Stay The Course: The Story Of Vanguard And The Index Revolution by John C. Bogle

The Blurb On The Back:

Stay The Course is the gripping story of the creation of what would become the largest mutual fund organisation in the world, as told by its founder, John C. Boyle.  Readers will come to appreciate Bogle as a unique innovator in the world of mutual funds – an investor who used his market wisdom and business savvy to bring mutual fund investors their fair share of stock and bond market returns.  This book will delight anyone who enjoys a good story with a happy ending.

In 1974, when the story of The Vanguard Group began, the idea of a mutual fund that was truly mutual – owned by the fund shareholders themselves and operating on an “at cost” basis with no profits to outside shareholders – was viewed as anathema by many seasoned investors.  Not deterred by his colleagues’ caution and, sometimes, outright hostility, John Bogle persevered, building what would become a $5 trillion mutual fund complex.

Vanguard’s remarkable success is inextricably intertwined with the index revolution that has changed the way we think about professional money management.  Buying and holding the market portfolio turns out to be the simplest and soundest path to investment success.  Bogle’s creation – the S&P 500 Index fund – is the spark that ignited the flame of the index revolution.

Bogle concludes his book with some personal insights.  His memoir-like final chapter gives readers some valuable insights into the thinking of Vanguard’s legendary creator.  Bogle’s engaging tale overflows with business insights and inspiration that you won’t want to miss. 

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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay And A Mother’s Will To Survive by Stephanie Land

The Blurb On The Back:

”My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter.”

As a struggling single mum, determined to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, working long hours in order to provide for her small family.

As she worked hard to climb her way out of poverty as a single parent, scrubbing the toilets of the wealthy, navigating domestic labour jobs as a cleaner whilst also juggling higher education, assisted housing, and a tangled web of government assistance, Stephanie wrote.  She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told.  The stories of the overworked and underpaid. 

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Dear Life by Rachel Clarke

The Blurb On The Back:

It takes courage to love the things of this world when all of them, without fail, are fleeting, fading, no more than a spark against the darkness of deep time.  Yet when everything you have been and done and meant to the world is being prised from your grasp, human connections are the vital medicine.  It is other people who make the difference.

Rachel Clarke grew up spellbound by her father’s stories of practising medicine.  Then, when she became a doctor, one specialising in palliative medicine, she found herself contemplating all her training had taught her in the face of her own father’s mortality.

Dear Life is the inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking and yet deeply uplifting story f the doctor we would all want to have by our side in a crisis.  The hospice where Rachel works is, of course, a world haunted by loss and grief, but it is also teeming with life.

If there is a difference between people who know they are dying and the rest of us, it is simply this: that the terminally ill know their time is running out, while we live as though we have all the time in the world.  In a hospice, therefore, there is more of what matters in life – more love, more strength, more kindness, more smiles, more dignity, more joy, more tenderness, more grace, more compassion – than you could ever imagine.

Dear Life is a love letter – to a father, to a profession, to life itself.

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The Corner Shop: Shopkeepers, The Sharmas And The Making Of Modern Britain by Babita Sharma

The Blurb On The Back:

Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, and the story of corner shops is the story of who we are.

From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, their influence has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves. 

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Sunny Side Up: A Story Of Kindness And Joy by Susan Calman

The Blurb On The Back:

Susan Calman’s enthusiasm and happiness at being on <u>Strictly Come Dancing</u> was an inspiration to all of us.  Cheer Up Love, Susan’s first book, had a clear aim: to help people understand depression.  Sunny Side Up has a similarly clear path: to persuade people to be kinder to each other and spread more joy.

These are extremely difficult and confusing times – people are cross and shouty.  It’s exhausting!  But more than anything, people like Susan, people who don’t hate other people, are apologising for the way they think.  Susan wants to make sure that they don’t.

She wants them to know that it’s ok to love people, that kindness and community are wonderful and brilliant, and to bring on the joy in the little things in life and help defeat the hate and fear.

Susan is a one-woman army of hope and joy, and she’s ready to lead the nation in a different direction. 

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Heimat: A German Family Album by Nora Krug

The Blurb On The Back:

Nora Krug grew up as a second-generation German after the end of the Second World War, struggling with a profound ambivalence towards her country’s recent past.  Travelling as a teenager, her accent alone evoked raw emotions in the people she met, an anger she understood, and shared.

Seventeen years after leaving Germany for the US, Krug decided she couldn’t know who she was without confronting where she’d come from. In Heimat, she documents her journey investigating the lives of her family members under the Nazi regime, visually charting her way back to a country still tainted by war. Beautifully illustrated and lyrically told, Heimat is a powerful meditation on the search for cultural identity, and the meaning of history and home. 

