From Joan Barthel on Elizabeth Seton to Chelsea Handler on Travel Travails | Nonfiction Previews, Mar. 2014, Pt. 4

Barthel, Joan. American Saint: The Life of Elizabeth Seton. Thomas Dunne: St. Martin’s. Mar. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780312571627. $26.95. BIOGRAPHY
Born and raised in late 1700s New York, at a time when Catholicism was illegal, Elizabeth Seton wore monogrammed slippers to George Washington’s 65th Birthday Ball, spent fruitless time in Italy trying to cure her husband of tuberculosis, then converted to Catholicism and saw folks threaten to burn down her house. The author of the best-selling A Death in Canaan gives us the life story of the first American saint and founder of America’s first order of nuns.

Braun, Adam. The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. Scribner. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781476730622. $25. BUSINESS/MOTIVATIONAL
The privileged young Braun gave up a soaring career on Wall Street to found Pencils of Promise, which has since built more than 125 schools in developing countries. (The name came from a young beggar in India, who told Braun what he really wanted was a pencil.) On the list of Wired magazine’s “50 People Who Are Changing the World” and Forbes’s “30 Under 30,” Braun has refocused our understanding of nonprofits. Inspiration all ’round.

Feinstein, John. Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball. Doubleday. Mar. 2014. 368p. ISBN 9780385535939. $26.95. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. SPORTS
Minor league baseball: it’s played in small towns nationwide, so it would seem to be the heart and soul of American baseball. But everyone in the game is on the way up, on the way down, or just fighting to be noticed, and top-drawer sportswriter Feinstein aims to capture its particular pathos.

Gallo, Carmine. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. St. Martin’s. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781250041128. $24.99. BUSINESS/ECONOMICS
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference participants aren’t just smart folks with ideas to share that will move us along in the 21st century. They are gifted speakers whose archived talks rack up 1.5 million views a day. Here, public speaking coach Gallo (The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs) gives tips gleaned from the best TED presentations. With a speaking tour, of course.

Gross, Michael. House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address. Atria. Mar. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781451666199. $28. BIOGRAPHY/RICH & FAMOUS
The author of the best-selling 740 Park and a top chronicler of the very rich, Gross here visits a glorious building on the southwest corner of New York’s Central Park to reveal the lives of its very rich and mostly famous residents, from hedge fund runners and Russian oligarchs to Goldman Sachs and Citigroup bigwigs to Denzel Washington and Sting.

Handler, Chelsea. Uganda Be Kidding Me. Grand Central. Mar. 2014. 272p. ISBN 9781455599738. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781455599721; lib. ebk. ISBN 9781455551361. HUMOR
E! network star Handler’s Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea has sold over 1.2 million in hardcover and trade paperback combined, and the recent Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang sold 800,000 copies in those formats. Here’s her take on the travails of travel. With an 800,000-copy first printing; pushed back from October 2013.

Horowitz, Ben. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers. HarperBusiness. Mar. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9781250041128. $24.99. BUSINESS/ECONOMICS
Andreessen Horowitz cofounder Horowitz, proclaimed Silicon Valley’s most famous VC rapper by Fortune and a blogger with more than more than ten million—yes, ten million—readers, here offers advice about starting and building a business. The 60,000-copy first printing seems almost modest.

Jacobs, Diane. Dear Abigail: The Intimate Lives and Revolutionary Ideas of Abigail Adams and Her Two Remarkable Sisters. Ballantine. Mar. 2014. 512p. ISBN 9780345465061. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780345549846. BIOGRAPHY
In the mid-1700s, three sisters—Mary, Abigail, and Betsy—where born into a prominent Boston family and given an education unusual for the time. One of them grew up to be Abigail Adams, our second First Lady. The three sisters communicated regularly through skillfully wrought letters, which with their diaries and missives to their husbands and children serve as the basis for this truly entertaining-sounding multibio.

Jacobs, Hollye. The Silver Lining. Atria. Mar. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9781476763507. $35. HEALTH/FITNESS
Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39, palliative care nurse Jacobs chose to keep friends and family informed of her progress by launching a blog. Given its fresh, valuable insights, it became essential reading for breast cancer patients worldwide and has evolved into this highly illustrated therapeutic guide.

