How do the underdogs of the world like David beat a giant like Goliath? Malcolm Gladwell answers that question in his new book, and Thomas Flynn speed-reads it for you so you can talk about it at parties.
Chances are you’re going to get caught in a heated cocktail-party conversation in the next few weeks about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Gladwell is lucratively good at raising a very general question and presenting a slightly counterintuitive answer—just counterintuitive enough to not seem obvious. He wraps up the package neatly with selective stories, data, and research. Witness the mega-success of his books Outliers, The Tipping Point, Blink, and What the Dog Saw.
Urban explorer Bradley Garrett spoke to Josh Dzieza about the excitement and the pitfalls of poking around abandoned subway stations, skyscrapers, and other off-limits sectors of cities.
Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole a hundred years ago. Everest is littered with oxygen tanks and suffers from traffic jams. But exploration is still happening around the world. It’s just that some of the most interesting expeditions are now much closer to home—right in the heart of the city, in fact. And the challenges aren’t just physical but social and legal: security cameras, trespassing laws, and the common sense that tells you not to jump into sewer systems.
From Daniel Radcliffe’s struggle to shed the specter of Harry Potter to the NFL’s war on brain science, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.
"The Snowden Files" by John Lanchester, The Guardian. When the Guardian offered John Lanchester access to the GCHQ files, the journalist and novelist was initially unconvinced. But what the papers told him was alarming: that Britain is sliding towards an entirely new kind of surveillance society. "Harry Who?" by Susan Dominus, The New York Times Magazine. A masterful take on the celebrity profile follows Daniel Radcliffe’s anguished, frenetic, and even dark effort to rid himself of the specter of Harry Potter.
In 'Across the Ravaged Land,' Nick Brandt captures the stone remains of wildlife that Africa is losing. Nico Hines talks to the ex-Michael Jackson video director about his haunting new work.
Two thousand years ago, the stricken population of Pompeii was buried alive in the red-hot ash of Mount Vesuvius; the result was a preserved display of human suffering whose intensity has been unrivaled in the intervening centuries. Strolling along the shoreline of a lake in Tanzania’s desolate Rift Valley, Nick Brandt encountered a modern version of that haunting scene. The British photographer’s otherworldly portraits of those statuesque figures are recorded in Across the Ravaged Land, the climax to a trilogy of books mourning the destruction of wildlife that once dominated the great plains of Africa.
Novelist William Boyd has the impossible task of conjuring up a new Bond novel, but can his effort match up to Ian Fleming’s creation? By Robert McCrum.
Two English misfits found in the Second World War the making of their oeuvre. For Winston Churchill, the Nazi threat gave a born writer the raw material of a lifetime. History, speeches, memoir, essays, the Nobel Prize.... in Churchill’s bibliography, the war is the gift that went on giving. For Ian Fleming, working just a few hundred yards from the prime minister, in Room 39 of the Admiralty, fighting the Nazis was a godsend. This restless loner had signed up with British naval intelligence soon after the fall of France.
Valerie Plame talks to The Daily Beast about her new CIA thriller 'Blowback,' love in the Agency, and her nuclear proliferation nightmares.
It's been 10 years since l'affaire Plame, one of the most notorious blown covers in CIA history, whose tangled web of intrigue snaked from the yellowcake forgeries of Niger to the halls of George W. Bush's White House. It's a twisted plot that would lend itself nicely to Valerie Plame's newest gig, penning thrillers filled with undercover agents and assassins, black-market proliferation networks and political machinations.
At the age of 100, it seems that there’s nothing hotter than Marcel Proust’s 'Remembrance of Things Past.' Elisabeth Ladenson on how he got so damn popular, despite his best intentions.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922), of hallucinogenic tea-cake fame, has become the unlikely pinup of the moment, thanks in part to the 100th anniversary of the publication of Swann’s Way, the first tome of his monumental Remembrance of Things Past, or, if you prefer, In Search of Lost Time. Recent years have seen Proust reading groups, websites, blogs, tee-shirts, wristwatches, films, plays; coffee-table books featuring Proust’s taste in painting or recipes for dishes mentioned by Proust, endless biographies, books about the author’s overcoat or his library, and numerous guides to reading his enormous novel, as well as memoirs of having read it.
