Compiled by Editor Jamie H. Vaught
Here's the first of a two-part series about recently-published nonfiction books, in no particular order, with many of them highly-reviewed:
--"Hope: Entertainer of the Century” by Richard Zoglin (Simon & Schuster, $18.00) is a fascinating biography, now in a 567-page paperback, about the legendary television star. Bob Hope, with his topical jokes and his all-American, brash-but-cowardly screen character, was the only person to achieve top-rated success in every major mass-entertainment medium of the century. Hope, who was born in England but grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, died in 2003 at the age of 100.
--“9 Presidents Who Screwed Up America and Four Who Tried to Save Her” by Brion McClanahan (Regnery History, $29.99) is a nice hardback to have with the presidential election coming up in November. The author, who has a Ph.D in American history, writes that a proper understanding of the president’s limited powers under our Constitution is extremely important when it comes to determining what makes a great president. The 320-page book surprises the readers with a different look of the presidents we commonly celebrate, detailing the abuse of the power by several leaders, including Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.
--“The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality” by editor Joyce Nilsson Orsini (McGraw Hill, $35.00) is a “must-have” book for management and business folks. If you are in business, you certainly would recognize the name of W. Edwards Deming, popularly called the Father of Quality Management. The 326-page book may not be a brand new effort, but it is authorized by the Deming estate and published with The W. Edwards Deming Institute. It's the first book to distill Deming’s lifetime worth of thinking and writing into a single source and the author provides expert commentary along with Deming’s principles. The book also has had good reviews, according to Amazon.
--“People Over Profit” by Dale Partridge (Nelson Books, $24.99) offers a revolutionary business model by valuing people over profit, revealing seven core beliefs that create success by putting people first. The book mentions that profit-before-people is actually out of date and needs to be changed in today’s environment.
--“Concussion” by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Random House, $16.00) is a powerful story of a courageous doctor who fought against the powerful National League Football. The doctor had discovered that deceased ex-pro star Mike Webster had a brain disorder that was caused by blows to the head that could affect everyone playing the game, but the NFL attempted to ignore his medical studies. This remarkable story since has become a major motion picture.
--“A Passion For Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform From Fifty Years Of Public Service” by Robert M. Gates (Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95) offers useful insights into being an effective leader. Gates, who has served as CIA director, university president and Secretary of Defense (under Presidents Bush and Obama), gives the readers a candid assessment of leadership and how to do a better job. It is a must-read for anyone looking to implement change at any level of any institution.
--“Ball Four: The Final Pitch” by Jim Bouton (Turner Publishing, $23.95) is an updated version of the baseball classic now available in a 540-page paperback. When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it shocked the sports world like a lightning bolt. Even Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton, a pitcher for the New York Yankees, to declare the controversial book untrue. In the updated edition, published in 2014, the author has written a new epilogue, detailing his perspective on how baseball has changed since the last edition was released. Wrote Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in New York Times, “Ball Four is a people book, not just a baseball book.”
--“The Time of Our Lives” by Peggy Noonan (Twelve, $30.00) is the ninth book written by one of the most brilliant and influential political thinkers and writers of our time and she chronicles her career in journalism (including her role as a CBS News producer), the Reagan White House and the political arena with a collection of her best writings. Noonan writes a weekly column in the Wall Street Journal. Author David McCullough wrote, "Bravo, Peggy Noonan. The English historian J.H. Plumb once said that what we need is more 'heart-wise' historians. Heart-wise Noonan certainly is."
--“The Negotiator: A Memoir” by George J. Mitchell (Simon & Schuster, $28.00) is filled with enlightening stories from former U.S. Senate Majority Leader about growing up in Maine, his years in Washington, D.C., working to bring peace to Northern Ireland and the Middle East, and what he’s learned about the art of negotiation during every stage of his life. A ranking Democrat in the Senate during the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton discusses his adventures in law and politics as well as his post-Senate life, including serving as chairman of The Walt Disney Company and heading investigations into the use of steroids in major league baseball and unethical activity surrounding the Olympic Games.
--“I Should Be Dead: My Life Surviving Politics, TV and Addiction” by Bob Beckel with John David Mann (Hachette Books, $27.00) is a moving and honest memoir about his life as a political operative (for Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, among others) and diplomat, his long struggle with alcohol and drugs, and his surprising journey to finding faith and redemption. Beckel, who now appears on CNN as political commentator, was the youngest-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in 1977 and now teaches political strategy at George Washington University.
--“Under New Management” by David Burkus (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28.00) challenges the traditional principles of business management after years of research, proving that they are out of date or simply don’t work. The author, who is a management professor at Oral Roberts, says the best companies are now breaking the old rules, revealing several revolutionary insights such as banning e-mail, sharing salaries openly, giving unlimited vacation time, among others. Burkus in 2015 was named one of the emerging thought leaders most likely to shape the future of business.
--“Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide” by Joy-Ann Reid (William Morrow, $27.99) examines the complicated relationship between President Obama, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, the power plays employed by both camps to secure the democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and their often rocky friendship thereafter. The author is a national correspondent for MSNBC. The 367-page hardcover plays out as a richly detailed political soap opera which is bound to impact the 2016 presidential compaign.
--"100 Things Pirates Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" by Steve Ziants and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Triumph Books, $14.95) is an entertaining collection of facts, traditions and achievements about this longtime major league baseball franchise in western Pennsylvania. In this 286-page paperback, you will also learn more about the remarkable people who played or managed for the Pirates, including Chuck Tanner, Danny Murtaugh, Roberto Clemente, among others. Like the rival Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh plays as a member of the National League Central Division. There are similar books in a series about the Reds, the Kentucky Wildcats and many other sports teams.
Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime columnist in Kentucky, is the author of four books about UK basketball. He is the editor of KySportsStyle.com online magazine and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via e-mail at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.