Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught
This is the second of a two-part series about your possible winter readings in nonfiction category, just in time for Christmas shopping season.
--“Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s” by Ray Kroc with Robert Anderson (St. Martin’s Press, $15.99) has been reissued recently as the popular book was last published during the late 1980s. Kroc was a well-known businessman most famous for owning McDonald’s at the age of 52. He even owned a pro baseball franchise, the San Diego Padres. In the book, he shares his contagious enthusiasm, perceptiveness and innovative thinking in his business practices with the readers. Kroc passed away in 1984.
--“The Rookie Handbook: How To Survive The First Season in the NFL” by pro footballers Ryan Kalil, Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangartner (Regan Arts, $23.95) is an unusual book that uses illustrations (by Matt Stevens) and humor to examine the day-to-day life of a professional football player, helping the rookies survive their first NFL season. It includes many examples such as where to sit on the team bus and how to survive locker room pranks. The 170-page paperback, written by three authors who have a combined 30 years of NFL experience, is actually the insider’s guide for both fans and non-fans, showing how players act and think, and what they do when no one is watching.
--“Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide To Thriving In The Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28) is basically a 486-page work of contemporary history that serves as an essential guide to the present and the future. The best-selling author’s most ambitious book attempts to expose the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them, and cushion their worst impacts. It is a brief theory of everything as the author ties together all the major developments of the past 10 years – from the rise of cloud computing to ISIS – and explains why they happened, and why they happened together. A columnist for the New York Times, Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
--“Whistlestop: My Favorite Stories From Presidential Campaign History” by John Dickerson (Twelve, $30.00) reveals the behind-the-scenes stories of the most memorable and forgotten moments in U.S. presidential campaign history. The 439-page hardcover is filled with colorful tidbits and human stories full of drama as the candidates battle for control of American power. A long-time reporter in Washington, D.C., Dickerson is moderator of CBS’ Face the Nation.
--“The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change The Way You Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier (Box of Crayons, $14.95) is a unique paperback that gives you seven transformative questions and the tools to make them an everyday way to work less hard and have more impact. As pointed out by the publisher, coaching is a foundational skill for every manager and leader. The author attempts to help the readers become a better leader with useful examples, practical ideas and tools.
--"First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies" by Kate Andersen Brower (Harper, $28.99) is a candid story about the women who make up the world's most elite sorority. Ten wives
of presidents are featured in this 381-page hardcover and they are Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. The author, who also wrote best-selling "The Residence," offers new insights into this privileged group of remarkable women, sharing numerous stories which may be either heartwarming or tragic. The book's paperback edition also will be available in January.
--“The 100 Best Business Books of All Time” by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten with Sally Haldorson (Portfolio/Penguin, $19) was first published several years ago and now has been revised and updated in a 353-page paperback. The book provides helpful guidance for readers, from entry-level worker to CEO (chief executive officer), who want to save time and discover the amazing books that are truly worth their investment of time and money.
--“Back From the Dead” by Bill Walton (Simon & Schuster, $27) is a dramatic life story about the author’s basketball and broadcasting careers and his numerous setbacks, including a catastrophe spinal collapse. A determined Walton -- a former NBA and UCLA star -- somehow recovered and is more busy than ever today. Walton’s all-time favorite player Bill Russell wrote a blurb for the book, saying the author has “won at every level with extraordinary skill and intelligence. Yet more importantly, he continues to win in the game of life.”
--“American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant” by Ronald C. White (Random House, $35) is a lengthy biography about one of the leading generals and most misunderstood presidents in U.S. history. There have been many books -- some unflattering -- written about Grant in the past, but this one seems different. Based on seven years of research with primary documents (some of them never reviewed by previous Grant authors), it is argued this hardcover is going to be the leading Grant biography of our time. You will find out President Grant had used the governmental power to fight the Ku Klux Klan and he was the first one to point out the U.S. government policy toward American Indians was immoral. Wrote Newsday, “In this sympathetic, rigorously sourced biography, White . . . conveys the essence of Grant the man and Grant the warrior. . . . (Grant) deserved better from posterity, and from White he gets it.”
