All the Swirl "Must Reads" September 2017


My "Must Read" is from: Clarkson Potter Publishers

Article: The Spice Companion

Author: Lior Lev Sercarz

Why is this a must read?: I have an enviable collection of signed cookbooks collected over the past 30 years of my professional epicurean career.   Being an urbanite in two of the most desirable cities over that timeframe, New York & San Francisco, meant that books took up the precious little space I have in a small apartment.   I've slowed my collecting down a bit, but every once in a while a book is published that strikes all the right notes and The Spice Companion fits that to a tee.   A master spice blender who spent his childhood and young adulthood in Israel and Europe, and then attended cooking school at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon,France, Sercarz has had a lifelong love affair with the exotic spices from the places he's lived and traveled.   Academic, visually stunning, loaded with ideas for pairing spices and food, traditional remedies, and recipes, the stunning visuals are inviting and the copy is stimulating on so many levels.  It is a must have on my groaning metro shelf in my kitchen!


My "Must Read" is from: New York Times

Article: Neo-Nazis in Your Streets? Send in the (Coup Clutz) Clowns

Author: Tina Rosenberg

Why is this a must read?: Beyond the civic message in this op-ed (which I find to be equally important to consider), I loved reading this as a marketing professional. It serves as a reminder of the power of smart messaging through simple inclusionary humor tactics. In these volatile, tumultuous times, it's critical that we remember how to most effectively 'react' when confronted with abhorrent, misguided, or simply ill-informed ideologies. The Mattel Teen Talk Barbie example that's provided in this piece is a classic (and hilarious) anecdote on how - pre-social media mind you - a group of concerned citizens managed to take Mattel to task for a pretty tone-deaf product launch. "A good joke creates a memorable, clear message, allowing the protesters to reframe the issue and attract supporters. Humor engages people on an emotional level and — if it is not meanspirited — it can open them to your message. And it can expose absurdity. A social-change strategist, John Jackson, calls it 'making the invisible visible."

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My "Must Read" is: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Author: Jen Sincero

Why is this a must read?: I picked up this book in an airport bookstore while waiting for a delayed flight. I wasn't expecting much from You Are a Badass, but was pleasantly surprised by the way Jen Sincero offers important advice in an extremely entertaining and humorous way. By the end of the book, "you'll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can't change, how to change what you don't love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass." 


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My "Must Read" is: Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Author: Trevor Noah

Why is this a must read?: Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" writes beautifully and candidly of his experience growing up in Apartheid South Africa. I found this memoir to be both heart-wrenching and warming, as well as completely enlightening on the challenges a mixed-race child faced during Apartheid, and the immense power of a determined and loving mother. Michiko Kakutani of New York Times writes: "It’s the story of a fiercely religious woman, who attributes her miraculous survival from a gunshot wound to the head (inflicted by Abel) to her faith; a woman who took her son to three churches on Sunday (as well as a prayer meeting on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday and youth church on Thursday), even when there were dangerous riots in the streets and few dared to venture out of their homes."