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Us and Our World

These nonfiction books take us all across the globe and inside our own minds to show us how the world works.


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Good Mom on Paper

- by Stacey May Fowles

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The experience of motherhood is monumental, yet rarely discussed in connection with literary or creative life. How do we navigate the twin devotions of love and art? How does motherhood disrupt the creative process? How does it enhance it? Good Mom on Paper is a collection of twenty essays that goes beyond the clichés to explore the fraught, beautiful, and complicated relationship between motherhood and creativity. These texts disclose the often-invisible challenges of a literary life with little ones: the manuscript written with a baby sleeping in a carrier, missing a book launch for a bedtime, crafting a promotional tour around child care. But they also celebrate the systems that nurture writers who are mothers; the successes; the intricate, interconnected joys of these roles. Honest and intimate, critical and hopeful, this collection offers solace and joy to creative mothers and asks how we can better support their work. Mothers have long been telling each other these vital stories in private. Good Mom on Paper makes them available to everyone who needs them. With contributions by Heather O'Neill, Lee Maracle, Jael Richardson, Carrie Snyder, Alison Pick, Meaghan Strimas, Sofia Mostaghimi, Rachel Giese, Lorri Neilsen Glenn, Erin Wunker, Jónína Kirton, Jennifer Whiteford, Teresa Wong, Nikkya Hargrove, S. Lesley Buxton, Amber Riaz, Adelle Purdham, Harriet Alida Lye, and Kellee Ngan. A portion of each sale will be donated to the Mothers Matter Centre: a not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering isolated, at-risk mothers.

The Earned Life

- by Marshall Goldsmith

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER o Discover the steps to earning your path to fulfillment and living without regrets--from the world-renowned executive coach and New York Times bestselling author of Triggers and What Got You Here Won't Get You There
 
"My life changed for the better when I started working with Marshall Goldsmith. The Earned Life is a wonderful book."--Dr. Jim Yong Kim, served as president of the World Bank

"We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome."

That's the definition of an earned life. But for many of us, that pesky final phrase is a stumbling block: "regardless of the eventual outcome." Not being attached to the outcome goes against everything we're taught about achievement and fulfillment in modern society.

But now, in his most personal and powerful work to date, world-renowned leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith offers a dazzling but simple approach that accommodates both our persistent need for achievement and the inescapable "stuff happens" unfairness of life.

Taking inspiration from Buddhism, Goldsmith reveals that the key to living the earned life, unbound by regret, requires committing to a habit of earning and, crucially, connecting that habit to something greater than the isolated achievements of careerism. By grounding our achievements in a higher aspiration, he shows, we can avoid the easy temptation to wallow in regret.

Goldsmith implores readers to avoid the Great Western Disease of "I'll be happy when. . . ." He offers practical advice and exercises aimed at helping us shed the obstacles, especially the failures of imagination, that prevent us from creating our own fulfilling lives. With this book as their guide, readers can close the gap between what they plan to achieve and what they actually get done--and avoid the trap of existential regret, the kind that reroutes destinies and persecutes our memories.

Packed with illuminating stories from Goldsmith's legendary career as a coach to some of the world's highest-achieving leaders as well as reflections on his own experiences, The Earned Life is a road map for ambitious people seeking a higher purpose.

"Marshall Goldsmith is a wonderful coach, educator, and author."--Albert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer

The Day the World Stops Shopping

- by J.b. Mackinnon

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A FINALIST FOR THE 2021 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD FOR NONFICTION

In a brilliant work of imaginative non-fiction, prize-winning author J.B. MacKinnon asks what would happen--to our economy, our ecology, our products, our selves--if we stopped consuming so much? Is that alternative world one we might actually want to live in?


"We can't stop shopping. And yet we must. This is the consumer dilemma."
     The planet says we consume too much: in North America, we burn the earth's resources at a rate five times faster than they can regenerate. And despite our efforts to "green" our consumption--by recycling, increasing energy efficiency, or using solar power--we have yet to see a decline in global carbon emissions.
     The economy says we must always consume more, because, as we've seen in the pandemic, even the slightest drop in spending leads to widespread unemployment, bankruptcy and home foreclosures.
     Addressing this paradox head-on, J.B. MacKinnon asks, What would really happen if we simply stop shopping? Is there a way to reduce our consumption to earth-saving levels without triggering an economic collapse?
     At first, this question took him around the world, seeking answers: from America's big-box stores, to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Namibia, to communities in Ecuador that consume at an exactly sustainable rate. Then his thought experiment came shockingly true, as the coronavirus brought shopping to a halt and MacKinnon's ideas were tested in real time.
     Drawing on experts ranging from economists to climate scientists to corporate CEOs, MacKinnon investigates how living with less would change our planet, our society and ourselves. Along the way, he reveals just how much we stand to gain.
     Imaginative and inspiring, The Day the World Stops Shopping will empower you to imagine another way.

