November

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David Shrayer-Petrov in conversation with Maxim D. Shrayer and Arna B. Bronstein

Doctor Levitin

Available now for the first time in English, Doctor Levitin is a modern classic in Jewish literature. A major work of late twentieth-century Russian and Jewish literature since its first publication in Israel in 1986, it has also seen three subsequent Russian editions. It is the first in David Shrayer-Petrov’s trilogy of novels about the struggle of Soviet Jews and the destinies of refuseniks. In addition to being the first novel available in English that depicts the experience of the Jewish exodus from the former USSR, Doctor Levitin is presented in an excellent translation that has been overseen and edited by the author’s son, the bilingual scholar Maxim D. Shrayer.

David Shrayer-Petrov is a well-known contemporary Russian-American writer and medical scientist. He has published twenty-five books in his native Russian and three books of fiction in English translation, including Dinner with Stalin and Other Stories. Maxim D. Shrayer, the author’s son and translator, is professor of Russian, English, and Jewish studies at Boston College and a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow. His books include Waiting for America: A Story of Emigration and Leaving Russia: A Jewish Story.

Arna Bronstein is a professor at the University of New Hampshire. She is the co-author of several acclaimed textbooks of Russian, including Making Progress in Russian, and has translated fiction and nonfiction from the Russian. 

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Jeff Tweedy

Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc.

This event will take place at the Wilbur Theatre. Purchase tickets HERE.

Few bands have inspired as much devotion as the Chicago rock band Wilco, and it’s thanks, in large part, to the band’s singer, songwriter, and guiding light: Jeff Tweedy. But while his songs and music have been endlessly discussed and analyzed, Jeff has rarely talked so directly about himself, his life, and his artistic process.

Until now. In his long-awaited memoir, Jeff will tell stories about his childhood in Belleville, Illinois; the St. Louis record store, rock clubs, and live-music circuit that sparked his songwriting and performing career; and the Chicago scene that brought it all together. He’ll also talk in-depth about his collaborators in Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and more; and write lovingly about his parents, wife Susie, and sons, Spencer and Sam.

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Ryan Beauchesne with Crusoe

Crusoe, the Worldly Wiener Dog: Further Adventures with the Celebrity Dachshund

This is a ticketed signing event. Get tickets here!

Meet Crusoe the Celebrity Wiener Dog (and his faithful human) as they celebrate their new book, CRUSOE, THE WORLDLY WIENER DOG: Further Adventures with the Celebrity Dachshund.

Join the photogenic Crusoe as he leaves fame and fortune behind to expand his horizons, get his passport stamped, and journey across the globe to eat delicious food, relax on beautiful beaches, dig lots of holes, and generally enjoy all that celebrity travel has to offer. 

Ryan Beauchesne is the proud owner, father, manager, and chief pooper-scooper of Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund. The last few years of Ryan’s life have been entirely devoted to Crusoe and his antics. With multiple viral videos, travels across the world, a New York Times bestselling book, and over 3.5 million followers on social media, Crusoe has become the unofficial ambassadog for dachshunds everywhere, and for any dog with a passion for whimsy and adventure.

Small Press Book Club

Death in Spring

Discussing me Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda. 

Read something off the beaten path! Our Small Press Book Club will meet to discuss a book from an independent publisher. To contact our moderator, email smallpress@brooklinebooksmith.com

Considered by many to be the grand achievement of her later period, Death in Spring is one of Merce Rodoreda’s most complex and beautifully constructed works. The novel tells the story of the bizarre and destructive customs of a nameless town–burying the dead in trees after filling their mouths with cement to prevent their soul from escaping, or sending a man to swim in the river that courses underneath the town to discover if they will be washed away by a flood–through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy who must come to terms with the rhyme and reason of this ritual violence, and with his wild, child-like, and teenage stepmother, who becomes his playmate. It is through these rituals, and the developing relationships between the boy and the townspeople, that Rodoreda portrays a fully-articulated, though quite disturbing, society.

