A reader’s guide to straightforward and inspiring books

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging  

By Sebastian Junger  

Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today.

Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, TRIBE explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that-for many veterans as well as civilians-war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. TRIBE explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

The U.S. Constitution: A Reader  

By Hillsdale College Politics Faculty  

Featuring 113 primary source documents, The U.S. Constitution: A Reader was developed for teaching the core course on the U.S. Constitution at Hillsdale College.

Divided into eleven sections with introductions by members of Hillsdale’s Politics Department faculty, readings cover: 1]: the principles of the American founding; 2] the framing and structure of the Constitution; 3] the secession crisis and the Civil War; 4] the Progressive rejection of the Constitution; and 5] the building of the administrative state based on Progressive principles.

America’s Founders created a form of government which had, in the words of James Madison, “no model on the face of the earth.” Its moral foundation is in the Declaration of Independence and its principle of equal natural rights. Under the Constitution, government was to be limited to protecting those rights.

In recent decades, the way our government operates has departed from the Constitution. Government has become less limited, and our liberties less secure. At the same time, true civic education in America — education in the Constitution — has largely died out.

Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing  

By Joe Domanick  

Vividly drawn and character-driven, Blue is simultaneously a gripping drama of cops, crime, and politics, and a primer on police policy and reform.

Beginning with the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and ending with the tumultuous police controversies swirling around both Ferguson, MO and New York City in 2014, Domanick’s fast-paced book is filled with political intrigue, cultural and racial conflict, hard-boiled characters like intransient, warrior minded cops like LAPD chief Daryl Gates and America’s most famous police reformer, William J. Bratton. As the Los Angeles Times put it, Blue “weaves a compelling, fact-filled tale of a turbulent city in transition and a police department that often seems impervious to civilian control.”

As the story unfolds, Domanick seamlessly injects and analyzes police policies and actions, while discussing police accountability and legitimacy, effective crime-reduction based on real, long-term community policing, and what is necessary for a new stage of progressive police reform to take place. As Kirkus Reviews summed up in a starred review: “This is a wellexecuted, large-scale urban narrative, sprawling, engrossing, and highly relevant to the ongoing controversies about policing post-Ferguson.”

Turnaround: How America’s Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic  

By William Bratton, Peter Knobler (Author)  

When Bill Bratton was sworn in as New York City’s police commissioner in 1994, he made what many considered a bold promise: The NYPD would fight crime in every borough…and win. It seemed foolhardy; even everybody knows you can’t win the war on crime. But Bratton delivered. In an extraordinary twentyseven months, serious crime in New York City went down by 33 percent, the murder rate was cut in half–and Bill Bratton was heralded as the most charismatic and respected law enforcement official in America. In this outspoken account of his news-making career, Bratton reveals how his cutting-edge policing strategies brought about the historic reduction in crime.

Bratton’s success made national news and landed him on the cover of Time. It also landed him in political hot water. Bratton earned such positive press that before he’d completed his first week on the job, the administration of New York’s media-hungry mayor Rudolph Giuliani, threatened to fire him. Bratton gives a vivid, behind-the-scenes look at the sizzle and substance, and he pulls no punches describing the personalities who really run the city.

Bratton grew up in a working-class Boston neighborhood, always dreaming of being a cop. As a young officer under Robert di Grazia, Boston’s progressive police commissioner, he got a ground-level view of real police reform and also saw what happens when an outspoken, dynamic, reform-minded police commissioner starts to outshine an ambitious mayor. He was soon in the forefront of the community policing movement and a rising star in the profession. Bratton had turned around four major police departments when he accepted the number one police job in America.

When Bratton arrived at the NYPD, New York’s Finest were almost hiding; they had given up on preventing crime and were trying only to respond to it. Narcotics, Vice, Auto Theft, and the Gun Squads all worked banker’s hours while the competition- -the bad guys–worked around the clock. Bratton changed that. He brought talent to the top and instilled pride in the force; he listened to the people in the neighborhoods and to the cops on the street. Bratton and his “dream team” created Compstat, a combination of computer statistics analysis and an unwavering demand for accountability. Cops were called on the carpet, and crime began to drop. With Bratton on the job, New York City was turned around.

Today, New York’s plummeting crime rate and improved quality of life remain a national success story. Bratton is directly responsible, and his strategies are being studied and implemented by police forces across the country and around the world. In Turnaround, Bratton shows how the war on crime can be won once and for all.

