Tag Archives: education

Bored and Brilliant

Bored and Brilliant

Picador
Paperback
208 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 9781250126658
ebook icon
audiobook icon

How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self

Manoush Zomorodi

Manoush Zomorodi, creator of WNYC’s popular podcast and radio show, Note to Self, led tens of thousands of listeners through an experiment to help them unplug from their devices, get bored, jump-start their creativity, and change their lives. Bored and Brilliant builds on that experiment to show us how to rethink our gadget use to live better and smarter in this new digital ecosystem. Manoush explains the connection between boredom and original thinking, exploring how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive and creative selves without totally abandoning our gadgets in the process. Grounding the book in the neuroscience and cognitive psychology of “mind wandering”—what our brains do when we’re doing nothing at all—Manoush includes practical steps you can take to ease the nonstop busyness and enhance your ability to dream, wonder, and gain clarity in your work and life. The outcome is mind-blowing. Unplug and read on.

Manoush Zomorodi

© Amy Pearl

Manoush Zomorodi is the creator of WNYC’s podcast Note to Self and the co-founder of Stable Genius Productions, a media company with a mission to help people navigate personal and global change. Zomorodi gave a TED Talk about surviving information overload and the “Attention Economy” and was one of Fast Company‘s 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2018. Follow her on Twitter: @manoushz.

Continue reading

Blackballed

Blackballed

St. Martin’s Griffin
Paperback
288 pages • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-13154-6

The Black and White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses

Lawrence Ross

“Racism, Ross argues, has been a fact of life for black students on predominantly white campuses for nearly 200 years . . . [Ross] calls for efforts to make campuses more welcoming to black students, increases in the numbers of black students and faculty members, reform of the Greek system, and far more diversity training for all members of the campus community.”

—The Washington Post

“College” is a word that means many things to many people: a space for knowledge, a place to gain lifelong friends, and an opportunity to transcend one’s socioeconomic station. Today, though, this word also recalls a slew of headlines that have revealed a dark and persistent world of racial politics on campus. Does this association disturb our idealized visions of what happens behind the ivied walls of higher learning? It should—because campus racism on college campuses is as American as college football on Fall Saturdays.

Blackballed is a book that rips the veil off America’s hidden secret: America’s colleges have fostered a racist environment that makes them a hostile space for African American students. It exposes the white fraternity and sorority system, with traditions of racist parties, songs, and assaults on black students; and the universities themselves, who name campus buildings after racist men and women. It also takes a deep dive into anti-affirmative action policies, and how they effectively segregate predominately white universities, providing ample room for white privilege. A bold mix of history and the current climate, Blackballed is a call to action for universities to make radical changes to their policies and standards to foster a better legacy for all students.

© Jeff Lewis Photography

Lawrence Ross is a bestselling author, lecturer, writer, filmmaker, social media and consumer trends expert. He is the author of The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities and has written regular pieces for CNN, The Grio, The Root, Ebony, and USA Today. He lives in Westchester, California.

It Takes a School

It Takes a School

Picador
Paperback
272 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-15994-6

The Extraordinary Story of an American School in the World’s #1 Failed State

Jonathan Starr

Jonathan Starr, once a cutthroat hedge fund manager, is not your traditional do-gooder, and in 2009, when he decided to found Abaarso, a secondary school in Somaliland, the choice seemed crazy to even his closest friends. Why,” they wondered, “would he turn down a life of relative luxury to relocate to an armed compound in a breakaway region of the world’s #1 failed state?” It Takes a School is the story of how an abstract vision became a transformative reality, as Starr set out to build a school in a place forgotten by the world. It is the story of a skeptical and clan-based society learning to give way to trust. And it’s the story of the students themselves, including a boy from a family of nomads who took off on his own in search of an education and a girl who waged a hunger strike in order to convince her strict parents to send her to Abaarso. Abaarso has placed forty graduates and counting in American universities, from Harvard to MIT, and sends Somaliland a clear message: its children can compete with anyone in the world. Now the initial question Starr was asked demands another: “If such a success can happen in an unrecognized breakaway region of Somalia, can it not happen anywhere?”

© Patrick Adams

Jonathan Starr founded and led the private investment firm Flagg Street Capital, worked as an analyst at SAB Capital Management and Blavin and Company, Inc., and as a research associate within the Taxable Bond Division at Fidelity Investments. His work in Somaliland has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, CNN, and The Christian Science Monitor.

