Salient reading for students, parents, and educators on navigating toward a coveted college degree.

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WILL COLLEGE PAY OFF?

A GUIDE TO THE MOST IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DECISION YOU'LL EVER MAKE

A workforce and education expert weighs the perks and pitfalls of higher education.

Cappelli (Management/Wharton School; Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs: The Skills Gap and What Companies Can Do About It, 2012, etc.) astutely examines the enduring relevance of a college degree despite problematic funding and postgraduate employment issues. In dense chapters full of illuminating statistical and survey data, the author reports on the affordability and effectiveness of a college degree, directing his assessment to benefit future students and their families. As he notes, astronomical tuitions figure greatly into the equation, as American college costs run about four times higher than in other countries, making the decision to attend a postsecondary school an increasingly risky one. Cappelli also examines the variation in degreed students who fail to achieve success in the postgraduate employment marketplace and those who become overwhelmed by the financial burden. The factors affecting these trends are in constant flux, writes the author, and vary from the labor market requiring functional job skills to the student dropout rate and the education-to-career paths that have evolved as rapidly as their corresponding business models and sophisticated hiring processes. Cappelli’s eye-opening report card on the current state of American education gives mounting tuitions a failing grade, though enrollment and retention numbers are promising. The author’s drilled-down conclusions suggest that students are matriculating at the same level today as they did years ago, but the expense alone has thrown many families into the depths of student loan debt or default. Whether or not investing in college is worth the risk is a major decision about which families and children need to educate themselves. “College is still accepted as necessary for advancement but also increasingly expensive,” writes the author, “and increasingly risky in terms of the likely career payoffs.”

Salient reading for students, parents, and educators on navigating toward a coveted college degree.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-61039-526-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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