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Martha Joynt Kumar with Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power

Posted on April 11, 2016 in Authors

Martha Joynt Kumar is a professor of political science at Towson University. She is the author of  Managing the President’s Message: The White House Communications Operation, winner of the American Political Science Association’s 2008 Richard E. Neustadt Best Book Award, and the coauthor of Portraying the President: The White House and the News Media.

About Before the Oath: How George W. Bush and Barack Obama Managed a Transfer of Power

It’s one of the hallmarks of American democracy: on inauguration day, the departing president heeds the will of the people and hands the keys to power to a successor. The transition from one administration to the next sounds simple, even ceremonial. But in 2009, as President George W. Bush briefed President-elect Barack Obama about the ongoing wars and plummeting economy he’d soon inherit, the Bush team revealed that they were grappling with a late-breaking threat to the presidency: U.S. intelligence sources believed that a terror group with links to Al Qaeda planned to attack the National Mall during the inaugural festivities. Although this violence never materialized, its possibility made it clear that well-laid contingency plans were essential.

Political scientist Martha Joynt Kumar uncovered this secret peril while interviewing senior Bush and Obama advisers for her latest book. In Before the Oath, Kumar documents how two presidential teams―one outgoing, the other incoming―must forge trusting alliances in order to help the new president succeed in his or her first term.

Kumar enjoyed unprecedented access to several incumbent and candidate transition team members, and she combines in-depth scholarship with one-on-one interviews to put readers squarely behind the scenes. Using the Bush-Obama handoff as a lens through which to examine the presidential transition process, Kumar interweaves examples from previous administrations as far back as Truman-Eisenhower. Her subjects describe in vivid detail the challenges of sowing campaign ideals across a sprawling executive branch as Congress, the media, and external events press in. Kumar’s lively account of lessons learned and pitfalls encountered during past presidential transitions provides an essential road map for presidential aspirants and their advisers, as well as campaign workers, federal employees, and political appointees.

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Angela Duckworth with Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Posted on April 10, 2016 in Authors

Angela Duckworth, PhD, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Prior to her career in research, she was an award-winning math and science teacher as well as the founder of a summer school for low-income children that won the Better Government Award from the state of Massachusetts. She completed her BA in neurobiology at Harvard, her MSc in neuroscience at Oxford, and her PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, she founded the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development in children. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book.

About Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, educators, athletes, students, and business people—both seasoned and new—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a focused persistence called “grit.”

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Rather, other factors can be even more crucial such as identifying our passions and following through on our commitments.

Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently bemoaned her lack of smarts, Duckworth describes her winding path through teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance. As a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth created her own “character lab” and set out to test her theory.

Here, she takes readers into the field to visit teachers working in some of the toughest schools, cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to the cartoon editor of The New Yorker to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.

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Arianna Huffington with The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

Posted on March 29, 2016 in Authors

Arianna Huffington is the cofounder, president, and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. Her most recent book, Thrive, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Among her other bestselling books are Third World AmericaOn Becoming Fearless, and Pigs at the Trough.

About The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

We are in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis, writes Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. And this has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness. What is needed, she boldly asserts, is nothing short of a sleep revolution.  Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.

In her bestseller Thrive, Arianna wrote about our need to redefine success through well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving. Her discussion of the importance of sleep as a gateway to this more fulfilling way of living struck such a powerful chord that she realized the mystery and transformative power of sleep called for a fuller investigation.

The result is a sweeping, scientifically rigorous, and deeply personal exploration of sleep from all angles, from the history of sleep, to the role of dreams in our lives, to the consequences of sleep deprivation, and the new golden age of sleep science that is revealing the vital role sleep plays in our every waking moment and every aspect of our health – from weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease to cancer and Alzheimer’s.  

In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making and undermines our work lives, our personal lives -- and even our sex lives. She explores all the latest science on what exactly is going on while we sleep and dream.  She takes on the dangerous sleeping pill industry, and all the ways our addiction to technology disrupts our sleep. She also offers a range of recommendations and tips from leading scientists on how we can get better and more restorative sleep, and harness its incredible power.

