What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t
Telling You: The 10 Essential Truths You
Need to Know about Your Money.
By Liz Davidson.
Jan. 2016. 256p. Houghton, $27 (9780544602304).
First-time author Davidson covers all the
usual personal-finance topics, from paying
off debt to taking advantage of employer
benefits. Yet her perspective is vastly different
than, say, Suze Orman’s. When she headlines
“the 10 essential truths,” she isn’t necessarily talking about the magic of compounding.
Instead, Davidson delves into the details of
finding the right advisor, ensuring that taxes
are considered when adding up assets, and
tag teaming with your partner to agree about
financials and the future. Hers is a highly
commonsensible approach, one that draws
on her own personal stories and disguised
and alarmingly close-to-life case histories:
John’s hiring of a Bernie Madoff–type advisor, Marion’s loss of a husband and a nest
egg, Peter’s search for one big score. Some
handy tools, such as the “Debt Blaster,” and
richly informative charts round out the good
value of this clarifying and practical financial
advice book. —Barbara Jacobs
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move
By Adam Grant.
Feb. 2016. 336p. Viking, $27.95 (9780525429562). 361.8.
In this thought-provoking attempt to redefine the concept of originality, the author of
Give and Take (2013) challenges the assump-
tion that people who strive for originality are
necessarily risk-takers. He asks us to consider,
for example, Scott Adams and Brian May,
each of whom kept on with their ordinary
jobs—Adams at Pacific Bell while he was
drawing Dilbert, and May playing lead guitar
for Queen while studying astrophysics—until
they were comfortable turning their attention
full-time to their dream pursuits. Oh, and
Henry Ford? He kept working for Thomas
Edison even while he was revolutionizing the
automobile industry. Originality, the author
argues, isn’t risk-taking; it’s finding a new idea
and developing it, often while minimizing
personal risk. To be original, we must ques-
tion defaults (which appears to be the author’s
way of saying, Think outside the box), develop
a new idea slowly and carefully, and hold off
on taking the big, no-turning-back leap until
we are confident of success. The message here
should comfort the timid nonconformist in
us all: you can be original, but you don’t have
to be reckless about it. —David Pitt
Cloning: A Reference Handbook.
By David E. Newton.
2015. 320p. ABC-CLIO, $58 (9781610696937). 575.
This work clarifies the technology and purpose of replicating and modifying biota. The
reference source guides the reader and researcher in making informed evaluations of
a controversial resetting of nature’s patterns.
A five-page chronology covers four decades of
adaptive procedures that began with fish and
advanced to the rescue of the endangered
gaur and ibex, neither of which survived
infancy. Chapter 3 answers some of the ques-
tions that students ponder, particularly the
revival of mammoths and dinosaurs, a fan-
tasy topic in sci-fi.
There is also information on the more practical uses of biotechnology, such as studying
the synthesis of honeybees, creating palliative
drugs from yeast, and using tissue for liver
transplants. The concluding sections on data
and documents precede a detailed time line
from 1770 to 2015, identifying research
projects by scientists worldwide. A five-page
glossary covers standard terms as well as more
complex concepts (e.g., totipotent, chimera,
plasmid). Primary and secondary indexing
itemizes concepts, scientists, and laws, including the National Research Act of 1974 and the
European Union Policy on Cloning of Animals
for Food Supply. A valuable reference tool for
public, high-school, and community-college
libraries, Newton’s work offers a starting point
for understanding a potentially earth-changing
process. —Mary Ellen Snodgrass
YA/C: Suitable for high-school research,
especially for the perennial “hot-topic”
Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution from
the Origin of the Universe.
By John Hands.
Feb. 2016. 688p. Overlook, $39.95 (9781468312447). 577.
On a self-described quest to find out what
human beings are and where they came from,
Hands conducts a critical inquiry into what
science can legitimately say about these questions. Starting right at the beginning, with the
big bang, Hands surveys the reigning theoretical models, finding most of them wanting, for
various reasons, as scientific explanations of the
origin of the universe. Professional cosmologists Hands consulted did not, he admits, think
much of his criticisms. He gamely ripostes that
their dismissals of his points are indicative of
belief in their own theories, not evidence for
them. He also received the same general reaction from paleontologists and evolutionary
biologists who replied to faults he finds in their
fields. It is not surprising that after his march
through astrophysics, the origin of life, and the
emergence of human consciousness, Hands
ultimately answers that we will likely never
have answers of scientific exactitude to his initial questions. Written with an outsider-like,
philosophy-of-science attitude, Hands’ encyclopedic work will most likely appeal to readers
interested in how scientists truly know what
they claim to know. —Gilbert Taylor
Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The
Story of Spaceflight before NASA.
By Amy Shira Teitel.
Jan. 2016. 304p. Bloomsbury/Sigma, $27
A blogger with a YouTube channel, Teitel
has built a popular following that will be keen
for her first book. Writing for spaceflight his-
Appearing below is a list of all the print reference titles reviewed in this issue. Reference
librarians should also remember that all Booklist reference reviews can be accessed by
Booklist subscribers on Booklist Online.
Cloning: A Reference Handbook. By David E. Newton. p.6
Design: The Definitive Visual History. p. 9
Governments around the World: From Democracies to Theocracies. Ed. by Fred M.
Shelley. p. 5
Holiday Symbols and Customs, 5th ed. Ed. by Keith Jones. p. 18
The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in
the History of Law. By Michael H. Roffer. p. 5
Oxford Companion to Wine. 4th ed. Ed. by Jancis Robinson. p. 18
Palliative Care: The 400-Year Quest for a Good Death. By Harold Y. Vanderpool. p. 8
The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear the Confusion about Vitamins and Your Health.
By Romy Block and Arielle Levitan. p. 18
Wars That Changed History: 50 of the World’s Greatest Conflicts. By Spencer C.
Tucker. p. 18
Wild Cats of the World. By Luke Hunter. p. 18
The World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia. Ed. by Merril D.
Smith. p. 18