Transnational Book Club

Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China

Discussing winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China by Xiaolu Guo. Our Transnational Book Club will explore themes of migration, displacement, and exile. To contact our moderator, email shuchi@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders.

Xiaolu Guo has traveled further than most to become who she needed to be. Now, as she experiences the birth of her daughter in a London maternity ward surrounded by women from all over the world, she looks back on that journey. It begins in the fishing village shack on the East China Sea where her illiterate grandparents raised her, and brings her to a rapidly changing Beijing, full of contradictions: a thriving underground art scene amid mass censorship, curious Westerners who held out affection only to disappear back home. Eventually Xiaolu determined to see the world beyond China for herself, and now, after fifteen years in Europe, her words resonate with the insight of someone both an outsider and at home, in a world far beyond the country of her birth.

Xiaolu Guo was born in south China. She studied film at the Beijing Film Academy and published six books in China before she moved to London in 2002. The English translation of Village of Stone was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Her first novel written in English, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, published in 2008, was longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize. Her most recent novel, I Am China, was longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2013 she was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Xiaolu has also directed several award-winning films including She, A Chinese and a documentary about London, Late at Night. She lives in London and Berlin.

Rob Sheffield

Dreaming The Beatles

Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone columnist and bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape offers an entertaining, unconventional look at the most popular band in history, the Beatles, exploring what they mean today and why they still matter so intensely to a generation that has never known a world without them.

Rob Sheffield is a columnist for Rolling Stone, where he has written about music, TV, and pop culture since 1997. He is the author of the national bestsellers Love Is a Mix Tape: Love and Loss, One Song at a Time and Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man’s Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, as well as Turn Around Bright Eyes: A Karaoke Journey of Starting Over, Falling in Love, and Finding Your Voice and On Bowie.

James Geary

Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It

In this whimsical book, James Geary explores every facet of wittiness, from its role in innovation to why puns demonstrate the essence of creativity. Geary reasons that wit is both visual and verbal, physical and intellectual.

In Wit’s End, Geary embraces wit in every form by adopting a different style for each chapter; he writes the section on verbal repartee as a dramatic dialogue, the neuroscience of wit as a scientific paper, the spirituality of wit as a sermon, and other chapters in jive, rap, and the heroic couplets of Alexander Pope. Demonstrating that brevity really is the soul of wit, Geary crafts each chapter from concise sections of 200, 400, or 800 words. Entertaining, illuminating, and entirely unique, Wit’s End shows how wit is much more than a sense of humor.

Ron Koltnow’

Barberton Fried Chicken: An Ohio Original

Against all challengers, Barberton, Ohio proudly defends its title as “Fried Chicken Capital of the World.” Founded by industrialist Ohio Columbus Barber, the city drew workers from around the globe, especially eastern Europe. Immigrants brought their traditions and their cuisine. In time, Barberton became home to five Serbian fried chicken restaurants, all within a two-mile radius. Belgrade Gardens, Hopocan Gardens, White House Chicken, Terrace Gardens and Milich’s Village Inn (later Village Inn Chicken) were Serbian in origin yet consummately American. All served up the traditional dinner–chicken, fries, coleslaw and hot sauce. Grab a seat and a handful of napkins and join author Ron Koltnow as he recounts the mouthwatering story of an Ohio original.

Lara Salahi and Pardis Sabeti

Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic

At the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a prominent physician working in Sierra Leone, Sheikh Humarr Khan, became infected with the virus and died. As Pardis Sabeti and Lara Salahi show, much more could have been done within the medical community and among international actors to protect not only this renowned infectious disease expert but also the well-being of his patients and others affected by this devastating disease.

Written by an award-winning genetic researcher and a tenacious journalist, Outbreak Culture examines each phase of the epidemic–the largest and deadliest of its kind–and identifies the factors that kept key information from reaching physicians and complicated the government’s response to the crisis. Drawing insights from clinical workers, data collectors, organizational experts, and scholars, Salahi and Sabeti expose a fractured system that failed to share knowledge of the virus and ensure containment.

