WW Recommends Books (& other things)

In this feature of the Washington Watch, WW will primarily recommend books you may find interesting but may also now and then mention a TV program or other things. I welcome your suggestions and your input. What have you been reading or watching that you think WW readers might like?

I Eat Men Like Air
Alice Berman

A lavish, snowy weekend in New Hampshire ends in tragedy – and, a few months later, one of the partygoers is found dead. As famed podcaster Tyler Carroll tries to discover the truth around Alex Sable’s dramatic death, he turns to the native Upper East Siders who knew the billionaire’s son best. Each of the six people Tyler is investigating has something to hide, and each has chosen a wildly different path: Lulu is an LA influencer, Maxie a Park Avenue Princess turned Chicago housewife, Will a status-obsessed lawyer, Rob a money-hungry trader, Yael a not-so-innocent ER doctor, and Alex himself a party boy with a penchant for darker trouble than even his friends knew. With the shadow of a fifteen-year-old crime hanging over Alex’s life, Tyler delves deeply into the complex past that seems almost to have disappeared from memory, hoping to find any answers around who Alex was, alive and dead.

Alice Berman is not related to WW (Mike Berman). Alice is the daughter of Lea and Wayne Berman who are friends of WW (Mike Berman).

The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens
Richard Haass

A provocative guide to how we must re envision citizenship if American democracy is to survive.

The United States faces dangerous threats from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, terrorists, climate change, and future pandemics. The greatest peril to the country, however, comes not from abroad but from within, from none other than ourselves. The question facing us is whether we are prepared to do what is necessary to save our democracy.

The Bill of Obligations is a bold call for change. In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Richard Haass argues that the very idea of citizenship must be revised and expanded. The Bill of Rights is at the center of our Constitution, yet our most intractable conflicts often emerge from contrasting views as to what our rights ought to be. As former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out, “Many of our cases, the most difficult ones, are not about right versus wrong. They are about right versus right.” The lesson is clear: rights alone cannot provide the basis for a functioning, much less flourishing, democracy.

But there is a cure: to place obligations on the same footing as rights. The ten obligations that Haass introduces here are essential for healing our divisions and safeguarding the country’s future. These obligations reenvision what it means to be an American citizen. They are not a burden but rather commitments that we make to fellow citizens and to the government to uphold democracy and counter the growing apathy, anger, selfishness, division, disinformation, and violence that threaten us all. Through an expert blend of civics, history, and political analysis, this book illuminates how Americans can rediscover and recover the attitudes and behaviors that have contributed so much to this country’s success over the centuries.

As Richard Haass argues, “We get the government and the country we deserve. Getting the one we need, however, is up to us.” The Bill of Obligations gives citizens across the political spectrum a plan of action to achieve it.

Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away with It
Elie Honig

CNN senior legal analyst and nationally bestselling author Elie Honig explores America’s two-tier justice system, explaining how the rich, the famous, and the powerful— including, most notoriously, Donald Trump—manipulate the legal system to escape justice and get away with vast misdeeds.

How does he get away with it? That question, more than any other, vexes observers of and participants in the American criminal justice process. How do powerful people weaponize their wealth, political power, and fame to beat the system? And how can prosecutors fight back?

In Untouchable, Elie Honig exposes how the rich and powerful use the system to their own benefit, revealing how notorious figures like Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby successfully eluded justice for decades. He demonstrates how the Trump children dodged a fraud indictment. He makes clear how countless CEOs and titans of Wall Street have been let off the hook, receiving financial penalties without suffering criminal consequences. This doesn’t happen by accident.

Over the four years of his administration, Donald Trump’s corruption seemed plain for all to see. The former president obstructed justice, flouted his responsibility to the Constitution, lied to the American people, and set the United States on a dark path to disunity and violence. Yet he has never been held accountable for any of his misdeeds. Why not?

Untouchable holds the answer. Honig shows how Trump and others use seemingly fair institutions and practices to build empires of corruption and get away with misdeeds for which ordinary people would be sentenced to years behind bars. It’s not just that money talks, Honig makes clear, but how it can corrupt otherwise reliable institutions and blind people to the real power dynamics behind the scenes.

In this vital, incisive book, Honig explains how the system allows the powerful to become untouchable, takes us inside their heads, and offers solutions for making the system more honest and fairer, ensuring true justice for all—holding everyone, no matter their status, accountable for their criminal misdeeds.

The following is from a book that will not be published until April 18, 2023, but it can be pre-ordered on Amazon and perhaps other places.

Life in Five Senses: How Exploring the Senses Got Me out of My Head and Into the World
Gretchen Rubin


Are you searching for ways to boost your focus and productivity at work?

I find that while tips for time management and task prioritization are helpful, often they ignore the external factors that make it harder to get work done.

While researching my book Life in Five Senses, I discovered that to a great degree, it’s often our surroundings, our screen, and other people that hijack our attention.

Here’s one simple, manageable solution: Tap into the power of our five senses.

Seeing: Ask yourself if you are a simplicity-lover or an abundance-lover. For some people, creativity and productivity are sparked by orderly arrangements, bare counters, empty shelves. Others get a boost from profusion, buzz, piles, and collections.

Hearing: Identify and eliminate bothersome noises that distract you while you work, or wear noise-cancelling headphones.

Smelling: Because bad smells can drain your energy, tackle a search at the source. The garbage pail, the fridge, and the microwave are common culprits.

Tasting: I find that keeping a sugar-free mint in my mouth helps me concentrate. I don’t why, but it works. Some people prefer to chew gum.

Touching: Eliminate scratchy shirts or tight pants and replace an uncomfortable chair or a desk that’s too high or too low. Discomfort can distract and drain us.