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Roger Lowenstein with America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

Posted on July 12, 2016 in Authors

Roger Lowenstein reported for The Wall Street Journal for more than a decade. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg , The New York Review of Books, Fortune, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications. His books include Buffett, When Genius Failed, Origins of the Crash, While America Aged, and The End of Wall Street. He has three children and lives with his wife in Newton, Massachusetts.

About America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

A tour de force of historical reportage, America’s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America’s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve. Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established. 

For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system. Americans’ mistrust of big government and of big banks—a legacy of the country’s Jeffersonian, small-government traditions—was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible. Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort. The real-world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions. By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill equipped to finance America’s burgeoning industry. But political will for reform was lacking. It took an economic meltdown, a high-level tour of Europe, and—improbably—a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance. Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act.

Roger Lowenstein—acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed andThe End of Wall Street—tells the drama-laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America’s Bankshowcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians.

Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America’s finances; Rhode Island’s Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician-turned-progressive-politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control. Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country’s most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they’re reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today. 

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Pagan Kennedy with Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World

Posted on June 8, 2016 in Authors

Pagan Kennedy was the New York Times Magazine’s “Who Made That?” columnist, and is the author of the New York Times Notable Book Black Livingstone, the Barnes & Noble Discover pick Spinsters, and other books. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Dwell, The Nation, and elsewhere.

About Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World

A father cleans up after his toddler and imagines a cup that won't spill. An engineer watches people using walkie-talkies and has an idea. A doctor figures out how to deliver patients to the operating room before they die. 

By studying inventions like these — the sippy cup, the cell phone, and an ingenious hospital bed — we can learn how people imagine their way around "impossible" problems to discover groundbreaking answers. Pagan Kennedy reports on how these enduring methods can be adapted to the twenty-first century, as millions of us deploy tools like crowdfunding, big data, and 3-D printing to find hidden opportunities.    
  
Inventology uses the stories of inventors and surprising research to reveal the steps that produce innovation. As Kennedy argues, recent advances in technology and communication have placed us at the cusp of a golden age; it's now more possible than ever before to transform ideas into actuality. Inventology is a must-read for designers, artists, makers—and anyone else who is curious about creativity. By identifying the steps of the invention process, Kennedy reveals the imaginative tools required to solve our most challenging problems.
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D. Watkins with The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir

Posted on May 11, 2016 in Authors

 

 Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun

D. Watkins is a columnist for Salon. His work has been published in the New York TimesGuardianRolling Stone, and other publications. He holds a master's in Education from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore. He is a college professor at the University of Baltimore and founder of the BMORE Writers Project. Watkins has been the recipient of numerous awards including Ford's Men of Courage and a BME Fellowship. Watkins is from and lives in East Baltimore. He is the author of The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America.


About The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir

Reminiscent of the classic Random Family and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, but told by the man who lived it, The Cook Up is a riveting look inside the Baltimore drug trade portrayed in The Wire and an incredible story of redemption.

The smartest kid on his block in East Baltimore, D. was certain he would escape the life of drugs, decadence, and violence that had surrounded him since birth. But when his brother Devin is shot-only days after D. receives notice that he's been accepted into Georgetown University-the plans for his life are exploded, and he takes up the mantel of his brother's crack empire. D. succeeds in cultivating the family business, but when he meets a woman unlike any he's known before, his priorities are once more put into question. Equally terrifying and hilarious, inspiring and heartbreaking, D.'s story offers a rare glimpse into the mentality of a person who has escaped many hells.

 
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Meg Jacobs with Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s

Posted on May 6, 2016 in Authors

Meg Jacobs is a research scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. Her first book, Pocketbook Politics: Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America (2005), won the Organization of American Historians' Ellis W. Hawley Prize for the best book on political economy, politics, and institutions of the modern United States, as well as the New England History Association's Best Book Award.

About Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s,

In Panic at the Pump, Meg Jacobs shows how a succession of crises beginning with the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted American politicians to seek energy independence, and how their failure to do so shaped the world we live in. When the crisis hit, the Democratic Party was divided, with older New Deal liberals who prized access to affordable energy squaring off against young environmentalists who pushed for conservation. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans challenged both kinds of governmental activism and argued that there would be no energy crisis if the government got out of the way and let the market work. The result was a stalemate in Washington and panic across the country: miles-long gas lines, Big Oil conspiracy theories, even violent truckers' strikes.

Jacobs argues that the energy crises of the 1970s became, for many Americans, an important object lesson in the limitations of governmental power. Washington proved unable to design a national energy policy, and the inability to develop resources and conserve only made the United States more dependent on oil from abroad. As we face the repercussions of a changing climate, a volatile oil market, and continued unrest in the Middle East, Panic at the Pump is a necessary and instructive account of a formative period in American political history.

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Dan Shapiro with Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts

Posted on May 5, 2016 in Authors

Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D., is a world-renowned expert on negotiation and conflict resolution. He founded and directs the Harvard International Negotiation Program, which has pioneered innovative strategies and teaching methodologies to address the human dimensions of conflict resolution. Dr. Shapiro also is an associate professor in psychology at Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital and affiliated faculty at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, where he serves as the associate director of the Harvard Negotiation Project.

For three years, Dr. Shapiro chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Conflict Prevention. He has launched back-channel negotiations to help revitalize formal peace negotiations in a major Middle East conflict, and regularly conducts negotiation trainings for government leaders around the world—including Middle East negotiators, Chinese officials, Serbian members of parliament, and senior U.S. officials. Through nonprofit funding, he developed a conflict management program that now reaches one million youth across more than thirty countries.

Dr. Shapiro has appeared on dozens of radio and television shows and has contributed to The New York TimesO, The Oprah Magazine, and other popular publications. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Psychological Association's Early Career Award and the Cloke-Millen Peacemaker of the Year Award. The World Economic Forum named him a “Young Global Leader.” In his spare time, he plays blues guitar and enjoys playing baseball with his three sports-loving sons.

About Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts

Find out how to successfully resolve your most emotionally charged conflicts. In this landmark book, world-renowned Harvard negotiation expert Daniel Shapiro presents a groundbreaking, practical method to reconcile your most contentious relationships and untangle your toughest conflicts. 

Before you get into your next conflict, read Negotiating the Nonnegotiable. It is not just “another book on conflict resolution,” but a crucial step-by-step guide to resolve life’s most emotionally challenging conflicts—whether between spouses, a parent and child, a boss and an employee, or rival communities or nations. These conflicts can feel nonnegotiable because they threaten your identity and trigger what Shapiro calls the Tribes Effect, a divisive mind-set that pits you against the other side. Once you fall prey to this mind-set, even a trivial argument with a family member or colleague can mushroom into an emotional uproar. 

Shapiro offers a powerful way out, drawing on his pioneering research and global fieldwork in consulting for everyone from heads of state to business leaders, embattled marital couples to families in crisis. And he also shares his insights from negotiating with three of the world’s toughest negotiators—his three young sons. This is a must read to improve your professional and personal relationships.

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