“One day Shaq dropped by the house unannounced. He’d ventured to Montana in order to perform at a rap concert in nearby Kalispell. I wasn’t home when he arrived, so June invited him in. When I drove up, Shaq was bouncing on a trampoline down by the lake and creating quite a sensation in the neighborhood. All of the sudden, dozens of boats filled with curious onlookers crowded into the bay near our house to gawk at this giant leaping through the air. Shaq did not disappoint. After the trampoline exhibition, he started doing comical backflips off the dock, then took off on a madcap Jet Ski tour of the bay.
Since he was already wet, I asked Shaq to help me move a large tree that had toppled in our yard during a recent storm. It was impressive watching him work. ’We’re going to have a lot of fun, Coach,’ he said when we were finished. That’s what Shaq was all about: fun.”
— Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson on a surprise visit that Shaquille O’Neal made to Jackson’s home in remote Montana, just a few weeks after Jackson was hired to coach the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
This is just one of many candid stories and anecdotes about Jackson’s experiences and leadership lessons he learned during his career as a player and coach in the NBA recounted in Jackson’s new book, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success (BOOK•KINDLE). My copy of Eleven Rings arrived just a few hours ago and I’m already 200 pages deep and will finish it tonight. If you’re a fan of basketball — or leaders — I highly suggest checking out this book when it is released next Tuesday.
Hey everybody! Times are tough and money is tight, so I want you all to know that I understand. That’s why you can now buy my book Tributes and Trash Talk: What Our Presidents Said About Each Other for just $4.95! That’s right — for less than $5, you can instantly download Tributes and Trash Talk for your Kindle or your NOOK and start enjoying the insightful, poignant, funny, bitter, and often shocking or downright mean-spirited things that our Presidents have said about each other. My book is filled with over 350 pages of candid comments straight from the mouths of every President from George Washington to Barack Obama, as well as their Confederate counterpart Jefferson Davis.
Not only is Tributes and Trash Talk a bargain at just $4.95, but you can get the book easily and instantly and immediately start enjoying it on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle, or NOOK. For those of you who are NOOK users, get my book right now by following this link to Barnes & Noble!
What if you don’t have an e-reader? No problem, you can still enjoy my book. Simply download the FREE Kindle app for your phone, your tablet, your laptop, or your desktop. Once you download the FREE Kindle app, follow this link and get your copy of Tributes and Trash Talk: What Our Presidents Said About Each Other for just $4.95.
Less than $5.00 will get you a copy of my book! Hell, it’s such a bargain I wrote the damn thing and I feel like I should buy a copy. Get your copy of Tributes and Trash Talk: What Our Presidents Said About Each Other instantly for just $4.95!
While I am here, I want to share with you two really great books that I think you would enjoy as I did. I hope to find some time to grind out the full-length reviews that these titles deserve, but here are two quick recommendations.
Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence (BOOK•KINDLE)
By Joseph J. Ellis (Available on June 4, 2013)
There are a handful of American authors in the 21st Century who can take some of the most familiar events and figures in our nation’s history and make them feel new and exciting and present. Joseph J. Ellis is one of them. He has already written classic, award-winning books such as Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (BOOK•KINDLE), American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson (BOOK•KINDLE), His Excellency: George Washington (BOOK•KINDLE), and First Family: Abigail and John Adams (BOOK•KINDLE), among others. In Revolutionary Summer, Ellis tells the story of the dramatic summer of 1776 and it should be on your reading list for the summer of 2013.
A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War (BOOK•KINDLE)
By Thomas Fleming (Available on May 15, 2013)
Historian Thomas Fleming is so prolific that there isn’t a page in A Disease in the Public Mind listing all of his books — he’s written more than fifty of them. Like Ellis, many of Fleming’s books focus on the American Revolution era, including his best and best-known work, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America (BOOK•KINDLE), which remains high on the list of my all-time favorites. A Disease in the Public Mind investigates not the cause, but the causes of the Civil War, in both the North and South, with Fleming’s gift for writing serious history at the pace of a novel.
I raced through both of these titles and highly recommend picking them up when they are released. And while there is never a shortage of good books out there to read, right now seems to be a particularly fortunate time for our history buffs as we’ve had some fantastic new releases in 2013 so far and some great titles on the horizon for the remainder of the years.
And just to show that I’m leaving no shelf space uncovered, check out my black bookshelf in this first picture where it is full, but still nice and neat:
Now, take a look at it about two or three months later, courtesy of some of my favorite publishing houses throughout this fine country of ours:
I’m thinking of instituting the Dewey Decimal System here at home.
Oh, I promise you that it is not. It’s a bunch of unsightly stacks like this that are begging me to buy some new bookshelves sometime soon.
I would suggest that you can begin and end with The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, the recently-completed three-volume biography of Winston Churchill, which is about as definitive as it gets. The first two volumes are by William Manchester and the third volume, released last year, was completed by Paul Reid from Manchester’s notes and research and at Manchester’s request following his death in 2004. It can be quite an investment in time because it is incredibly detailed and exhaustive, but it’s absolutely worth it.
The Manchester/Reid trilogy was released in a boxed set last year as The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, 1874-1965 (BOOK•KINDLE) and that’s probably the best overall deal. But you can also get the three volumes individually if you want to work through them that way:
•The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932 by William Manchester (BOOK•KINDLE) — Volume I, originally released in 1983.