The most recent favorite: '50 Shades of Grey.'
David Bowie is getting all the attention for being a voracious reader with his “Top 100 Must Read Books” list, but in other news about musicians of a certain era and their reading habits, Art Garfunkel has been keeping track of every book he’s read since 1968. The 1,181-strong listing—which works out to two to three books a month for 44 years—is available on his website in year-by-year breakdowns, along with a list of 157 favorites. Compared with Bowie, Garfunkel leans more toward the classics, counting Tolstoy, Melville, Rousseau, Joyce, and Dostoyevsky among his favorite authors. Like the rest of the world, however, he’s not above reading some erotic Twilight fan fiction; the most recent addition to Garfunkel’s list of favorites is E.L. James’s 50 Shades of Grey.
A list of Ziggy Stardust’s 100 favorite books was released last week, but readers were wondering to themselves: is it just me, or are there only 75 books on the list? It’s not just you, and we have the complete list here.
When a list of David Bowie’s “Top 100 Must Read Books” was released last week, many people were stunned that the prolific musician could find time to be such a prodigious reader. Outlets like The Guardian, The London Evening Standard, and Time reported Bowie’s eclectic and, frankly, rather excellent taste, and the A.V. Club announced that “David Bowie has once again shown that he's not only far richer, sexier, and more fabulous than you, but probably smarter.
Twenty years after Black Hawk Down and after more than a decade of fighting around the world, novelist Lea Carpenter considers the stories we tell about war—and how we struggle to shape meaning and narrative.
October 3rd, 2013 is the twentieth anniversary of Operation Gothic Serpent, more popularly known as Black Hawk Down, the mission to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Mark Bowden wrote an extraordinary book about that day. Later, Ridley Scott made the movie. “BHD” is as celebrated in some circles as the landings at Normandy, or Tet; it illustrated the willingness of the few to risk their lives at a time when the many might have described their lives as peaceful.
No one thought I could play the viola—until Mr K came into my life. He yelled, he prodded, he berated. And he made me believe I could do anything. By Joanne Lipman
I first began studying viola with Mr. K after fourth grade, after flaming out spectacularly at piano. Nobody had any reason to have any faith in my musical ability. At ten years old, my track record was awful. Clearly, Mr. K saw something the rest of us didn’t. With an un-sharpened pencil in one hand, the better to poke and prod, he corrected me over and over again that summer, singling me out from the group. Then when my fingers were burning, he barked: “Again!” When I look through my earliest music lesson books, they are filled with Mr.
Months before Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy 50 years ago this November, he tried to kill someone else: General Edwin Walker, an ultra-right winger.
On February 27, General Walker boards a specially equipped tour bus owned by his close friend, the anti-communist televangelist Billy James Hargis. The two men are departing on a speaking tour to twenty-nine cities, mostly in the South: “To alert the public to the enemy within and without.” Taking their inspiration from Paul Revere, they are calling their tour Operation Midnight Ride. Hargis is a thirty-seven-year-old, three-hundred-pound Texas-born leader of the Christian Crusade, a fervent group of a hundred thousand paid followers based in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The free sampler of erotic eBook ‘King of Bitcoin’ was pretty tame, but then Anna Brand read the rest—and let’s just say bitcoins will never be the same.
You might think bitcoins could never give you nightmares. You might not believe that they could be a driving force in a manipulative sexual power play involving a threesome. You might even be so naive as to think bitcoins could never harm your soul. You would be very wrong.The first one thousand words of Kayleen Knight’s newest 10,000-word eBook, King of Bitcoin, are available to read online for free—that’s where you get fooled. I was hoping page one would have a juicy scene, but it starts off completely PG (as you might first expect from an eBook on bitcoins.
