Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Read Peter Hessler's piece about The Peace Corps' Greatest Hope in this week's New Yorker

Meet Rajeev Goyal in "Village Voice," Peter's Reporter at Large piece in the double holiday issue.  The young activist and former Peace Corps Volunteer Goyal has applied what he learned from village politics in Nepal to his work on behalf of the Peace Corps in the halls of Congress, which has set the program's budget at less than the price of two F-22 fighters.  Learn about a school that destroyed Rotary careers all the way from Dharan to Plainboro, an ice cream social spoken of in such a way that it begins to sound like "Bay of Pigs" to Peter's ears, and one of the more satisfying loanwords in the Nepali language in this altogether wonderful piece.

In this video Peter talks about the Peace Corps:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boston Globe and Washington Post name COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler a Top Book of the Year

In today's paper Kathryn Schulz, author of BEING WRONG: Adventures in the Margin of Error, writes:

I like to think that Montaigne, an inveterate traveler, would have shared my enthusiasm for Peter Hessler’s “Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory.’’ Title notwithstanding, it is the nation, not the writer, that is most in motion in this funny, understated, well-reported book. With millions of people abandoning villages for cities each year, China is experiencing the largest internal migration in history. Hessler, by contrast, mostly stays put. He sticks around long enough to speak the language, make friends, max out on Beijing, and acquire a country home. Eventually, the neighbor kid he drops off on the first day of school grows into an overfed, awkward-years preteen; and so, more or less, does the nation. As a journey, “Country Driving’’ is both business and pleasure — a stop-motion portrait of one of the most influential and chameleon places on earth.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley also includes COUNTRY DRIVING in its roundup of the year's best books, saying:

As readers of "River Town" and "Oracle Bones" are well aware, Hessler is remarkably observant and, when the occasion calls for it, exceedingly funny. He's at the top of his form in the opening section, in which he drives great distances on some of China's endless miles of new highways. His description of the Chinese driver's test is worth the price of admission, but there's more, including a visit to the little settlement outside Beijing where he spent much time for several years, and another to a booming new industrial city. Everywhere he goes, Hessler finds much to amuse and inform the reader.

Yardley reviewed COUNTRY DRIVING when it first came out, and you can read the review here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

KPCC's Patt Morrison Features Erich Origen and Gan Golan's THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN

Gan Golan, dressed as The Master of Degrees, visited the KPCV studio and Erich joined by phone to talk with host Patt Morrison and take calls about the book. Listen to several callers rave about the book...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Unemployed Man vs. Superlotto / Erich Origen and Gan Golan on cnn.com

...we chose a superhero story -- with everyday heroes fighting against economic supervillains -- because it was, amazingly, not that far from the truth.

In our troubled times, millions of ordinary people are engaged in a struggle of epic proportions against massive economic forces beyond their control. It seemed important to show people how truly heroic they are.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time Magazine Calls THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN by Erich Origen and Gan Golan "Hilarious, Clever, Very Relevant, and Remarkably Insightful"

Brad Tuttle interviews Erich on Time's Money Blog, It's Your Money.  As part of his answer to Brad's question about Unemployed Man's powers, Erich says:

Our heroes' powers are never more than exaggerations of the powers of real people—we wanted to show how heroic everyday people are. Undertaking an epic search for work (like Unemployed Man) is heroic. Fighting economic villains while raising your children (like Wonder Mother) is heroic. Working into your old age because the Broker made a joke of your 401K and you can't afford to retire (like Plan B) is heroic. Each of our characters represent a specific kind of everyday heroism.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Will Friedwald's A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS An Atlantic Book of the Year 2010

Picking Will's book as one of five best books of the year, The Atlantic's literary editor Benjamin Schwarz writes: ...Quirky, opinionated, shaped by exquisite taste and judgment, this feat of musical and cultural criticism offers an exuberant glimpse into the American character.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Peter Hessler a New Yorker Man-in-the-Marathon

The staff writer Peter Hessler will be running his third marathon. His first was in 1981, when we was just twelve—“back when they’d let kids do things like that.” His biggest deprivation this time has been sleep, but he was prepared: “I have twin infants at home, a new fatigue-training tool.”

Of the three, Hessler has the longest trip to the starting line; it’s a distance of many marathons from his home in Colorado. And the trip has not been without incident, as he revealed when asked about his weekend meal plan:

My flight got cancelled and I’m stuck in an airport in Grand Junction, Colorado. I don’t know if Subway is the ideal pre-race meal, but that’s all they got here. United gave me a ten-dollar voucher. Actually I think that guy Jared is in the race. I better not finish behind him or the Chilean miner.

