But first, a little WheelTug press. It inches forward.

And now, a wildly varied list of books for your consideration:

Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking.

Josh:  “Just lost a beloved aunt to lung cancer—makes me more grateful than ever to you for giving me Allen Carr’s book and setting me on the path to being the non-smoker I am today.”

Giuliani: The Rise And Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor.

I am reading this with my actual eyes, and they grow wider with every page.  So much I didn’t know (like his cutting school and jumping a police line to shake JFK’s hand; his father’s violent criminal past).

Andrew Kirtzman’s previous Giuliani biography 22 years ago was good, too . . . but now?  Oh, my.

The Desperate Hours: One Hospital’s Fight to Save a City on the Pandemic’s Front Lines.

An Amazon “Editor’s Pick” — so don’t just take my word for it.

I have a friend who complained about the nightly 7pm pot banging to cheer hospital workers. That and his gym closure were what really bugged him about Covid.  He was probably right about the gym closure (and certainly right schools remained closed too long) . . . but boy does Marie Brenner’s reporting ever make me want to lean out the window and bang some pots of my own.

(And do you know what the head of the non-profit New York Presbyterian Hospital system earns?  Oh. My. God.)


I didn’t read it in 2008 (“since its original publication more than a decade ago . . . the book has given rise to more than 200 ‘nudge units’ in governments around the world and . . . [helped] us make better decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society”) . . . but I sure mean to read it now.

“The authors have rewritten the book from cover to cover, making use of their experiences in and out of government over the past dozen years as well as an explosion of new research .. . . It offers a wealth of new insights on a wide variety of issues that we face in our daily lives — health, personal finance, retirement savings, credit card debt, home mortgages, medical care, organ donation, climate change, and ‘sludge’ (paperwork and other nuisances we don’t want and that keep us from getting what we do want) — all while honoring one of the cardinal rules of nudging: make it fun!”

Three of my favorite “listens” this summer were autobiographies.

Bryan Cranston’s A Life In Parts. (From Malcolm in the Middle’s ridiculous dad to Breaking Bad’s Walter White.)

Billy Crystal’s Still Foolin’ ‘Em (Have fun storming the castle.)

Moss Hart’s Act One.  (A book I’ve been meaning to read since 1959, when my parents first brought it home.)  Kind of, for theater, what Shoe Dog is for business.

Finally . . . as recommended by Head Butler:

And There Was Light: The Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance.

. . . For Jacques, early childhood was heaven. He ran. He played. God was “just there.” As he says, “Behind my parents there was someone, and my father and mother were simply the people responsible for passing along the gift.”

At 7, he had an accident in school. The shaft of his glasses stabbed his right eye and tore away the tissue. The left eye had sympathetic damage. The happy-go-lucky Paris schoolboy woke up, his eyes bandaged.

He was totally blind.

And he was completely happy.

Despair, he realized, was simply a matter of “looking the wrong way.” . . .

The world was still beautiful — indeed, more beautiful. Waves were “arranged in steps.” Voices could be caresses. Metaphor was everywhere: “Before I was ten years old, I knew with absolute certainty that everything in the world was a sign of something else.” So blindness was an obstacle, but it was also like a drug — it made other senses intoxicatingly intense.

. . .

High school. Academics. Friends. Girls. Happy days. His mother learned Braille. His father took him every week to the symphony.

“The world of violins and flutes, of horns and cellos…obeyed laws which were so beautiful and so clear that all music seemed to speak of God. My body was not listening, it was praying. My spirit no longer had bonds…I wept with gratitude every time the orchestra began to sing. . . . Intelligence, courage, frankness, the conditions of happiness and love, all these were in Handel, in Schubert, fully stated, as readable as the sun high in the sky at noon.”

But we know what was coming: the Nazi occupation. Jacques was a patriot. At 17, he decided to organize his friends into a resistance unit. Wisely, they appointed him head of recruiting — his hearing made him a great judge of character. Later he and his friends started an underground newspaper; it would become France-Soir, the most important daily newspaper in Paris. [To buy the paperback from Amazon, click here. For the Kindle edition, click here.]

His luck ran out in 1943, when a man who Jacques had grudgingly admitted to their group betrayed them all. After spending 180 days in a cell in France, he was transferred to Buchenwald. Two thousand other Frenchmen were sent with him. Fifteen months later, when the Nazis were defeated, only thirty of them were still alive.

“I was nothing but skin and bones, but I had recovered. The fact was I was so happy, that now Buchenwald seemed to me a place which if not welcome, was at least possible. If they didn’t give me any bread to eat, I would feed on hope… It was the truth. I still had 11 months ahead of me in the camp. But today I have not a single evil memory of those 333 days of extreme wretchedness. I was carried by a hand. I was covered by a wing. One doesn’t call such living emotions by their names. I hardly needed to look out for myself…I was free now to help the others; not always, not much, but in my own way I could help. I could try to show other people how to go about holding on to life. I could turn toward them the flow of light and joy which had grown so abundant in me.”

“Joy doesn’t not come from outside, for whatever happens to us, it is within,” he concludes. “Light does not come to us from without. Light is in us, even if we have no eyes.” . . .

Talk about the happy gene!

Have a great weekend.



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