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JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: More Cool Titles For Your Summer Reading List

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

This is the third of a three-part series about recently-published books, mostly nonfiction.

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

–“How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: A Smart, Irreverent Guide to Biography, History, Journalism, Blogs, and Everything in Between” by Thomas C. Foster (Harper, $27.99) is an interesting volume that attempts to teach us how to get accurate information in a rapidly changing 24/7 news cycle and become better readers, thinkers and consumers of media. The new 313-page hardcover is patterned after similar books the bestselling author has written over the years, including “How to Read Literature Like a Professor.” After discussing the general principles of reading nonfiction, the author, who is a professor of English in Michigan, offers advice for specific reading strategies in various genres from histories and biographies to science and technology to social media.

–“Your Hidden Superpower: The Kindness That Makes You Unbeatable at Work and Connects You with Anyone” by Adrienne Bankert (HarperCollins Leadership, $24.99) is a new hardcover which discusses an ethical quality or behavior that’s lacking in many places – kindness. Written by national correspondent for ABC News who has won two Emmys, the author, through her journalistic experience, writes that any one of us can be kind no matter our age or ethnicity, where we come from or how much money we make. Kindness is a game-changer in business and is much more than “being nice.” The book, among several points, will help you learn how to make kindness a habit and experience more peace, inspiration and impact.

–“Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump” (Random House, $28) by Sarah Posner attempts to understand why so many evangelicals voted for Trump, a serial womanizer with questionable conservative credentials who seems to defy Christian values with his every utterance. The author, who has been covering the religious right for decades, writes the answer is turning out to be far more intuitive than one might think. The 350-page gripping hardcover offers a deeper understanding of the ideological underpinnings and forces influencing the course of Republican politics.

–“Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” by James Clear (Avery, $27) is a bestselling hard cover that will teach you how to form good habits, break bad ones and come up with amazing results. While the book is not exactly new as it was published in 2018, the 306-page volume – which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide – will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and provide you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits. For instance, your team could be searching for a championship. Your firm could be aiming for an extraordinary customer service. Or you, on a personal level, are hoping to lose weight, reduce stress or achieve any other goal. James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. A regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies, the author founded The Habits Academy, which is a leading training platform for organizations and individuals that are interested in building better habits in life and work.

–“This is Really War: The Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines” by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi (Chicago Review Press, $28.99) is a little-known history of the U.S. Navy nurses held prisoner in the Philippines during World War II and the dramatic rescue operation to end their captivity. The fascinating volume follows one of the nurses, Dorothy Still, who served in the prisoner of war camps. A young nurse, she is the main character who fought for life during a dark time. The author, who holds a PhD degree, is a journalist whose articles have appeared in national publications.

–“The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump” by Mary Jordan (Simon & Schuster, $28) is an unauthorized biography of our nation’s First Lady, who is believed to be a far more influential in the White House than most folks realize. The author has found that Mrs. Trump, who is often portrayed as a reluctant First Lady, is far more ambitious politically than commonly believed. “The real Melania Trump is far more interesting than the image that many people have of her,” said Jordan, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post. “She is already gearing up for 2020 and she wants to win as much as her husband does.” A former model, Mrs. Trump grew up in Slovenia where her family stood out for their nonconformity.

–“The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton” by Michael D’Antonio (Thomas Dunn Books, $29.99) is a well-researched 338-page hardcover that tells the an interesting story of a ruthless movement to destroy the Clintons in the past several decades despite Mrs. Clinton’s successful career in public service. In 2018, a top GOP operative admitted that he and others joined this effort, which relied on innuendo, conspiracy theories, lies and harassment to persuade the public that Hillary was at best a deluded power-hungry politician and at worst a murderous criminal. The author, who has written several books, is a longtime Pulitzer Prize-winning political journalist. The book is scheduled to be released in late July.

–“Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen” by Dan Heath (Avid Reader Press, $30) is a 309-page hardcover that explores practical solutions for preventing problems rather than reacting to them, drawing on insights from hundreds of interviews with unconventional problem solvers. For instance, we have doctors who treat patients with chronic illnesses but many of them are preventable. So why do our efforts skew so heavily toward reaction rather than prevention? Therefore, we need to switch to an upstream mindset, instead getting stuck with psychological forces that push us downstream on handling problems. Author Dan Heath and his brother, Chip, have written several bestselling books. Heath is a senior fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports entrepreneurs fighting for social good.

