Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bestseller biographies are @ your library

No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy SEAL by Mark Owen and Kevin Maurer

Following up his best-seller No Easy Day (2012), about the killing of Osama bin Laden, former Navy SEAL Owen offers some life lessons drawn from his training and service. Owen has a fear of heights, and he's not all that comfortable a swimmer. Nevertheless, he spent 14 years as a Navy SEAL, where swimming in darkness through icy waters and cutting yourself loose from a malfunctioning parachute are only small parts of the job description… He builds each of his chapters around an especially challenging career episode: climbing a sheer rock face in the Nevada desert, traversing waist-deep snow in a bitterly cold Kabul valley pass on the way to a target, or entering an al-Qaida compound rigged to explode. Each adventure highlights a specific theme: e.g., how to control fear: "Stay in your three-foot world"; how to handle stress and the importance of not rushing, slowing things down; how "to be comfortable being uncomfortable." In other passages, Owen emphasizes the significance of building trust up and down the chain of command, of clear communications, of nurturing relationships to improve teamwork, of ensuring accountability, of improvising and evolving to meet the enemy's constantly shifting tactics and techniques… Simple, well-told stories that will interest general readers and certainly anyone contemplating a career in special operations.

41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush

At its best, the book has the qualities of the younger Mr. Bush's recent and much-talked-about paintings: It's folksy, sharply observed and surprisingly affecting…The most persuasive sections of this book deal not with the political, but with the personal. Mr. Bush's writing doesn't have the earnest charm of his father's letters…or the literary gifts displayed by his wife, Laura, in her memoir…But…this volume comes close to capturing Mr. Bush's distinctive voice—by turns jokey and sentimental, irreverent and sincere.

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me by Brooke Shields

Shields reflects on the protective—and stifling—relationship between her and her mother. … Shields' more dignified path through life is in no small part thanks to her mother, Teri, and following her death in 2012, Shields was horrified to find the obituary rife with misrepresentations. This book is her effort to set the story straight. … At times, their intense gravity worked against each other, but Shields continued her ascent. Teri found herself in the grip of a battle with alcohol, and as the book shows, her addiction became a powerful, destructive third force. Shields writes with considerable reflection; she's done the hard work of making sense of the contradictions in her mother, and now we get the benefit of her sharing what she's learned.

You Can't Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television by Al Michaels

A veteran sportscaster revisits his career. Michaels (b. 1944) begins with—and alludes to in other places—his good fortune in his life and career. He writes about his boyhood in Brooklyn (yes, he loved Ebbets Field), the family's move to Southern California and his great admiration for the Dodgers' announcer Vin Scully. Throughout, the author mentions "the Rascal" that's in him, a Puckish sort of personality that occasionally escapes its minimum-security facility for some prankish fun…The author does not really eviscerate anyone here (he has kind words for almost everyone), but he does declare that by the end of Howard Cosell's career, the tell-it-like-it-is guy had become "the world's biggest pain in the ass." He also takes a few jabs at producers Chet Forte and Mark Shapiro, but for the most part, the author is genial rather than vengeful. A playful puppy of a memoir about a big dog career.

True Love by Jennifer Lopez

In Jennifer Lopez’s new tell-all book True Love… the singer-dancer-actress-entrepreneur has much to say about her past relationships and how they have shaped her career trajectory.
While some might be most excited by the juicier details of her breakups with Ben Affleck and Marc Anthony, J-Lo offers some nuggets of wisdom on success that can help anyone looking for career stardom.

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