Posts Tagged ‘Michael Lewis’

As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to help independent booksellers, The Book Jam has paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”. In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. (We have a rotating list of six possible questions to ask just to keep things interesting.) Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work, will encourage readers to attend these special author events, and ultimately, will inspire some great reading.


This 3 Questions features Victoria Shorr and her book Backlands. Ms. Shorr is a writer and political activist who lived in Brazil for 10 years. Currently, she lives in Los Angeles, where she cofounded the Archer School for Girls, and is now working to found a college-prep school for girls on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Backlands is based on the true story of Lampiao, Brazil’s most notorious bandit, who ruled over a group of nomadic outlaws in northeastern Brazil. Taking from the rich, admired and feared by the poor, the bandits roamed and ruled from 1922 to 1938. The novel unfolds from the viewpoint of Maria Bonita, a woman stuck in a loveless marriage until she met Lampiao, and rode off with him to become the “Queen of the Bandits”. (Photo by Dan Deitch.)

Ms. Shorr will be visiting the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 22nd to discuss Backlands. This event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are recommended as space is limited.  Call 802-649-1114 or email info@norwichbookstore.com to save your seat.

1) What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

I would say the three that come to mind are  The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald, Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann and “The Fall River Axe Murders,” a story by Angela Carter.  They all take a historic event and then re-imagine it intensely, so that rather than reading a series of facts, you are actually there, living the history.  It was reading these retellings that made me realize that I could tell my story–which is a true one–better if I crossed that line into fiction.

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2) What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

Virginia Woolf said she would be afraid to find herself alone in a room with Jane Austen, but I would love it–especially if Virginia Woolf stayed as well! I felt I got to know them both quite well, recently rereading their work, and in fact, writing a piece about Jane Austen’s having turned down the one very good proposal of marriage that she got, I would like very much to hear her out about that. This took what Isak Dinesen calls  “courage de luxe”  [maybe she could join us!]–though it would have to be tea, of course, not coffee.


3) What books are currently on your bedside table?

I am on a Coleridge bender, having started with Alathea Hayter’s Voyage in Vain (out of print), and then moved into Richard Holmes‘s two volume biography.  Also Sybille Bedford’s Legacy,  John Lahr’s Mad Pilgrimmage of the Flesh, which my husband and I fight over, and Michael Lewis’s Liars’ Poker, which my sons say will explain it all to me.

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As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “Three Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore. Their responses are posted on The Book Jam in the week leading up to their engagement. Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events.

We are thrilled to welcome professor, writer, and Norwich resident Chris Trimble  to The Book Jam. He will be discussing his latest book, Reverse Innovationwith co-author Vijay Govindarajan at a reception being held at the Norwich Bookstore

on Thursday, April 12th from 7 to 8 pm. This is an exciting work that focuses on the increasing number of innovations emerging from the developing world and how it will be these leading edge ideas that lead the way in the next phase of globalization. During the gathering the authors will hold a brief discussion of their findings, take questions from the audience, and then enjoy wine and appetizers with attendees as they celebrate the publication of their latest release from Harvard Business School Press.  Unlike most Norwich Bookstore events, this reception does not require a reservation.

1. What three books have shaped you into the author you are today, and why?

Michael Lewis, The Big ShortPaul Krugman, Peddling Prosperity; and James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science. I could have picked several other books by any of these three authors.  All have a gift that I aspire to: the ability to tackle complex subjects in business, economics, science, and technology in a way that is a joy to read, both because the ideas are presented elegantly and because the ideas are delivered through compelling narrative.

2What author, living or dead, would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

Natalie Angier (Pulitzer Prize Winning science writer for the New York Times). Outstanding science writer whose quirky observations and gift with language would almost certainly mean a darned entertaining cup of coffee.

3. What books are currently on your bedside table?

I just finished Walter Isaacson’s autobiography of Steve Jobs. It’s a fabulous piece of work that is sure to be widely read and talked about in business circles. The only unintended consequence may be that a large number of readers may all-too-quickly conclude that what worked for Apple will work for them.

Point of disclosure, Professor Trimble is married to Lisa Christie of The Book Jam.

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Science at its best

Chris Trimble Podcast (Click to Listen) or download http://www.box.net/updates#/updates/1/a/1/662861511.

Podcaster’s note: There was a bit of an editing snafoo and the beginning of this podcast with our signature introduction was mistakenly deleted. Don’t worry, our regular routine will return in our next recording but in the meantime our new theme song kicks off this interview with Chris Trimble.

Lisa Lisa and the Book Jam wrapped up their exciting year in books with an interview of accomplished author and dynamic Tuck School of Business

Don't scratch that itch!

professor Chris Trimble. It was a fun, often funny, and always interesting  conversation that included being read aloud to by Chris from one of his favorite science stories of of the last decade “My Bionic Quest for Bolero” by Michael Chorost from the collection The Best Science and Nature Writing 2006. Sit back and enjoy the first few paragraphs of this fascinating story about hearing, loss, how the ear and brain work, and the physics of music.

Trimble explained to us that his favorite reads always include two components: the elucidation of a complicated concept – such as medecine, technology or business – which is then wrapped up into a great story. In that vein, we discussed the work of Atul Gawande, his gripping book Complications: A Surgeons Notes on an Imperfect Science and in particular the story “The Itch” as well as Pauline Chen’s Final Exam: A Surgeons Reflections on Mortality which chronicles the author’s experience at medical school and her very first organ transplant.

A longtime favorite book and one that left a strong impression of the business world and Wall Street on Trimble is Tom Wolfe’s classic Bonfire of the Vanities. Given that Trimble describes it as “a lot of really intelligent people doing meaningless things,” Lisa and Lisa were curious about Chris’ chosen career of business consulting and teaching. Simple, he says.  Through past business endeavors a large chunk of the earth has risen out of poverty and now enjoys a better quality of life.  All of this progress, he explains, starts with science and the questions science explores. The answers to those questions result in ideas that then become commercial innovations. Turning those ideas into companies and then managing ideas within companies provides ongoing challenges for businesses and many areas of interest for Professor Trimble’s work.

As for the future of innovation, listen to the podcast for Chris’ thoughts on what the next few decades hold in store. And if you’re curious about the french fries mentioned above in the title, you’ll have to wait until the end to hear hear Lisa, Lisa and Chris discussing Fast Food Nation, flavor laboratories in New Jersey and Dorie Greenspan’s new pommes frites recipe from Around My French Table.

Mr. Trimble is on the faculty at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and is the author of three books: 10 Rules for Strategic Innovators, The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge – both published by Harvard Business Press and co-authored with Vijay Govindarajan- and How Stella Saved the Farm, self-published in 2010.

Other books mentioned in this episode:

Micheal Lewis’ The Blind Side, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Big Short, James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds, the works of Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Wolfe’s  A Man in Full and The Right Stuff, Richard Preston’s  The Hot Zone, and Dava Sobel’s Longitude.

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