All three New Yorker partisans say they’re looking forward to a break from running after Sunday, but there’s no rest for the weary—at least not for Peter Hessler, who has work to do Sunday afternoon.
I have to immediately get on a train to Long Island and do an interview. Not my ideal post-race routine but my editor, Willing Davidson [another marathoner from the magazine] , is making me do it. He said I can skip the interview if I end up in the medical tent.
Read Peter on Meb Keflezighi’s Marathon win, and his earlier piece on Ryan Hall, Running to Beijing / The Making of a Long Distance Runner, which has some wonderful autobiographical details.

Per Crouch's follow-up post, Peter's final time was two  hours and forty-five minutes.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Washington Post Calls Will Friedwald's A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS "Vastly Entertaining"

Dennis Drabelle reviews Will's magnum opus in the Arts & Living section of today's Post, saying:

In this mammoth volume, jazz critic Will Friedwald does for jazz and pop vocalists what David Thomson has done so brilliantly for the movies in his "New Biographical Dictionary of Film."

..."Vastly entertaining," for that matter, isn't a bad label to stick on Friedland's book."

Charlie Scheips Curates DAVID HOCKNEY: Fleurs fraîches in Paris

Charlie Scheips just returned from Paris, where he curated an exhibition of David Hockney's iPhone and iPad drawings at the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint-Laurent. The drawings will form the basis of a future book.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler One of Amazon's Ten Best Books of the Year

After being an Amazon book of the month when published early in the year, the site listed Pete's book #2 on its list of the 10 best books of 2010.

Discovery's Planet Green Interviews Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers about WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS

Leonora Oppenheim interviews Rachel and Roo on WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS. 

Some excerpts:

PG: What is your ultimate green goal?
RB: To help drive “The Big Shift”; away from the 20th Century defined by hyper consumption, towards the 21st century, the age of Collaborative Consumption. I would like us to be able to look back and be proud of a society that leapfrogged over decades of waste and emptiness into a new era marked by trust between strangers, access over ownership and the primacy of experience over "more stuff." I want to help make that happen.
RR: My goal is to harness innovation to help create solutions for our social and environmental challenges. By “harness” I mean creating businesses, inventing adaptive product solutions, or simply connecting the ideation dots to facilitate adoption.

PG: What is your best green advice?
RB: Don’t see ‘green’ as an add-on or a sacrifice. I believe it’s less about stocking your cupboards withSeventh Generation products and more about shifting away from a seismic zeal for individual getting and spending towards a rediscovery of collective good.
RR: Millions of people die a year from environmental “disease.” Now imagine that instead of affecting people millions of miles away, it is your daughter, son, father, mother, or friend.
Now do something about it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reuters Writes Up "Witty" and "Exhaustively Researched" THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN by Erich Origen and Gan Golan

Unemployed Man in D.C. Last Weekend
Journalist Nick Zieminski reviews the book and interviews Erich and Gan for Reuters Life!

...When 18th century philosopher Adam Smith coined the term "invisible hand" to describe self-regulating markets, he could scarcely have imagined his idea would one day star in a superhero comic book.

...Q: Why a comic book? Is it to make the point that the recession widened a gulf between the rich and everybody else?

Origen: "That's certainly one of the points, made by people like (Paul) Krug-Man and Robert Reich. But with their writing you don't get people encased in underwear. We have this accessible way of communicating similar ideas and allowing people a catharsis."

...Q: Why use a retro graphic style?

Golan: "We wanted to tell a story with a wide emotional range, from comedy to poignancy, and it seemed like those old styles were better-suited -- unlike modern comics which can be aggressive and dark and gritty. In the 50s and 60s, America had an idea of a common good, and that optimism was personified by superheroes. We wanted a style that took us back to that."

Part II of the Really, Really Excellent Will Friedwald JazzWax Interview

WF: Songwriter Jimmy Webb told me about a comment he heard from Joni Mitchell: “We used to have lyricists, we used to have composers, we used to have singers, we used to have accompanists and arrangers. Now we have one person doing all those jobs and in a half-assed way!"

Thank you, Marc Myers. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Really, Really Excellent Will Friedwald JazzWax Interview, Part I

On his really, really excellent jazz blog, Marc Myers offers up the first part of a two-part interview with Will Friedwald about his new book, A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers.

...Like all solid authorities and essayists, Will wriggles into his subjects, providing sharp analysis and little-known details as he takes strong positions. This is what makes Will so pleasurable to read. That and the fact that Will strives to entertain, much like the singers he writes about.

...W.F.: "Jazz" means something completely different than it did years ago, although it's also fashionable to see the whole history of jazz as more of a direct continuum. The music keeps evolving and so dodefinitions. Almost all of the singers who sang in the big bands would have been considered pop in 1938. But by today's standards they'd be classified as jazz.

