Four recently released books from Bethesda-area authors
By Caralee Adams
Kathleen Day needed a textbook to teach an ethics course in the graduate real estate program at Georgetown University, but couldn’t find one that covered U.S. financial crises from Colonial times to the bursting of the housing bubble more than a decade ago. So she wrote Broken Bargain: Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street (Yale University Press, January 2019). In it, she explains complex business and monetary terms in a manner accessible to a broad audience. “It’s a book for anyone who wants to understand in plain English a history of financial crises in the country,” says Day, a business journalist who lives in Upper Northwest D.C., and has worked for such publications as The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
After writing two young adult novels, Potomac’s Caroline Bock has published a collection of 47 short stories. Carry Her Home (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, October 2018) includes 100-word “flash” fiction and long-form literary magazine pieces. Many of the stories are autobiographical, says Bock, who was raised by her Jewish father after her Italian mother was institutionalized because of a stroke when Bock was 4. “The stories weave back and forth from the 1960s in New York City to present day,” says Bock, who teaches creative writing at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. “The themes are a mixture of deep love and deep grief. Grief is sad, but sometimes it’s also funny and poignant and full of life.”
Filling a gaping hole in other biographies about Babe Ruth, former Washington Post reporter Jane Leavy focused her latest book, The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created (Harper, October 2018), on the baseball legend’s difficult childhood and three-week victory lap across the U.S. after hitting his record-setting 60th home run in September 1927. “He changed everything about the game and he created a template for how to be famous in America,” says Leavy, who lives in Upper Northwest D.C., and has also written books about Hall of Fame baseball players Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle. “[Ruth] was lucky enough to come along at the exact moment in history when mass media, marketing and public relations were combining to amplify fame.”
It’s well known that about half of all new small businesses in the U.S. are gone within five years of opening. “It’s not because they don’t know how to do good things, produce good things or sell good things. It’s that they don’t know how to compete,” says Ken Schmidt, a business consultant from Potomac. In his new book, Make Some Noise: The Unconventional Road to Dominance (Simon & Schuster, November 2018), Schmidt shares his experiences as communications director for Harley-Davidson, where he helped build the motorcycle company’s brand as an American icon. “What changes a business profoundly is when top leadership makes competing to become dominant their top priority and then eventually builds every function of their business around that goal,” Schmidt says.