A highly dramatic but lucid introduction to the murky world of cryptocurrency.

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CONFESSIONS OF A CRYPTO MILLIONAIRE

MY UNLIKELY ESCAPE FROM CORPORATE AMERICA

In this debut memoir, Conway recounts his struggle to climb a corporate ladder and how investment in cryptocurrency gave him a way out. 

Around 2010, the author scored what he calls a “golden ticket”—a blue-chip job at a major multimedia corporation with his own team, a budget, and a six-figure salary. He finally “felt dignified and gangster,” he says. However, he also notes that he was profoundly unhappy, frustrated with a “fake company culture [that] made me and most of my co-workers miserable” and unable to advance as quickly as he’d hoped. He says that his sense of self-worth was fragile and that he was perpetually unable to silence his “Flip Side, the bed-wetting, escapist gimp with bad judgment who lives in the basement of my personality.” He eventually turned to drugs as a balm for his anxiety, and he soon became addicted to Vicodin. After confessing this to his wife, he sought recovery at a rehabilitation center and became a devotee of 12-step optimism. However, he later lost his job, so he decided to bet money he really couldn’t afford to lose on “ether,” the currency of the Ethereum blockchain—one of the popular cryptocurrencies of the time. The author then thrillingly relates the consequences of this dramatic gamble, in which the stakes weren’t merely financial; he knew he would ultimately emerge as either a visionary or a reckless fool. But, he writes, he not only won, he won big—finally cashing out for millions of dollars in a life-transforming financial triumph.  In this memoir, Conway skillfully combines three intersecting narratives involving his ego-driven, often self-destructive ambition; his cryptocurrency gamble; and the history of cryptocurrency in general. Along the way, the author stirringly describes how, to him, cryptocurrency investment wasn’t just a new technological innovation, but rather a way to escape the corporate world that he once set out to conquer. Indeed, his critique of corporate bureaucracy in this book is both astute and conveyed with verve. More than anything else, he asserts, the blockchain movement is about freeing oneself from the financial gatekeepers that stymie progress—and about profiting fabulously in the process: “I’m bringing this up simply as a reminder that decentralization used to be a reasonable priority for the common man and woman,” he writes. Over the course of the book, the author recounts his personal experience with admirable candor; specifically, he unflinchingly documents his foibles and reflects deeply on how his life experiences prepared him for his risk-embracing cryptocurrency adventure. The tone of the book is somewhat inconsistent, however, as it ranges from buoyantly irreverent to smugly knowing. The author also savagely caricatures his former colleagues, referring to them by nicknames, such as “Fuckface” and “Kermit,” presumably in order to protect their identities, but this also serves to deepen his condemnation of them. Overall, though, this book offers an edifying look into a mysterious world that promises momentous transformation. 

A highly dramatic but lucid introduction to the murky world of cryptocurrency. 

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2019

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 201

Publisher: Zealot Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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