Watch this portrait of Marc Myers.  On his site he links to a wonderful Bill Evans video--Monica Zetterlund singing "Waltz for Debby," the agency's favorite song from a father's point-of-view, though we prefer Johnny Hartman's version. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"You might as well laugh:" USA Today Reviews THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN by Erich Origen and Gan Golan

Craig Wilson writes in today's issue:  "...The parody of classic superhero comics exposes, with laugh-out-loud yet sophisticated wit, the desperate situation many Americans find themselves in today. "

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Peter Hessler and John McPhee at Lannan Foundation Nov. 10 in Santa Fe

Hear Peter Hessler in conversation with John McPhee at Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Guardian Names 69 Colebrooke Row and The Charles Lamb the Best and Second Best Places to Drink in the UK!

Agency friends Tony Conigliaro (the pioneer of molecular mixology) and Camille Hobby-Limon's 69 Colebrooke Row has been named "The Best Place to Drink in the UK," with Camille's pub The Charles Lamb coming in a healthy second!


Thursday, October 14, 2010


While the agency was handselling rights at the Frankfurt Book Fair, David Patrick Columbia was kind enough to cover the party for Alexa Hampton's superb THE LANGUAGE OF INTERIOR DESIGN (Clarkson Potter), which took place at John Rosselli Antiques on East 61st.

The Economist calls WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS the better book...

On the blog devoted to the individuals and ideas behind the latest trends in business and management, Schumpeter calls Rachel Botman and Roo Rogers' WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS:  The Rise of Collaborative Consumption the better of the two books, the other being THE MESH:  Why the Future of Business is Sharing by Lisa Gansky.  It doesn't quite say Gansky's business pitch is a pale imitation of Rachel and Roo's original, though that would be true.

Treehugger has a wonderful podcast interview with Roo about the book.

Edwards Magazine Bookclub reviews the book, saying:

 "Stringing together stories of change and the power of community, the authors have laid out the social and economic logic for collaborative consumption with such religious fervour and zeal that one can’t help but become converted to this new world order."

..."Botsman and Rogers weave a compelling tale of a utopian world knit together by the ubiquitous connectivity that is the Internet today. If their ideas were their own, a true consumption manifesto, we might be willing to dismiss them as new-age socialists. They are not socialists but oracles, revealing our reality and showing us the way to a better place. What’s Mine is a modern parable, showing the ideas and ideals of a better way to live without demanding that it is the only way to live. In teaching without confrontation, we learn to trust not only the idea of social consumption but we realize that we yearn for it. It is in that realization that we begin to understand the folly of our ways and seize on that desire to be a part of consumerism re-born.

If What’s Mine Is Yours sounds like a religious experience, it is pretty damned close. If you have ever questioned the hyper-consuming, hyper-speed, hyper-competitive world foisted on us by the baffoons of Jersey Shore or Big Brother, then this book will be a true awakening. If, as Botsman and Rogers claim, we express who we are by what we join, then becoming a part of the new community of consumerism and abandoning the wanton gluttony of our recent past is very telling indeed."

We're also happy to share the link to dowser's interview with Rachel, and another link to mainstreet.com's interview with Rachel.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Unemployed Man and Master of Degrees Cheered at New York Comic Con

Unemployed Man emerged from a phone booth and appeared in Good Times Square Friday night.  In Erich's words:

"Words and photos struggle to capture how delighted people were by Unemployed Man. Countless people asked to take pictures with the jobless crusader.  And yes, people even asked me to hold their children.

It was amazing to see how people completely transformed. As soon as they heard "Unemployed Man!" they would drop whatever expression they had (anger, sadness, guardedness) and just completely open up -- delighted. Beyond cheer, there were many soulful acknowledgements and sincere thanks. The reaction spanned all classes and colors of people.

We awoke at 7AM [on Saturday]. We got in costume (me as Unemployed Man again, and now Gan as Master of Degrees).

I should note that all employees everywhere -- at the hotel, convention center, etc -- really responded to us and opened up to us. We were very gratified by this. These workers had no inherent interest in comics, but they really responded and loved Unemployed Man. They told us their stories. We felt like we really made something for the working class.

So we arrived at the convention center at 8:00AM only to be foiled by a single letter -- our presentation was scheduled at 8:45 PM, not AM.
We went to the show floor and set up some books on the table. No one was there yet, so we went out side. Everywhere we went, people wanted to take pictures with Unemployed Man.

Our biggest and most ironic media coup was getting national Fox News to spotlight us on their intro to the coverage of the whole event.

After that, we went back inside and prepared for the roundtable discussion we would be speaking on. About 50 people showed up and were really enthralled with what we presented. People stayed maybe 20 minutes over and crowded us for pictures and earnest conversations. Unfortunately, no one was there to document it.

