAL's cartoon
  • Persian power: Can Iran be stopped?
  • Tibet: A new way forward
  • The Federal Reserve: Clearer, but less cuddly
  • Privatising Britains banks: Buy high, sell low
  • Majoritarianism: Zombie democracy
  • Letters: On Turkey, immigration, Sweden, the UN, Colombia, LED lighting, tasty chicken
  • Irans nuclear programme: Breakout beckons
  • The US-Mexico border: Secure enough
  • Saving Detroit: Iron Orr
  • Nuclear disarmament: Obamas lonely quest
  • Hiring ex-convicts: Between a rock and a lawsuit
  • The economy: A lighter ball and chain
  • The Massachusetts Senate race: Bay State brawl
  • Lexington: Cape of good hope
  • Lexington: Correction: Steve King
  • Protests in Brazil: Taking to the streets
  • Mining in Brazil: Time to dig deep
  • Mining in Ecuador: Going for gold
  • Feeding Haiti: A new menu
  • The future of Afghanistan: Talking to the Taliban
  • Balochistan: Cruel beyond belief
  • Politics in Nepal: Ad hoc country
  • Vietnamese politics: Confidence tricks
  • Fuel subsidies in Indonesia: Unpriming the pump
  • Banyan: The uphill road
  • Tibet policy: Bold new proposals
  • Security in Tibet: Grid locked
  • Irans new president: Will he make a difference?
  • The Syrian war, arms and diplomacy: Barack Obamas tentative step
  • Libyas ghost town: When bygones arent
  • Barack Obama in Africa: Late but not empty-handed
  • Madagascars election: They just wont give up
  • French reforms: Must we work harder?
  • Turkeys protests: Erdogan cracks down
  • Greeces government: Wobbling along
  • The Greek far right: Racist dilemmas
  • Czech politics: No more Mr Clean
  • The Russian economy: Sputtering
  • Charlemagne: Blaming the referee
  • Reforming Britains banks: Training day
  • Foreign relations: Poles apart
  • Celebrating immigration: An inconvenient truth
  • Freight trains: Coming round the bend
  • Energy efficiency in homes: Lofty ambitions
  • After the Olympics: Urbanabolic steroids
  • House prices: The rubber bubble
  • Bagehot: A lonely charge
  • Cyber-attacks: Computer says no
  • Mitigating DDoS attacks: Denying the deniers
  • Global population: Faces of the future
  • Media conglomerates: Breaking up is not so very hard to do
  • The News Corp split: Murdoch 2.0
  • Aircraft-makers: Singin in the rain
  • Telecoms-equipment makers: TransLucent
  • The global cement industry: Ready-mixed fortunes
  • Italian fashion: Dropped stitches
  • Schumpeter: The emerging-brand battle
  • Americas monetary policy: Tinker, taper
  • Chinas banks: The Shibor shock
  • The G8 summit: T time
  • Buttonwood: Building the next boom
  • Americas municipal-bond market: State of pay
  • Mobile money: Charging the mobile
  • Professional-services firms: Desperately seeking scepticism
  • Clayton, Dubilier & Rice: Engineers of a different kind
  • Free exchange: The goliaths
  • Understanding Alzheimers disease: Beta testing
  • Safe driving: Keep your mind on the road
  • Dendrochronology: Not always the ring of truth
  • The future technology of the past: Thunderbirds are gone
  • The Sino-Japanese war: The start of history
  • Life in Gaza: Secret worlds
  • Measuring risk: Snakes and ladders
  • Money and happiness: Buy buy love
  • American presidents and foreign policy: A few good men
  • British 20th-century painting: The big rupture
  • Henry Cecil
  • Output, prices and jobs
  • Trade, exchange rates, budget balances and interest ratesThe Economist commodity-price index
  • The rich
  • Markets