New books by SCU alumni and faculty
Beyond Camelot and the grassy knoll
Early on in JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
(Orbis Books, $30), James W. Douglass ’61
quotes at length from Thomas Merton. Merton wrote to a friend in February 1962 that he lacked faith that President Kennedy was up to the tasks before him, and that he needed a “deeper kind of dedication. Maybe Kennedy will break through into that some day by miracle. But such people are before long marked out for assassination.” Those words loom large over Douglass’ tour de force, which argues that Kennedy was a man transformed: from cold warrior to striver for peace. But that turning ultimately led to his killing—not, Douglass argues, by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, but by a far more vast conspiracy. A longtime peace activist and writer, Douglass has also written The Nonviolent Cross and Resistance and Contemplation
. So it is no surprise that he concludes his book paraphrasing Jacqueline’s words at her husband’s funeral: “John F. Kennedy is dead. Now peace is up to us.”
Lose your illusion
Why is Southwest Airlines holding steady at 30,000 feet while other airlines are plummeting? What gives Harley Davidson horsepower and Whole Foods its marketplace mojo? Hersh Shefrin
has a few answers, and you’ll find them in Ending the Management Illusion
(McGraw-Hill, 2008, $29.95). The Mario L. Belotti Professor of Finance in the Leavey School of Business, Shefrin is one of the pioneers of behavioral finance–understanding how bias and perception affect the behavior of investors in the financial markets. Now he turns those tools on management practices to explore strategies for corporations to develop overall behavioral intelligence. The hard work includes “debiasing” management practices and recognizing psychological barriers that can run companies off the rails: from unrealistic optimism and overconfidence to availability bias—in other words, putting too much value on what information you have, versus that you don’t. The good news, Shefrin says, is that psychologically smart companies are made, not born. So here’s the maker’s handbook.
I am from there, I am from here
With the Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists: Artists of the American Mosaic
(Greenwood Press, 2008, $85), Fayeq S. Oweis
has assembled nearly 100 portraits of remarkable artists and their work. More, he set out to capture how politics, language, culture, identity, and economics inform their craft—and how they tell stories of adversity as well as love. The encyclopedia includes a number of black-and-white and color reproductions, along with profiles of well-known and obscure artists—some first-generation immigrants, some whose grandparents came to the States. Their media range from traditional painting, calligraphy, and furniture-making to digital work and installation.
A lecturer in the department of modern languages at Santa Clara, Oweis has taught Arabic language and culture at SCU since 2005, specializing in Arabic calligraphy and language and Islamic art. He is an artist in his own right and designed the exterior entranceway murals of the dome at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Mich., and, more recently, an acclaimed mural of scholar Edward Said in San Francisco.
The Bill and Dave way
During the years Carly Fiorina ran things at HP, Michael S. Malone ’75 MBA, ’77
was persona non grata. Fiorina’s problem, Malone said, was that she really didn’t understand the company she was charged with running. To help the rest of us, Malone has written the definitive history of that company in Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World’s Greatest Company
(Libri, 2007, $26.95). With unprecedented access to private archives, he shows how the two men launched not only a legendary company but an entire way of life in Silicon Valley.
Malone argues that the “HP Way” that defined the company was in fact a hard-nosed business philosophy that combined simple objectives, trust in employees to make the right choices, and ruthless self-appraisal. Here you’ll find a business adventure story, told by the man who was the first high-tech journalist in the nation.
There’s a simple reason that colleges and universities across the country increasingly relegate teaching duties to adjunct faculty and graduate students. And it’s not because that approach provides a better education. It’s just cheaper that way. So writes Professor of English Marc Bousquet
in How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation
(NYU Press, 2008, $22). It’s not exactly a new problem—Bousquet pegs it at 35 years and counting, with no sign of abating unless academics can pull off civil actions or union organization to battle corporate management tactics. To be sure, Bousquet has ruffled a few feathers with this book and his blog, Howtheuniversityworks.com. But the book has also earned from The Chronicle of Higher Education
the assessment that it should be “required reading for anyone with an interest in the future of higher education, including administrators, faculty members, graduate students, and—even more significantly—undergraduates and their parents.”
Resistance is not futile
In Piety and Dissent: Race, Gender, and Biblical Rhetoric in Early American Autobiography
(University of Massachusetts Press, 2008, $24.95), Associate Professor of English Eileen Elrod
examines the autobiographies of six early Americans who faced racism and domestic abuse within their religious communities. Elrod contends that these individuals, inspired by biblical parables of liberation, fury, and opposition to authority, saw resistance as a religious act and took from that a sense of autonomy. Elrod’s areas of expertise include gender studies, multicultural literature, religion and literature, and United States literature up to 1900. She has taught at the University since 1992.
Are you experienced?
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy James W. Felt, S.J.
, likens a metaphysical account of experience to an astronomer's understanding of a starfilled desert night. “We can all gaze at the same points of light,” he writes, “but astronomers see them from the perspective of a coherent theoretical understanding that enriches the experience by giving it a deeper intelligible meaning.” Felt’s most recent book, Aims: A Brief Metaphysics for Today
(Notre Dame Press, 2007, $20), combines the fundamentals of Thomas Aquinas’ metaphysics with Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. He weaves together threads of epistemology, ontology, and teleology in order to create “process-enriched Thomism.” We begin with the Oracle of Delphi’s first philosophical command: “Know yourself!” First comes experience, then trying to make sense of it. Ultimately, Felt concludes in this study, “I find myself at the farthest boundary of philosophy, asking questions that philosophy itself, so far as I can see, cannot answer.”
Queen of the bee
Kids of all ages, prepare to meet Penny the Period and her grammar cohort in Penny and the Punctuation Bee
(Albert Whitman & Company, 2008, $16.95). Moira Rose Donohue J.D. ’78
combines a light-hearted children’s story geared for 6- to 9-year-olds with practical grammar lessons featuring doubting Quentin the question mark and self assured (and loud) Elsie the exclamation point. Artist Jenny Law’s colorful, whimsical illustrations show the gang as they square off at the school punctuation bee. Donohue’s other children’s works include Alfie the Apostrophe
. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Rob, and her two children, Peter and Rose.