As we walked around at the beginning, people would ask us who the U guy was, but as the day went on, those same people would shout "Unemployed Man!" across the hall at us. Or we'd walk by crowds and I'd hear someone ask who I was, then hear someone else say "Unemployed Man" and that would ripple through the crowd with voices of surprise, recognition, and delight. "That is AWESOME." "That is hilarious." "This is the best thing I've seen here." I saw people instantly get the whole concept of the book as soon as they saw it."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No Sellout: "Crazy Shopping," Dutch Musical based on Rev. Billy and The Church of Life After Shopping Pays for Anti-Mountaintop Removal Work

the above man is NOT the reverend
The hardest working man in anti-consumerism, author of the book and spiritual vortex of the documentary WHAT WOULD JESUS BUY as well as WHAT SHOULD I DO IF REVEREND BILLY IS IN MY STORE? and The Church of Life After Shopping gets written up by Melena Ryzik in today's New York Times in "Reverend Billy's Revelation:  A Role for Money."  The piece tells the story behind a gaudy Dutch musical, "Crazy Shopping," which uses as a basis several of the choir's songs, the Rev's sermons, and the image of the Rev, and is playing across the Netherlands until January.  The Church used the money from the usage permission to support their campain to end mountaintop-removal mining.

Move Over Batman! Brian Lehrer Speaks to Erich Origen and Gan Golan, authors of THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN

Unemployed Man
In a segment with Erich and Gan titled "Superhero for Today," Brian invited listeners to suggest villains for future adventures. Playing Name that Villain for Unemployed Man to Fight, suggestions included: "Lord Landlord," the evil landlord who hikes your rent and doesn't take care of your building so well; "The Headhunter," the heartless executive recruiter; and "Dr. Hiring Freeze." In a sign that this brilliant book resonates with all, some readers suggested villains already in the book.  Check out their Q&A for more background on the conception of it.

Erich and Gan, dressed as Unemployed Man and Master of Degrees respectively, will be at one of the world's largest pop culture conventions this weekend, New York Comic Con.

Be their friend on Facebook and check out the web site.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Will Friedwald's A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS Gets a Starred Publishers Weekly Review

The September 27th review of Will's new book, A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS (Pantheon, November 2nd, hardcover) shares the starred rating of his last, and says:

....[a] passionately opinionated encyclopedia of the old-school virtuosos of the American songbook,

....Friedwald is all about the music; he primly shies away from his subjects' scandal-prone personal lives, but accords each a substantial career retrospective, selected discography and wonderfully pithy interpretive essay. His tastes are wide-ranging and idiosyncratic.

....However unconventional, his judgments are usually spot-on, as in his compelling reassessment of Elvis as the last great Crosbyesque crooner. Friedwald's exuberant medley is that rarest of things: music criticism that actually makes you sit up and listen.

About STARDUST MELODIES: The Biography of Twelve of America's Most Popular Songs (Pantheon, 2002 (hardcover); Chicago Review Press (paperback), PW said:

....While every reader will have their own list—what better dinner conversation game?—this dozen (chosen in conjunction with Friedwald's editor, Bob Gottlieb) should contain at least half of everyone's choices. But this is not a trivia book, and the joy of these short essays—ruminative, but also filled with fascinating historical and social details – is in their intelligence and their always evident love of the music itself.

...he is at his best elucidating how a particular song works its magic.

....an important contribution not only to American musicology but also to the literature on popular culture.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Launch of North American REBEL BUDDHA Tour 11/14/10 in New York City

There’s a rebel within you. It’s the part of you that already knows how to break free of fear and unhappiness.  This rebel is the voice of your own awakened mind. It’s your rebel buddha—the sharp, clear intelligence that resists the status quo. It wakes you up from the sleepy acceptance of your day‐to‐day reality and shows you the power of your enlightened nature. It’s the vibrant, insightful energy that compels you to seek the truth
‐ Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

With uncommon clarity and authority, [Dzogchen Ponlop] offers a new vision for the future of Buddhism that is at once shocking and hopeful. This is a small book with a big message that is timely and important. 
‐ Pema Chödrön, bestselling author of WHEN THINGS FALL APART

The five‐city North American tour celebrates November 9th publication of Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s provocative new book — REBEL BUDDHA: On the Road to Freedom (Shambhala). The tour, sponsored by Nalandabodhi International, kicks off on Sunday, November 14 at 10 AM in New York at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.

