February 2, 2017
It seems obligatory these days to begin any discussion of sex and society with autobiography. So here goes. I'm an old, white, heterosexual male who basically doesn't have a clue when it comes to understanding gender dysphoria. (But I guess the second half of that sentence was redundant with the first half.) That's why I appreciated psychologist Mark Yarhouse's book, Understanding Gender Dysphoria, so much.Continue reading "Understanding Gender Dysphoria"
January 17, 2017
I have lived with the New Testament letter of James for many decades. And I frequently puzzled over one aspect of a particular verse: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (Jas 1:27) Why widows and orphans? Why not people who are hungry or ill or grieving? Is there something special about orphans and widows that should take our attention?Continue reading "Widows and Orphans"
November 17, 2016
Adolf Hitler knew his history. He knew that one of the world's greatest military geniuses, Napoleon, was defeated when he invaded Russia. Hitler knew that his Nazi generals strongly advised against opening a second front in 1941 when Germany had not yet subdued England. Yet he invaded Russia anyway. Why?Continue reading "Why Hitler Lost"
October 18, 2016
Henry Kissinger (now age 92) has been a prominent international figure since I was in high school when he became Nixon's National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State. He seemed to me to be an urbane realist then and an elder statesman now. By looking deeply at Kissinger's early writings and the record of his actions as filled out by declassified top secret documents from previous decades, historian Greg Grandin offers a very different picture in Kissinger's Shadow.Continue reading "Kissinger's Shadow"
August 7, 2012
In a recent column, David Brooks recommends a wonderfully healthy form of personality disorder. While he begins a bit humorously, Brooks works his way to a serious conclusion when he suggests that we embrace two very different views of ourselves at the same time.Continue reading "Two Views of Ourselves"
November 21, 2011
Why did Malcolm Gladwell succeed? Is he a self-made bestselling writer? Is his story different than the story of why some succeed and others don't that we looked at in my previous blog about Gladwell's book Outliers? Does he have none to thank except his own hard work and native talent? In the epilogue to his book, he offers an answer.Continue reading "Why Did Malcolm Succeed? (Outliers 2)"
November 23, 2010
While sitting in a limo in Manhattan wondering if she is overdressed for the party, Jeannette Walls looks out the window and spots her homeless mom rummaging through garbage in an alley.
Walls’ astonishing memoir, The Glass Castle, begins here and then chronicles a childhood in which alcohol, dysfunction and bad choices conspired to keep her whole family destitute. After she and her siblings moved to New York City and clawed their way out, her well-educated parents continued to live in poverty. And when the pair moved to New York to join their children, ultimately the two of them were without a home.
The book contains one incredible episode after another of pain, hardship and disappointment. Yet one that struck me the most took place after Jeannette had scraped together enough funds to go to college. There she took a course from a professor she enjoyed who began teaching about the effects of economic and social forces on people.Continue reading "No Ordinary People"
June 8, 2009
I admit I'm a fan of The Office with it's all-too-painfully-true portrayal of life in the cubes. One time I found myself yelling at the screen, "But I don't want to be Michael!" There was nothing to do but admit the truth, of course.
A colleague at work recently drew our attention to a brief parody of The Office from the folks at Rightnow.org. The camerawork and the writing are spot on. No doubt it has a bit more redeeming social value than even the original. So check it out here.
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:12 AM
April 6, 2009
He was livid.
I hadn't been on the phone for thirty seconds before the president of the firm we had been working with was giving me a generous piece of his mind. I had been unresponsive and unprofessional, he said . . . and more. Much more.
I was trying to get a word in, but he didn't let up. He kept going at me for at least another five minutes without adding any new information. This actually worked to my advantage. It gave me time to think.Continue reading "Forced Empathy"
February 2, 2009
No doubt publishing is difficult these days. But whatever challenges you and I may face, they are not very significant compared to what Lasantha Wickrematunge faced in the violence-filled country of Sri Lanka over the last fifteen years. There he was a crusading journalist who was not afraid to expose corruption and scandal both in the government and in the opposition. On January 8 he died for his efforts.
He left behind, however, a last editorial to be published on his death. It is a testament to integrity, to humanity, to doing what is right and to looking to the welfare of others before looking out for ourselves. It is publishing with courage.
December 2, 2008
I once emceed at a conference and was responsible for handling the question and answer session after a major talk. There were about three hundred in attendance and dozens wanted to ask questions, but we only had fifteen minutes available in the schedule. I had the roving mike and raced around the room trying to get as many questions as possible but only managed about five.Continue reading "Giving Voice"
November 14, 2008
Every so often I am talking to an author about a potential book and he or she will say, “Well, I will have to check with my previous publisher first. In my contract I gave them first option on my next book.”
I am always amazed when I hear this. We got rid of the “next book clause” from our contracts thirty years ago. I thought such arrangements disappeared with the era of the dime novel. Apparently not.Continue reading "Ban the Next Book Clause"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:47 AM
September 6, 2007
Some years ago we promised an author that if he signed his book contract with us that we would advertise the book in several key magazines. So he signed the contract, completed the manuscript and sent it in. It was a strong piece, and we were happy to publish it. However, we also discovered that it did not come to us very well targeted for the particular audiences of the magazines in which we had promised to advertise the book. As we discussed the audience for his book and possible revisions with the author, he was not inclined to make any significant changes.Continue reading "Keeping Promises"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:05 AM