An unforgettable story of four women who, through grit and ingenuity, became stars in the cutthroat, high-stakes, male dominated world of venture capital in Silicon Valley, and helped build some of the foremost companies of our time. In Alpha Girls, award-winning journalist Julian Guthrie takes readers behind the closed doors of venture capital, an industry that transforms economies and shapes how we live. We follow the lives and careers of four women who were largely written out of history - until now. Magdalena Yesil, who arrived in America from Turkey with $43 to her name, would go on to receive her electrical engineering degree from Stanford, found some of the first companies to commercialize internet access, and help Marc Benioff build Salesforce. Mary Jane Elmore went from the corn fields of Indiana to Stanford and on to the storied venture capital firm IVP - where she was one of the first women in the U.S. to make partner - only to be pulled back from the glass ceiling by expectations at home. Theresia Gouw, an overachieving first-generation Asian American from a working-class town, dominated the foosball tables at Brown (she would later reluctantly let Sergey Brin win to help Accel Partners court Google), before she helped land and build companies including Facebook, Trulia, Imperva, and ForeScout. Sonja Hoel, a Southerner who became the first woman investing partner at white-glove Menlo Ventures, invested in McAfee, Hotmail, Acme Packet, and F5 Networks. As her star was still rising at Menlo, a personal crisis would turn her into an activist overnight, inspiring her to found an all-women's investment group and a national nonprofit for girls. These women, juggling work and family, shaped the tech landscape we know today while overcoming unequal pay, actual punches, betrayals, and the sexist attitudes prevalent in Silicon Valley and in male-dominated industries everywhere. Despite the setbacks, they would rise again to rewrite the rules for an industry they love. In Alpha Girls, Guthrie reveals their untold stories.
A New York Times bestseller! The historic race that reawakened the promise of manned spaceflight A Finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Alone in a Spartan black cockpit, test pilot Mike Melvill rocketed toward space. He had eighty seconds to exceed the speed of sound and begin the climb to a target no civilian pilot had ever reached. He might not make it back alive. If he did, he would make history as the world's first commercial astronaut. The spectacle defied reason, the result of a competition dreamed up by entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, whose vision for a new race to space required small teams to do what only the world's largest governments had done before. Peter Diamandis was the son of hardworking immigrants who wanted their science prodigy to make the family proud and become a doctor. But from the age of eight, when he watched Apollo 11 land on the Moon, his singular goal was to get to space. When he realized NASA was winding down manned space flight, Diamandis set out on one of the great entrepreneurial adventure stories of our time. If the government wouldn't send him to space, he would create a private space flight industry himself. In the 1990s, this idea was the stuff of science fiction. Undaunted, Diamandis found inspiration in an unlikely place: the golden age of aviation. He discovered that Charles Lindbergh made his transatlantic flight to win a $25,000 prize. The flight made Lindbergh the most famous man on earth and galvanized the airline industry. Why, Diamandis thought, couldn't the same be done for space flight? The story of the bullet-shaped SpaceShipOne, and the other teams in the hunt, is an extraordinary tale of making the impossible possible. It is driven by outsized characters--Burt Rutan, Richard Branson, John Carmack, Paul Allen--and obsessive pursuits. In the end, as Diamandis dreamed, the result wasn't just a victory for one team; it was the foundation for a new industry and a new age.