Distinguished teachers from varied Buddhist traditions will join Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in a lively exchange on Western Buddhism.  Panelists include:
  • Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, PhD, (Zen teacher, Abbott of the Village Zendo in New York ) , 
  • Shastri Ethan Nichtern (author One City: A Declaration of Interdependence (Wisdom Pubs, 2007), founding director of the Interdependence Project), 
  • Gina Sharpe (co‐founder of New York Insight Meditation Center) 
  • Mitra Mark Power
Throughout the day, in different formats, participants and panelists will explore the current state and the future of Western Buddhism, and the experience of the modern seeker through: 
  • teachings
  • music and video
  • contemplative exercises 
  • discussion 
The book tour proceeds to these cities:
  • Thursday, November 18 in Halifax, NS (McInnes Room at Dalhousie University)
  • Saturday, November 20 in Toronto , ON (Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library)
  • Saturday, November 27 in Boulder, CO (Boulder Theater)
  • Sunday, December 5 in Seattle, WA (ACT Theater) 

LA Weekly Lauds ANOTHER FINE MESS by Saul Austerlitz

Michael Joshua Rowin says:

...Austerlitz offers sharp ways of thinking about old favorites.

...Austerlitz provides particularly insightful considerations of legacies still in the making. Serving more as a critical history than a nonpartisan one, Austerlitz's personal evaluations are best used to stimulate healthy movie debate or else to compare one's tastes.

...Austerlitz gets it absolutely right when he paints the big picture, which is what makes American comedy quintessentially American. According to him, it is not only the outsiders — the immigrants (Lubitsch), the minorities (Richard Pryor), the women (Katharine Hepburn) — who have fueled the country's subversive comic tendency but also the innovators, the artists like Fields, Robert Altman and Bill Murray, who saw the world askew and used their genius to skew it further rather than set it straight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The New York Times Q&A's Alexa Hampton about THE LANGUAGE OF INTERIOR DESIGN

Rima Suqi talks to Alexa about her first book, due out next week from Clarkson Potter, importunate literary agents, her late, great father, the link between scrunchies and Modernism, and the exasperating challenge of getting people to addresses her as Dr. Hampton.

REBEL BUDDHA author Dzogchen Ponlop Talks about Cultural Forms Becoming Useless

WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS' Roo Rogers' and Rachel Botsman's "Beyond Zipcar" in Harvard Business Review

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Check Out this Most Original Review of WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

Treehugger Gives WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS and Collaborative Consumption a Big Hug

Writing from London, Leonora Oppenheim points up one of the many salient points of Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers' book:
"We like the way What's Mine Is Yours looks through the psychological lens of human self-interest and creativity as the motivation to create more shared systems and services, rather than the all too optimistic 'out of the kindness of our hearts' lens or the too dreary 'guilt and sacrifice' lens."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boston Globe Calls Saul Austerlitz's ANOTHER FINE MESS "A Keeper"

James Sullivan writes: Film comedy, Woody Allen once claimed, is harder to produce than drama. Still, the perpetually unsatisfied director was convinced that comedy is “less valuable than serious stuff.’’

In “Another Fine Mess,’’ a survey of the most significant artists — yes, artists — to make us laugh at the movies, from Charlie Chaplin to Will Ferrell, writer and critic Saul Austerlitz takes rigorous exception to Allen’s line of thinking. Addressing sexual, racial, economic, or political tensions, comedy has always helped its audience sort through the vagaries of the way we live now. Slapstick, screwball or spoof, comedy serves a function.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Read Peter Hessler's Letter from Colorado: The Uranium Widows in this week's New Yorker

In his piece "The Uranium Widows: A bid to revive a controversial industry,"  Peter writes about Uravan, a once-booming uranium-mining town in southwestern Colorado, which was eventually destroyed and buried because of fears of radiation. In this video by Benjamin Lowy, Peter talks about his visit to the former site of the town.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Publishers Weekly asks Will Friedwald Why He Writes

Will's eighth book, and his third with Bob Gottlieb at Pantheon, is A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, and will by published on November 2nd.  It is the most extensive biographical and critical survey of jazz and popular singers ever written, a whopping 832 pages long, and is an essential guide to the Great American Songbook and those who performed it.

Saul Austerlitz's ANOTHER FINE MESS is Out!

Saul Austerlitz's second book, ANOTHER FINE MESS: A History of American Film Comedy is published this week by Chicago Review Press.  It was excerpted in Sunday's Los Angeles Times on the 50th anniversary of Billy Wilder's film "The Apartment," and is featured in the "Lowbrow and Brilliant" quadrant of the Approval Matrix in this week's New York magazine.

Kirkus calls it “a compulsively readable reference for the confirmed comedy fan” and “an enthusiastic, well-observed, fresh look at old favorites that makes a compelling case for the genius of American film comedy.”

Saul will begin touring for the book this week, and the dates are:

September 7, 7 PM- Book Soup, Los Angeles
September 14, 7 PM- D.G. Wills Books, La Jolla, CA
September 16, 7 PM- Green Apple Books, San Francisco
September 21, 7 PM- U. of Pennsylvania Bookstore, Philadelphia
October 5, 7:30 PM- WORD, Brooklyn
October 6, 4 PM- Yale University, New Haven, CT
October 25, 7:30 PM- Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Check out Erich Origen and Gan Golan's first entries for THE ADVENTURES OF UNEMPLOYED MAN on The Huffington Post, which includes Election 2010: The Republican 6 Point Plan for Regaining Power, including "Stonewall, and shift blame!"