•The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester (BOOK•KINDLE) — Volume II, originally released in 1988.
•The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965 by William Manchester and Paul Reid (BOOK•KINDLE) — Volume III, originally released in 2012.
There are so many other great books about Churchill that you have a wealth of other choices if you don’t want to commit to the lengthy Manchester trilogy. Sir Martin Gilbert is considered Churchill’s “official biographer” and has written or edited something like 20 books about Churchill, so I don’t even know where to begin with him, but I really like a book that Gilbert released last year called Churchill: The Power of Words: His Remarkable Life Recounted Through His Writings and Speeches (BOOK•KINDLE). In this book, Gilbert selected bits and pieces of Churchill’s best and most famous words and uses them chronologically to help tell (along with Gilbert’s introductions) Churchill’s life story. Like Lincoln, it’s damn near impossible to go wrong with a book of Churchill’s writings and speeches.
And, if you’re looking for something just focusing on Churchill’s early life, there’s a new book out by Michael Shelden that tells that story really well — Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill(BOOK•KINDLE).
Winston Churchill is one of those historic figures that I could probably devote an entire blog to simply posting book recommendations about, so I’ll leave you with these ones for now. I’m confident that you’ll be happy with any of them.
I have a few. Although I collect books and I have a pretty healthy personal library, I don’t usually go out of my way to track down rare books. The vast majority of my books are relatively recently published volumes, but there have been a few times where I’ve come across older, first edition titles that I’ve obtained for a reasonable price and am excited to have in my collection. Most of those are books that I found at my two favorite bookstores in Sacramento, which are two of the places that I miss most about Sacramento — Time Tested Books in Midtown and the Bookworm on Madison Avenue. Both of those wonderful, independent bookstores are awesome places to find some remarkable little gems at great prices.
Some of the older, more rare first edition books that I have are:
•The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969 by Lyndon B. Johnson (1971)
•Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills by Roy Franklin Nichols (1931)
•Kennedy by Theodore C. Sorensen (1965)
•RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon by Richard Nixon (1978)
•Memoirs of Harry S. Truman: Volume One, Year of Decisions by Harry S. Truman (1955)
•Off the Record: The Private Papers of Harry S. Truman edited by Robert H. Ferrell (1980)
•The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House by H.R. Haldeman (1994)
•The Death of a President: November 20-November 25, 1963 by William Manchester (1967)
•My Brother Lyndon by Sam Houston Johnson (1969)
•As I Knew Them: Presidents and Politics From Grant To Coolidge by Henry L. Stoddard (1927)
And the oldest book that I have is from 1881 — just a few weeks after President James Garfield’s death — and written and published by J.S. Ogilvie & Company of New York. At over 130 years old, it’s the oldest book or piece of Presidential memorabilia that I own, by far. It also has one of those great, ridiculously long titles that older books and stories used to have:
The Life and Death of James A. Garfield from the Tow Path to the White House Together With a Complete Account of His Assassination; History of Charles J. Guiteau, the assassin; The Comments of the Press on the Assassination; The Feeling throughout the Country; Words of Sympathy from all parts of the World; Voices from the Pulpit, including Sermons by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Storrs, Rev. Robert S. McArthur, Rev. Dr. J.P. Newman, and other Prominent Clergymen
Catchy, isn’t it? And, no, they didn’t fit that on the cover or the spine of the book, but squeezed it onto the title page. One cool thing about the book, other than its age, is that it has a four-page-wide centerfold-type insert that can be stretched out that is a graph that illustrates, as the caption notes: “Chart Showing In Detail The Pulse, Temperature, and Respiration of James A. Garfield, Morning, Noon, and Night, From the Day He Was Shot Until His Death: Compiled From Official Bulletins.” The Garfield book from 1881 is the only one of the rare/old books that I didn’t discover in Sacramento. I actually found it at an antique store in Georgetown, Texas and had to buy it.
I also have two books that I really treasure — both of which I found at the Bookworm in Sacramento — which were published by the U.S. Government Printing Office and that I’m not sure were ever meant to be sold to the general public. The first is from 1933 and it’s a small, beautiful, black book with gold print on the front the reads “In Memoriam: Calvin Coolidge, Late President of the United States”. It is a collection of memorial speeches and proclamations from President Hoover, the U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives honoring the life and recognizing the death of former President Coolidge.
The other is a much bigger version of the same type of book, but it’s from 1973, and I really lucked out on this one because it’s honoring my favorite President, Lyndon Johnson. It’s also a handsome, black book with gold writing on the cover which says “Lyndon Baines Johnson: Late a President of the United States, Memorial Tributes Delivered In Congress” and featuring an etching of the Presidential Seal. While the Coolidge memorial book is about 70 pages long, the LBJ memorial book is closer to 300 pages. And according to a stamp inside the front cover, the copy of the LBJ memorial book that I randomly found in a used book store in suburban Sacramento journeyed my way “FROM THE OFFICE OF PATSY T. MINK, MEMBER OF CONGRESS, HAWAII”. I have no idea how it got to where I found it, but it’s one of my favorite odd books in my library.