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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: Plenty of Springtime Reading for Book Lovers

This is the first of a two-part bookshelf column about recently-published books.

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

–“The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make” by Ron Lieber (Harper, $27.99) offers a honest approach for the parents who need the clarity to make informed choices, helping to restore the joy and wonder the college experience is supposed to represent. The author writes “Your Money” column for the New York Times.

–“Invent & Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos” by Bezos with an introduction by Walter Isaacson (Harvard Business Review Press & Public Affairs, $28) provides a rare look into how the Amazon founder thinks about the world and where the future might take us. The 271-page hardcover covers a range of topics across business and public policy, from innovation and customer obsession to climate change and outer space.

–“Grace & Steel: Dorothy, Barbara, Laura, and the Women of the Bush Dynasty” by J. Randy Taraborrelli (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) is a remarkable history of the extraordinary women behind one of the greatest political dynasties of all time. It should be pointed out the 546-page hardcover is written by a well-known bestselling author who has penned flashy celebrity biographies of the Kennedys, the Hiltons, Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Elizabeth Taylor. The volume about the Bushes is an interesting read with many fascinating tidbits.

–“Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99) is penned by two former long-time Amazon executives who provide an inside look at the company’s approach to culture, leadership and best practices. The 286-page hardcover is a basically a practical guidebook and a corporate narrative filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “being Amazonian” is like and how it has affected their personal and professional lives.

–“Grant’s Tomb: The Epic Death of Ulysses S. Grant and the Making of An American Pantheon” by Louis L. Picone (Arcade Publishing, $25.99) is a fascinating and well-researched story about the former president’s final battle during the last year of his life as he completes his best-selling memoirs in order to secure his family financial future while suffering with a painful cancer. And the 322-page hardcover covers Grant’s passing and his final resting place which is a colossal neoclassical tomb located in the New York City. Before Grant became president, he was the victorious general in the Civil War.

–“Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)” by Dana Perino (Twelve, $28) is a 225-page hardcover that is filled with tips, advice and reassurance for young women everywhere. Written by co-host of Fox News’ The Five and America’s Newsroom, it is an inspiring volume for everyone from the job-seeker fresh out of college to the ambitious career woman looking to make her next big jump up the ladder.

—“Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life” by Bill Madden (Simon & Schuster, $28) is an authoritative biography about a Hall of Fame pitcher written by a sportswriter who knew him well. A three-time Cy Young award winner and a 12-time All-Star, Seaver is one of only two pitchers with 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts, and an ERA under 3.00. Seaver, who was suffering from dementia, died last August.

–“Learning To Pray: A Guide For Everyone” by James Martin, SJ (OneHarper, $27.99) is a practical handbook that explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice in our lives. A best-selling author who is one of the nation’s most beloved spiritual leaders, Martin lays out the different styles and traditions of prayer throughout Christian history and invites us to experiment and discover which works best to feed our soul and build intimacy with our God.

–“Kamala’s Way: An American Life” by Dan Morain (Simon & Schuster, $28) is a revealing biography about the first African American, Asian American and female Vice President, charting how the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of our country’s most effective power players. Her parents were well educated as they both earned PhDs. The 259-page hardcover is critical reading for all Americans curious about the woman standing by President Biden’s side.

–“The Maxwell Leadership Bible (NIV, Third Edition)” by executive editor John C. Maxwell (Thomas Nelson, $49.99) is a 1,539-page volume that presents the principles of leadership taught in God’s Word and how to use them. Over 120 “Profiles in Leadership” lessons drawn from the people of the Bible are included in this volume. Whether you are an employee, a supervisor, a parent or a neighbor, you are a person of influence in your part of the world. Maxwell is a bestselling author whose signature leadership principles are all straight from the Bible.

–“Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy” by Adam Jentleson (Liveright Publishing, $26.95) is an insider’s account of how the lawmakers representing a radical white minority have used the U.S. Senate to hijack our democracy. The author is a veteran of presidential campaigns and former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid.

–“Finding Daniel Boone: His Last Days in Missouri and the Strange Fate of His Remains” by Ted Franklin Belue (History Press, $23.99) is a remarkable investigative story about the legendary pioneer and frontiersman, especially his controversial final resting place. Both states of Kentucky and Missouri have claimed to have Boone’s remains. Boone died in 1820 at the age of 85.

–“Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make A Difference” by leadership expert John C. Maxwell and global development leader Rob Hoskins (Harper Collins Leadership, $27.99) discusses the authors’ real-world experiences of creating a positive impact for years while transforming lives, communities and businesses with a sense of mission and high regard for human dignity. In the 228-page hardcover, the authors provide guidance to demonstrate how you can bring about positive, lasting change in this world.

–“Reconsidering Reagan: Racism, Republicans, and the Road to Trump” by Daniel S. Lucks (Beacon Press, $28.95) examines how President Reagan’s racist politics that continue to harm communities today and helped shape the modern conservative movement. The 343-page hardcover, using research from previously untapped resources including the Black press which critically covered Reagan’s entire political career, points out Reagan is remembered as a transformative president and an American icon, but within his 20th-century politics lies a racial legacy that is rarely discussed.

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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