The release party will take place at Phoenix Books in Noe Valley, San Francisco, on October 21st.

Other bookstore events:

10/18: Book Passage, Corte Madera (this is the official publication date)
10/20: Copperfield’s Books, SF
10/22: CAL Berkeley, SF
10/29: Book Soup (with radio interview on KPFK-FM earlier in the day to promote it), LA
10/30: Skylight Books, LA

Also check out The Troubled Times, "the news-blog of record for The Just Great Society. On these pages, the heroes and villains of our time post their thoughts (and occasionally flame each other). It’s like The Daily Planet, except everyone gets a voice."

Ponlop Rinpoche Discusses What "REBEL BUDDHA" Means

Only 67 days until REBEL BUDDHA:  On the Road to Freedom is published in the United States and Canada!

The book launch will take place in The Great Hall of Cooper Union on November 14th, and is the first stop of a tour that will take Rinpoche to: Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 18th; The Bram & Bluma Appel Salon Toronto Reference Library in Toronto, Ontario on November 12th; The Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colorado on November 27th ; and ACT Theater at the Washington State Convention CenterSeattle, Washington on December 5th.

In this video Rinpoche discusses the title of the book, which Shambhala will publish November, and Prince Siddhartha's journey to enlightenment, beyond the worldly and religious cultural norms of his time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Trailer for WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers

Check out this amazing trailer for Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers' WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, to be published by HarperBusiness next month:

Brian Doherty's RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM Boosted in The New Yorker

In her story "Covert Operations:  The Billionaire Brothers Who Are Waging a War Against Obama," Jane Mayer repeatedly mentions Brian Doherty's interviews with the Koch brothers for his 2007 history of the Libertarian movement, RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement published by Public Affairs, which rescues "libertarianism from its own obscurity, eloquently capturing the appeal of the 'pure idea,'" (Wall Street Journal), and includes the life stories of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman,Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard.  Brian's previous book, THIS IS BURNING MAN, was published by Little, Brown in 2004, and chronicles the history of The Burning Man Festival from 1995-2004. This is the story of what really happens out at Black Rock City, Nevada, out there on the playa, as told through the eyes of a participant.

Juliet Nicolson's THE GREAT SILENCE a Tina Brown Must-Read Story of Survival

For Morning Edition's monthly feature "Word of Mouth," Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown spoke with Renee Montagne on NPR about what she's been reading in the way of stories of survival. Brown's "survival" picks are about displaying character in the face of stress, and includes THE GREAT SILENCE, represented by us in collaboration with Ed Victor Ltd., and published in the US by Grove in June.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matt Gallagher's KABOOM Gets Another Rave Review

This time in the September issue of Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute:

Matt Gallagher’s memoir is the finest I have yet read from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…The genius of both the blog and the memoir is Gallagher’s ability and willingness to accurately capture not just the fear and boredom of small-unit combat but also its hilarity…Laugh-out-loud dialogue…Gallagher’s parting act of service is this book, which is as noteworthy for its adventurous and stylized prose as for the story it tells…As engaging a combat memoir as any I have ever read.

Watch him on New England Cable News on August 12th:

On WGBH's The Emily Rooney Show on August 12th, as well:

 Matt will appear at Denver's Tattered Cover Book Store on September 15th.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS' Rachel Botsman to speak at The Feast, NYC October 15th

Rachel Botsman, co-author with Roo Rogers of the upcoming WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, will be speaking at the upcoming conference The Feast at The Times Center in New York City on October 15th.  The Feast is "a cross-disciplinary series of programs addressing social innovation and new ways to make the world a better place. Our secret sauce lies in a healthy combination of passion, creativity, and entrepreneurship to shift the way things are done - thereby changing individuals, industries, and ultimately the world."

Check out her recent speech at TEDx Sydney on The Rise of Collaborative Consumption:

“Such is the wisdom of Rachel Botsman and the revolutionary ideas in her recent TEDx Sydney talk. Goodbye Hyper-Consumption, hello ‘Collaborative Consumption’. In her funkily-presented 101, we learn how the internet is removing the middle man and making it possible to have a sustainable business plan selling peer-to-peer… Collaborative Consumption is a new socio-economic ‘big idea’ promising a revolution in the way we consume.” — ABC Big Ideas

Rachel received her BFA (Honors) from the University of Oxford, and undertook her postgraduate studies at Harvard University. She has consulted to businesses around the world on brand and innovation strategy and was a former director at the William J. Clinton Foundation.  Her articles have appeared in a range of publications including Business Week, Brandchannel, Business21, and Worldchanging.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Seattle Times finds THE GREAT SILENCE by Juliet Nicolson "a pearl of anecdotal history"

We just discovered a wonderful Seattle Times review from early June of Juliet's new book THE GREAT SILENCE:  1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War, her first being THE PERFECT SUMMER: England 1911, Just Before the Storm, which Publishers Weekly called a "delightfully gossipy yet substantial slice of social history."  The agency represents Juliet in collaboration with Ed Victor Ltd.

