Books to Watch | August 20, 2019
August 20, 2019
In which the three members of our marketing team highlight five books being released this week, and our Customer Service & Operations Manager tells us what she's been reading.
Looking forward to the launch of this here new website, we scrapped our monthly Books to Watch posts at the beginning of this month in favor of a new, weekly list. We did that because we felt it would be more valuable to our readers if we were to highlight five new releases each and every week, and because we wanted to make sure we are carving out time each week to engage with the books we sell and love, and be able to craft somethign in our own words about them (rather than using publisher copy as we did for our longer monthly list).
These weekly lists are curated by our Editorial & Creative Director, Dylan Schleicher (DJJS), our Marketing Director Blyth Meier (BRM), and our Digital Marketing Specialist Gabbi Cisneros (GMC). We also take this weekly opportunity to let you know what other people in the company are reading, regardless of when it was published. This week, our choices are:
Anthony Bourdain: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations by Anthony Bourdain, Melville House (BRM) | It’s been over a year since he left us, and I still miss looking over his shoulder as he turned my television into a portal into another world. Generous in spirit, relentlessly adventurous, and honest to a fault, there was no one like Anthony Bourdain. This collection of interviews, with an introduction by the New Yorker’s Helen Rosner, is a must-read for anyone who loves Anthony or great conversation.
The Costs of Connection: How Data Is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry & Ulises Alí Mejías, Stanford University Press (DJJS) | There is a dark side to the digital age and so-called Internet of Things we live in. It has ushered in what Shoshana Zuboff has called The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Professors Nick Couldry and Ulises Alí Mejías have another description of it: data colonialism. While careful not to equate the struggles of today with those of historically colonized peoples, Couldry and Mejías write that the “transformation of human life into raw material resonates strongly with the history of exploitation that preceded industrial capitalism—that is, colonialism.” The business models and infrastructure of our economy are increasingly being built around mass surveillance. The question at the heart of their book is if such a system is compatible with market democracy and individual freedom, and if we should allow it to proceed.
The Economics of Higher Purpose: Eight Counterintuitive Steps for Creating a Purpose-Driven Organization by Robert E. Quinn & Anjan V. Thakor, Berrett-Koehler (DJJS) | You’d think that the fields of management and finance, both being integral to business, would have a similar language. But in economics based solely on the model of maximizing self-interest, in an economy dominated by “a single-minded focus on shareholder value and wealth maximization,” they don’t. The very first lines of Robert Quinn and Anjan Thakor’s new book states, “Professors of management and professors of finance speak two different languages.” The rest of their book is about becoming bilingual. It’s not that our traditional economic assumptions and theories are entirely incorrect, they assert, it’s that they are incomplete. They are resolved in the workplace, they believe—as is the conflict between leaders, managers, and employees—when united by a higher purpose. This book is their guide to creating such an organization.
The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table by Minda Harts, Seal Press (BRM) | We’ve been waiting for this book since January 2018, when we first met Minda Harts at our annual book awards celebration—coincidentally the same amount of time it takes for a black woman to make the same salary a white man makes in one year. And while the systemic issues that created and perpetuate that disparity are not fixable by individuals (especially those that are most affected), we highly recommend Harts’ career guide—an indispensable tool for women of color navigating the uneven corporate playing field.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Books: The History and Future of Reading by Leah Price, Basic Books (DJJS) | “We believe in books.” It’s the most prominent text on our homepage, and it’s true—we do. They not only provide us a living as booksellers, and to the authors and publishers we work with, they provide ideas, inspiration, and guidance to those we sell books to. It seems commonplace, however, to imbue physical books with morality and virtue, and to bemoan the passing of a golden age of books and our ability to immerse ourselves in them as our attention is fractured amongst today digital detritus. That golden age, Leah Price tells us, never existed—or at least, like the supposed death of print, has been greatly exaggerated. Her book is a history of books and our relationship to them, and proof that the books we read have always changed and evolved as we do.
What we're reading:
I am reading City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. It really makes me wish I was born 40 years earlier, and disgraced my family, only to be shipped off NYC to live with my exotic aunt in her run down theatre with nothing but my sewing machine and mad sewing skillz! —Meg Bacik, Customer Service & Operations Manager