geralt, via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain license

Image Credit: geralt, via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain license

There are many reasons why business professionals take advantage of listening, as opposed to reading, audio books. It is easy to take advantage of listening to titles while commuting, on a flight, working out, or jogging around the neighborhood. Listening to someone read out loud is often times soothing, can help reduce stress, and allows the eyes to rest. Here are business-related titles that have made two “best of” lists.

Best Audiobooks 2014, chosen by Library Journals’s reviewers

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World, by Russell Gold. Read by Patrick Lawlor. Brilliance Audio,

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis. Read by Dylan Baker. Simon & Schuster Audio

2015 Best Audiobooks – Audie Awards Finalists, published by Booklist Reader

Business/Educational category:

#GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amoruso. Read by Sara Jes Austell. Penguin Random House Audio.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace. Read by Peter Altschuler. Penguin Random House Audio.

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, by Warren Berger. Read by Michael Quinlan. Audible, Inc. **2015 Audie Award winner**

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, by A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin. Read by L.J. Ganser. Audible, Inc.

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, by Carmine Gallo. Read by Carmine Gallo. Macmillan Audio.

Science & Technology category:

The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities, by Caleb Scharf. Read by Caleb Scharf. Macmillan Audio.

The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, by Walter Mischel. Read by Alan Alda. Brilliance Publishing.

A Primate’s Memoir, by Robert M. Sapolsky. Read by Mike Chamberlain. Tantor Media.

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Read by Jeff Cummings. Brilliance Publishing. **2015 Audie Award winner**

When Google Met Wikileaks, by Julian Assange. Read by Tom Pile. Audible, Inc.

Non-Fiction category (business-related only titles, this is not the entire list):

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis. Read by Dylan Baker. Simon & Schuster Audio

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson. Read by Dennis Boutsikaris. Simon & Schuster Audio

Image Credit: Birthday Cake, by Will Clayton, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

Image Credit: Birthday Cake, by Will Clayton, via Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

The American Library Association (ALA), in a press release, has congratulated the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which was founded on Sept. 29, 1965, on its 50th anniversary. ALA states: “As institutions that champion lifelong learning for all people, libraries benefit every day from NEH’s outstanding work…ALA is extremely grateful to NEH for providing our communities with much-needed opportunities to connect, inspire curiosity, and learn about our shared histories.” The release highlights current ALA public programming intitives made possible by NEH funding including (directly quoted):

  • Latino Americans: 500 Years of History supports the exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group. Programming is currently underway at 203 libraries, museums, humanities councils and other sites nationwide.
  • Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry explores the causes and consequences of the Dust Bowl through oral histories, essays, letters and photographs. The traveling exhibition is on tour to 25 libraries nationwide.
  • Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963, examines two great people’s movements and their profound impact on the American experience. The traveling exhibition is on tour to 50 libraries, museums and historical societies.

Look here for 50 years of NEH grants.

Jane's Bookstore, by Bill Lapp, via Flickr Attribution 2. Generic (CC by 2.0) license

Jane’s Bookstore, by Bill Lapp, via Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0) license

Fortune’s Bill Wahba, in his article, Book Sales Hang On, As E-Books Wither, writes that “print books are holding steady” in comparison to e-books, based on sales and market share. Directly quoted highlights of the article:

In the first five months of 2015, publishers’ revenues from e-books sales fell 10% to $610.8 million, according to the Association of American Publishers, compared to a 2.3% drop in print book sales in the fiction, non fiction and religious categories (that the industry calls trade books.)

In terms of market share, e-books generated 24.9% of publisher revenues between January and May, down from a peak of 26.5% in the year earlier period, according to the AAP, showing how print books have finally started to push back against e-books’ meteoric rise.

In its most recent quarter, Barnes & Noble reported comparable sales in its core business rose 1%, while its Nook e-reader and digital content sales fell 22.4%.

According to a New York Times article, the American Booksellers Association counted 1,712 member stores in 2,227 locations in 2015, up from 1,410 in 1,660 locations five years ago.

Image Credit: Michael Reeve, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Image Credit: Michael Reeve, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license

Nikhil Sonnad, a reporter for Quartz, has written a great article that details how the creators of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) have solved the problem of “how to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers.” The online SEP was launched in 1995 by Edward Zalta (Stanford’s Center for the Study of Language and Information). Zalta, in a paper written in 2002, succinctly stated the main challenge when providing information via the information age:

A fundamental problem faced by the general public and the members of an academic discipline in the information age is how to find the most authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date information about an important topic.

This statement illustrates “if the goal is to share with people what is true, it is extremely important for a resource to have all of these things. The three requirements the authors list—’authoritative, comprehensive, and up-to-date’—are to information what the “impossible trinity” is to economics.”

Basically, where other encyclopedias fall short:

  • Printed books are authoritative, but not up-to-date, nor comprehensive
  • A crowdsourced online encyclopedia is timely, but not authoritative, nor comprehensive
  • The question-and-answer wiki, or “crowdsourced + voting” model is slightly more authoritative, but not as up-to-date, nor comprehensive

For the SEP to achieve authority, subject editors, responsible for broad areas, identify the topics that need to be covered. Qualified philosophers are then invited to write entries on those topics. An executive editorial board ensures that the encyclopedia is comprehensive. Each entry is expected to “contain the freshest possible information and research on a topic.” In four years, or earlier if needed, the author is expected to provide a new, updated entry.

Stanford pays for most of the costs. Contributors donate their time for several reasons, the main one being to simply “further the enterprise of philosophy by creating a place to better understand it.”

Picked up from Penguin Random House

Picked up from Penguin Random House

“Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association”

Banned Books Week, which celebrates the freedom to read, is Sept. 27 – Oct. 3. According to ALA’s (American Library Association) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 include:

1)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

2)      Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

3)      And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

4)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

5)      It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

6)      Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

7)      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

9)      A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard

10)   Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

To read lists from previous years, click here.

Brand new research from Pew Research Center, in a report entitled Libraries at the Crossroads, reveals what the public desires from community libraries.

According to results, many Americans say they want public libraries to:

  • support local education;
  • serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
  • help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
  • embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.



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