A practical and fascinating guide to liberating the female voice as a key to liberating the self.

OUTSPOKEN

WHY WOMEN'S VOICES GET SILENCED AND HOW TO SET THEM FREE

A radio personality, communications coach, and trained opera singer convincingly argues that learning to use their voices properly will take women surprisingly far.

In her debut book, grounded in her own experience and her work with others, Peabody-winning communications specialist Rueckert makes her case clearly and concisely, drawing on sound research without becoming bogged down in it. The author begins by telling readers how to start from wherever they are with their voice and make it bigger and better. Then she moves on to social and business situations in which that voice might be suppressed. On the physical level, Rueckert goes through the mechanics of the breathing process and advises women not just to learn to breathe more fully (no Spanx), but to take up more space, emulating the “manspreaders” who have taken up their fair share. She considers the pros and cons of the politically fraught question of whether women should modulate their voices to please others, and she suggests ways to raise girls who are comfortable speaking out loud and in public. On the social level, the author covers the many ways in which women are silenced by men interrupting them and by the pressure to be “the good, quiet girl,” and she offers techniques on how to avoid being interrupted and how to interrupt a conversation—or monologue—successfully. Most of the chapters culminate with a list of exercises—how to transcend “cubicle voice” by lying on your back with a book the size of a “Nordic cooking compendium” on your belly and project: “Don’t push from the throat but from the lower abdomen, the seat of vocal power.” Rueckert's own literary voice is encouraging, supportive, and cheerful, and it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't benefit from her advice. In a sea of self-help books for women, this one stands out both for its unique perspective and its concrete recommendations.

A practical and fascinating guide to liberating the female voice as a key to liberating the self.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-287934-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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