Ellen Emry Heltzel writes:  A pearl of anecdotal history, "The Great Silence" is a satisfying companion to major studies of World War I and its aftermath. Its psychological profile of a country in mourning is imperfect and patchwork.

Yet, as Nicolson proceeds through the familiar stages of grief — denial, anger and acceptance — she gives you a deeper understanding of not only this brief period, but also how war's sacrifices don't end after the fighting stops.

KABOOM'S Matt Gallagher Gives His Boots-on-the-Ground Perspective on NPR'S On Point with Tom Ashbrook

When President Obama took office, there were 144,000 troops in Iraq. By the end of August, there will be 50,000 left.

Yesterday, the President said combat missions are ending. As the U.S. pulls back – and eventually out – of Iraq, we’re reflecting on the meaning of that toil, sacrifice, service and bloodshed. What it means for regular Iraqis, and for the armed forces who gave much, and lost comrades.

Tom Ashbrook guides this discussion between Anthony Shadid, David Finkel, and Matt Gallagher.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Adam Platt finds a "Different, More Original Alchemy" at Zak Pelaccio's Fatty Cue in this week's New York

...Other cooks—David Chang, Anita Lo—have dabbled in traditional Asian barbecue. But with Richter’s help, Pelaccio is the first to combine the classic salty-sweet flavor profile of the East with the bulky, messy, down-home goodness of authentic American barbecue.

KABOOM's Matt Gallagher's Politics and Prose Appearance airs on BookTV

Matt read at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC on June 3rd, and C-SPAN was there to capture the event.

Zhang Yajun Reviews COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler from the Chinese Point of View

On Jottings from the Granite Studio, Christian Science Monitor Beijing bureau staffer Zhang Yajun has this to say:

...In Hessler’s account of Wei Ziqi, I see my family, my relatives and my friends all facing a similar predicament. But it is not their fault. They are just normal human beings looking for the best for their families and themselves. At the same time, China is developing fast — almost everyone is better off than before — but the psychological and mental adjustment to cope with the rapid change is much more difficult than they expected. Hessler does a good job capturing both the anxiety and opportunity of this transitional period.

...There is a myth, one believed by many Chinese, that foreigners do not and cannot understand China. This book shows that this myth is simply nonsense.

...Hessler makes the effort. He drives through many of the least developed provinces and villages in China and down little country lanes for months on end. He camps in the open air and lives on Red Bull, chocolate bars and Oreos. He saw the China where villagers worked for months to dig useless tree holes even though the diggers only received two bags of instant noodles each day to show for their work; the China where young people move away to cities or towns to find jobs while the elderly cling to their old life in the villages; the China where desperate migrants have to lie about their age and identities to seize a job in a booming industrial coastal town. Even many Chinese, especially those who live in the cosmopolitan illusion of Shanghai and Beijing, are unaware of this China. It may not always be pretty in pieces, but there is great beauty in the mosaic of a people living their lives in a time of great change and working to make a better life for themselves and their children. It is a China I want more people to know about.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mark Hampton is "The Dunce of Chintz No More" in The New York Observer

George Gurley, whose GEORGE AND HILLY is forthcoming from Gallery Books, offers a wonderful portrait of the late, great Mark  Hampton and his family in this week's Observer on the occasion of the publication of Duane Hampton's MARK HAMPTON:  An American Decorator, which has already entered its second printing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tony Hsieh Praises WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS

The CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. and author of Delivering Happiness has this to say about Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers' forthcoming book:

"What can the next wave of collaborative marketplaces look like? Botsman and Rogers answer this question in a highly readable and persuasive way. Anyone interested in the business opportunities and social power of collaboration should consider reading this book."

Another wonderful blurb comes from Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From and The Ghost Map:

“After listening to a thousand tirades against the excesses and waste of consumer society, What’s Mine Is Yours offers us something genuinely new and invigorating: a way out. Anyone interested in the emerging economics of collaboration will want to read this profoundly hopeful book.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stuart Reid of Foreign Affairs Reviews KABOOM by Matt Gallagher in The New Republic

In his review titled "The Boots-Eye View," Reid writes:

...a vivid and introspective chronicle...

...Gallagher gives the book’s characters—there is a Smitty, a Bulldog, and a Doc (but no Tex) much more than the name-rank-hometown exposition that too often flattens soldiers in print.