The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe  

By Heather Mac Donald  

Violent crime has been rising sharply in many American cities after two decades of decline. Homicides jumped nearly 17 percent in 2015 in the largest 50 cities, the biggest one-year increase since 1993. The reason is what Heather Mac Donald first identified nationally as the “Ferguson effect”: Since the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, officers have been backing off of proactive policing, and criminals are becoming emboldened.

This book expands on Mac Donald’s groundbreaking and controversial reporting on the Ferguson effect and the criminaljustice system. It deconstructs the central narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement: that racist cops are the greatest threat to young black males. On the contrary, it is criminals and gangbangers who are responsible for the high black homicide death rate.

The War on Cops exposes the truth about officer use of force and explodes the conceit of “mass incarceration.” A rigorous analysis of data shows that crime, not race, drives police actions and prison rates. The growth of proactive policing in the 1990s, along with lengthened sentences for violent crime, saved thousands of minority lives. In fact, Mac Donald argues, no government agency is more dedicated to the proposition that “black lives matter” than today’s data-driven, accountable police department.

Mac Donald gives voice to the many residents of high-crime neighborhoods who want proactive policing. She warns that race-based attacks on the criminal-justice system, from the White House on down, are eroding the authority of law and putting lives at risk. This book is a call for a more honest and informed debate about policing, crime, and race.

The Truth About Employee Engagement: A Fable About Addressing the Three Root Causes of Job Misery

By Patrick M. Lencioni  

In his sixth fable, bestselling author Patrick Lencioni takes on a topic that almost everyone can relate to: job misery. Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work, suffering each day as they trudge to jobs that make them cynical, weary, and frustrated. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable. Through the story of a CEO turned pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three elements that make work miserable — irrelevance, immeasurability, and anonymity — and gives managers and their employees the keys to make any job more engaging.

As with all of Lencioni’s books, this one is filled with actionable advice you can put into effect immediately. In addition to the fable, the book includes a detailed model examining the three root causes of job misery and how they can be remedied. It covers the benefits of managing for job engagement within organizations — increased productivity, greater retention, and competitive advantage — and offers examples of how managers can use the applications in the book to deal with specific jobs and situations.

Patrick Lencioni is President of The Table Group, a management consulting firm specializing in executive team development and organizational health. As a consultant and keynote speaker, he has worked with thousands of senior executives and executive teams in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high-tech startups to universities and nonprofits. His clients include. AT&T, Direct TV, JCPenney, Microsoft, Nestle, Northwestern Mutual, Southwest Airlines and St. Jude Chilren’s Research Hospital. Lencioni is the author of ten bestselling books, including The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage. He previously worked for Oracle, Sybase, and the management consulting firm Bain & Company.

Highliners: A Novel  

By William B. McCloskeys  

Highliners are the elite of the fishing world, the skippers and crews who make the biggest catches — salmon, king crab, halibut, shrimp — and deliver them first to the bustling canneries of Kodiak and Dutch Harbor. For these men — and for their women — the safe eight-hour day does not exist. It never will. Some fishermen get rich, many die broke. But they find a special joy in their work that can never be matched by the easier world of the landsman. No matter how great the hardship or how bad the storm, the highliners put out to sea in their primitive battle against the elements.

The protagonist of the novel is Hank Crawford, a young greenhorn who first comes to Alaska to work in a cannery to earn money while on summer vacation from college. He is quickly hooked by the fisherman’s life, and this novel re-creates how a young man becomes a highliner. He succeeds because he is young enough, strong enough, and brave enough. He learns the brutal business from hard-fisted skippers, penny-pinching cannery managers, and the pirates of the fishing world. Hank also meets the tough women who endure the hardships of Alaska alongside their men.

Journey with him as he learns to survive the elements (100-mile-an-hour winds, ice storms, tidal waves, and fire at sea) and attempts to become a highliner.

Once They Moved Like The Wind: Cochise, Geronimo, And The Apache Wars  

By David Roberts  

Using first-person accounts in historical archives, David Roberts presents many sides of the Indian rebellion that began in the mid-1800s. Here is the epic and tragic story of Indian heroes–men and women- -fighting for their land, their lives, and their freedom. 16 pages of photographs.