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Authors share their compelling true stories and great ideas for living well. All the books are insightful, inspiring, and uplifting.

Authors share their compelling true stories and great ideas for living well. All the books are insightful, inspiring, and uplifting.
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Authors share their compelling true stories and great ideas for living well. All the books are insightful, inspiring, and uplifting.






N4L 027: "Happy Together" by Suzann & James Pawelski

Whether you’re starting a new relationship, weathering difficult times, or jump-starting a long-term marriage, Suzie and James Pawelski can help. Granted, their book, Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, isn’t the typical approach to romance. But this husband-and-wife research team has found how to ignite (or reignite) passion. Together, they’ve identified four key areas crucial to building and sustaining love over the long run. Harmonious...


N4L 026: We Love Books!

We asked book lovers in the Bay Area to tell us about their favorite nonfiction. We found people selling, sharing, and reading books at Half Price Books, a brick-and-mortar Amazon Bookstore, a public library, Stanford Library, and even Costco. Listen to their recommendations for insightful, inspiring, and uplifting books. (See below for links to the books.) As we always say, at Nonfiction4Life we believe there's something for everyone. Also, to celebrate Valentine's Day all month long, we...


N4L-025: "The Power of Collective Wisdom" by Dr. Alan Shatkin, et al.

SHOW NOTES: Dr. Alan Briskin, is the co-author of The Power of Collective Wisdom: And the Trap of Collective Folly. Collaborating with Sheryl Erikson, Jon Ott, and Tom Callanan, he answers the key question, “How does magic happen in groups?” With the encouragement and support of The Fetzer Institute, the authors combine their research, theory, and practice with that of hundreds of others, as noted in the Acknowledgments. Together, they teach how to maximize the best in us. In short, they...


N4L 024: A Visit with Steve Piersanti, President of Berrett-Koehler Publishing

SHOW NOTES: Located in the heart of downtown Oakland, California, Berrett-Koehler Publishing is fiercely true to its mission: “Connecting people and ideas to create a world that works for all.” Built on democracy, B-K gives every employee—veteran or brand new-- an equal vote in decisions. And all staff members operate in open spaces, including Founder and President Steve Piersanti who has a cubicle like the rest. Profitable for over a decade, Berrett-Koehler has been publishing nonfiction...


N4L 023: "Born To Be Wild" by Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH

Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, nationally acclaimed psychiatrist, unveils truths about adolescents in his latest book, Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe. Decoding the adolescent brain (ages 12-26), Shatkin walks us through science, stories, analogies, clinical anecdotes, and research-based observations. The bad news is teens are actually hard-wired to take risks; the good news is we can still raise safe, resilient kids. Drawing on decades of medical and...


N4L 022: "Soulful Simplicity" by Courtney Carver

Courtney Carver teaches us how to declutter as well as make space for joy. The book Soulful Simplicity is an extension of her minimalist blog,, where she continues to chronicle her journey of living with less. The book was born of Carver’s own painful wakeup call being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.). Forced to slow down, she began digging herself out of debt while also letting go of stuff. Now, years later, she recognizes decluttering was only the beginning of...


N4L 021: "The Emperors of Chocolate" by Joël Glenn Brenner

Joël Glenn Brenner, the only journalist to gain full access to candymaker Mars, uncovers the story of chocolate rivals in The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey & Mars. The tale is not far off from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which mirrors the epic rivalry between British candy companies Cadbury and Roundtree. The extraordinary relationship between main characters Forrest Mars and Milton Hershey makes for a true story almost stranger than...


N4L 020: Editor's Picks - Home & Family

For the Nonfiction4Life Editor’s Picks debut, we used your recommendations to share just three books in the Home & Family category. While none is a new release, they all fit nicely in this category, especially during this time of year. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingby Marie KondoNew York TimesMy Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy...


N4L 019: Introducing "Editor's Picks"

SHOW NOTES: Introducing “Editor’s Picks" at Nonfiction4Life! We're giving you a chance to tell us your best ideas for great nonfiction. Host Janet Perry's book group of 30 years has a long-held tradition following their formal book discussion. When dessert is served, every member has a chance to talk about other books. That way, everyone can pick up ideas for future reading. The book group has done for Janet what Nonfiction4Life is doing for you, our listeners. Just as it says on the...


N4L 018: "The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed" by Scott Parazynski with Susy Flory

Scott Parazynski, author of the memoir The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and Speed, is the only human to travel in space and reach the summit of Mount Everest. With five Space Shuttle Missions, seven spacewalks (EVAs), and numerous publications and awards to his name, he rightfully earned his place in the US Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center. He grew up all over the world, making him a “third culture kid,” which opened his eyes to the power of people and made him...