--“Settle for More” by Megyn Kelly (Harper, $29.99) is a revealing memoir detailing her rise as one of the leading TV journalists today. The 341-page book traces her life as Kelly went from growing up in a tough love family where she had to earn her praise, to her father’s sudden, tragic death while she was still in high school, to the news stories that launched her journalism career. The charismatic author also opens up about the controversy that made her a household name, telling her side of president-elect Donald Trump’s feud with her and sharing unpublished details about that infamous Republican primary debate. She also discusses her very uneasy relationship -- alleged sexual harassment -- with now ex-boss Roger Ailes. Before entering a career in television news, Kelly practiced law for nine years.
--“The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War” by H.W. Brands (Doubleday, $30) tells a thrilling story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off after World War II to decide the future of the United States. During the Korean War, Truman had mistakenly told a reporter that “the military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the (atomic) weapons.” The White House quickly made the correction. And the conflict resulted between two titanic characters -- an unpopular president when first elected and a very popular general. The author has written several historical biographies, including “Andrew Jackson” and “The First American” (Benjamin Franklin).
--“Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away” by Lisa Napoli (Dutton, $27) shows the dramatic relationship between the husband and his wife. Ray Kroc was a salesman before arriving big time in the fast food business. Joan Kroc was a beautiful woman who was willing to risk her reputation and marriage to support controversial causes such as peace movement that touched her deeply. Even while married to other people, they were attracted to each other. The couple certainly formed a glamour image -- a story of big business, big love and big giving.
--“Jimmy Carter: Elected President with Pocket Change and Peanuts” by Dorothy Padgett (Mercer University Press, $35) is a lengthy, down-to-earth story about the former president as told by the author who was a “soldier” in the Peanut Brigade. As you may recall, it was the brigade -- a group of loyal supporters, neighbors and elected officials -- which famously helped Carter, a peanut farmer from Plains, Ga., and former Georgia governor, win the presidency in 1976. The author also worked in the Carter administration.
--"The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football" by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner, $27) features former UK connections — head football coach Hal Mumme and his offensive coordinator Mike Leach (now the head coach at Washington State) -- who coached the pass-happy Wildcats during the late 1990s. The 293-page hardcover is a compelling story about these two once-unknown coaches who revolutionized football by changing from a run-oriented game to an exciting, pass-dominated offense. Mumme and Leach (who is a former lawyer) came up with a radical offense – popularly called “Air Raid” — which began at a tiny, overlooked school named Iowa Wesleyan. Mumme, who is in his third year as head coach at Belhaven University in Mississippi, is pleased with the book. “I believe Sam Gwynne is truly a great historian and author, and I was honored to work with him on telling our Air Raid story,” Mumme told this writer. “He got it right and I appreciate ‘The Perfect Pass.’ “ As you may recall, it was Mumme and star QB Tim Couch who guided Kentucky to Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day after the 1998 season.
--“My Own Words” by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams (Simon and Schuster, $30) is an engaging look into the life of one of the country’s most influential and powerful women. A Supreme Court Justice since 1993, Ginsburg discusses wide-ranging topics, including the workways of the Supreme Court, being Jewish, law and lawyers in opera, among others. Ginsburg also includes a collection of writings and speeches that she has written over the years.
--“Game Changers: The Unsung Heroines of Sports History” by Molly Schiot (Simon & Schuster, $25) is an empowering story about the forgotten, female trailblazers who left their mark on the sports world during the early days before well-known superstars Simone Biles and Serena Williams arrived on the scene. The 310-page hardcover is also filled with entertaining and rarely-before-seen photos. Schiot, the author, is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who parlayed her dedication to telling women’s stories into the Instagram account @TheUnsungHeroines. She recently directed an ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts about the life of a fearsome National Hockey League player.
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.