How to Prevent the Next Pandemic

- by Bill Gates

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The COVID-19 pandemic isn't over. But even as governments around the world try to get it under control, they're also starting to talk about what happens next. How can we prevent another pandemic from killing millions of people and devastating the global economy?

Can we even hope to accomplish this? Bill Gates believes the answer is yes, and he has written a largely upbeat book that lays out clearly and convincingly what the world should learn from COVID-19, explains the science of fighting pandemics, and suggests what all of us can do to help prevent another one.

The Power of Teamwork

- by Brian Goldman

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New from the bestselling author of The Power Kindness and host of CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art

In the high-pressure and complex setting of healthcare, a new approach to teamwork is leading to healthier patients, happier staff and more efficient operations. Healthcare's embrace of a new teamwork model has been noticed by people outside the medical world, so doctors are going outside the walls of the hospital to teach manufacturers, business owners, franchisees, customer service representatives and even those in sports and entertainment to do better by shifting the culture from "me" to "we."

Drawing on groundbreaking research and examples from around the world, The Power of Teamwork shows how a team approach to medicine can improve customer service and help women break the glass ceiling. It can solidify the provision of social services to troubled youth, and boost the efficiency and safety of the military and critical industrial complexes like nuclear power plants. It can even make professional sports teams perform better.

Made in the USA

- by Vaclav Smil

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An overview of the state of manufacturing in America, both past and present, and how this sector and the jobs it creates in essential to the American economy
 
In Made in the USA, Vaclav Smil powerfully rebuts the notion that manufacturing is a relic of predigital history and that the loss of American manufacturing is a desirable evolutionary step toward a pure service economy. Smil argues that no advanced economy can prosper without a strong, innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.
 
Smil explains how manufacturing became a fundamental force behind America's economic, strategic, and social dominance. He describes American manufacturing's rapid rise at the end of the nineteenth century, its consolidation and modernization between the two world wars, its role as an enabler of mass consumption after 1945, and its recent decline. Some economists argue that shipping low-value jobs overseas matters little because the high-value work remains in the United States. But, asks Smil, do we want a society that consists of a small population of workers doing high-value-added work and masses of unemployed?
 
Smil assesses various suggestions for solving America's manufacturing crisis, including lowering corporate tax rates, promoting research and development, and improving public education. Will America act to preserve and reinvigorate its manufacturing? It is crucial to our social and economic well-being; but, Smil warns, the odds are no better than even.
 
"There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil." --Bill Gates

Extraordinary Canadians

- by Peter Mansbridge

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The instant #1 bestselling book of personal stories about remarkable Canadians who embody the values of our great nation and inspire us to do the same, from Peter Mansbridge, the beloved former anchor of CBC's The National, and Mark Bulgutch, former CBC producer.

In this heartwarming volume of first-person stories, Peter Mansbridge and Mark Bulgutch bring together inspiring Canadians from all walks of life--advocates, politicians, doctors, veterans, immigrants, business leaders, and more--who in their own way are making Canada a better place for all.

Hear Gitksan activist Cindy Blackstock describe her childhood in northern British Columbia, where she straddled two communities--Indigenous and non-Indigenous--and her subsequent fight for equitable health care for all children as the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Meet Matt Devlin, the U.S. broadcaster who found a new home in Canada when he got a job with the Toronto Raptors, and read how he helped calm the crowd celebrating the team's NBA champion win in Nathan Phillips Square when a gunman began shooting. From the young woman living with Crohn's disease and proudly modeling her ostomy bag to the rabbi whose family fled Nazi Germany and who now gives the benediction on Parliament Hill each Remembrance Day, Extraordinary Canadians celebrates the people who have overcome adversity and broken down barriers to champion the rights and freedoms of everyone who calls Canada home.

This collection gets to the heart of what it means to be Canadian. These stories will change the way you see your country and make you fall in love with Canada all over again.

On Quality

- by Robert M. Pirsig

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Featuring long-awaited selections from Robert M. Pirsig's unpublished writings, from before and after Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an original collection illuminating the central theme of Pirsig's thought: "Quality"

"The ultimate goal in the pursuit of excellence is enlightenment." --Robert M. Pirsig, 1962

More than a decade before the release of the book that would make him famous, Robert M. Pirsig had already caught hold of the central theme that would animate Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: "Quality," a concept loosely likened to "excellence," "rightness," or "fitness" that Pirsig saw as kindred to the Buddhist ideas of "dharma" or the "Tao." As he later wrote in Zen, "Quality is the Buddha."

