By INAL

Ominivore’s Dilemma

[Signature]Reviewed by Pamela Kaufman Pollan (The Botany of Desire) examines what he calls “our national eating disorder” (the Atkins craze, the precipitous rise in obesity) in this remarkably clearheaded book. It’s a fascinating journey up and down the food chain, one that might change the way you read the label on a frozen dinner, dig into a steak or decide whether to buy organic eggs. You’ll certainly never look at a Chicken McNugget the same way again.Pollan approaches his mission not as an activist but as a naturalist: “The way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world.” All food, he points out, originates with plants, animals and fungi. “[E]ven the deathless Twinkie is constructed out of… well, precisely what I don’t know offhand, but ultimately some sort of formerly living creature, i.e., a species. We haven’t yet begun to synthesize our foods from petroleum, at least not directly.”Pollan’s narrative strategy is simple: he traces four meals back to their ur-species. He starts with a McDonald’s lunch, which he and his family gobble up in their car. Surprise: the origin of this meal is a cornfield in Iowa.

Most of us are at a great distance from our food. I don’t mean that we live “twelve miles from a lemon,” as English wit Sydney Smith said about a home in Yorkshire. I mean that our food bears little resemblance to its natural substance. Hamburger never mooed; spaghetti grows on the pasta tree; baby carrots come from a pink and blue nursery. Still, we worry about our meals — from calories to carbs, from heart-healthy to brain food. And we prefer our food to be “natural,” as long as natural doesn’t involve real.

Surviving the Extremes – What Happens to the Body and Mind at the limits of Human Endurance

Product DetailsAn absorbing account combining science and exploration as humans confront environmental extremes… — Los Angeles Times
Powerful, moving, and very real. –Oliver Sacks

Medical case studies can be fascinating to read, full of drama, heroism, and sometimes tragedy. Most doctors’ tales take place in clinics or hospitals, but those pedestrian settings are not for Kenneth Kamler, who practices medicine outside, patching people up with surprising success under harrowing conditions. Surviving the Extremes starts with open-air surgery in the steamy jungles of the Amazon River, moves to disturbingly detailed descriptions of the many ways humans can die at sea, and from there takes white-knuckled readers through the rest of Earth’s extreme environments. Krakauer fans will gasp at the book’s best chapter, covering the high-altitude medical feats Kamler has performed on Mt. Everest and other peaks. “No course in medical school taught me the proper mixture of oxygen, IV fluids, and Tibetan chants to treat a subdural hematoma in below-zero temperatures on a 3-mile-high glacier,” Kamler writes. Instead, he has learned the fine art of adventure doctoring by doing it, and in the process, he’s won fans among the world’s most prominent risk-takers. Through it all, Kamler remains fascinated by the human body’s ability to heal under horrifically dangerous conditions. His medical adventures are inspiring and thrilling, as well as occasionally bloody and disgusting. In short, perfect stories of human survival. –Therese Littleton

*A great and informative read* to get a visual visit Factual TV to view a documentary on Extreme Medicine in Extreme locations.

One Second After

The worst case scenario. How prepared are we to deal with something of this magnitude? For those who are part of Disaster management their work areas, at home; this may make you re-think what options you have, don’t have, and may scrap the whole plan to start all over…or not.

In this entertaining apocalyptic thriller from Forstchen (We Look Like Men of War), a high-altitude nuclear bomb of uncertain origin explodes, unleashing a deadly electromagnetic pulse that instantly disables almost every electrical device in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Airplanes, most cars, cellphones, refrigerators—all are fried as the country plunges into literal and metaphoric darkness. History professor John Matherson, who lives with his two daughters in a small North Carolina town, soon figures out what has happened. Aided by local officials, Matherson begins to deal with such long-term effects of the disaster as starvation, disease and roving gangs of barbarians. While the material sometimes threatens to veer into jingoism, and heartstrings are tugged a little too vigorously, fans of such classics as Alas, Babylon and On the Beachwill have a good time as Forstchen tackles the obvious and some not-so-obvious questions the apocalypse tends to raise. Newt Gingrich provides a foreword. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Burnt Shadows

A story linking Japan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and America from World War II and the dropping of the bombs to Post 9/11 New York. Surprising twists and earth shattering consequences. Read how this book came into being here.

Shamsie’s complex fifth novel, spanning the years between August 1945 and September 2001, is a story of two inextricably connected and politically impacted families. Berliner Konrad Weiss and Hiroko Tanaka, his translator, meet in Nagasaki and plan to marry. But after he is incinerated by the bomb and she is left permanently scarred, Hiroko journeys to Delhi, home of Konrad’s half-sister, Elizabeth Burton, and her British husband, James. Hiroko bonds with James’ assistant, Sajjad. With Partition between India and Pakistan looming, the Burtons return to England, where their son Henry is in boarding school. Hiroko and Sajjadmarry, but they’re not allowed back into India, since Sajjad is a Muslim who “chose to leave.” Shamsie takes up their story 35 years later in Karachi, where they have one son, Raza, after bomb-related miscarriages. Henry appears, searching for his past, and offers to assistwith Raza’s education; by 2001, they’re working together for the CIA in the U.S. Shamsie offers a moving look at the “complicated shared history” of these two families, an increasingly common facet of globalization. –Deborah Donovan

Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab

body-of-workIn this hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open, Montross provides an uncommon perspective on the emotional difficulty a first year medical student can face.

