- Bobby M
Fooled by Randomness
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Fooled by Randomness is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are The Black Swan, Antifragile, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes.
Fooled by Randomness is the word-of-mouth sensation that will change the way you think about business and the world. Nassim Nicholas Taleb–veteran trader, renowned risk expert, polymathic scholar, erudite raconteur, and New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan–has written a modern classic that turns on its head what we believe about luck and skill.
This book is about luck–or more precisely, about how we perceive and deal with luck in life and business. Set against the backdrop of the most conspicuous forum in which luck is mistaken for skill–the world of trading–Fooled by Randomness provides captivating insight into one of the least understood factors in all our lives. Writing in an entertaining narrative style, the author tackles major intellectual issues related to the underestimation of the influence of happenstance on our lives.
The book is populated with an array of characters, some of whom have grasped, in their own way, the significance of chance: the baseball legend Yogi Berra; the philosopher of knowledge Karl Popper; the ancient world’s wisest man, Solon; the modern financier George Soros; and the Greek voyager Odysseus. We also meet the fictional Nero, who seems to understand the role of randomness in his professional life but falls victim to his own superstitious foolishness.
However, the most recognizable character of all remains unnamed–the lucky fool who happens to be in the right place at the right time–he embodies the “survival of the least fit.” Such individuals attract devoted followers who believe in their guru’s insights and methods. But no one can replicate what is obtained by chance.
Are we capable of distinguishing the fortunate charlatan from the genuine visionary? Must we always try to uncover nonexistent messages in random events? It may be impossible to guard ourselves against the vagaries of the goddess Fortuna, but after reading Fooled by Randomness we can be a little better prepared.
The Tortilla Curtain
T.C. Boyle’s “compelling” (The Chicago Tribune) novel about assimilation and the price of the American dream
Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding.
more to me than
Twelve-year-old Willow would rather blend in than stick out. But she still wants to be seen for who she is. She wants her parents to notice that she is growing up. She wants her best friend to like her better than she likes a certain boy. She wants, more than anything, to mush the dogs out to her grandparents’ house, by herself, with Roxy in the lead. But sometimes when it’s just you, one mistake can have frightening consequences . . . And when Willow stumbles, it takes a surprising group of friends to help her make things right again.
Using diamond-shaped poems inspired by forms found in polished diamond willow sticks, Helen Frost tells the moving story of Willow and her family. Hidden messages within each diamond carry the reader further, into feelings Willow doesn’t reveal even to herself.
Diamond Willow is a 2009 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.
No Friend But the Mountains
In 2013, Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island, a refugee detention centre off the coast of Australia.
He has been there ever since.
This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi.
It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait of five years of incarceration and exile.
Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Literature, Australia’s richest literary prize, No Friend But the Mountains is an extraordinary account ― one that is disturbingly representative of the experience of the many stateless and imprisoned refugees and migrants around the world.
The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
“Gabriel García Márquez meets Umberto Eco meets Jorge Luis Borges for a sprawling magic show.”—The New York Times Book Review
A New York Times Bestseller
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
“ Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind. Really, you should.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
“Wonderous… masterful… The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero.”—Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)
“One gorgeous read.”—Stephen King
Patrick Radden Keefe
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A masterful history of the Troubles. . . Extraordinary. . .As in the most ingenious crime stories, Keefe unveils a revelation — lying, so to speak, in plain sight.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions
In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress–with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.
Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past–Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
Bloodchild and Other Stories
A perfect introduction for new readers and a must-have for avid fans, this New York Times Notable Book includes “Bloodchild,” winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and “Speech Sounds,” winner of the Hugo Award. Appearing in print for the first time, “Amnesty” is a story of a woman named Noah who works to negotiate the tense and co-dependent relationship between humans and a species of invaders. Also new to this collection is “The Book of Martha” which asks: What would you do if God granted you the ability—and responsibility—to save humanity from itself?
Like all of Octavia Butler’s best writing, these works of the imagination are parables of the contemporary world. She proves constant in her vigil, an unblinking pessimist hoping to be proven wrong, and one of contemporary literature’s strongest voices.
State of Wonfer
“Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.”—New York Times Book Review
Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett returns with a provocative and assured novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest. Infusing the narrative with the same ingenuity and emotional urgency that pervaded her acclaimed previous novels Bel Canto, Taft, Run, The Magician’s Assistant, and The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett delivers an enthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment in State of Wonder—a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.
House of Skin
100 Things Phish Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die
Few music groups have been able to sustain a fan base as passionate and dedicated as that of Phish, and this entertaining guide rewards those fans with everything they need to know about the band in a one-of-a-kind format. Packed with history, trivia, lists, little-known facts, and must-do adventures that every Phish fan should undertake, it ranks each item from one to 100, providing an indispensable, engaging road map for devotees old and new.
A Sand County Almanac
The environmental classic that redefined the way we think about the natural world—an urgent call for preservation that’s more timely than ever.
“We can place this book on the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir.”—San Francisco Chronicle
These astonishing portraits of the natural world explore the breathtaking diversity of the unspoiled American landscape—the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. Conjuring up one extraordinary vision after another, Aldo Leopold takes readers with him on the road and through the seasons on a fantastic tour of our priceless natural resources, explaining the destructive effects humankind has had on the land and issuing a bold challenge to protect the world we love.
The Illustrated Man
The Illustrated Man, a seminal work in Ray Bradbury’s career, whose extraordinary power and imagination remain undimmed by time’s passage, is available from Simon & Schuster for the first time.
