The Extraordinary Promise of a Pencil

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Time to spread a little kindness, and even do some good with the purchase of an ebook. Adam Braun shares his story of creating change with very little, and shares how you can do the same. The proceeds from this book go to Pencils of Promise, Braun’s nonprofit organization.

 

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun. Amazon for $11.04. The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving one of the world’s most prestigious jobs to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 200 schools around the world.

The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn your biggest ambitions into reality, even if you start with as little as $25. His story takes readers behind the scenes with business moguls and village chiefs, world-famous celebrities and hometown heroes. Driven by compelling stories and shareable insights, this is a vivid and inspiring book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

*All proceeds from this book will support Pencils of Promise.

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At Amazon, the Book Buys You

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OK, that’s not entirely accurate. Or remotely accurate, but I couldn’t resist the joke.

Normally, about now I’d be telling you about a book you can buy from Amazon, but today I figured I’d flip that. I don’t know if you know, but Amazon will buy your books as well. It’s like a big, natural circle of reading. Amazon pays for shipping, so it won’t cost you anything. Current best-sellers are probably your best bet, but at least that takes some of the guilt out of buying a full-priced new book.

And it’s not just for books, either. You can trade in movies, video games and other things, and get an Amazon gift card in exchange. When I logged in, it even told me what some things I’d bought from Amazon were worth, which is nice to know, not that I’m parting with my Zumba World Party, which is the most fun game ever, but I digress.

So you can use books to feed your reading habit. It’s beautiful, in a way.

Anyway, thus concludes this public service announcement.

 

 

 

Read 12 Years a Slave, the Memoir that Won an Oscar

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Before it was the Oscar-winning Best Adapted Screenplay, before it was the Oscar-winning Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave was Solomon Northrup’s experience as a free man kidnapped into slavery. It immortalized the abject cruelty and brutality of slavery, creating a testament that has lasted and will last, lest we forget. And, as director Steve McQueen reminded us, continues in parts of the world.

I can’t help but wonder what Solomon Northrup would have thought of the glitz and glamour of the Oscars, of the highest award being given to the depiction of his life story.


Twelve Years a Slave (With the Original Illustrations) by Solomon Northrup. Amazon for $0.99. Here is the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. He was kidnapped by unscrupulous slave hunters and sold into slavery where he endured.

Voted Most Talkative? You and Andy Cohen Both!

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If you’ve seen his late night show on Bravo, “Watch What Happens Live,” you know Andy Cohen as bubbly, intelligent and hilarious. He’s also got a very steely resolve under that charming demeanor. No matter who his guests may be, it’s impossible to end the impossibly speedy half-hour without a smile. Now you can have that with no need for a cable connection.


Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen. Amazon for $8.89. he man behind the Real Housewives writes about his lifelong love affair with pop culture that brought him from the suburbs of St. Louis to his own television show

From a young age, Andy Cohen knew one thing: He loved television. Not in the way that most kids do, but in an irrepressible, all-consuming, I-want-to-climb-inside-the-tube kind of way. And climb inside he did. Now presiding over Bravo’s reality TV empire, he started out as an overly talkative pop culture obsessive, devoted to Charlie’s Angels and All My Children and to his mother, who received daily letters from Andy at summer camp, usually reminding her to tape the soaps. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe that everyone didn’t know that Andy was gay; still, he remained in the closet until college. Finally out, he embarked on making a career out of his passion for television.

The journey begins with Andy interviewing his all-time idol Susan Lucci for his college newspaper and ends with him in a job where he has a hand in creating today’s celebrity icons. In the witty, no-holds-barred style of his show Watch What Happens Live, Andy tells tales of absurd mishaps during his ten years at CBS News, hilarious encounters with the heroes and heroines of his youth, and the real stories behind The Real Housewives. Dishy, funny, and full of heart, Most Talkative provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the world of television, from a fan who grew up watching the screen and is now inside it, both making shows and hosting his own.

It’s What We All Want to Know: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

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So until now, I’ve really focused on books from indie authors, but I’ve got to say I absolutely love Mindy Kaling. Her show, “The Mindy Project,” has found its rhythm, and she is simply hilarious. How can her book not be?


Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Amazon for $4.99. Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”

Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

From the Hardcover edition.