Mandelbaum, Michael. The Road to Global Prosperity. S. & S. Mar. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781476750019. $28. BUSINESS/ECONOMICS
Picking up where he left off in That Used To Be Us, the best-selling book he wrote with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Mandelbaum (director, American Foreign Policy, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies) looks at the next stage of globalization and pronounces it good. Wealth will grow for everyone, expanding markets and technology will promote greater cooperation among nations, weaker nations will grow stronger, and as money and people flow across borders, everyone will prosper. Fingers crossed; essential for informed readers.

Pearlman, Jeff. Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. Gotham. Mar. 2014. 496p. ISBN 9781592407552. $30. SPORTS
This sportswriter definitely produces pearls, as evidenced by his three New York Times best sellers, Sweetness, Boys Will Be Boys, and The Bad Guys Won! Here he offers an account of the magnificent 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, drawing on more than 300 interviews.

Pilling, David. Ending Adversity. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9781594205842. $29.95. BUSINESS/ECONOMICS
Who better than the Asia editor of the Financial Times to tell us about contemporary Japan? Pilling starts with the devastating 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown, then tracks back to show how 19th-century defensiveness led to 20th-century imperialism, and finally looks at the financial bust of 1990.

Schulte, Brigid. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. Sarah Crichton: Farrar. Mar. 2014. 384p. ISBN 9780374228446. $26. SOCIOLOGY
If you’re like me, the question “How are you?” always provokes the answer “Really busy.” Award-winning journalist Schulte agrees, writing in a 2010 Washington Post piece, “How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure—over four hours a day?” Here she speaks with neuroscientists, sociologists, and frayed and frazzled working parents to figure out why we are so overwhelmed and what to do about it.

Sherman, Charles. The Broken and the Whole: Discovering Joy After Heartbreak. Scribner. Mar. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781451656169. $25. MEMOIR
Senior Rabbi of Temple Adath Yeshurun, Sherman was a rising young rabbi in 1986 when his four-year-old son, Eyal, had a massive stroke after surgery for a lesion on his brain stem. That catastrophe left Eyal unable to walk or talk, feed himself or breathe on his own, but it saved his bright, inquisitive mind. Not just a memoir but a meditation on how to deal with tragedy and how far we can go in protecting our children. A new When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Simmons, Russell. Success Through Stillness: The Simplest Path to Meditation. Gotham. Mar. 2014. 160p. ISBN 9781592408658. $20. SELF-HELP/MEDITATION
Called the CEO of hip-hop by Businessweek and one of the 25 most influential people in the past 25 years by USA Today, founder of the Global Grind culture site and pied piper to 2,691,880 Twitter followers, Simmons is here to tell you that outward success comes from inner peace. That’s something he’s achieved through meditation, as he explains here.

Waterbury, Chad with Wolfgang Puck & Lou Schuler. Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy: Light, Delicious Recipes and Easy Exercises for a Better Life. Grand Central Life & Style. Mar. 2014. ISBN 9781455508846. $30. COOKING/WEIGHT CONTROL
Inestimable chef Puck partners with personal trainer Waterbury and journalist Schuler to offer 100 health-conscious recipes and a flexible 40 minute workout program for those who want to have their cake and eat it, too, no sweat. Nearly half of Puck’s 80 restaurants and primed to promote this book; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

Will, George F. A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. Crown Archetype. Mar. 2014. 160p. ISBN 9780385349314. $25. SPORTS
The prolific Will, whose twice-weekly syndicated column appears in more than 500 newspapers and online news sources, is also known for baseball classics like Men at Work. Here, he shows his Chicago Cubs colors by giving us a history of Wrigley Field.

Zoe, Rachel. Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Effortless Glamour. Grand Central Life & Style. Mar. 2014. 224p. ISBN 9781455523580. $28. DESIGN/FASHION
Fans of Bravo’s reality TV show, The Rachel Zoe Project, and of her New York Times best-selling Style A to Zoe (more than 150,000 copies out there in all formats) will be pleased that she’s back with another book on how to be a glamor puss in every aspect of your life. With a 75,000-copy first printing.


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.