Ray Bradbury brings wonders alive. For this peerless American storyteller, the most bewitching force in the universe is human nature. In these eighteen startling tales unfolding across a canvas of tattooed skin, living cities take their vengeance, technology awakens the most primal natural instincts, and dreams are carried aloft in junkyard rockets. Provocative and powerful, The Illustrated Man is a kaleidoscopic blending of magic, imagination, and truth—as exhilarating as interplanetary travel, as maddening as a walk in a million-year rain, and as comforting as simple, familiar rituals on the last night of the world.
The Indifferent Stars Above
Daniel James Brown
In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.
In this gripping narrative, Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most infamous events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah’s journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
A Connecticut engineer named Hank Morgan finds himself in a tiff with one of his workers. After passing out from the result of a severe blow to his head, he awakens unaware of his whereabouts, but soon Hank discovers that he has been transported back to 6th century Camelot! Upon further evaluation, he soon realizes that due to his circumstance, he is the most knowledgeable man in the world and he should be the one in charge.
The Golden Fleece
Along with I, Claudius, The Golden Fleece is considered one of Robert Graves’s most exciting and transporting historical novels. The Golden Fleece was at one time the most sacred religious object of the ancient Greeks, and had been sent away as the result of a power struggle between the Greeks and earlier inhabitants of the Greek peninsula. In this the original quest narrative, Jason leads a voyage of heroes, including his friend Hercules and many others, in his ship the Argo, to recapture the sacred Golden Fleece and bring it home. To do so he must travel across the whole of the ancient world, perform impossible tasks, and undergo betrayals and tragedies beyond comprehension or human endurance.
Poet, translator, memoirist, novelist, classicist Robert Graves stands alone for his ability to bring to modern readers the great stories of the ancient world with all their vividness and gore and power intact. As he has shown in many of his 140 published works, his facility with ancient myths and his understanding of how they still inform our imaginative lives helps make The Golden Fleece feel as fresh and necessary today as it did the first time someone told the story of Jason and the Argonauts some three thousand years ago.
Seven Stories’ Robert Graves Project spans 14 titles, and includes fiction and nonfiction, adult, young adult and children’s books, in a striking new uniform design, with new introductions and afterwords. Among the works still to come are Count Belisarius, Hebrew Myths, and Lawrence and the Arabs. The online partner for the Robert Graves Project is RosettaBooks.
A Sand Book
“Mind-blowing.” ―Kim Gordon
Deadpan, epic, and searingly charismatic, A Sand Book is at once relatable and out-of-this-world. In poems tracking climate change, bystanderism, state murder, sexual trauma, shopping, ghosting, love, and the transcendent shock of prophecy, A Sand Book chronicles new dimensions of consciousness for our strange and desperate times. What does the destruction of our soil have to do with the weather in the human soul? From sand in the gizzards of birds to the iridescence on the surface of spilt oil, from sand storms on Mars to our internet-addicted present, from the desertifying mountains of Haiti to Sandy Hook to Hurricane Sandy to Sandra Bland, A Sand Book is both a travelogue and a book of mourning. In her long-anticipated follow-up to Mercury, Ariana Reines has written her most ambitious, visceral, and satisfying work to date.
Finding Gobi is the miraculous tale of Dion Leonard, a seasoned ultramarathon runner who crosses paths with a stray dog while competing in a 155-mile race through the Gobi Desert in China. The lovable pup, who would later earn the name Gobi, proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, as she went step for step with Dion over the Tian Shan Mountains, across massive sand dunes, through yurt villages and the black sands of the Gobi Desert, keeping pace with him for 77 miles.
As Dion witnessed the incredible determination and heart of this small animal, he found his own heart undergoing a change as well. Whereas in the past these races were all about winning and being the best, his goal now was to make sure he and Gobi’s friendship continued well after the finish line. He found himself letting Gobi sleep in his tent at night, giving her food and water out of his own limited supply, and carrying her across numerous rivers, even when he knew it would mean putting him behind in the race, or worse, prevent him from finishing at all.
Although Dion did not cross the finish line first, he felt he had won something even greater – a new outlook on life and a new friend that he planned on bringing home as soon as arrangements were made. However, before he could take her home, Gobi went missing in the sprawling Chinese city where she was being kept. Dion, with the help of strangers and a viral outpouring of assistance on the internet, set out to track her down, and reunite forever with the amazing animal that changed his life and proved to him and the world that miracles are possible.
The prequel to Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, the War and Peace of the 20th Century, now in English for the first time.
In April 1942, Hitler and Mussolini meet in Salzburg where they agree on a renewed assault on the Soviet Union. Launched in the summer, the campaign soon picks up speed, as the routed Red Army is driven back to the industrial center of Stalingrad on the banks of the Volga. In the rubble of the bombed-out city, Soviet forces dig in for a last stand.
The story told in Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad unfolds across the length and breadth of Russia and Europe, and its characters include mothers and daughters, husbands and brothers, generals, nurses, political activists, steelworkers, and peasants, along with Hitler and other historical figures. At the heart of the novel is the Shaposhnikov family. Even as the Germans advance, the matriarch, Alexandra Vladimirovna, refuses to leave Stalingrad. Far from the front, her eldest daughter, Ludmila, is unhappily married to the Jewish physicist Viktor Shtrum. Viktor’s research may be of crucial military importance, but he is distracted by thoughts of his mother in the Ukraine, lost behind German lines.
In Stalingrad, published here for the first time in English translation, and in its celebrated sequel, Life and Fate, Grossman writes with extraordinary power and deep compassion about the disasters of war and the ruthlessness of totalitarianism, without, however, losing sight of the little things that are the daily currency of human existence or of humanity’s inextinguishable, saving attachment to nature and life. Grossman’s two-volume masterpiece can now be seen as one of the supreme accomplishments of twentieth-century literature, tender and fearless, intimate and epic.