In today's fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-harried and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important – and elusive -- than ever. The Sleep Revolution both sounds the alarm on our worldwide sleep crisis and provides a detailed road map to the great sleep awakening that can help transform our lives, our communities, and our world.

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Kim Azzarelli with Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose

Posted on March 27, 2016 in Authors

is a business, philanthropic, and legal advisor focused on advancing women and girls. Together with Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Ms. Azzarelli is a co-founder of Seneca Women and co-author of the new book Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose. She is Chair and Co-founder of Cornell Law School’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, and a Partner atSeneca Point Global.

Prior to her work with Seneca, Ms. Azzarelli served as Senior Vice President of the Newsweek Daily Beast Company, where she led strategy, partnerships, and philanthropy for Women in the World. She has held senior philanthropic and legal roles at Goldman Sachs and Avon, respectively. At Goldman, she led the billion-dollar donor advised fund, Goldman Sachs Gives. At Avon, she served as Vice President, Legal and Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Avon, Ms. Azzarelli practiced corporate and securities law at Latham and Watkins.

Ms. Azzarelli is an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School, where she teaches Women, Law and the Economy and Women, Law and Technology. She is an author on matters relating to women and girls, including "Sustainable Development, Rule of Law and the Impact of Women Judges," co-authored with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and numerous articles on women's economic participation.

Ms. Azzarelli is a graduate of Cornell Law School, Cornell University, and Friends Seminary High School in New York City, where she resides.

About Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose -- Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In ignited a conversation about women and their careers, and resonated with millions of readers. Fast Forward, by two women leaders with experience and access throughout corporate America and around the world, takes the next step. Through interviews with a network of over fifty trailblazing women, it shows women how to accelerate their growing economic power and combine it with purpose to create success and meaning in their lives while building a better world.

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John H. Johnson with Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day

Posted on March 22, 2016 in Authors

Dr. John H. Johnson, IV is an expert witness who has testified and consulted in cases involving how one uses and interprets data in a wide range of settings. As CEO and co-founder of Edgeworth Economics – a leading consulting firm with offices in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Pasadena – John heads a data-driven company that has been featured on NPR, the Washington PostUSA Today, and HuffPost Live.

As an economist and statistician, John specializes in teaching people how to be informed data consumers. He has spoken to audiences at the American Bar Association and the Federal Trade Commission, has taught at Georgetown University, and has been published in numerous books, journals, and magazines. His Ph.D. in econometrics is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About Everydata: The Misinformation Hidden in the Little Data You Consume Every Day

While everyone is talking about “big data,” the truth is that understanding the “little data” (stock reports, newspaper headlines, weather forecasts, etc.) is what will help you make smarter decisions at work, at home, and in every aspect of your life.

The average person consumes approximately 30 gigabytes of data every single day, but has no idea how to interpret it correctly. Everydata explains, through the eyes of an expert economist and statistician, how to correctly interpret all of the small bytes of data we consume in a day. Readers will become effective, skeptical consumers of everyday data.

Everydata is filled with countless examples of people misinterpreting data – oftentimes with catastrophic results:

  • Millions of women avoid caffeine during pregnancy because they interpret correlation as causation
  • The initial launch of HealthCare.gov failed in part because key decision-makers couldn’t observe all of the data
  • A baby food company was investigated by the Federal Trade Commission for cherry picking data
  • Attorneys faced a $1 billion jury verdict because of outlier data
  • The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded because the engineers were dealing with a limited sample set
  • Hedge fund companies claim they can make smarter predictions – but the market data says otherwise

Each chapter of Everydata highlights one commonly misunderstood data concept, using both real-world and hypothetical examples from a wide range of topics, including business, politics, advertising, law, engineering, retail, parenting, and more. Readers will get the answer to the question – “Now what?” – along with concrete ways they can use this information to immediately start making smarter decisions, today and every day.

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