Nonfiction Previews, Jun. 2012, Pt. 3: From Colin Powell to Naomi Wolf

Ariely, Dan, M.D. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone‚ Especially Ourselves. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780062183590. $26.99; eISBN 9780062183620. PSYCHOLOGY
It’s not just Enron; we all cheat, from sneaking extra cookies to padding our résumés to buying imitation Coach bags. Behavioral economist Ariely, author of the best-selling The Upside of Irrationality, isn’t here to lecture us but to examine why we cheat, what the consequences are, and how we can become more honest. A book we’ll all have to sneak to read; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Bernd, Heinrich. Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780547752662. $25; eISBN 9780547752693. NATURAL HISTORY
Humans face death with trepidation and elaborate rituals, but what about animals? Proffering lessons both spiritual and ecological, the author of the lovely The Mind of a Raven shows us the animal way of death, with examples ranging from carrion beetles burying field mice to wolves, large cats, eagles, and weasels working in tandem to get rid of killed prey. Not just for animal lovers.

Blum, Andrew. Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780061994937. $26.99; eISBN 9780062096753. TECHNOLOGY
Cyberspace just seems so out there, but in fact the Internet really does happen in places‚ huge data centers and the fiber optic cables carrying all those little pulsing bits of information worldwide. Taking stock of these concrete manifestations, Wired correspondent Blum clarifies how the Internet developed and how it works. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Cameron, Bruce. A Dog’s Journey. Forge: Tor. May 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780765330536. $24.99. PETS
Another dog book? You bet. And since Cameron’s 2010 A Dog’s Purpose was on the best sellers lists for nearly five months in hardcover and remains on the best sellers lists in paperback, you can also bet that this book will be big. Cameron’s multi-hanky read talks about what we all know about our dogs: we don’t take care of them, they take care of us.

Crowley, Monica. What the (Bleep) Just Happened?: The Happy Warrior’s Guide to the Great American Comeback. Broadside: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780062131157. $26.99; eISBN 9780062131164. CURRENT EVENTS
A regular Fox contributor and guest host for shows like The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity, Crowley offers (as one might expect) a sharp-tongued critique of the Obama years. A 200,000-copy first printing‚ and you know if you’ll need it!

Forbes, Steve & Elizabeth Ames. Freedom Manifesto: Why Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn’t. Crown Business. Jun. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780307951571. $26; eISBN 9780307951595. BUSINESS
The chair, CEO, and editor in chief at Forbes Media carries a big stick when he argues for limited government, proclaiming that money is the root of all good and markets enhance humanity. This follow-up to How Capitalism Will Save Us has a build-in audience.

Hayes, Christopher L. Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy. Crown. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780307720450. $26; eISBN 9780307720474. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. CURRENT EVENTS
America is defined by the concept of meritocracy, and that concept is failing. As argued by Hayes, host of his own MSNBC show, crises from the Wall Street meltdown to Major League corruption to pedophile priests have destroyed our trust in basic institutions and driven a wedge between the top dogs and everyone else. The problem: policies are made by and for the elite, with little reference to the country’s need as a whole. Hayes identifies the problem; now we need to find the solution.

Jurek, Scott with Steve Friedman. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780547569659. $26; eISBN 9780547722078. SPORTS/LIFESTYLE
Listen up, meat eaters! You don’t need all that dead protein to be a great athlete. Jurek won the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run seven years in a row, all on a plant diet. Here he explains how he came to running and then to veganism as he began thinking about food specifically as fuel (not as holiday yummies). He’s obviously one enduring guy, and this book is motivational in the larger sense. With a ten-city tour to Boulder/Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

Karp, Harvey. M. The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep: Simple Solutions for Kids from Birth to 5 Years. Morrow. Jun. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9780062113313. $24.99; eISBN 9780062113337. PARENTING
The UCLA pediatrician who gave us The Happiest Baby on the Block goes for what’s really important: how to send that happy baby straight to the Land of Nod. Karp upends the big myths (e.g., that it’s best to let babies cry themselves to sleep) while offering two-step training to help sleep happen naturally. Since Karp been on all over television and has sold over one million copies of his two previous titles (plus over 1.6 million DVDs), this is a no-brainer purchase if there are families in your midst. With a 150,000-copy first printing.

Marcus, Norman B. End Back Pain Forever: Without Surgery or Drugs. Atria: S. & S. Jun. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9781439167441. pap. $16; eISBN 9781439167458. HEALTH
Drugs are often mind-numbing, and back surgery works only half the time, so what can the eight in ten of us who will suffer back pain at some time in our adult lives do? Marcus focuses on muscles, not discs or nerves, as the main source of back pain, and his 21 exercises could do the trick. Lots of books on this subject, but consider Marcus’s credentials: he is director of muscle pain research at NYU School of Medicine and a former president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Merry, Robert W. Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians. S. & S. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781451625400. $28. HISTORY
The author of a leading biography on James Polk (A Country of Vast Designs), National Interest editor Merry adds a twist to Rating the Presidents, a game historians love to play. In part, he makes his calls by turning to the voters, looking at whether Presidents were reelected and, if so, whether their parties held sway in the next election. Setting aside Lincoln, Washington, and Franklin D. Roosevelt as Men of Destiny who pulled the nation in a new direction, Merry comes up with the near-greats, the failures, and the presidents whose status keeps bobbing about. (I’ll let you guess on those.) This book is meant to cause arguments.

