In the Mail: Educate yourself edition


This May Help You Understand the World by Lawrence Potter

Book Description:

Everyone has insecurities about what they think they should know-the popularity of Lawrence Potter’s previous book, Mathematics Minus Fear, proves that. With its humorous style, his book makes knowledge accessible to anyone.

Each day, newspapers deliver fresh information on conflicts all around the world. This May Help You Understand the World assures you that it is okay to need more information than what is carried in today’s papers. People do want to understand the facts behind the headlines, and Potter makes it his business to enable this by discussing the following topics:

– Who has won more battles: the autocrat, plutocrat, theocrat, meritocrat, bureaucrat, democrat, or pornocrat?
– What did you say this country was called? Identity crises in Eastern Europe.
– Charisma or coercion: leaders we fell out of love with.
– Who’s kicking now? Political footballs.
– Buckle up: ideology through the window of a private jet.

The Open Brand: The When Push Comes to Pull in a Web-Made World by Kelly Mooney

Book Description:

Many of the best brands today are of geek pedigree, powered by the technologies, traits and trends of the ascendant digital channel. Amidst the decline of mass marketing, push marketing tactics have been superseded by new forms of influence. These include the creating, sharing and influencing behaviors of an online population no longer content merely to consume, and the potent pairing of digital notoriety and network effects, which has given rise to the icitizenry.

From these sociocultural forces emerges a radical business imperative: to open up to consumer involvement in a brand’s messages and offerings. Published under Peachpit’s New Riders imprint in partnership with AIGA Design Press, The Open Brand illuminates both the risks and immense rewards of doing so, and describes the essential consumer experiences that are requisite for cultural relevance—On-demand, Personal, Engaging, and Networked experiences, representing the chief values of the web-made world.


Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene by Masha Gessen

Book Description:

In 2004 genetic testing revealed that Masha Gessen had a mutation that predisposed her to ovarian and breast cancer. The discovery initiated Gessen into a club of sorts: the small (but exponentially expanding) group of people in possession of a new and different way of knowing themselves through what is inscribed in the strands of their DNA. As she wrestled with a wrenching personal decision—what to do with such knowledge—Gessen explored the landscape of this brave new world, speaking with others like her and with experts including medical researchers, historians, and religious thinkers.

Blood Matters is a much-needed field guide to this unfamiliar and unsettling territory. It explores the way genetic information is shaping the decisions we make, not only about our physical and emotional health but about whom we marry, the children we bear, even the personality traits we long to have. And it helps us come to terms with the radical transformation that genetic information is engineering in our most basic sense of who we are and what we might become.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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