Buy the Book

Our Recent Speakers' Most Recent Books

Adrian Woolridge

Panelist: “Is Meritocracy Worth Saving?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Aristocracy of Talent:
How Meritocracy Made the Modern World

From the Publisher: Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their birth. While this initially seemed like a novel concept, by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world’s ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left?

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Nicholas Lemann

Panelist: “Is Meritocracy Worth Saving?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy
From the Publisher: What do we know about the history, origin, design, and purpose of the SAT? Who invented it, and why? How did it acquire such a prominent and lasting position in American education? The Big Test reveals the ideas, people, and politics behind a fifty-year-old utopian social experiment that changed this country. Combining vibrant storytelling, vivid portraiture, and thematic analysis, Lemann shows why this experiment did not turn out as planned. It did create a new elite, but it also generated conflict and tension—and America’s best educated, most privileged people are now leaders without followers.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Cass R. Sunstein

Speaker: “How Could Less Red Tape Make Societies More Equal?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Sludge: What Stops Us from Getting Things Done and What to Do about It
From the Publisher: 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 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.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Manuel Pastor

Panelists: “Is South L.A. Forging a New American Identity?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

South Central Dreams: Finding Home and Building Community in South L.A.
From the Publisher: Over the last five decades, South Los Angeles has undergone a remarkable demographic transition. In South Central Dreams, eminent scholars Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo and Manuel Pastor follow its transformation from a historically Black neighborhood into a predominantly Latino one, providing a fresh, inside look at the fascinating—and constantly changing—relationships between these two racial and ethnic groups in California.

Buy: Skylight Books | Reparations Club | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Jia Lynn Yang

Speaker: “Does America Really Want to Be a Nation of Immigrants?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965
From the Publisher: The idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants is at the core of the American narrative. But in 1924, Congress instituted a system of ethnic quotas so stringent that it choked off large-scale immigration for decades, sharply curtailing arrivals from southern and eastern Europe and outright banning those from nearly all of Asia. In a riveting narrative filled with a fascinating cast of characters, from the indefatigable congressman Emanuel Celler and senator Herbert Lehman to the bull-headed Nevada senator Pat McCarran, Jia Lynn Yang recounts how lawmakers, activists, and presidents from Truman through LBJ worked relentlessly to abolish the 1924 law.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Steve Miska

Speaker: “What Does America Owe To Veterans Of Its 21st-Century Wars?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Baghdad Underground Railroad
From the Publisher: During the war’s worst fighting in 2006 and 2007, a handful of Iraqi interpreters put their lives on the line to help American troops. Families threatened, a bounty on their heads, ignored by the powers that be, they faced execution as collaborators with the enemy if they remained in their homeland. A Task Force Commander decides a promise made should be a promise kept.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

George J. Sanchez

Speaker: “Can Boyle Heights Save America?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Boyle Heights: How a Los Angeles Neighborhood Became the Future of American Democracy
From the Publisher: The vision for America’s cross-cultural future lies beyond the multicultural myth of the “great melting pot.” That idea of diversity often imagined ethnically distinct urban districts—the Little Italys, Koreatowns, and Jewish quarters of American cities—built up over generations and occupying spaces that excluded one another. But the neighborhood of Boyle Heights shows us something altogether different: a dynamic, multiracial community that has forged solidarity through a history of social and political upheaval.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Ronald Brownstein

Speaker: “How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Rock Me on the Water: 1974-The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics
From the Publisher: In this exceptional cultural history, Atlantic Senior Editor Ronald Brownstein—“one of America’s best political journalists” (The Economist)—tells the kaleidoscopic story of one monumental year that marked the city of Los Angeles’ creative peak, a glittering moment when popular culture was ahead of politics in predicting what America would become.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Sir Paul Nurse

Speaker: “What Is The Meaning of Life?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What Is Life?
From the Publisher: The renowned biologist Paul Nurse has spent his career revealing how living cells work. In What Is Life?, he takes up the challenge of describing what it means to be alive in a way that every reader can understand.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Moderator: “What Is The Meaning of Life?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Dance of Life: Symmetry, Cells and How We Become Human
From the Publisher: How does life begin? What drives a newly fertilized egg to keep dividing and growing until it becomes 40 trillion cells, a greater number than stars in the galaxy? How do these cells know how to make a human, from lips to heart to toes? How does your body build itself?

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Ainissa Ramirez

Speaker: “Do Inventors Bear Responsibility for the Effects of Their Inventions?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
From the Publisher: In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Michelle Nijhuis

Speaker: “Can We All Become Conservationists?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction
From the Publisher: In the late nineteenth century, as humans came to realize that our rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving other animal species to extinction, a movement to protect and conserve them was born. In Beloved Beasts, acclaimed science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the movement’s history: from early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Cynthia Barnett

Speaker: “Can We All Become Conservationists?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Rain: A Natural and Cultural History

From the Publisher: Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive.

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world’s water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Elizabeth Mitchell

Speaker: “Is It Time to Consider Lincoln More Critically?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Lincoln’s Lie: A True Civil War Caper Through Fake News, Wall Street, and the White House
From the Publisher: A thrilling dive into the little–known, darker side of a revered president’s history, Lincoln’s Lie untangles the threads behind a mysterious 1864 newspaper article to reveal how Lincoln manipulated the media during the Civil War, shining new light onto today’s issues of fake news and presidential conflict with the press.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands

Richard Kreitner

Moderator: “Is It Time to Consider Lincoln More Critically?
Break It Up
BREAK IT UP: SECESSION, DIVISION, AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF AMERICA’S IMPERFECT UNION
From the Publisher: The novel and fiery thesis of Break It Up is simple: The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s

Dan Morain

Speaker: “What Does Kamala Harris’s Rise Say About America?

Buy the Book | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Kamala’s Way: An American Life
From the Publisher: A revelatory biography of the first Black woman to stand for Vice President, charting how the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of this country’s most effective power players.

Buy: Skylight Books | Powell’s Books | Vroman’s | Changing Hands


×

Send A Letter To the Editors

    Please tell us your thoughts. Include your name and daytime phone number, and a link to the article you’re responding to. We may edit your letter for length and clarity and publish it on our site.

    (Optional) Attach an image to your letter. Jpeg, PNG or GIF accepted, 1MB maximum.