Though he was revered by fans who considered him a guru, the famously private Pirsig published only two books and consented to few interviews and almost no public appearances in later decades. Yet he wrote and thought almost continually, refining his "Metaphysics of Quality" until his death in 2017.

Now, for the first time, readers will be granted access to five decades of Pirsig's personal writings in this posthumous collection that illuminates the evolution of his thinking to an unprecedented degree. Skillfully edited and introduced by Wendy K. Pirsig, Robert's wife of four decades, the collection includes previously unpublished texts, speeches, letters, interviews, and private notes, as well as key excerpts from Zen and the Art of the Motorcycle Maintenance and his second book, Lila.

Since its publication in 1974, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has established itself as a modern classic of popular philosophy; selling millions of copies and inspiring a generation, while serving as a perennial touchstone for the generations that follow. On Quality is a remarkable contribution to our understanding of one of the most influential thinkers and writers of our time.

How to Solve a Cold Case

- by Michael Arntfield

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Get inside the mind of an elite cold case investigator and learn how to solve a murder.

Despite advances in DNA evidence and forensic analysis, almost half of murder cases in Canada and the US remain unsolved. By 2016, the solved rate had dropped so significantly in the United States that it was the lowest in recorded history, with one in two killers never even identified, much less arrested and successfully prosecuted. And the statistics are just as bad in Canada.

As a sought-after global expert and former detective, Arntfield has devoted his career to helping solve cold cases and serial murders, including the creation of the Western University Cold Case Society, which pairs students with police detectives to help solve crimes.

In How to Solve a Cold Case, Arntfield outlines the history of cold case squads in Canada and the US, and lays out the steps to understanding and solving crime. Arntfield shows you what to look for, how to avoid common mistakes, recognize patterns and discover what others have missed. Weaving in case studies of cold crimes from across Canada and the US, as well as a chapter on how armchair detectives can get involved, How to Solve a Cold Case is a must-read for mystery fans and true crime buffs everywhere.

The Great Experiment

- by Yascha Mounk

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"[A] brave and necessary book . . . Anyone interested in the future of liberal democracy, in the US or anywhere else, should read this book." --Anne Applebaum

"A convincing, humane, and hopeful guide to the present and future by one of our foremost democratic thinkers." --George Packer

"A rare thing: [an] academic treatise . . . that may actually have influence in the arena of practical politics. . . . Passionate and personal." --Joe Klein, New York Times Book Review

From one of our sharpest and most important political thinkers, a brilliant big-picture vision of the greatest challenge of our time--how to bridge the bitter divides within diverse democracies enough for them to remain stable and functional


Some democracies are highly homogeneous. Others have long maintained a brutal racial or religious hierarchy, with some groups dominating and exploiting others. Never in history has a democracy succeeded in being both diverse and equal, treating members of many different ethnic or religious groups fairly. And yet achieving that goal is now central to the democratic project in countries around the world. It is, Yascha Mounk argues, the greatest experiment of our time.
 
Drawing on history, social psychology, and comparative politics, Mounk examines how diverse societies have long suffered from the ills of domination, fragmentation, or structured anarchy. So it is hardly surprising that most people are now deeply pessimistic that different groups might be able to integrate in harmony, celebrating their differences without essentializing them. But Mounk shows us that the past can offer crucial insights for how to do better in the future. There is real reason for hope.
 
It is up to us and the institutions we build whether different groups will come to see each other as enemies or friends, as strangers or compatriots. To make diverse democracies endure, and even thrive, we need to create a world in which our ascriptive identities come to matter less--not because we ignore the injustices that still characterize the United States and so many other countries around the world, but because we have succeeded in addressing them.
 
The Great Experiment is that rare book that offers both a profound understanding of an urgent problem and genuine hope for our human capacity to solve it. As Mounk contends, giving up on the prospects of building fair and thriving diverse democracies is simply not an option--and that is why we must strive to realize a more ambitious vision for the future of our societies.

Probable Impossibilities

- by Alan Lightman

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The acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams tackles "big questions like the origin of the universe and the nature of consciousness ... in an entertaining and easily digestible way" (Wall Street Journal) with a collection of meditative essays on the possibilities--and impossibilities--of nothingness and infinity, and how our place in the cosmos falls somewhere in between.
 
Can space be divided into smaller and smaller units, ad infinitum? Does space extend to larger and larger regions, on and on to infinity? Is consciousness reducible to the material brain and its neurons? What was the origin of life, and can biologists create life from scratch in the lab?
 
Physicist and novelist Alan Lightman, whom The Washington Post has called "the poet laureate of science writers," explores these questions and more--from the anatomy of a smile to the capriciousness of memory to the specialness of life in the universe to what came before the Big Bang.