A Forbes Best Book of the Year: "Must reading for any yacht-racing aficionado." --Frank Deford The America's Cup, first awarded in 1851, is the oldest trophy in international sports, and one of the most hotly contested. In 2000, Larry Ellison, cofounder and billionaire CEO of Oracle Corporation, decided to run for the coveted prize and found an unlikely partner in Norbert Bajurin, a car radiator mechanic who had recently been named Commodore of the blue collar Golden Gate Yacht Club. The Billionaire and the Mechanic tells the incredible story of the partnership between Larry and Norbert, their unsuccessful runs for the Cup in 2003 and 2007, and their victory in 2010. With unparalleled access to Ellison and his team, the New York Times-bestselling author of How to Make a Spaceship takes readers inside the design and building process of these astonishing boats, and the management of the passionate athletes who race them. She traces the bitter rivalries between Oracle and its competitors, including Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli's Team Alinghi--and throws readers into exhilarating races from Australia and New Zealand to Valencia, Spain. "The Billionaire and the Mechanic opens with a thrilling scene as old as Homer's 'Odyssey' and as iconic as ones from Conrad, Melville, Hemingway and Sebastian Junger: a man battling a dangerously stormy sea. That the sailor, Larry Ellison, is one of our contemporary captains of industry, the swashbuckling billionaire of the title . . . only heightens the drama." --San Francisco Chronicle
With the global adoption of the green revolution in the 1970s; the long historical legacy of agricultures boom and bust cycle seemedfinallyto be put on hold. It appeared as though the apocalyptic nightmare of famine had been vanquished. However, now, man-made climate change poses a new and immediate crisisfrom Syria to South Sudanhow do we feed the 10 billion people likely to inhabit the plant by 2050? How do we continue to feed, sustainably, the 7.5 billion of us that are already here? How do we do so in a climate that is becoming increasing hostile to food security?
This book explores the history of agriculture, and the threat that climate change imposes for all aspects of our daily bread. While these challenges are severe and significant, it argues that we are not without hope, and offers a wide range of solutions, from polyculture farming to feminism that can, when applied, lead to a better future for humankind.
Take a drive through the Mississippi Delta today and you'll find a landscape dotted with memorials to major figures and events from the civil rights movement. Perhaps the most chilling are those devoted to the murder of Emmett Till, a tragedy of hate and injustice that became a beacon in the fight for racial equality. The ways this event is remembered have been fraught from the beginning, revealing currents of controversy, patronage, and racism lurking just behind the placid facades of historical markers. In Remembering Emmett Till, Dave Tell gives us five accounts of the commemoration of this infamous crime. In a development no one could have foreseen, Till's murder--one of the darkest moments in the region's history--has become an economic driver for the Delta. Historical tourism has transformed seemingly innocuous places like bridges, boat landings, gas stations, and riverbeds into sites of racial politics, reminders of the still-unsettled question of how best to remember the victim of this heinous crime. Tell builds an insightful and persuasive case for how these memorials have altered the Delta's physical and cultural landscape, drawing potent connections between the dawn of the civil rights era and our own moment of renewed fire for racial justice.
Confessional Crises and Cultural Politics in Twentieth-Century America revolutionizes how we think about confession and its ubiquitous place in American culture. It argues that the sheer act of labeling a text a confession has become one of the most powerful, and most overlooked, forms of intervening in American cultural politics. In the twentieth century alone, the genre of confession has profoundly shaped (and been shaped by) six of America’s most intractable cultural issues: sexuality, class, race, violence, religion, and democracy.
Social Justice Essentials for Victor Hugo -- March 18, 2021
Speaker: Dr. Marva Barnett
Social Justice Essentials for Victor Hugo : Love & Conscience
"To love is to act"-- "Aimer, c'est agir." These words, which Victor Hugo wrote three days before he died, epitomize his life's philosophy. His love of freedom, democracy, and all people--especially the poor and wretched--drove him not only to write his epic Les Misérables but also to follow his conscience. We have much to learn from Hugo, who battled for justice, lobbied against slavery and the death penalty, and fought for the rights of women and children. In a series of essays that interweave Hugo's life with Les Misérables and point to the novel's contemporary relevance, To Love Is to Act explores how Hugo reveals his guiding principles for life, including his belief in the redemptive power of love and forgiveness. Enriching the book are insights from artists who captured the novel's heart in the famed musical, Les Mis creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, producer of the musical Les Misérables Cameron Mackintosh, film director Tom Hooper, and award-winning actors who have portrayed Jean Valjean: Colm Wilkinson and Hugh Jackman.
Victor Hugo on Things That Matter gives English speakers the social, historical, cultural, and biographical context that is essential for enjoying the writing and art of this genius of nineteenth-century France. The book’s topical organization lets readers investigate Hugo’s ideas about private and personal concerns—love, children, grief, nature, God—as well as public and politically important issues—liberty and democracy, tyranny, social justice, humanity, peace, and war.