The bestselling author of ‘Patriot Games’ and ‘Clear and Present Danger,’ who died Tuesday at age 66, said some wise things—and some not so much.
1. “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” —Larry King Live, 2000, and included in Quotable Quotes. 2. “The only way to do all the things you’d like to do is to read.” 3. “You learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired—it’s hard work.
Still has new book coming.
Bestselling author Tom Clancy died Tuesday in a Baltimore hospital, his publisher has confirmed. He was 66. Clancy was the author of dozens of military thrillers, including the bestselling Jack Ryan series (including 1987's Patriot Games), whose movie adaptations made millions at the box office. Clancy was born in Baltimore, and he later became a part owner of the Baltimore Orioles. He earned $1.3 million for writing the first Jack Ryan book, The Hunt for Red October, and by 1997 he reportedly earned $50 million for his next two books. He also co-founded the videogame developer Red Storm Entertainment and has had his name on some of Red Storm’s most successful games. His last novel, an installment in the Jack Ryan series titled Command Authority, is scheduled to be published Dec. 3.
Dave Eggers takes on the dystopian world of Facebook and Google in his new novel, ‘The Circle.’ Stefan Beck on whether we should dare to ‘Like’ it.
In 1945, Jorge Luis Borges published a short story about Google. The narrator of “The Aleph” is a writer, also called Borges, who each year visits the family of a dead woman with whom he’d been in love. He comes to know the woman’s cousin, Carlos Argentino Daneri, a terrible poet with a very high opinion of himself and bombastic opinions about everything else. Of Modern Man, Daneri bloviates: “I view him ... in his inner sanctum ... with telephones, telegraphs, phonographs, wireless sets, motion-picture screens, slide projectors, glossaries, timetables, handbooks, bulletins.
With her new novel getting rave reviews, the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author is ready to confess that she doesn’t meditate—and she has a chewing gum addiction.
NC: Describe your morning routine.EG: Okay, well my morning routine on a day when I’m writing is very different from my routine on a day I’m not writing. So when I’m writing, my routine begins the night before. I had a meditation teacher who used to say that your meditation starts the night before. What time you go to bed is really important. When I’m writing, I tend to go to bed around 9 o’clock. That way I can get up by 4:30 or 5. My favorite time to write is between 5 to 10 a.
Kate Losse says ‘The Circle’ rips off Facebook memoir.
Former Facebook employee Kate Losse claims that her 2012 memoir, The Boy Kings, has been ripped off by novelist Dave Eggers. Losse notes that both her book and Eggers’s new novel, The Circle, are about a female customer-service employee at a major social network. Losse also points to Eggers’s conception of Silicon Valley companies, with their cavalier attitudes toward user privacy and their cultish corporate cultures, as being similar to her own description of Facebook. She annotated a section to show similarities between the two and wrote on her blog that The Circle, which has received rave advance reviews, “is the same book [as mine], and I wrote it first (and I imagine mine is more authentic and better written, because I actually lived in this world and am also a good writer),” though she has not read the novel in its entirety. For Losse, the perceived plagiarism is indicative of a publishing industry where “mainstream media outlets will take [Egger’s] writing more seriously than a woman's.”
‘The Scientists,’ Marco Roth’s memoir about his bookish upbringing and his father’s secret life, was hailed as one of the best books of 2012. He was not the first to question the idea of a single, unified self. He picks five of his favorite anti-memoir memoirs.
Is it possible to write a memoir about how you mistook your own life, about what you didn’t yet know or failed to see, and when you didn’t know it? About how your character and judgments were formed and how you came to unlearn that first and not always painful formation? The project sounds like it should be doomed. How can you write about that earlier self without being either patronizing or maudlin? How can you write your way out of the after-effects of your earlier experiences simply by chronicling them? And yet there have been a number of remarkable attempts, often successful or successfully doomed books that capture fragments of lives, usually written at a crisis point in the writer’s life—the sense of mid-life coming as it does at different times to different generations and different individuals.
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