Patterson, Scott. Dark Pools: The Rise of Artificially Intelligent Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street. Crown Business. Jun. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9780307887177. $27; eISBN 9780307887191. Downloadable: Random Audio. BUSINESSS
Wall Street loves computers because they can make stock transactions happen at lightning speed; one company recently shelled out $300 million to gain 3 millionths of a second. The problem, says former Wall Street Journal reporter Patterson, is that humans are starting to lose control. There’s even an idea out and about to create a program that could learn from various trades so that eventually supercomputers would be talking to one another and we puny mortals wouldn’t know what was happening. Scary but real; the author of the best-selling The Quants knows his stuff.

Powell, Colin L. & Tony Koltz. It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9780062135124. $27.99; eISBN 9780062135148. lrg. prnt. CD: Harper Audio. MEMOIR
Not a memoir, really‚ that job was handled by Powell’s two-million-copy best seller, My American Journey. This is a series of anecdotes used to illustrate leadership lessons or, as Powell calls them, his 13 Rules. Those rules range from Trust your people to Get mad, then get over it, something I have yet to learn. With a 750,000-copy first printing; buy multiples.

Rosenstrach, Jenny. Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780062080905. $27.99. COOKING/LIFESTYLE
Like Rosenstrach and her husband, I cook dinner every night, but I wasn’t smart enough to launch a blog about it that ranks number four on the top 100 food mom blogs on Babble, averages 107,000 monthly visits, won Rosenstrach coverage in the New York Times and Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, and has even been optioned for film. Recipes, photos, illustrations, tips, and anecdotes‚ all in the interest of quality time with the kids over a good meal. With 150,000-copy first printing.

Royal, Barbara. The Royal Treatment: How To Keep Your Animals Wildly Healthy. Atria: S. & S. Jun. 2012. 368p. ISBN 9781451647693. $25. PETS
Anxious, chubby, arthritic, allergic? No, not you, your pet. Domesticated animals suffer the same ills as we domesticated humans, and to help them licensed veterinarian Royal would like first to remind us that our domesticated friends have not lost their wild needs. To address those needs, she offers a blend of Western and Eastern practices. She’s been on Oprah, so people will ask.

Sanger, David E. An Age of Reckoning: Obama’s Unorthodox Use of American Power. Crown. Jun. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9780307718020. $28; eISBN 9780307718044. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. CURRENT EVENTS
In The Inheritance, Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, considered the issues President Obama faced when he first came to office. Here he considers how Obama has handled everything from the ongoing war in Afghanistan to troubles with Pakistan after the death of Osama Bin Laden. More crucially, he takes the long view, pondering how Obama’s approach to national security and foreign policy has differed from that of previous Presidents and whether it will make a difference. Not just for wonks.

Sullenberger, Chesley B. with Douglas Century. Making a Difference: Stories of Vision and Courage from America’s Leaders. Morrow. Jun. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780061924705. $26.99; eISBN 9780062101365. lrg. prnt. MEMOIR
Sullenberger’s best-selling Highest Duty covered his 42-year career as a pilot, including his miraculous landing on the Hudson in 2009, saving all 155 people aboard his aircraft. Here he offers reflections on leadership‚ where do the best leaders come from and how do they inspire?‚ while highlighting top leaders like baseball manager Tony La Russa and Michelle Rhee, founder of the New Teacher Project. Obviously a great book to pair with Colin Powell’s It Worked for Me, previewed above; with a 100,000-copy first printing.

Swarns, Rachel L. American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. Amistad: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 304p. ISBN 9780061999864. $27.99. HISTORY/BIOGRAPHY
Taking off from a piece she cowrote for the New York Times, Swarms delineates the First Lady’s ancestry, including not only those who endured the horrors of slavery but a white great-great-great-grandfather revealed for the first time. (There’s information here even Michelle Obama didn’t know.) Since black, white, and multiracial strands crisscross in so many Americans and indeed inform our entire history, this story is ours, too, and should interest a wide range of readers. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Swofford. Anthony. Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails. Twelve: Hachette. Jun. 2012. 300p. ISBN 9781455506736. $26.99; lrg. prnt. CD: Hachette Audio. MEMOIR
A New York Times best seller with currently 250,000 copies available, Jarhead recounted Swofford’s service as a marine sniper in the Gulf War. Here he illuminates his postwar experience as he tamped down painful memories with alcohol, drugs, fast cars, and bad sex, then pulled himself together by taking a series of road trips with his terminally ill father, a Vietnam vet. Jarhead was a hit, postwar memoirs are gaining momentum, and there’s a ten-city tour to New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Iowa City, Denver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, suggesting great expectations.

Tillman, Marie. The Letter. Grand Central. Jun. 2012. 200p. ISBN 9780446571456. $23.99; lrg. prnt. MEMOIR
After enlisting in the U.S. Army, NFL star Tillman wrote a letter to his wife, to be opened in case he was killed in action. As we know, Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004, and his wife explains how that letter got her through the years of mourning. She also chronicles how she sought relief through career, travel, and, finally, her decision to head the Pat Tillman Foundation. Inspirational.

Wolf, Naomi. Vagina: A New Biography. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jun. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9780061989162. $27.99; eISBN 9780062096968. SOCIAL SCIENCE
Like Wolf’s classic The Beauty Myth, this work explores the juncture of women’s bodies and women’s lives. Looking into the relationship between sex and creativity, Wolf discovered a wealth of evidence showing that the vagina is not just flesh but intimately bound to the female brain and hence female consciousness, which has made the historical control of the female body crippling in every sense. Wolf is always provocative and always a best seller. With a 60,000-copy first printing and an author tour including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, and upon request.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.