Unlike other Hugo anthologies, Victor Hugo on Things That Matter offers introductions and notes in English and includes twenty-five of Hugo’s watercolors and drawings. Readers will find key Hugo texts in the original French, along with the following supplemental information in English: an overview of Hugo’s importance and his private and public personas; introductions to each chapter; historical and cultural explanatory notes; a time line of Hugo’s life and work; suggestions for further reading.
Poetry Reading by Christopher Kempf -- March 16, 2021
Late in the Empire of Men, Kempf's powerful debut collection, reads the author's coming-of-age in Ohio and California against the westward trajectory of American history, a trajectory he simultaneously situates in the larger context of empire--both political and anthropocentric--by looking back to Rome and Carthage and by glancing forward to a time when, as he writes in the poem "Dominion," "the idea of people/is over." Employing a baroque layering of image and allusion, patterned sonic texturing, and post-narrative self-consciousness, Kempf reveals how commonplace rhetorical practices--football's valorization of a "warrior ethos," for example--work to conscript young American men, in particular, into patterns of thought and behavior constitutive of an imperialist state.
Based on two years living and researching in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, What Though the Field Be Lost uses the battlefield there as a way to engage ongoing issues involving race, regional identity, and the ethics of memory.
With empathy and humility, Kempf reveals the overlapping planes of historical past and public present, integrating archival material―language from monuments, soldiers' letters, eyewitness accounts of the battle―with reflection on present-day social and political unrest. Here monument protests, police shootings, and heated battle reenactments expose the ambivalences and evasions involved in the consolidation of national (and nationalist) identity. In What Though the Field Be Lost, Kempf shows that, though the Civil War may be over, the field at Gettysburg and all that it stands for remain sharply contested.
Shuttling between past and present, the personal and the public, What Though the Field Be Lost examines the many pasts that inhere, now and forever, in the places we occupy.
The Politics of Transindividuality re-examines social relations and subjectivity through the concept of transindividuality. Transindividuality is understood as the mutual constitution of individuality and collectivity, and as such it intersects with politics and economics, philosophical speculation and political practice. While the term transindividuality is drawn from the work of Gilbert Simondon, this book views it broadly, examining such canonical figures as Spinoza, Hegel, and Marx, as well as contemporary debates involving Etienne Balibar, Bernard Stiegler, and Paolo Virno. Through these intersecting aspects and interpretations of transindividuality the book proposes to examine anew the intersection of politics and economics through their mutual constitution of affects, imagination, and subjectivity.
Re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogation of subjectivity. What is the relation between the economy, or the mode of production, and culture, beliefs, and desires? How is it possible to think of these relations without reducing one to the other, or effacing one for the sake of the other? To answer these questions. The Micro-Politics of Capital re-reads Marx in light of the contemporary critical interrogations of subjectivity in the works of Althusser, Deleuze, Guattari, Foucault, and Negri. Jason Read suggests that what characterizes contemporary capitalism is the intimate intersection of the production of commodities with the production of desire, beliefs, and knowledge.
African American Directors and Hollywood Blockbuster Budgets -- March 2, 2021
Virtual Talk with Dr. Keith Corson
African American Directors and Blockbuster Productions
Malcom X to Black Panther : Evolution of African Americans Access to Blockbuster Budgets
From 1972 to 1976, Hollywood made an unprecedented number of films targeted at black audiences. But following this era known as "blaxploitation," the momentum suddenly reversed for black filmmakers, and a large void separates the end of blaxploitation from the black film explosion that followed the arrival of Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It in 1986. Illuminating an overlooked era in African American film history, Trying to Get Over is the first in-depth study of black directors working during the decade between 1977 and 1986. Keith Corson provides a fresh definition of blaxploitation, lays out a concrete reason for its end, and explains the major gap in African American representation during the years that followed. He focuses primarily on the work of eight directors--Michael Schultz, Sidney Poitier, Jamaa Fanaka, Fred Williamson, Gilbert Moses, Stan Lathan, Richard Pryor, and Prince--who were the only black directors making commercially distributed films in the decade following the blaxploitation cycle. Using the careers of each director and the twenty-four films they produced during this time to tell a larger story about Hollywood and the shifting dialogue about race, power, and access, Corson shows how these directors are a key part of the continuum of African American cinema and how they have shaped popular culture over the past quarter century.
Wabash Public Policy Project Speaker -- March 1, 2021
Speaker: Dr. Teresa Bejan
'Mere Civility' : The Lost History and Practice of Tolerance
Today, politicians and intellectuals warn that we face a crisis of civility and a veritable war of words polluting our public sphere. In liberal democracies committed to tolerating diversity as well as active, often heated disagreement, the loss of this conversational virtue appears critical. But is civility really a virtue? Or is it, as critics claim, a covert demand for conformity that silences dissent? Mere Civility sheds light on our predicament and the impasse between ?civilitarians? and their opponents by examining early modern debates about religious toleration. As concerns about uncivil disagreement achieved new prominence after the Reformation, seventeenth-century figures as different as Roger Williams, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke could agree that some restraint on the war of words would be necessary. But they recognized that the prosecution of incivility was often difficult to distinguish from persecution. In their efforts to reconcile diversity with disagreement, they developed competing conceptions of civility as the social bond of tolerant societies that still resonate. Most modern appeals to civility follow either Hobbes or Locke by proposing to suppress disagreement or exclude persons and positions deemed ?uncivil? for the sake of social concord. Compared with his contemporaries' more robust ideals, Williams's unabashedly mere civility?a minimal, occasionally contemptuous adherence to culturally contingent rules of respectful behavior?is easily overlooked. Yet Teresa Bejan argues that Williams offers a promising path forward in confronting our own crisis of civility, one that fundamentally challenges our assumptions about what a tolerant?and civil?society should look like.
President's Distinguished Speaker Series -- February 23, 2021
A nonfiction investigation into masculinity, For The Love of Men provides actionable steps for how to be a man in the modern world, while also exploring how being a man in the world has evolved. In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don't cry and dolls are for girls (a newer phenomenon than you might realize--gendered toys came back in vogue as recently as the 80s). They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that their masculinity must constantly be proven. They must be the breadwinners, they must be the romantic pursuers. This hasn't been good for the culture at large: 99% of school shooters are male; men in fraternities are 300% (!) more likely to commit rape; a woman serving in uniform has a higher likelihood of being assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. In For the Love of Men, Liz offers a smart, insightful, and deeply-researched guide for what we're all going to do about toxic masculinity. For both women looking to guide the men in their lives and men who want to do better and just don't know how, For the Love of Men will lead the conversation on men's issues in a society where so much is changing, but gender roles have remained strangely stagnant. What are we going to do about men? Liz Plank has the answer. And it has the possibility to change the world for men and women alike.
QueerRead: LGBTQ+ Stories -- October 22, 2020
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx, read by Dr. Derek Mong
This powerful and disturbing book clearly links persistent poverty among blacks in the United States to the unparalleled degree of deliberate segregation they experience in American cities. American Apartheid shows how the black ghetto was created by whites during the first half of the twentieth century in order to isolate growing urban black populations. It goes on to show that, despite the Fair Housing Act of 1968, segregation is perpetuated today through an interlocking set of individual actions, institutional practices, and governmental policies. In some urban areas the degree of black segregation is so intense and occurs in so many dimensions simultaneously that it amounts to "hypersegregation." The authors demonstrate that this systematic segregation of African Americans leads inexorably to the creation of underclass communities during periods of economic downturn. Under conditions of extreme segregation, any increase in the overall rate of black poverty yields a marked increase in the geographic concentration of indigence and the deterioration of social and economic conditions in black communities. As ghetto residents adapt to this increasingly harsh environment under a climate of racial isolation, they evolve attitudes, behaviors, and practices that further marginalize their neighborhoods and undermine their chances of success in mainstream American society. This book is a sober challenge to those who argue that race is of declining significance in the United States today.
QueerRead: LGBTQ+ Stories -- September 24, 2020
1969 Mother Stonewall and the Golden Rats by Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt; excerpt from Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! by Penny Arcade, read by Dr. Elan Justice Pavlinich
President's Distinguished Speaker Series -- September 16, 2020
Speaker Clint Smith
Topic: “Reinvigorate Our Conversation on Why Black Lives Matter.”