Probable Impossibilities is a deeply engaged consideration of what we know of the universe, of life and the mind, and of things vastly larger and smaller than ourselves.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain

- by George Saunders

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER o From the Booker Prize-winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo and Tenth of December comes a literary master class on what makes great stories work and what they can tell us about ourselves--and our world today.

LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL AWARD o ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, NPR, Time, San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Town & Country, The Rumpus, Electric Lit, Thrillist, BookPage o "[A] worship song to writers and readers."--Oprah Daily

For the last twenty years, George Saunders has been teaching a class on the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University. In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, he shares a version of that class with us, offering some of what he and his students have discovered together over the years. Paired with iconic short stories by Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol, the seven essays in this book are intended for anyone interested in how fiction works and why it's more relevant than ever in these turbulent times.

In his introduction, Saunders writes, "We're going to enter seven fastidiously constructed scale models of the world, made for a specific purpose that our time maybe doesn't fully endorse but that these writers accepted implicitly as the aim of art--namely, to ask the big questions, questions like, How are we supposed to be living down here? What were we put here to accomplish? What should we value? What is truth, anyway, and how might we recognize it?" He approaches the stories technically yet accessibly, and through them explains how narrative functions; why we stay immersed in a story and why we resist it; and the bedrock virtues a writer must foster. The process of writing, Saunders reminds us, is a technical craft, but also a way of training oneself to see the world with new openness and curiosity.

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain is a deep exploration not just of how great writing works but of how the mind itself works while reading, and of how the reading and writing of stories make genuine connection possible.

Clanlands

- by Sam Heughan

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Now a #1 New York Times Bestseller!

A road trip book with a difference. Stars of
Outlander- Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish - explore Scotland, a land of raw beauty, poetry, feuding, music, history, and warfare.

From their faithful camper van to boats, kayaks, bicycles, and motorbikes, join stars of OutlanderSam and Graham on a road trip with a difference, as two Scotsmen explore a land of raw beauty, poetry, feuding, music, history, and warfare.

Unlikely friends Sam and Graham begin their journey in the heart of Scotland at Glencoe and travel from there all the way to Inverness and Culloden battlefield, where along the way they experience adventure and a cast of highland characters. In this story of friendship, finding themselves, and whisky, they discover the complexity, rich history and culture of their native country.

Freezing Order

- by Bill Browder

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ?

Following his explosive New York Times bestseller Red Notice, Bill Browder returns with another gripping thriller chronicling how he became Vladimir Putin's number one enemy by exposing Putin's campaign to steal and launder hundreds of billions of dollars and kill anyone who stands in his way.

When Bill Browder's young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Moscow jail, Browder made it his life's mission to go after his killers and make sure they faced justice. The first step of that mission was to uncover who was behind the $230 million tax refund scheme that Magnitsky was killed over. As Browder and his team tracked the money as it flowed out of Russia through the Baltics and Cyprus and on to Western Europe and the Americas, they were shocked to discover that Vladimir Putin himself was a beneficiary of the crime.

As law enforcement agencies began freezing the money, Putin retaliated. He and his cronies set up honey traps, hired process servers to chase Browder through cities, murdered more of his Russian allies, and enlisted some of the top lawyers and politicians in America to bring him down. Putin will stop at nothing to protect his money. As Freezing Order reveals, it was Browder's campaign to expose Putin's corruption that prompted Russia's intervention in the 2016 US presidential election.

At once a financial caper, an international adventure, and a passionate plea for justice, Freezing Order is a stirring morality tale about how one man can take on one of the most ruthless villains in the world--and win.

Forest Walking

- by Peter Wohlleben

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Awaken your senses and learn how to be a forest detective--with Peter Wohlleben, New York Times-bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees.

"This book will fast-track you into the joys of spending time amongst the trees."--Tristan Gooley, author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs and How to Read Water

"You'll be changed after reading this fine and enchanting book."--Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling and Last Child in the Woods

When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no--but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature's signs and awakening to the ancient past and thrilling present of the ecosystem around you.What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell? What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock--and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway? How can you understand a forest's history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches? How can we safely explore the forest at night? What activities can we use to engage children with the forest?Throughout Forest Walking, the authors share experiences and observations from visiting forests across North America: from the rainforests and redwoods of the west coast to the towering white pines of the east, and down to the cypress swamps of the south and up to the boreal forests of the north.

With Forest Walking, German forester Peter Wohlleben teams up with his longtime editor, Jane Billinghurst, as the two write their first book together, and the result is nothing short of spectacular. Together, they will teach you how to listen to what the forest is saying, no matter where you live or which trees you plan to visit next.

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