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The Gender Games by Juno Dawson

The Blurb On The Back:

”It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world.  Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes – before we, or anyone else, have any idea who we are.  And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we’ve been getting it.

Gender isn’t just screwing over trans people, it’s messing with everyone.  From little girls who think they can’t be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment.  From exclusionist feminists to ‘alt-right’ young men.  From men who can’t cry to the women who think they shouldn’t.  As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society’s expectations of gender – and what we can do about it.  

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves.

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There Was A Country: A Personal History Of Biafra by Chinua Achebe

The Blurb On The Back:

From the lengendary author of Things Fall Apart comes a long-awaited memoir of coming of age with a fragile new nation only to watch it torn asunder in a tragic civil war.

The defining experience of Chinua Achebe’s life was the Nigerian civil war, also known as the Biafran War, of 1967 – 1970.  The conflict was infamous for its savage impact on the Biafran people, Chinua Achebe’s people, many of whom were starved to death after the Nigerian government blockaded their borders.  By then, Chinua Achebe was already a world-renowned novelist, with a young family to protect.  He took the Biafran side in the conflict and served his government as a roving cultural ambassador, from which vantage he absorbed the war’s full horror, immediately after the war, Achebe took refuge in an academic post in the United States, and for more than forty years he has maintained a considered silence on the events of those terrible years, addressing them only obliquely through his poetry.  Now, decades in the making, comes a towering reckoning with one of modern Africa’s most fateful events, from a writer whose words and courage have left an enduring stamp on world literature.

Achebe begins his story with Nigeria’s birth pangs and the story of his own upbringing as a man and as a writer, so that we may understand both the young country’s keen sense of promise, which too quickly turned to horror, and Achebe’s view of the particular obligation of the artist, especially in a time of war.  For Chinua Achebe, to be a serious writer is to be a committed writer – to speak for one’s history, one’s beliefs, and one’s people, especially when others cannot.

A marriage of history and memoir, vivid first-hand observation and decades of further research and reflection, There Was A Country is a work whose wisdom and compassion remind us of Chinua Achebe’s place as one of the great literary and moral voices of our age. 

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How To Murder By Your Life by Cat Marnell

The Blurb On The Back:

”I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America.  That’s all that most people knew about me.  But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one.  A pillhead.  I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss’s office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy, wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone insomniac; a tweaky self-mutilator; a slutty and self-loathing downtown party girl; and – perhaps most of all – a lonely weirdo.  But, you know, I had access to some really fantastic self-tanner.” 

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Your Life In My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story by Rachel Clarke

The Blurb On The Back:

”I am a junior doctor.  It is 4 a.m.  I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.”

Rachel Clarke’s incredible memoir follows her journey as a junior doctor, offering a glimpse into a life spent between the dissection room and the mortuary, the bedside and the doctors’ mess, exposing stark realities about today’s NHS and what it means to be entrusted with carrying another’s life in your hands.

Rachel was at the forefront of the historic junior doctor strikes in 2016, campaigning against the government and arguing across the press that imposing a contract on young doctors would irrevocably damage the NHS.

This book affects us all.

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A Crime In The Family by Sacha Batthyany

The Blurb On The Back:

In the spring of 1945, as the Red Army approached the village of Rechnitz in Austria, Countess Margit Batthyany hosted a party in her ancestral home.  Around midnight, the guests – German aristocrats and SS officers – left the castle and shot 180 Jewish labourers waiting in the village below.  The bodies disappeared into a mass grave: the massacre remained a secret for decades, until Countess Margit’s great-nephew began to ask questions.

This is the story of those questions, and of the answers Sacha Batthyany found: of how an atrocity was concealed and how it was uncovered.  It is a story of Nazi Germany, of the gulags of Siberia, of Budapest in the darkest days of the Cold War, of an Auschwitz survivor alive today in Argentina, and of whole generations of Europeans: monsters and heroes, executioners and victims.

A Crime In The Family is a singular and heart-rending true story, told by an extraordinary writer confronting not only his family’s past but humanity’s. 

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Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby

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Some patients will live.

Some patients will die.

But while their lives hang by a thread …

The heart surgeon will do everything he can to save them.

The day his grandfather died, Steve Westaby vowed to become a heart surgeon.

Today, as one of the world’s most eminent heart surgeons, Professor Steve Westaby shares the stories of the lives he has fought to save. 

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