By Dr. Piers Steel
Business and Social Science
DON’T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK: The world’s leading expert on procrastination uses his groundbreaking research to offer understanding on a matter that bedevils us all. Writing with humour, humanity and solid scientific information reminiscent of Stumbling on Happiness and Freakonomics, Piers Steel explains why we knowingly and willingly put off a course of action despite recognizing we’ll be worse off for it.
For those who surf the Web instead of finishing overdue assignments, who always say diets start tomorrow, who stay up late watching TV to put off going to sleep, The Procrastination Equation explains why we do what we do — or in this case don’t — and why in Western societies we’re in the midst of an escalating procrastination epidemic.
Dr. Piers Steel takes on the myths and misunderstandings behind procrastination and motivation — showing us how procrastination affects our lives, health, careers and happiness and what we can do about it. With accessible prose and the benefits of new scientific research, he provides insight into why we procrastinate even though the result is that we are less happy, healthy, even wealthy. Who procrastinates and why? How many ways, big and small, do we procrastinate? How can we stop doing it? The reasons are part cultural, part psychological, part biological. And, with a million new ways to distract ourselves in the digitized world — all of which feed on our built-in impulsiveness — more of us are potentially damaging ourselves by putting things off. But Steel not only analyzes the factors that weigh us down but the things that motivate us — including understanding the value of procrastination.
By Michelle Moran
Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.
As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.
Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?
Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.
By Jim Stengel
Business and Marketing
Pulling from a unique ten year growth study involving 50,000 brands, Jim Stengel shows how the world’s 50 best businesses—as diverse as Method, Red Bull, Lindt, Petrobras, Samsung, Discovery Communications, Visa, Zappos, and Innocent—have a cause and effect relationship between financial performance and their ability to connect with fundamental human emotions, hopes, values and greater purposes. In fact, over the 2000s an investment in these companies—“The Stengel 50”—would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500.
Grow is based on unprecedented empirical research, inspired (when Stengel was Global Marketing Officer of Procter & Gamble) by a study of companies growing faster than P&G. After leaving P&G in 2008, Stengel designed a new study, in collaboration with global research firm Millward Brown Optimor. This study tracked the connection over a ten year period between financial performance and customer engagement, loyalty and advocacy.
Then, in a further investigation of what goes on in the “black box” of the consumer’s mind, Stengel and his team tapped into neuroscience research to look at customer engagement and measure subconscious attitudes to determine whether the top businesses in the Stengel Study were more associated with higher ideals than were others.
Grow thus deftly blends timeless truths about human behavior and values into an action framework – how you discover, build, communicate, deliver and evaluate your ideal. Through colorful stories drawn from his fascinating personal experiences and “deep dives” that bring out the true reasons for such successes as the Pampers, HP, Discovery Channel, Jack Daniels and Zappos, Grow unlocks the code for twenty-first century business success.
By Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston
Business and Leadership
Based on five years of proprietary research, How Remarkable Women Lead speaks to you as no other book has, with its hopeful outlook and unique ideas about success. It’s the new "right stuff" of leadership, raising provocative issues such as whether feminine leadership traits (for women and men) are better suited for our fast-changing, hyper-competitive, and increasingly complex world.
The authors, McKinsey & Company consultants Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston, establish the links between joy, happiness, and distinctive performance with the groundbreaking model of Centered Leadership.
The book’s personal stories and related insights show you the magic that happens when you put the five elements of Centered Leadership–meaning, framing, connecting, engaging, and energizing–to work. They include:
• How Alondra de la Parra built on her strengths and passions to infuse her life with meaning and make her way in the male-dominated world of orchestra conducting
• How Andrea Jung, the CEO of Avon, avoided a downward spiral when the company turned down by "firing herself" on Friday and re-emerging on Monday as the "new" turnaround CEO
• How Ruth Porat’s sponsors at Morgan Stanley not only helped her grow but were also her ballast for coping with difficult personal and professional times
•How Eileen Naughton recovered after losing her dream job, landing on her feet at Google and open to a new leadership opportunity
• How Julie Coates of Woolworth’s Australia makes energy key to her professional success, with reserves for her "second shift" as wife and mother
How Remarkable Women Lead is both profoundly moving and actionable. Woman or man, you’ll find yourself in its pages and emerge with a practical plan for breaking through at both work and in life.
By Natasha Turner
Health and Fitness
Bestselling author and naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner returns with a follow-up to her phenomenal #1 bestselling first book. The Supercharged Hormone Diet gives us the information we need to get our hormones back on track — in thirty days flat.
The Hormone Diet taught us the ins and outs of how and why our hormones play the biggest part in our weight-loss woes — a valuable resource and diet guide to our hormones and how they affect our health. Now, The Supercharged Hormone Diet allows us to start losing weight as soon as we crack open the book.