–“Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump” by Eric Swalwell (Abrams Press, $27) is a gripping personal story of his path to Congress, and how he and his colleagues battled, investigated and impeached President Trump. Now a four-term Democrat Congressman from California who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committee, the author takes readers inside Congress and through the impeachment process. It is a remarkable read written by someone who has seen extraordinary events up close.

–“Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon” by Ash Carter (Dutton, $20) takes the readers behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of the Pentagon, its vital mission, and what it takes to lead it. The Pentagon, as you know, is the home of the Department of Defense, the single largest institution in the U.S. It is also the world’s largest and most complex information network, and performs more research and development than Apple, Google and Microsoft combined. For more than 35 years, the author served in numerous posts in the DOD before becoming Secretary of Defense under President Obama. The volume is now in paperback which was issued in early June.

–“Pelosi” by Molly Ball (Henry Holt and Company, $27.99) is a 346-page hardcover about the arguably most powerful woman in U.S. political history. Nancy Pelosi, who is in her second stint as the House Speaker, is the iconic leader with the toughness to take on a lawless president and defend American democracy. The new volume is based on exclusive interviews with Pelosi and deep background reporting. The author is Time magazine’s national political correspondent and a political analyst for CNN.

–“Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24-Hour News” by Lisa Napoli (Abrams Press, $27) is an inside look at the founding of the upstart network that set out to change the way news was delivered and consumed. Established in 1980, CNN, with the leadership of maverick Ted Turner who owned the Atlanta Braves, actually began from a basement of an abandoned country club in Atlanta. Interestingly, the author began her career as an unpaid teenage intern at CNN’s New York bureau in the summer of 1981. Then she went on to work as a reporter for several outlets, including the New York Times, MSNBC, among others.

–“The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America’s Best – and Worst – Chief Executives” by Brian Lamb, Susan Swain and C-SPAN (PublicAffairs, $18.99) is now available in paperback with the 2020 presidential election coming up in November. Based on C-SPAN’s much cited Historians Surveys of Presidential Leadership, the 533-page volume ranks our best and worst presidents. The book, which contains interviews with several presidential biographers over the years, also provides stories and analyses that capture the character of the men who held the office. With the presidential election just months away, the paperback offers perspective and criteria to help us choose our next leader intelligently.

–“Coup d’Etat: Exposing Deep State Treason and the Plan to Re-Elect President Trump” by Jerome R. Corsi (Post Hill Press, $30) is a hardcover the Deep State and the media probably don’t want you to read. The author, who has written several conservative books, exposes the Deep State’s efforts to stop the Trump presidency, disrupt his agenda and prevent his reelection. The author says “this is …the most important book I have ever written.” Corsi graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Case Western Reserve University and later received a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

–“Billion Dollar Burger: Inside Big Tech’s Race for the Future of Food” by Chase Purdy (Portfolio, $28) is an enthralling story about the entrepreneurs and renegades fighting to bring lab-grown meat to the world. Since the meat industry is one of our greatest environmental hazards, a group of doctors, scientists, activists and entrepreneurs have been sprinting to end animal agriculture as we know it with hopes of creating meat without ever killing an animal. The book points out the stakes are really high: cell-cultured meat is the best hope for sustainable food production, a key to fighting climate change, a gold mine for the firms that make it happen, and an economical threat for the farmers and meatpackers that make our meat today. The author is a journalist who covers business, politics and technologies.

–“The World: A Brief Introduction” by Richard Haass (Penguin Press, $28) is a remarkable book that provides the readers with the background they need to make sense of this complicated world, empowering them to manage the flood of daily news such as U.S.-China trade wars, terrorism, COVID-19, etc. And the readers will become more informed citizens and make better judgments. In other words, the hardcover will make us more globally knowledgeable. The author, who served as the senior Middle East advisor to President George H.W. Bush, is president of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations.

–“Rodham: A Novel” by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, $28) is an unusual fictional tale about a real-life politician who was the First Lady in the Clinton administration and lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. But, in this unforgettable novel, Hillary takes a different road in the next four decades after a breakup with boyfriend Bill Clinton in Arkansas during her much younger days. Sittenfeld is a bestselling author who has written several novels.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including newly-released “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” He is the editor and founder of Magazine, and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at

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