Are you above average? Is your child an A student? Is your employee an introvert or an extrovert? Every day we are measured against the yardstick of averages, judged according to how closely we come to it or how far we deviate from it.
The assumption that metrics comparing us to an average—like GPAs, personality test results, and performance review ratings—reveal something meaningful about our potential is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t even question it. That assumption, says Harvard’s Todd Rose, is spectacularly—and scientifically—wrong.
In The End of Average, Rose, a rising star in the new field of the science of the individual shows that no one is average. Not you. Not your kids. Not your employees. This isn’t hollow sloganeering—it’s a mathematical fact with enormous practical consequences. But while we know people learn and develop in distinctive ways, these unique patterns of behaviors are lost in our schools and businesses which have been designed around the mythical “average person.” This average-size-fits-all model ignores our differences and fails at recognizing talent. It’s time to change it.
Weaving science, history, and his personal experiences as a high school dropout, Rose offers a powerful alternative to understanding individuals through averages: the three principles of individuality. The jaggedness principle (talent is always jagged), the context principle (traits are a myth), and the pathways principle (we all walk the road less traveled) help us understand our true uniqueness—and that of others—and how to take full advantage of individuality to gain an edge in life.
Read this powerful manifesto in the ranks of Drive, Quiet, and Mindset—and you won’t see averages or talent in the same way again.
The harrowing memories of 358 Holocaust survivors—from the ghettos to the concentration camps. “One of the most important books of our time.” —National Archives
In the shouted words of a woman bound for Auschwitz to a man about to escape from a cattle car, “If you get out, maybe you can tell the story! Who else will tell it?”
These are the true, insider stories of victims, told in their own words. They include the experiences of teenagers who saw their parents and siblings sent to the gas chambers; of starving children beaten for trying to steal a morsel of food; of people who saw their friends commit suicide to save themselves from the daily agony they endured. The recollections are from the start of the war—the home invasions, the Gestapo busts, and the ghettos—as well as the daily hell of the concentration camps and what actually happened inside.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. This hefty collection of stories was compiled by award-winning author Anthony S. Pitch, who worked with sources such as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to get survivors’ stories compiled together and to supplement them with images from the war. These memories must be told and held onto so what happened is documented; so the lives of those who perished are not forgotten—so history does not repeat itself.
This “unnerving exposé” of a lost American nuclear bomb “is a valuable contribution to the history of the navy, the cold war, and nuclear weapons” (Booklist). On December 5th, 1965, the USS Ticonderoga was on its way from Vietnam to Japan, practicing nuclear combat procedures along the way. A young pilot from Ohio strapped into an A-4 Skyhawk bomber for a routine simulated mission. But after mishandling the maneuver, the plane and its pilot sunk to the bottom of the South China sea, along with a live B43 one-megaton thermonuclear bomb. A cover-up mission began as rumors of sabotage began to circulate. The incident, known as a ‘Broken Arrow’, was kept under wraps for twenty-five years. The details that emerged caused a diplomatic incident, revealing that the U.S. had violated agreements not to bring nuclear weapons into Japan. Broken Arrow tells the story of Ticonderoga’s sailors and airmen, the dangers of combat missions and shipboard life, and the accident that threatened to wipe her off the map and blow US-Japanese relations apart. For the first time, through previously classified documents, never before published photos of the accident aircraft and the recollections of those who were there, the story of carrier aviation’s only ‘Broken Arrow’ is told in full.
A riveting portrait of a rural Pennsylvania town at the center of the fracking controversyShale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transform the American economy and geopolitics. But in greater Williamsport, Pennsylvania, fracking is personal. Up to Heaven and Down to Hell is a vivid and sometimes heartbreaking account of what happens when one of the most momentous decisions about the well-being of our communities and our planet—whether or not to extract shale gas and oil from the very land beneath our feet—is largely a private choice that millions of ordinary people make without the public's consent.The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend "up to heaven and down to hell," which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Colin Jerolmack spent eight months living with rural communities outside of Williamsport as they confronted the tension between property rights and the commonwealth. In this deeply intimate book, he reveals how the decision to lease brings financial rewards but can also cause irreparable harm to neighbors, to communal resources like air and water, and even to oneself.
How fighting Joe Hooker turned things around during a low point in the Civil War: “Exceptionally well-written . . . the result of painstaking research.” —Brig. Gen. John W. Mountcastle, USA (ret.), former chief of military history, US Army Depression. Desertion. Disease. The Army of the Potomac faced a trio of unrelenting enemies during the winter of 1863. Following the catastrophic defeat at the battle of Fredericksburg, the army settled into winter quarters—and despair settled into the army. Morale sank to its lowest level while desertions reached an all-time high. Illness packed the hospitals. Political intrigues, careerist schemes, and harsh winter weather demoralized everyone. Even the army’s livestock suffered, with more than 1,000 horses and mules dying every week. Then Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, a pugnacious tactician aptly nicknamed “Fighting Joe,” took command of the army. And a remarkable thing happened: A man known for his hardscrabble battlefield tenacity showed an amazing brilliance for organization and leadership. With Chief of Staff Dan Butterfield working alongside him, Hooker rebuilt the army from the bottom up. In addition to instituting logistical, ordnance, and administrative reforms, he insisted on proper troop care, rigorous inspections, and battle drills. Hooker doled out promotions and furloughs by merit, conducted large-scale raids, streamlined the army’s command and control, and fielded a new cavalry corps and military intelligence organization. Hooker’s war on poor discipline and harsh conditions revitalized a dying army. During this ninety-three-day resurgence, the Army of the Potomac reversed its fortunes and set itself on the path to ultimate victory. Hooker’s achievement represents nothing less than the greatest non-battle turning point since Valley Forge in the American Revolution—through it has long gone unnoticed or underappreciated by modern historians. Based on soldiers’ records, diaries, and letters, from the lowest private to the highest general, this is the full story of how these citizen-soldiers overcame adversity, seized their destiny, and saved the nation.
“Some things just can't be described. And stepping onto the moon was one of them.” – Buzz Aldrin
At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, time stood still throughout the world, as thousands converged on the Kennedy Space Center and millions tuned in on live television. At that instant, the first rumbles began to shake the ground, as a small spacecraft attached to the giant Saturn V rocket several hundred feet tall started lifting off. Quickly being propelled several thousand miles per hour, it takes just a few minutes to reach a speed of 15,000 miles per hour, and just a few more minutes to enter orbit at 18,000 miles per hour. Apollo 11 was on its way to a historic first landing on the Moon.
Apollo 11’s trip to the Moon may have started on that day in 1969, but the journey had begun over a decade earlier as part of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. While landing on the Moon was a noble goal proposed as early as 1961 by President Kennedy, NASA and the nation as a whole moved with urgency simply to best the Soviet Union, which had spent the 1950s beating America to important space-related firsts, including launching the first satellite and cosmonaut in orbit. In fact, President Eisenhower’s administration began the design for the Apollo program in 1960 in hopes of getting a head start to the Moon, despite the fact the plans originated a year before the first Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, orbited the Earth and two years before John Glenn did.
Buzz Aldrin's father was a military test pilot, and Aldrin would follow a similar path on his way to becoming a member of the Gemini program and ultimately the Apollo 11 mission. Despite reaching the peak of his fame and career before the age of 40, Aldrin has continued to work in the field and has been one of the most effective advocates of further space travel, particularly to Mars.
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