📚 The Reading Journal #045
Zappos, Tom Hanks and the Space Race
Did you know? Charles Dickens is one of the most famous authors in English literature, known for his evocative portrayals of life during the Victorian era. His novel "A Christmas Carol" has had a profound impact on the way we celebrate Christmas today. The phrase "Merry Christmas" was popularized by this book, and the character Ebenezer Scrooge has become synonymous with miserliness and a lack of holiday spirit.
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📚️ Staff Pick of the Week
When the Heavens Went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach by Ashlee Vance
"When the Heavens Went on Sale" by Ashlee Vance is a compelling exploration of the burgeoning aerospace engineering industry, often likened to a Wild West due to its pioneering spirit and chaotic environment. The book traces the journey of four companies—Astra, Firefly, Planet Labs, and Rocket Lab—since SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket launch in 2008, aiming to democratize space exploration by making rocket and satellite launches faster and cheaper. Amid the public fascination with space tourism led by figures like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson, these companies' goals set them apart. Through intimate reporting and exclusive access to this groundbreaking moment in history, Vance provides vivid details of the secret launch locations, communes, bodyguards, and the high-stakes race to space. This narrative reveals the thrilling chaos of the new space business, painting a picture of Silicon Valley's ambitious minds aiming for the stars, and the ensuing challenges and controversies of technology's most pressing revolution.
🎥 Reading Talk's
📈 Rising Quickly - Week of May 8, 2023
The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality by Andy Clark
In "The Experience Machine," renowned philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark presents the groundbreaking theory that our brains act as dynamic prediction engines, constantly synthesizing sensory input and expectations to shape our experiences. From the mundane to the sublime, our perception of reality is a complex blend of anticipated and actual sensory information. Clark underscores the profound implications of this theory for our understanding of mental health, societal interactions, and our sense of self. He suggests that malfunctions in our brain's predictive mechanisms could underpin chronic pain and mental illness, offering new avenues for treatment. Furthermore, Clark contends that the boundary between ourselves and the external world is porous, as our minds are intricately interwoven with our environments, memories, thoughts, and emotions, leading to the perception of reality being akin to a controlled hallucination. This work marks a significant step in our comprehension of the human mind.
🪄Most Talked About Fiction - Week of May 8, 2023
The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks
From the Academy Award-winning actor and best-selling author: a novel about the making of a star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film . . . and the humble comic books that inspired it. Funny, touching, and wonderfully thought-provoking, while also capturing the changes in America and American culture since World War II.
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📚️ Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of May 8, 2023
Wonder Boy: Tony Hsieh, Zappos, and the Myth of Happiness in Silicon Valley by Angel Au-Yeung
Tony Hsieh was a remarkable entrepreneur and innovator, best known for creating and selling two successful companies: LinkExchange to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998, and Zappos, an e-commerce giant, to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009. As a visionary leader, he pioneered a distinctive, happiness-focused corporate culture at Zappos that became influential across the tech industry. However, his life took a tragic turn due to struggles with mental health and addiction, exacerbated by a shift in his inner circle from genuine friends to individuals who enabled his destructive behaviors. Despite his personal challenges, Hsieh left an indelible legacy, including a large-scale initiative to revitalize downtown Las Vegas. His life, as depicted by journalists Angel Au-Yeung and David Jeans, paints a complex picture of a brilliant yet troubled individual who was ultimately consumed by his quest for happiness and personal demons.
🆕 New and Noteworthy
You: The Story: A Writer's Guide to Craft Through Memory by Ruta Sepetys
You: The Story is a powerful and inspiring guide for aspiring writers penned by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys. Drawing from her rich experience in creating vivid characters and engaging plots, Sepetys emphasizes the importance of individual life experiences as the core of authentic storytelling. With a balance of humor and heartfelt personal anecdotes illustrating key aspects of writing craft—like plot, character development, and dialogue—the book offers writing prompts and exercises that prompt readers to mine their own memories for compelling narratives. Echoing the spirit of works like Burn After Writing and Bird by Bird, You encourages emerging writers to understand and embrace the idea that each day of their lives contributes to their unique and evolving story, one that is waiting to be courageously shared with the world.
👀 In Case You Missed It
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