In this busy, fast-paced world, we don’t always have time to research the science behind our diets. We want to lose weight sooner and faster. Turner has created an accelerated hormone diet with the same basic principles as the original (eating the right foods to correct your hormonal imbalances) and she’s plucked out the most important information from The Hormone Diet. It includes the questionnaires and assessments to get you started, a higher protein detox than the original, the key tips for sleep and exercise, a handy food list, a new two-week meal plan, a work chart to help you stay on top of your goals and many new hormone diet-friendly recipes.
The Supercharged Hormone Diet gives us exactly what we need — a quick-start diet plan with a thirty-day time frame.
OUR RELAXING READ OF THE MONTH
By P.D. James
In a marvellous, thrilling re-creation of the world of Pride and Prejudice, P.D. James fuses her lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen with her own great talent for writing crime fiction.
The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome, healthy sons in the Pemberley nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband, Bingley, live within seventeen miles, the ordered and secure life of Pemberley seems unassailable, and Elizabeth’s happiness in her marriage is complete. But their peace is threatened and old sins and misunderstandings are rekindled on the eve of the annual autumn ball. The Darcys and their guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland, and as it pulls up, Lydia Wickham, an uninvited guest, tumbles out, screaming that her husband has been murdered.
Death Comes to Pemberley is a powerful work of fiction, as rich in its compelling story, in its evocation of place, and its gripping psychological and emotional insight, as the very best of P. D. James. She brings us back masterfully and with delight to much-loved characters, illuminating the happy but threatened marriage of the Darcys with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly crafted mystery.
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Read the Author Interview
EXCERPT: AUTHOR’S NOTE
I owe an apology to the shade of Jane Austen for involving her beloved Elizabeth in the trauma of a murder investigation, especially as in the final chapter of Mansfield Park Miss Austen made her views plain: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody not greatly in fault themselves to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” No doubt she would have replied to my apology by saying that, had she wished to dwell on such odious subjects, she would have written this story herself, and done it better.
P. D. James, 2011
The Bennets of Longbourn
It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters. Meryton, a small market town in Hertfordshire, is not on the route of any tours of pleasure, having neither beauty of setting nor a distinguished history, while its only great house, Netherfield Park, although impressive, is not mentioned in books about the county’s notable architecture. The town has an assembly room where dances are regularly held but no theatre, and the chief entertainment takes place in private houses where the boredom of dinner parties and whist tables, always with the same company, is relieved by gossip.
A family of five unmarried daughters is sure of attracting the sympathetic concern of all their neighbours, particularly where other diversions are few, and the situation of the Bennets was especially unfortunate. In the absence of a male heir, Mr. Bennet’s estate was entailed on his nephew, the Reverend William Collins, who, as Mrs. Bennet was fond of loudly lamenting, could turn her and her daughters out of the house before her husband was cold in his grave. Admittedly, Mr. Collins had attempted to make such redress as lay in his power. At some inconvenience to himself, but with the approval of his formidable patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh, he had left his parish at Hunsford in Kent to visit the Bennets with the charitable intention of selecting a bride from the five daughters. This intention was received by Mrs. Bennet with enthusiastic approval but she warned him that Miss Bennet, the eldest, was likely to be shortly engaged. His choice of Elizabeth, the second in seniority and beauty, had met with a resolute rejection and he had been obliged to seek a more sympathetic response to his pleading from Elizabeth’s friend Miss Charlotte Lucas. Miss Lucas had accepted his proposal with gratifying alacrity and the future which Mrs. Bennet and her daughters could expect was settled, not altogether to the general regret of their neighbours. On Mr. Bennet’s death, Mr. Collins would install them in one of the larger cottages on the estate where they would receive spiritual comfort from his administrations and bodily sustenance from the leftovers from Mrs. Collins’s kitchen augmented by the occasional gift of game or a side of bacon.
But from these benefits the Bennet family had a fortunate escape. By the end of 1799 Mrs. Bennet could congratulate herself on being the mother of four married daughters. Admittedly the marriage of Lydia, the youngest, aged only sixteen, was not propitious. She had eloped with Lieutenant George Wickham, an officer in the militia which had been stationed at Meryton, an escapade which was confidently expected to end, as all such adventures deserve, in her desertion by Wickham, banishment from her home, rejection from society and the final degradation which decency forbade the ladies to mention. The marriage had, however, taken place, the first news being brought by a neighbour, William Goulding, when he rode past the Longbourn coach and the newly married Mrs. Wickham placed her hand on the open window so that he could see the ring. Mrs. Bennet’s sister, Mrs. Philips, was assiduous in circulating her version of the elopement, that the couple had been on their way to Gretna Green but had made a short stop in London to enable Wickham to inform a godmother of his forthcoming nuptials, and, on the arrival of Mr. Bennet in search of his daughter, the couple had accepted the family’s suggestion that the intended marriage could more conveniently take place in London. No one believed this fabrication, but it was acknowledged that Mrs. Philips’s ingenuity in devising it deserved at least a show of credulity. George Wickham, of course, could never be accepted in Meryton again to rob the female servants of their virtue and the shopkeepers of their profit, but it was agreed that, should his wife come among them, Mrs. Wickham should be afforded the tolerant forbearance previously accorded to Miss Lydia Bennet.
