In the Mail: Non-Fiction Edition

–> Newton on the Tee: A Good Walk Through the Science of Golf by John Zumerchik


A lively, accessible discussion of the physics of golf, John Zumerchik’s Newton on the Tee is, to players at all levels of ability, at once a beacon of hope and a shoal of despair. It assumes what golfers already know–that it is a damnably difficult game–and proceeds to tell them why. For instance, the allowable angle of lateral error (pushing the ball left or right) of a 160-yard shot “can be measured in the one one-thousandth of a degree range,” compared with that of a basketball free throw, which is 1.5 degrees. Zumerchik also explains why dimpled balls (hit equally) will travel two times farther than smooth, nondimpled ones, and casts a cocked eye at the advantage “reading the grain” of greens has long been supposed to bring.

He discusses the two schools of thought regarding clubhead acceleration and succinctly explains how and to what degree altitude, latitude, moisture, and air temperature affect ball flight. He includes a chapter on physical conditioning–what might help, what might not, and why–and, dishearteningly, one on the aging process and its attendant decline in playing ability. Newton on the Tee is free of the cant found in most golf books–either instructional or meditative–and dispels many (but not all) claims of equipment makers. This is a delightful and trustworthy book which, if nothing else, will ground golfers’ time-honored tradition of excuse making in solid, irreproachable science.

–> Skin in the Game: How Putting Yourself First Today Will Revolutionize Health Care Tomorrow by John Hammergren with Phil Harkins

“John Hammergren is one of America’s best CEOs, and his new book, Skin in the game, makes a strong statement about the serious issue of health care reform. Moreover, he does so with clear thinking, contagious optimism, and a refreshing, pragmatic approach that can be readily understood.”

Mark Hurd, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett-Packard Company

–> Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil

“In this authoritative, colorful look at the grimmest Everest season in years, Dark Summit carries forward Outside magazine’s formidable tradition of high alpine literature. Nick Heil is alive to Everest’s majesty but fiercely skeptical of those hubristic souls who attempt to ‘conquer’ her. Through rock-solid reporting and vital prose, Heil leads us up into this rarefied world, step by hypoxic step.”

Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder

–> Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community by Nancy H. Taylor

From the Publisher:

Go Green is an indispensable resource for those among us who are ready to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk! There is a huge movement already underway towards going green, living sustainably, and creating a smaller carbon footprint. This book provides the means to do so. Homeowners, students, professionals and elected officials can all learn valuable solutions to save money, energy and combat global warming. Go Green offers user-friendly suggestions for individuals, schools, hospitals, businesses and communities.

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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