Biographies

The undoing project : a friendship that changed our minds book cover

The undoing project : a friendship that changed our minds

Michael (Michael M.) Lewis

612.8233 /Lewis
Science, Biographies

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies undoing our assumptions about the decision-making process. Their papers showed the ways in which the human mind erred, systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Their work created the field of behavioral economics, revolutionized Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis's own work possible. Kahneman and Tversky are more responsible than anybody for the powerful trend to mistrust human intuition and defer to algorithms.The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who have the dimensions of great literary figures. They became heroes in the university and on the battlefield--both had important careers in the Israeli military--and their research was deeply linked to their extraordinary life experiences. Amos Tversky was a brilliant, self-confident warrior and extrovert, the center of rapt attention in any room; Kahneman, a fugitive from the Nazis in his childhood, was an introvert whose questing self-doubt was the seedbed of his ideas. They became one of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, working together so closely that they couldn't remember whose brain originated which ideas, or who should claim credit. They flipped a coin to decide the lead authorship on the first paper they wrote, and simply alternated thereafter.This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues. In the process they may well have changed, for good, mankind's view of its own mind.

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Churchill and Orwell : the fight for freedom book cover

Churchill and Orwell : the fight for freedom

Thomas E. Ricks

941.084 /Ricks
History, Biographies

A "dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, with a focus on the pivotal years from the mid-1930s through the 1940s, when their farsighted vision and inspired action in the face of the threat of fascism and communism helped preserve democracy for the world"--

Heidi L's picture

A compelling read about two very different men who shared a horror of fascism. I learned a lot about the Spanish civil war from Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia, but did not know much about his life otherwise; this book filled that gap. -Heidi L

Fannie never flinched : one woman's courage in the struggle for American labor union rights book cover

Fannie never flinched : one woman's courage in the struggle for American labor union rights

Mary Cronk Farrell

jBIOGRAPHY Sellins, Fannnie
Kids, Nonfiction, Biographies, History

Fanny Sellins was a union activist who fought and gave her life for equality and labor reform.

Morgan's picture

For older elementary readers, this is the story of a remarkable woman who refused to back down from fighting for the rights of workers. -Morgan

Four Seasons in Rome : on twins, insomnia, and the biggest funeral in the history of the world book cover

Four Seasons in Rome : on twins, insomnia, and the biggest funeral in the history of the world

Anthony Doerr

914.5632 /Doerr
Travel, Biographies

"The recipient of an American Academy fellowship, Doerr, his wife, and their twin newborns are on their way to Rome for a year. Cultural isolation, the death of John Paul II, struggles to complete a novel, and the tales of first-time parenthood uniquely blend together as Doerr meanders his way through a one-year Roman holiday. Along the way, he meets Romans quick to praise his twins, Romans quick to prejudge an American, and Romans happy to share the secrets of their city with him. Set against this backdrop, Doerr finds it difficult to focus on the novel he plans on writing; instead, like so many other visitors, he falls for the Eternal City. For readers who have been to Rome, Doerr's reflections will leave them longing for a return trip. For those who have not, Doerr's stories of piazzas and pizzas will have them checking travel arrangements. Either way, this memoir is a wonderful combination of a writer's two dominant struggles: cultural identity and family."--

Candice's picture

Anthony Doerr (author of All the Light We Cannot See) was a brand-new father of twins when he was granted a sabbatical in Rome. He takes on the Eternal City and the newborns all in one go, and is rewarded for it. A sort of epic love poem to Rome and family, and all there is to be aware of and savor. -Candice

Danza! : Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México book cover

Danza! : Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México

Duncan Tonatiuh

jE Tonatiuh
Picture Books, Biographies, Art / Art History

"This is a picture book biography for children ages 6-10 about Amalia Hernández (1917-2000), the dancer and choreographer who founded the Mexican Folkloric Ballet, a dance organization that continues to perform today. The author/illustrator is Duncan Tonatiuh"--

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The telling room : a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, and the world's greatest piece of cheese book cover

The telling room : a tale of love, betrayal, revenge, and the world's greatest piece of cheese

Michael Paterniti

641.373 /Paterniti
Nonfiction, Biographies, History, Travel

In the picturesque village of Guzmán, Spain, in a cave on the edge of town, there is a cramped limestone chamber known as "the telling room." This is where villagers have gathered for centuries to share their stories and secrets--usually accompanied by copious amounts of wine. It was here, in the summer of 2000, that Michael Paterniti found himself listening to a Spanish cheesemaker as he spun an odd and compelling tale about a piece of cheese. Made from an old family recipe, Ambrosio's cheese was reputed to be among the finest in the world, and was said to hold mystical qualities. But then, Ambrosio said, things had gone horribly wrong. Paterniti was hooked. Soon he was fully embroiled, relocating his young family to Guzmán in order to chase the truth about this fairy tale-like place. What he ultimately discovers is nothing like the idyllic fable he first imagined. Instead, he's sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot.--From publisher description.

Candice's picture

A story about cheese, wine, and murder. What else could you want? -Candice

The Road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple book cover

The Road to Jonestown : Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Jeff Guinn

289.9 /Guinn
Biographies, History, Religion

A portrait of the cult leader behind the Jonestown Massacre examines his personal life, from his extramarital affairs and drug use to his fraudulent faith healing practices and his decision to move his followers to Guyana, sharing new details about the events leading to the 1978 tragedy.

Candice's picture

Guinn does a masterful job of drawing in the many elements of Jones' life that, in hindsight, all played some part in making him the person he came to be. I was surprised to find that, at the end of the book, some sort of sense was made of the awful situation. -Candice

The best we could do : an illustrated memoir book cover

The best we could do : an illustrated memoir

Thi Bui

BIOGRAPHY Bui, Thi
Graphic Novels, Memoir, Biographies, History

The author describes her experiences as a young Vietnamese immigrant, highlighting her family's move from their war-torn home to the United States in graphic novel format.

Casey's picture

Combining genealogy, auto-biography, history and graphic novel, Thi Bui's memoir is haunting and beautiful. -Casey

The millionaire and the bard : Henry Folger's obsessive hunt for Shakespeare's first folio book cover

The millionaire and the bard : Henry Folger's obsessive hunt for Shakespeare's first folio

Andrea E. Mays

822.33 /Z/Mays
Biographies

"Today it is the most valuable book in the world. Recently one sold for over five million dollars. It is the book that rescued the name of William Shakespeare and half of his plays from oblivion. The Millionaire and the Bard tells the miraculous and romantic story of the making of the First Folio, and of the American industrialist whose thrilling pursuit of the book became a lifelong obsession." --

Heidi L's picture

I always wondered why the Folger Shakespeare Library is in Washington DC, and not in England; now I know. This book is a fascinating read about Henry and Emily Folger, a husband-and-wife team who spent their married life researching and acquiring Shakespeare’s works, and then built a library to house them. It's also a very accessible telling of the history of Shakespeare's printed works. -Heidi L