There was much speculation about how the belated marriage had been achieved. Mr. Bennet’s estate was hardly worth two thousand pounds a year, and it was commonly felt that Mr. Wickham would have held out for at least five hundred and all his Meryton and other bills being paid before consenting to the marriage. Mrs. Bennet’s brother, Mr. Gardiner, must have come up with the money. He was known to be a warm man, but he had a family and no doubt would expect repayment from Mr. Bennet. There was considerable anxiety in Lucas Lodge that their son- in- law’s inheritance might be much diminished by this necessity, but when no trees were felled, no land sold, no servants put off and the butcher showed no disinclination to provide Mrs. Bennet with her customary weekly order, it was assumed that Mr. Collins and dear Charlotte had nothing to fear and that, as soon as Mr. Bennet was decently buried, Mr. Collins could take possession of the Longbourn estate with every confidence that it had remained intact.
But the engagement which followed shortly after Lydia’s marriage, that of Miss Bennet and Mr. Bingley of Netherfield Park, was received with approbation. It was hardly unexpected; Mr. Bingley’s admiration for Jane had been apparent from their first meeting at an assembly ball. Miss Bennet’s beauty, gentleness and the naive optimism about human nature which inclined her never to speak ill of anyone made her a general favourite. But within days of the engagement of her eldest to Mr. Bingley being announced, an even greater triumph for Mrs. Bennet was noised abroad and was at first received with incredulity. Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter, was to marry Mr. Darcy, the owner of Pemberley, one of the greatest houses in Derbyshire and, it was rumoured, with an income of ten thousand pounds a year.
It was common knowledge in Meryton that Miss Lizzy hated Mr. Darcy, an emotion in general held by those ladies and gentlemen who had attended the first assembly ball at which Mr. Darcy had been present with Mr. Bingley and his two sisters, and at which he had given adequate evidence of his pride and arrogant disdain of the company, making it clear, despite the prompting of his friend Mr. Bingley, that no woman present was worthy to be his partner. Indeed, when Sir William Lucas had introduced Elizabeth to him, Mr. Darcy had declined to dance with her, later telling Mr. Bingley that she was not pretty enough to tempt him. It was taken for granted that no woman could be happy as Mrs. Darcy for, as Maria Lucas pointed out, “Who would want to have that disagreeable face opposite you at the breakfast table for the rest of your life?”
But there was no cause to blame Miss Elizabeth Bennet for taking a more prudent and optimistic view. One cannot have everything in life and any young lady in Meryton would have endured more than a disagreeable face at the breakfast table to marry ten thousand a year and to be mistress of Pemberley. The ladies of Meryton, as in duty bound, were happy to sympathise with the afflicted and to congratulate the fortunate but there should be moderation in all things, and Miss Elizabeth’s triumph was on much too grand a scale. Although they conceded that she was pretty enough and had fine eyes, she had nothing else to recommend her to a man with ten thousand a year and it was not long before a coterie of the most influential gossips concocted an explanation: Miss Lizzy had been determined to capture Mr. Darcy from the moment of their first meeting. And when the extent of her strategy had become apparent it was agreed that she had played her cards skilfully from the very beginning. Although Mr. Darcy had declined to dance with her at the assembly ball, his eyes had been frequently on her and her friend Charlotte who, after years of husband-seeking, was extremely adroit at identifying any sign of a possible attachment, and had warned Elizabeth against allowing her obvious partiality for the attractive and popular Lieutenant George Wickham to cause her to offend a man of ten times his consequence.
And then there was the incident of Miss Bennet’s dinner engagement at Netherfield when, due to her mother’s insistence on her riding rather than taking the family coach, Jane had caught a very convenient cold and, as Mrs. Bennet had planned, was forced to stay for several nights at Netherfi eld. Elizabeth, of course, had set out on foot to visit her, and Miss Bingley’s good manners had impelled her to offer hospitality to the unwelcome visitor until Miss Bennet recovered. Nearly a week spent in the company of Mr. Darcy must have enhanced Elizabeth’s hopes of success and she would have made the best of this enforced intimacy.
Subsequently, at the urging of the youngest Bennet girls, Mr. Bingley had himself held a ball at Netherfield, and on this occasion Mr. Darcy had indeed danced with Elizabeth. The chaperones, ranged in their chairs against the wall, had raised their lorgnettes and, like the rest of the company, studied the pair carefully as they made their way down the line. Certainly there had been little conversation between them but the very fact that Mr. Darcy had actually asked Miss Elizabeth to dance and had not been refused was a matter for interest and speculation.