A reader’s guide to enjoyable books

18 A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-1The Heart and the Fist

By Eric Greitens

“Meet my hero—Eric Greitens. His life and this book remind us that America remains the land of the brave and generous.” — Tom Brokaw

Like many young idealists, Eric Greitens wanted to make a difference, so he traveled to the world’s trouble spots to work in refugee camps and serve the sick and the poor. Yet when innocent civilians were threatened with harm, there was nothing he could do but step in afterward and try to ease the suffering. In studying humanitarian-ism, he realized a fundamental truth: when an army invades, the weak need protection. So he joined the Navy SEALs and became one of the world’s elite warriors.

Greitens led his men through the unforgettable soul-testing of SEAL training and went on to deployments in Kenya, Afghanistan, and Iraq, where he faced harrowing encounters and brutal attacks. Yet even in the deadliest combat situations, the lessons of his humanitarian work bore fruit. At the heart of this powerful story lies a paradox: sometimes you have to be strong to do good, but you also have to do good to be strong. The heart and the fist together are more powerful than either one alone.

“If you’re restless or itching for some calling you can’t name, read this book. Give it to your son and daughter. The Heart and the Fist epitomizes — as does Mr. Greitens’ life, present and future — all that is best in this country, and what we need desperately right now.” — Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire

18 A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-2Born to Win

By Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar’s Born to Win: Find Your Success Code, compresses four decades of life-changing tools and practices into one inspiring, easy-to-use format for people who want to grow and improve the whole spectrum of their lives now!

Zig has always taught that “You were born to win, but to be the winner you were born to be you must plan to win and prepare to win. Then and only then can you legitimately expect to win.” Born to Win guides readers through this plan-prepare-expect strategy. You will learn that when you have the hope that things can change, and a plan to make that change possible, you can take action.

In this interactive eBook, at a click of an icon you can instantly hear guest celebrity stories from Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin and many more. You’ll be amazed at who attributes their success to Zig’s teachings!

Zig Ziglar’s whole-person, balanced-living approach to life has inspired millions to enjoy good health, a new depth of love and gratitude for family and friends, financial security and independence, and spiritual peace of mind. His instruction on how to live a life that leaves no room for regret or worry is the starting point for a joyful, exciting, vibrant life. It is true that when you have prepared yourself to be the right kind of person, you can do what you need to do to expect success. When you truly understand that you were born to win, you can change the world!

“It’s going to be the most fun and exciting trip you’ll ever take. It’s filled with more promise of reward than King Solomon’s mines. In short, this journey to the top, which you are going to be taking, is a tremendously exciting trip.” —Zig Ziglar

18 A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-3Theodore Rex

By Edmund Morris

Theodore Roosevelt and his two-term presidency (1901-9) deserve a king-size, seize-the-man biography — and Edmund Morris has provided one. “TR” typifies the “can do” American; his famous maxim, of course, was “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Morris presents eyewitness history through the voices of the makers and shakers. His exhilarating narrative will captivate readers, providing welcome confirmation that this nation can produce presidents who bring leadership to great issues, hold to their purpose, and shape the destinies of nations.

President McKinley’s assassination brought the 43-year-old TR a challenging presidency, one to which Morris is a clear sighted guide. At home, TR had to persuade Congress to curb competition-stifling corporate trusts, monopolistic transcontinental railroads, and unhygienic food industries that saw consumers as sheep. He also faced labor and racial strife. Abroad, the American presence in Cuba and the Philippines brought criticism, the Russo-Japanese conflict threatened major power shifts in the Far East and Europe, and a politically and financially fraught decision on the Central American canal route — Panama or Nicaragua? — had to be made. TR rose to every challenge. Despite the demands of family and social life, he read, wrote, and traveled extensively. Not least, TR put national parks and conservation of natural resources on the legislative agenda.

All TR’s notable contemporaries — including historian Henry Adams, naturalists John Burroughs and John Muir, robber barons E. H. Harriman and James J. Hill, poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, financier J. P. Morgan, fellow politician William Howard Taft, civil rights leader Booker T. Washington, and novelist Owen Wister — appear onstage, their clear voices projecting the excitement of the day.

Morris is blessed with the imagination and skills to write gripping popular history. He doesn’t dilute but illuminates events in presenting an account that immediately sparks interest and captures the mind. Readers will note that American interventionism abroad (today’s major issue) was much debated during TR’s presidency, when major interventional imperatives challenged the new superpower’s tradition of relative restraint in foreign affairs.

Theodore Rex is the long-awaited second volume of the TR saga. Morris delivered the first volume, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, in 1979. It won a Pulitzer Prize; Theodore Rex is a solid bet for another.

18 A reader19s guide to enjoyable books-4It’s Even Worse Than it Looks

By Thomas Mann and Norman J. Ornstein

Acrimony and hyperpartisanship have seeped into every part of the political process. Congress is deadlocked and its approval ratings are at record lows. America’s two main political parties have given up their traditions of compromise, endangering our very system of constitutional democracy. And one of these parties has taken on the role of insurgent outlier; the Republicans have become ideologically extreme, scornful of compromise, and ardently opposed to the established social and economic policy regime.

In It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein identify two overriding problems that have led Congress—and the United States—to the brink of institutional collapse. The first is the serious mismatch between our political parties, which have become as vehemently adversarial as parliamentary parties, and a governing system that, unlike a parliamentary democracy, makes it extremely difficult for majorities to act. Second, while both parties participate in tribal warfare, both sides are not equally culpable. The political system faces what the authors call “asymmetric polarization,” with the Republican Party implacably refusing to allow anything that might help the Democrats politically, no matter the cost.

With dysfunction rooted in long-term political trends, a coarsened political culture and a new partisan media, the authors conclude that there is no “silver bullet” reform that can solve everything. But they offer a panoply of useful ideas and reforms, endorsing some solutions, like greater public participation and institutional restructuring of the House and Senate, while debunking others, like independent or third-party candidates. Above all, they call on the media as well as the public at large to focus on the true causes of dysfunction rather than just throwing the bums out every election cycle. Until voters learn to act strategically to reward problem solving and punish obstruction, American democracy will remain in serious danger.