The Great Influenza: The Story Of The Deadliest Pandemic In History

The Great InfluenzaAt the height of WWI, history as most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, “The Great Influenza” is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Better a Surgeon's Notes on PerformanceThe “New York Times” bestselling author examines the complex and risk-filled medical profession and how those involved progress from merely good to great. Gawande provides rare insight and offers an honest firsthand account of his own life as a surgeon.
Preview

Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science

complications A surgeon's notes on an Imperfect scienceIn gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel’s edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is — uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.

Preview

The Ghost Map

the-ghost-mapBestselling author Johnson illuminates the intertwined histories of the spread of cholera in 19th-century London, the rise of cities, and the nature of scientific inquiry, offering both a riveting history and a powerful explanation of how it has shaped the world of today.
*A pager turner*

How Doctors Think

how-doctors-think1A New Yorker staff writer, best-selling author, and professor at Harvard Medical School unravels the ultimatemedical mystery: how doctors figure out the best treatments — or fail to do so.

On average, a physician will interrupt a patient describing her symptoms within twelve seconds. In that short time, many doctors decide on the likely diagnosis and best treatment. Often, decisions made this way are correct, but at crucial moments they can also be wrong — with catastrophic consequences. In this myth-shattering book, Jerome Groopman pinpoints the forces and thought processes behind the decisions doctors make. He explores why doctors err and shows when and how they can — with our help — avoid snap judgments, embrace uncertainty, communicate effectively, and deploy other skills that can have a profound impact on our health. This book is the first to describe in detail the warning signs of erroneous medical thinking, offering direct, intelligent questions patients can ask their doctors to help them get back on track.

Groopman draws on a wealth of research, extensive interviews with some of the country’s best physicians, and his own experiences as a doctor and as a patient. He has learned many of the lessons in this book the hard way, from his own mistakes and from errors his doctors made in treating his own debilitating medical problems.

How Doctors Think reveals a profound new view of twenty-first-century medical practice, giving doctors and patients the vital information they need to make better judgments together.

Preview

Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation

intern1Internist Sandeep Jauhar’s story of his days and nights in residency at a busy hospital in New York City, a trial that led him to question our every assumption about medical care today. Residency—and especially the first year, called internship—is legendary for its brutality. Working eighty hours or more per week, most new doctors spend their first year asking themselves why they wanted to be doctors in the first place. Jauhar’s internship was even more harrowing than most: he switched from physics to medicine in order to follow a more humane calling—only to find that medicine put patients’ concerns last. He struggled to find a place among squadrons of cocky residents and doctors. He challenged the practices of the internship in The New York Times, attracting the suspicions of the medical bureaucracy. Then, suddenly stricken, he became a patient himself—and came to see that today’s high-tech, high-pressure medicine can be a humane science after all. Now a thriving cardiologist, Jauhar has all the qualities you’d want in your own doctor: expertise, insight, a feel for the human factor, a sense of humor, and a keen awareness of the worries that we all have in common. His beautifully written memoir explains the inner workings of modern medicine with rare candor and insight.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

the-tipping-pointThe New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behavior, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a few fare-beaters and graffiti artists fuel a subway crime wave, or a satisfied customer fill the empty tables of a new restaurant. These are social epidemics, and the moment they take off, they reach their critical mass, or, the Tipping Point (…that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire). Gladwell introduces us to the particular personality types who are natural pollinators of new ideas and trends, the people who create the phenomenon of word of mouth, and he analyzes fashion trends, smoking, children’s television, direct mail, and the early days of the American Revolution for clues about making ideas infectious. He also visits a religious commune, a successful high-tech company, and one of the world’s greatest salesmen to show how to start and sustain social epidemics.

Preview

Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times

lincoln-on-leardershipExecutive strategies for tough times…. You think you have it rough?

Only ten days before Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861,the Confederate States of America seceded from the Union taking all Federal agencies, forts, and arsenals within their territory. To make matters worse, Lincoln, who was elected by a minority of the popular vote, was viewed by his own advisors as nothing more than a gawky, second-rate country lawyer with no leadership experience. What Lincoln did to become our most honored and revered president is history, how he can help you to run your organization is not. Lincoln On Leadership is the first book to examine Abraham Lincoln’s diverse leadership abilities and how they can be applied to today’s complex world.

You’ll discover why you should:

  • Seize the initiative and never relinquish it
  • Wage only one war at a time
  • Encourage risk-taking while providing job security
  • Avoid issuing orders and instead-request, imply, or make suggestions
  • Once in a while, let things slip, unbeknownst-like…and much much more.

Note: All descriptions noted here are directly from the bookseller/publisher only. Except for * comments* which are mine.

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