Intensive, exemplary reportage on a controversial industry cloaked in scandal.



A deep investigative dive into the electronic cigarette behemoth.

In this riveting exposé, Time health and science journalist Ducharme chronicles the history and problematic future of Juul, which quickly rose to prominence after a series of missteps. She profiles friends and former smokers James Monsees and Adam Bowen, who, during a 2005 Stanford product-design program, sought to develop an alternative to traditional tobacco-burning cigarettes. Focusing on harm reduction, they positioned their prototype as a way to “improve the lives of adult smokers” by helping them transition to the supposed safety of vaporizing pens, which heat a liquid but avoid combustion. Piggybacking on lessons from earlier, less-successful vaping devices, Monsees and Bowen, aided by Japanese investors, laid the groundwork for a successful venture—but not without a host of problems that did not go unnoticed by the Food and Drug Administration and would reemerge later to cloud their success. With briskly paced writing, Ducharme details the “buzz-testing” conducted by Juul employees to gauge the addictive potency of the nicotine formulations in the vape pods and how the “cool kids”–friendly product marketing campaign became “the company’s religion.” As the author writes, "more news stories suggested that Juul had torn a page from the Big Tobacco playbook and purposely hooked teenage customers for profit." By 2015, Juul vaporizers were widespread, and the company started to record significant profits. However, when reports of underage users emerged, Juul dispatched representatives to schools to warn about the dangers of nicotine, “sprinkling in references to how safe Juul was and how it was going to get FDA approval any day now.” Juul then partnered with big tobacco corporation Altria, and the emergence of a mysterious pulmonary illness ignited anti-vaping activists and public health watchdogs. In the wake of hundreds of lawsuits set to hit courtrooms in 2022, both Monsees and Bowen have “abandoned ship.” Based on dozens of interviews with former employees, investors, doctors, and researchers, this well-rounded journalistic narrative is consistently informative and alarming.

Intensive, exemplary reportage on a controversial industry cloaked in scandal.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77753-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

Consistently illuminating, unabashedly ferocious writing.


An acclaimed nonfiction writer gathers essays embracing the pleasure, pain, and power of growing up as a girl and woman.

In her latest powerful personal and cultural examination, Febos interrogates the complexities of feminism and the "darkness" that has defined much of her life and career. In "Kettle Holes," she describes how experiences of humiliation at the hands of a boy she loved helped shape some of the pleasure she later found working as a dominatrix (an experience she vividly recounted in her 2010 book, Whip Smart). As she fearlessly plumbed the depths of her precocious sexuality in private, she watched in dismay as patriarchal society transformed her into a "passive thing.” In "Wild America," the author delves into body-shaming issues, recounting how, during adolescence, self-hatred manifested as a desire to physically erase herself and her "gigantic" hands. Only later, in the love she found with a lesbian partner, did she finally appreciate the pleasure her hands could give her and others. Febos goes on to explore the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships in "Thesmophoria,” writing about the suffering she brought to her mother through lies and omissions about clandestine—and sometimes dangerous—sexual experiments and youthful flirtations with crystal meth and heroin. Their relationship was based on the "ritual violence" that informed the Persephone/Demeter dyad, in which the daughter alternately brought both pain and joy to her mother. "Intrusions" considers how patriarchy transforms violence against women into narratives of courtship that pervert the meaning of love. In "Thank You for Taking Care of Yourself," Febos memorably demonstrates how the simple act of platonic touching can be transformed into a psychosexual minefield for women. Profound and gloriously provocative, this book—a perfect follow-up to her equally visceral previous memoir, Abandon Me (2017)—transforms the wounds and scars of lived female experience into an occasion for self-understanding that is both honest and lyrical.

Consistently illuminating, unabashedly ferocious writing.

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63557-252-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet