The Wisdom of Psychopaths

By Kevin Dutton

Psychopath. The word conjurs up images of serial killers, rapists, suicide bombers, gangsters. But think again: you could probably benefit from being a little more psychopathic yourself.

Psychologist Kevin Dutton has made a speciality of psychopathy, and is on first-name terms with many notorious killers. But unlike those incarcerated psychopaths, and all those depicted in movies and crime fiction, most are not violent, he explains. In fact, says Prof Dutton, they have a lot of good things going for them. Psychopaths are fearless, confident, charismatic and focused—qualities tailor-made for success in today’s society.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths is an intellectual rollercoaster ride that combines lightning-hot science with unprecedented access to secret monasteries, Special Forces training camps, and high-security hospitals. In it, you will meet serial killers, war heroes, financiers, movie stars and attorneys—and discover that beneath the hype and popular characterization, psychopaths have something to teach us.

Like the knobs on a mixing deck, psychopathy is graded. And finding the right combination of psychopathic traits, sampled and mixed at carefully calibrated volumes, can put us ahead of the game.

Hallucinations

By Oliver Sacks

Hallucinations, for most people, imply madness. But there are many different types of non-psychotic hallucination caused by various illnesses or injuries, by intoxication—even, for many people, by falling sleep. From the elementary geometrical shapes that we see when we rub our eyes to the complex swirls and blind spots and zigzags of a visual migraine, hallucination takes many forms. At a higher level, hallucinations associated with the altered states of consciousness that may come with sensory deprivation or certain brain disorders can lead to religious epiphanies or conversions. Drawing on a wealth of clinical examples from his own patients as well as historical and literary descriptions, Oliver Sacks investigates the fundamental differences and similarities of these many sorts of hallucinations, what they say about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.

A Nation Worth Ranting About

By Rick Mercer

A good rant is cathartic. Ranting is what keeps me sane.
They always come from a different place. Take the prime minister, for example. Sometimes when I rant about him, I am angry; other times, I am just severely annoyed—it’s an important distinction.”
—Rick Mercer, from his introduction

Within these pages you’ll find every rant that Rick has so brilliantly and blisteringly delivered since the publication of his previous bestseller, Rick Mercer Report: The Book. Together these rants form a chronicle of human folly, mostly featuring politicians, of course, but with honorable mentions going to people who don’t know how to use escalators and Canadian drivers who don’t think they need snow tires.

Is Mercer getting better or are the fools among us getting worse? Whatever the inspiration—Rick Mercer’s ranting has never been stronger or more on target.

There is a loud, cathartic laugh to be found on almost every page here—with the exception of Rick’s impassioned rant on bullying in schools, words that touched thousands of Canadians, went viral and helped widen the debate on a major problem. Also reprinted here is the rant encouraging students to vote, which resulted directly in a campus ballot and outrage in Ottawa.  (People still are still standing on the left on escalators, and the prime minister is still very much the man he was, but you can’t win them all.)

In addition, Rick has authored three new essays specially for this book: the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of his meeting with Rick Hansen, a hero who absolutely was not a disappointment in real life; a heartfelt reflection on public reaction to his bullying rant; and an account of his response—mystified, followed by delighted—to the news that he’d inspired a “vote mob.”

Illustrated throughout with photographs and dialogue from Rick’s travels across Canada, A Nation Worth Ranting About will make you proud, will make you think, will make you almost as angry as Rick, and over and over again will make you laugh out loud.

Sussex Drive: A (satirical!) novel

By Linda Svendsen

A startingly funny and deeply satisfying satirical novel that makes the Canadian political scene accessible from the female perspective, behind the scenes at the top of the hill.

Torn from the headlines, Sussex Drive is a rollicking, cheeky, alternate history of big-ticket political items in Canada told from the perspectives of Becky Leggatt (the sublimely capable and manipulative wife of a hard-right Conservative prime minister) and just a wink away at Rideau Hall, Lise Lavoie (the wildly exotic and unlikely immigrant Governor General)—two wives and mothers living their private lives in public.

Set in recent history, when the biggest House on their turf is shuttered not once, not twice, but three times, Becky and Lise engage in a fight to the death in a battle that involves Canada’s relationship to the United States, Afghanistan and Africa. The rest of the time, the women are driving their kids.

From Linda Svendsen’s sharp and wicked imagination comes a distaff Ottawa like no other ever created by a Canadian writer, of women manoeuvring in a political world gone more than a little mad, hosting world leaders, dealing with the challenges of minority government, and worrying about teen pregnancies and their own marriages. As they juggle these competing interests, Becky and Lise are forced to question what they thought were their politics, and make difficult choices about their families and their futures—federal and otherwise.

 

I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen

By Sylvie Simmons

The definitive biography of one of the most emigmatic, beloved, and celebrated artists of our time.

Leonard Cohen’s extensive and successful recent worldwide tour has demonstrated that his popularity across generations and borders has never been greater. Cohen’s life is one of singular mystique. This major in-depth biography is the book Cohen’s fans have been waiting for. Acclaimed writer/journalist Sylvie Simmons has interviewed more than 100 figures from Cohen’s life and work, including his main muses; the women in his life — from Suzanne and Marianne to Rebecca de Mornay and Anjani Thomas; artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, David Crosby, Judy Collins, and Philip Glass; his record producers; his closest friends, from childhood to adulthood; and many of the spiritual figures who have influenced his life.

Cohen, notoriously private, has granted interviews himself. Thoroughly researched and thoughtful, penetrating and lively, fascinating and revealing of stories and facts never read before, I’m Your Man offers new perspectives on Cohen and his life. It will be one of the most talked-about books of the season, and for years to come.

Through the Glass

By Shannon Moroney

An impassioned, harrowing and ultimately hopeful story of one woman’s pursuit of justice, forgiveness and healing.

When Shannon Moroney married in October of 2005, she had no idea that her happy life as a newlywed was about to come crashing down around her. One month after her wedding, a police officer arrived at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, had been arrested and charged in the brutal assault and kidnapping of two women. In the aftermath of these crimes, Shannon dealt with a heavy burden of grief, the stress and publicity of a major criminal investigation, and the painful stigma of guilt-by-association, all while attempting to understand what had made Jason turn to such violence.

In this intimate and gripping journey into prisons, courtrooms and the human heart, Shannon reveals the far-reaching impact of Jason’s crimes, the agonizing choices faced by the loved ones of offenders and the implicit dangers of a correctional system and a society that prioritizes punishment over rehabilitation, and victimhood over recovery.

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