Book cover of Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America by David McCormick
Business & Money

Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of our country these days, but as McCormick explains, if the true test of a great country is its capacity for self-renewal, the United States of America stands apart. Our country has continually defeated grave threats and overcome domestic divisions when the odds have been stacked against us. That’s the American story, and we can do it again. […Learn More]

Book cover of Sludge: What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It by Cass Sunstein
Politics & Government

Sludge: What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It

How we became so burdened by red tape and unnecessary paperwork, and why we must do better.

We’ve all had to fight our way through administrative sludge–filling out complicated online forms, mailing in paperwork, standing in line at the motor vehicle registry. This kind of red tape is a nuisance, but, as Cass Sunstein shows in Sludge, it can also also impair health, reduce growth, entrench poverty, and exacerbate inequality. Confronted by sludge, people just give up–and lose a promised outcome: a visa, a job, a permit, an educational opportunity, necessary medical help. In this lively and entertaining look at the terribleness of sludge, Sunstein explains what we can do to reduce it. […Learn More]

Book cover of Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work by Robert Frank
Business & Money

Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work

Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street―our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Under the Influence explains how to unlock the latent power of social context. It reveals how our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. We are building bigger houses, driving heavier cars, and engaging in a host of other activities that threaten the planet―mainly because that’s what friends and neighbors do. […Learn More]

Book cover of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration by Emily Bazelon
Politics & Government

Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. That image of the law does not match the reality in the courtroom, however. Much of the time, it is prosecutors more than judges who control the outcome of a case, from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. They often decide who goes free and who goes to prison, even who lives and who dies. In Charged, Emily Bazelon reveals how this kind of unchecked power is the underreported cause of enormous injustice—and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. […Learn More]

Book cover for An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago by Alex Kotlowitz
Politics & Social Science

An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago

From the bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, a richly textured, heartrending portrait of love and death in Chicago’s most turbulent neighborhoods.

The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity—and the breaking point—of the human heart and soul. […Learn More]