N4L 017: "The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are" by Dr. Kevin Leman

SHOW NOTES: Dr. Kevin Leman first published The Birth Order Book in 1985. Today, more than three decades and two reprintings later, the book still holds relevance. Evidently, we never fully outgrow our birth order. (Just think about those family gatherings when your older sister is still telling you how to make gravy.) Naturally, every birth order position has its strengths and weaknesses. Learning to leverage the good in each is the key to building happy relationships. Leman explains...


N4L 016: "Life Is So Good: One Man's Extraordinary Journey Through the 20th Century and How He Learned to Read at Age 98" by George Dawson & Richard Glaubman

Life Is So Good is the unlikely memoir of a slave’s grandson who finally learned to read at age 98. Given the chance to get a formal education, George Dawson took to school the way he did every other experience—with humility and gratitude. Co-author Richard Glaubman originally intended to give voice to a man relegated to a life of discrimination and prejudice. Instead, he found a man filled with gratitude and a sunny disposition. Even with a front-row seat to the cruelty and severe...


N4L 015: "Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters" by Erica Komisar

Erica Komisar champions the role of mothers in Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. As a licensed clinical social worker, psychoanalyst, and parent guidance expert, Komisar sees a strong correlation between absent mothers and children diagnosed with mental disorders such as ADHD, aggression, autism, anxiety, and depression. Her words are a clarion call to society, which has come to devalue mothers and overvalue success, money, achievement, and status....


N4L 014: "What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work" by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

Adrian Gostick, co-author of What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work, has collected data from more than 850K people to find out what makes them happy at work. It turns out the key to workplace happiness is not doing something you're good at. And it's not working for a thriving company, either. Gostick's research shows that the most energized employees find work that motivates them personally. Just three takeaways: Happiness at work for U.S. employees is at "an all-time low."Each...


N4L 013: "Quirky, Yes—Hopeless, No" by Dr. Cynthia Norall with Beth Wagner Brust

Beth Brust, the mother of an Asperger's child, coauthored Quirky, Yes—Hopeless, No: Practical Tips to Help Your Child with Asperger's Syndrome Be More Socially Accepted. While Brust offers a parent's perspective, Dr. Cynthia La Brie Norall provides an expert's point of view. Together, they synthesize years of training Asperger's kids at their after-school "Friends Club." Fashioned after Dr. Spock's guidebook for parents, the book serves as a sort of bible for parents and educators dealing...


QB: The Man Behind the Spiral by Steve Young with Jeff Benedict

Steve Young, one of the greatest football players of all time, holds distinctions as a two-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP as well as a Football Hall of Famer. His book, QB: The Man Behind the Spiral, he originally intended to share only with his children. It gives us an inside look into Young’s football career as well as his lifelong struggle with anxiety. With editing help from his wife Barb, the narrative is a very honest, authentic account of his story. In the podcast, he reveals...


N4L 011: The Business Ethics Field Guide by Brad Agle, Aaron Miller, and Bill O'Rourke

Dr. Brad Agle, Professor of Ethics & Leadership, helped compile The Business Ethics Field Guide for individuals and corporations. Agle and his colleagues Aaron Miller and Bill O'Rourke, fill the book (first published in 2016) with 13 common ethical dilemmas providing real-life, instructive scenarios. They also warn of pitfalls and help readers plan ahead for possible situations when they'll need sharp ethical skills at-the-ready. Just three takeaways: Build social capital early and...


N4L 010: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman

Liz Wiseman, internationally recognized business thought leader, released the Revised and Updated edition of Multipliers in 2017. The book was born from a simple observation percolating in Wiseman for years: “There is more intelligence inside our organizations than we are using.” Figuring out why became her passion. Her research findings unlocked the secrets to what she came to call “Multipliers.” To explain the difference between Multipliers and Diminishers (their opposite), Wiseman...


N4L 009: Reflections of Kalaupapa by Fred E. Woods

Fred E. Woods researched the story of leprosy in Hawaii, where the Board of Health exiled people with Hansen’s disease (leprosy) to Kalaupapa, an isolated spot on the island of Molokai. Neither fatal nor highly infectious, leprosy became treatable in the 1940s when Dr. Hansen discovered an antibiotic cure for the pathogen. Though not contagious, it still managed to rip apart families, sometimes indefinitely. Fortunately, more than 400 “kokua” (help) came to the rescue as volunteers. Many...


N4L 008: Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service by Annette Bay Pimentel

Author and researcher Annette Bay Pimentel came across a 1915 photograph of several men wearing suits and sitting on logs that surround a table set with white linen and china. Behind them stands a Chinese man wearing an apron. The cook is Tie Sing, the main character in her book Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service. Evidently, millionaire and Sierra-Club member Stephen Mather hired Tie Sing, "the best trail cook in...


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