National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

4 new, potentially good releases

By Michelle Graff

June 12, 2014

New York--Goodreads, an online book discussion site, just issued its list of new releases for the month of June.

As it did in April and May, National Jeweler sifted through the virtual stacks to find four books business owners might find useful and added one staff selection. Picks this month include 100 of the Worst Ideas in History, a book that includes a bad marketing decision by one very famous candy company, and Hillary Clinton’s latest, Hard Choices.

The following list includes a brief summary of each and links to their information on Goodreads, as well as one additional book that comes highly recommended by one National Jeweler editor.

1. 100 of the Worst Ideas in History
Michael Smith, Eric Kasum

This collection of top 10 lists compiles some of humanity’s biggest blunders in the areas of business, pop culture, fashion, sports and more. Did anyone know, for example, that Mars Inc. turned down the chance for M&M’s to be in E.T. because they thought seeing the famous extraterrestrial eat their candy might scare kids? The spot, arguably one of the greatest product placements in movie history, was gobbled up by Reese’s Pieces. This book is 288 pages.

2. The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success
Martin Dugard

In The Explorers, the author recounts the epic journey Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke undertook in 1856 to find the source of the Nile River, a journey that ended with the two men as enemies for life. While the book tells the tale of the two men’s trek, it also explores the seven traits vital to seeing any long journey through to the end: curiosity, hope, passion, courage, independence, self-discipline and perseverance. This book is 304 pages.

3. Hard Choices
Hillary Rodham Clinton

After she lost the Democratic Party’s nomination for president to Barack Obama in 2008, former First Lady and U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton received a surprising offer: her one-time bitter rival asked her to serve as Secretary of State. This book, the second memoir by one of the most powerful politicians in the world, recounts the four years Clinton spent in the role. It is 688 pages.

4. Rock Breaks Scissors
William Poundstone

Described as a “hands-on guide to turning life’s odds in your favor,” Rock Breaks Scissors gives readers methods of improving the accuracy of their own guessing, which then can be applied to a number of everyday situations, such as buying a home, the stock market or playing the lottery. This book is 320 pages.

5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith
Picked by: Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff

I have a close friend who reads A Tree Grows in Brooklyn every summer, but I didn’t discover it until 2011, after buying it for 50 cents at a moving sale in the Brooklyn neighborhood I lived in at that time, Bay Ridge.

Laid up with ankle injury that summer, I spent a lot of time reading and I devoured A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. For me, the book represented the perfect blend of past and present. It reminded me of the books by Beverly Cleary I loved so much as a child--particularly her first memoir, A Girl from Yamhill, which remains one of my best-loved books of all time--but was set in Brooklyn, where I lived then (and still live now, though no longer in Bay Ridge). I thought it was fascinating to read about the struggles of Francine Nolan as she grew up poor, the daughter of German and Irish immigrants, in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, an area now populated by hipsters, trendy boutiques and craft breweries.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn might remind me of a book I read and loved as a young girl but I think it stands the test of time and is an excellent read for any age.

Need more books to take to the beach this summer? Check out National Jeweler’s picks for April and May.