It Takes a School has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Marist College (NY)

Continue reading

Lit Up

Lit Up

Picador
Paperback
288 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-11703-8

One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-four Books That Can Change Lives.

David Denby

“Denby makes an impassioned case for the critical importance of books to the lives of young people.”—Dale Russakoff, The New York Times Book Review

It’s no secret that millions of American teenagers, caught up in social media, television, movies, and games, don’t read seriously—they associate sustained reading with duty or work, not with pleasure. Can teenagers be turned on to serious reading? What kind of teachers can do it, and what books? To find out, Denby sat in on a tenth-grade English class in a demanding New York public school for an entire academic year, and made frequent visits to a troubled inner-city public school in New Haven and to a respected public school in Westchester county. He read all the stories, poems, plays, and novels that the kids were reading, and creates an impassioned portrait of charismatic teachers at work, classroom dramas large and small, and fresh and inspiring encounters with the books themselves, including The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, Notes From Underground, A Long Way Gone and many more. In a sea of bad news about education and the fate of the book, Denby reaffirms the power of great teachers and the importance and inspiration of great books.

© Nina Subin

David Denby is the author of Great Books, American Sucker, Snark, and Do the Movies Have a Future? He is a staff writer and former film critic for The New Yorker, and his reviews and essays have appeared in The New Republic,The Atlantic, and New York magazine, among other places. He lives in New York City with his wife, writer Susan Rieger.

Lit Up has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Western Michigan University
Continue reading

The Book of Isaias

The Book of Isaias

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
272 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-08306-7

A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America

Daniel Connolly

“The Book of Isaias is a compassionate and well-told tale from Tennessee. Daniel Connolly has placed his reporting muscles at the service of a hard-working Mexican family and their smart son, and borne witness to their noble struggles.”—Héctor Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark

In a green town in the middle of America, a bright 18-year-old Hispanic student named Isaias Ramos sets out on the journey to college. Isaias is the hope of Kingsbury High in Memphis, a school where many students have difficulty reading. But Kingsbury’s dysfunction, expensive college fees, and forms printed in a language that’s foreign to his parents are all obstacles in the way of getting him to a university. Isaias also doubts the value of college and says he might go to work in his family’s painting business after high school, despite his academic potential. Is Isaias making a rational choice? Or does he simply hope to avoid pain by deferring dreams that may not come to fruition? This is what journalist Daniel Connolly attempts to uncover in The Book of Isaias as he follows Isaias, peers into a tumultuous final year of high school, and, eventually, shows how adults intervene in the hopes of changing Isaias’s life. Every day, children of immigrants make decisions about their lives that will shape our society and economy for generations. This engaging, poignant book captures an American microcosm and illustrates broader challenges for our collective future.

© Jacobo Parra

Daniel Connolly has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for several news organizations, including the Associated Press and The Commercial Appeal (Memphis). The winner of numerous journalism prizes, he has received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists, and the Fulbright program. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

Born Bright

Born Bright

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
256 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-06992-4

A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America

C. Nicole Mason

“I’m glad that Mason wrote this urgent memoir, showing not only what poverty looks like but what it feels like as well . . . You will be far better off after having read Born Bright, not just because it’s a powerful story, but also because it’s one so seldom heard.”—Essence 

Born in the 1970s in Los Angeles, California, C. Nicole Mason was raised by a beautiful, but volatile 16-year-old single mother. Early on, she learned to navigate between an unpredictable home life and school where she excelled. By high school, Mason was seamlessly straddling two worlds. The first, a cocoon of familiarity where street smarts, toughness and the ability to survive won the day. The other, foreign and unfamiliar with its own set of rules, not designed for her success. After moving to Las Vegas to live with her paternal grandmother, she worked nights at a food court in one of the Mega Casinos while finishing school. Having figured out the college application process by eavesdropping on the few white students in her predominantly Black and Latino school along with the help of a long ago high school counselor, Mason eventually boarded a plane for Howard University, alone and with $200 in her pocket. While showing us her own path out of poverty, Mason examines the conditions that make it nearly impossible to escape and exposes the presumption harbored by many—that the poor don’t help themselves enough.

© Dewayne Rogers Photography

C. Nicole Mason is the Executive Director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest (CR2PI) and she has taught at Spelman College and New York University. Her writing and commentary has appeared in major newspapers and outlets across the country, including MSNBC, CNN, The Nation, The Miami Herald, and numerous NPR affiliates, among others.

Continue reading