...appreciate his evocative prose, convincing dialogue, and, especially, telling vignettes of life as an American soldier in Iraq—“the suck,” as he calls the experience.

...If the surge’s creed was counterinsurgency, the army field manual was scripture and Petraeus, its lead author, was the apostle. Gallagher, then, was something of a young disciple. He has trained under a pupil of Petraeus, he carries T. E. Lawrence, he teaches Iraqi history to his platoon, and he quotes the counterinsurgency manual in the field.

...Kaboom suggests that if the American military is to keep soldiers such as Gallagher in the ranks, it will have to learn, as he did, to embrace the suck of counterinsurgency.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Check out Rachel Botsman's talk on Collaborative Consumption at TEDx

Rachel Botsman on Collaborative Consumption

Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche in The Huffington Post: "Buddhist Insights for Accepting and Respecting Our Emotions"

The author of the forthcoming REBEL BUDDHA: On the Road to Freedom (Shambhala, November 2010) offers a preview of things to come in this insightful piece about our "emotional signature."  Here's an excerpt:

Why don't we pay more attention to understanding our own patterns? We may have a solid financial plan worked out that will buy us a house and pay for our kids' college and our retirement, but we don't give much thought to getting the most benefit out of one of the most precious resources for happiness -- our emotions. Often, we just leave it to chance.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Terracotta Typewriter: A Cultural Revolution of Literature Interviews Peter Hessler

"Terracotta Typewriter is a literary journal with Chinese characteristics," and has an interview with Peter Hessler in the latest issue, which can be downloaded here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jesse Kornbluth at HeadButler Serves Up a Generous Dose of Mark Hampton

If you're in the market for a cultural concierge, or in other parlance are looking for a reliable filter, you couldn't get much better than Jesse Kornbluth, aka your Head Butler. We're thrilled he turned his attention to Duane Hampton's beautiful book just published by Rizzoli,  MARK HAMPTON:  An American Decorator, saying, among much else: "You can be dazzled by these pictures and conclude, “Beautiful, yes, but every client is so rich, every room is so big --- there’s not a single idea here that I can use.” And you’d be right. This isn’t a do-it-yourself-guide to making champagne rooms on a beer budget. It’s something else: a high-wire act, about balancing money and taste but caring less about either than about comfort."

You can see Duane and buy the book at any of the following events:

Saturday, July 3, 2010 -- 5 :00 PM to 7 :00 PM 
Book signing
3 Madison Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Thursday, July 8, 2010 
Talk and book signing
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Cocktail party & booksigning
316 Warren Street
Hudson, NY 12534-5404

Saturday, August 7, 2010
Book signing
53 North Sea Road
Southampton, NY 11968

Friday, September 24, 2010  
Talk and book signing

Thursday, February 17, 2011 -- 2 :30 PM to 4 :30 PM
2 Four Arts Plaza
Palm Beach, FL 33480

Monday, May 24, 2010

WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers gets Blurbed

Late September will bring the publication of Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers' WHAT'S MINE IS YOURS: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by HarperBusiness. The book charts how in the 20th century of hyper-consumption we were defined by credit, advertising, and what we owned, and how in the 21st century of Collaborative Consumption we will be defined by reputation, community, and by what we can access.

Here's what a couple of interesting people have to say about the book:

At a moment of general gloom, Roo Rogers and Rachel Botsman have offered a convincing, charming and in every sense collaborative account of how the new networks that have disrupted our lives are also likely to alter them, and entirely for our good. They offer not just a prescription for parts of our ailing economy, but a new vision of what ‘consumerism’ can be: not just a form of slavery to objects, but a thing in itself positive, progressive and pleasure-giving.
— Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon and Through the Children's Gate

People are normally trustworthy and generous, and the Internet brings the good out far more than the bad. We’re seeing an explosion of modest businesses where people help each other out via the Net, and What’s Mine Is Yours tells you what’s going on, and inspires more of the same.
— Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist

The cover is one of the best I've ever seen:  it is by the deeply talented Nicholas Blechman of Knickerbocker Design.

And check out the Collaborative Consumption Groundswell video:

Collaborative Consumption Groundswell Video from rachel botsman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sifton Gives Zak Pelaccio's Fatty Cue Its Due in the New York Times

The combination of American barbecue technique and South Asian flavors is brilliant and unsettling. It recalls, almost perfectly, what the Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa called the magic of the present moment. To eat at Fatty Crew’s new restaurant is to experience the very essence of nowness. No one else is cooking like this anywhere.

Check out the Fatty Cue web site. Zak Pelaccio's untitled cookbook will be published by Dan Halpern at Ecco next year.  Hail to Zak, aka "the aging idea guy, sometimes chef, trip leader!"