New Releases | August 1, 2023
August 01, 2023
Excellent new books are brought into the world every single week. Here at Porchlight, we track them all and elevate four new releases we are excited about as they hit bookstore shelves on Tuesday morning.
The books are chosen by Porchlight's Managing Director, Sally Haldorson, and the marketing team: Dylan Schleicher, Gabbi Cisneros, and Jasmine Gonzalez. (Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.) This week, our choices are:
Dylan’s pick: Beyond Piggly Wiggly: Inventing the American Self-Service Store by Lisa C. Tolbert, University of Georgia Press
Patented in 1917, Piggly Wiggly was by far the most influential self-service store of the early twentieth century. Before 1940 it was the only self-service chain with a national distribution network, but it was neither the first nor the only version. Beyond Piggly Wiggly reveals the importance of Piggly Wiggly in the invention of self-service and goes beyond the history of a single firm to explore the role of small business entrepreneurs who invented the first self-service stores in a grassroots social process.
During the 1920s and 1930s a minority of enterprising grocers experimented with a wide variety of (sometimes wacky) design ideas for automating shopping. They created specialized stores designed as enclosed retail systems that went far beyond open display techniques to construct unique physical and psychological advantages for automating salesmanship.
Beyond Piggly Wiggly offers the first perspective on the national scale of experimentation and connects the southern Jim Crow origins of self- service to the national history of this mass retailing method. Empirical analysis of store arrangements demonstrates how small stores that have previously been overlooked or undervalued as quaint anomalies were integral to the creation of supermarkets. Ultimately, self-service was more than a business decision; it was a fundamentally new social practice.
Sally’s pick: The Confidence Map: Charting a Path from Chaos to Clarity by Peter Atwater, Portfolio
What does our desire for certainty and control have to do with our decision-making? According to behavioral economics pioneer Peter Atwater, the answer is simple: everything.
In The Confidence Map, Atwater explores the hidden role of confidence in the choices we make, and why events described as being unprecedented are often entirely predictable—if we know what to look for.
Using compelling stories from the past and present, Atwater shows readers how to apply the same tools he teaches the world’s leading institutional investors, corporations, and policymakers to help them make sense of complex situations and optimize strategy. You will learn:
- How psychological distance consistently affects the choices we make
- Why "Me-Here-Now" decision-making is such a powerful force
- What happens at confidence peaks that leads to our downfall
- The five ways we respond to extreme vulnerability
- When consumers' feelings of certainty and control - not price - drive demand
The Confidence Map is a book about why we do what we do, where we can and cannot trust our natural instincts, and how we can make sense of a world that too often feels senseless.
Whether you’re investing in technology stocks, designing menu items for a fast-food franchise, or running an emergency room, Atwater offers an all-weather guide to avoid psychological traps, spot opportunities, and navigate the road ahead with clarity and purpose.
Gabbi’s pick: Everything You Need to Know About Renting but Didn't Know to Ask: All the Insider Dirt to Help You Get the Best Deal and Avoid Disaster by Jonas Bordo with Hannah Hildebolt, Matt Holt
The rental process is complicated, but your journey to finding a home doesn’t have to be dominated by confusion and frustration.
Everything You Need to Know About Renting but Didn’t Know to Ask gives you the information and confidence you need to seek, secure, and flourish in your new home.
With more than 20 years of experience in the rental industry as a renter, landlord, property manager, and now founder of Dwellsy, the largest US rental marketplace, Jonas Bordo has compiled a comprehensive and practical guide to help you:
- Prepare for the rental search
- Find the best place for you
- Avoid scams
- Succeed in the application process and get the place you want
- Make the most of your new home
- Get your security deposit back when you leave your rental
Whether you’re a first-time renter or hoping to make your next rental process smoother than the last, Everything You Need to Know About Renting but Didn’t Know to Ask will help you navigate the entire process. You’ll find tips on determining your price range, touring options in person or from afar, negotiating your lease, bringing your pet with you, moving in and moving out, being a good neighbor, and much more.
Jasmine’s pick: How to Make a Killing: Blood, Death and Dollars in American Medicine by Tom Mueller, W.W. Norton & Company
Six decades ago, visionary doctors achieved the impossible: the humble kidney, acknowledged since ancient times to be as essential to life as the heart, became the first human organ to be successfully replaced with a machine. Yet huge dialysis corporations, ambitious doctor-entrepreneurs and Beltway lobbyists soon turned this medical miracle into an early experiment in for-profit medicine—and one of the nation’s worst healthcare catastrophes.
With powerful insight and on-the-ground reporting, New York Times best-selling author Tom Mueller introduces an unforgettable cast of characters. Heroic patients, including a Hollywood stuntman and body double, risk their lives to blow the whistle on how they’ve been mistreated. An unpaid activist living in a south Georgia trailer park fights to save patients from involuntary discharge from their lifesaving care. Industry insiders put their careers on the line to speak out about the endemic wrongs and pervasive inequality they’ve witnessed—and about dialysis executives who dress as musketeers and Star Wars characters to exhort their employees to more aggressive profit-seeking.
Mueller evokes the scientific ingenuity and optimism of the 1950s and 1960s, when the burgeoning field of organ transplant and early dialysis machines offered long-awaited hope for lifesaving care. That is, until a New York salesman had himself dialyzed on the floor of the House, and Congress made renal disease the only “Medicare for All” condition—opening the financial floodgates for Big Dialysis. Of the thousands caught in a web of corporate greed, a disproportionate number are Black and Latino, highlighting the stark racial divides already endemic to American medicine.
How to Make a Killing reveals dialysis as a microcosm of American medicine and poses a vital challenge: find a way to fix dialysis, and we’ll have a fighting chance of fixing our country’s dysfunctional healthcare system as a whole, restoring patients, not profits, as its true purpose.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara... a novel about a quasi-dystopian future in which the global society is governed by a board of corporations and policed by 'The Algo' which awards and deducts 'social capital' from citizens based on their behavior. Great storytelling; the author creates a very believable (and horrifying) image of our possible future."
—Michael Jantz, Custom Projects Director