December

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kidsmith

Alan Silberberg

Meet the Latkes

Do you like picture books? Join us for this special Hanukkah storytime with guest author Alan Silberberg! Featuring, as special musical guests, members of Ezekiel’s Wheel.

Imagine James Marshall’s The Stupids celebrating Hanukkah, and you’d get the Latke family!

Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight. (To start with, they were Maccabees, not Mega Bees…) But he’ll have to get the rest of the Latkes to listen to him first!

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Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass Every Day

Tickets for this event may be purchased HERE.

For anyone who has ever had trouble staying on track while trailblazing towards badassery, You Are a Badass Every Day is the companion to keep you fresh, grateful, scrappy, and driven. In this inspirational guide, bestselling author and world-travelling success coach Jen Sincero distills the big ideas behind her iconic books You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money into bite-sized, daily exercises and reflections you need to stay sharp. Giving you permission to let go of missteps, the tools to keep yourself accountable, and the space and acceptance to celebrate like mad when you are kicking butt, You Are a Badass Every Day is organized to help you maneuver through the challenges and maximize the advantages of our seasonal rhythms to power you past beliefs and behaviors that hold you back from greatness.

Emmanuel Iduma in conversation with Chike Frankie Edozien

A Stranger’s Pose

Emmanuel Iduma is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Born and raised in Nigeria, his essays and stories appear frequently in journals, magazines, artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. He is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing. He holds an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he now teaches. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is editor of Saraba Magazine, which he co-founded. Chike Frankie Edozien is a Nigerian-American writer and journalist. A journalist for the New York Post and a professor of journalism at New York University, he is the author of the 2017 memoir Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man, which won the Lambda Literary Award in the Gay Memoir/Biography category in 2018.

About the book:

Through stories remembered and imagined, and images by acclaimed photographers, A Stranger’s Pose draws the reader into a world of encounters in more than a dozen African towns. Iduma blends memoir, travelogue and storytelling in these fragments of a traveller’s journey across several African cities. Inspired by the author’s travels with photographers between 2011 and 2015, the author’s own accounts are expanded to include other narratives about movement, estrangement, and intimacy. These include: an arrest in a market in N’djamena, being punished by a Gendarmes officer on a Cameroonian highway and meeting the famed photographer Malick Sidibe in Bamako.

Robert Mnookin

The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World

Jews in America are in a period of unprecedented status and impact, but for many their identity as Jews–religiously, historically, culturally–is increasingly complicated. Many are becoming Jews without Judaism. It appears success and acceptance will accomplish what even the most virulent antisemitism never could—if not the disappearance of Jews themselves, the undermining of what it means to be Jewish.

Mnookin shares provocative stories of the ways American Jews have forged (or disavowed) their Jewish identity over the past half-century, including his own, to answer the standing question: How can Jews who have different values, perspectives, and relationships with their faith keep the community open, vibrant, and thriving?

Ben Berman

Then Again

The interrelated short prose pieces in Ben Berman’s Then Again explore a life outside of chronological order, bounce back and forth between foreign adventures and domestic routines. One moment we’re in a Mommy and Me yoga class, the next we’re gutting a goat in rural Zimbabwe. As much a meditation on language as a coming to terms with middle age, these stories navigate the distance between words and worlds. And yet whether getting chased by wild dogs through the alleyways of Kathmandu or desperately trying to stop his three-year-old from drawing all over the walls, Berman contemplates life’s ambiguities with both wisdom and wonder.

Jane Sutton

Esther’s Hanukkah Disaster

Do you like picture books? Join us for this special Hanukkah storytime with guest author Jane Sutton!

It’s hard to pick the perfect gift, and Esther the Gorilla’s choices seem all wrong at first. But it all gets sorted out when she invites her animal friends to a joyful Hanukkah party.

Brookline Booksmith Book Club

Improvement

Discussing Improvement by Joan Silber. 

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets downstairs at 7:30pm. To contact our moderator, email bookclub@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Leonard Rosen

The Kortelisy Escape

Caught in a Three Strikes law that sends him to prison for life, Nate Larson negotiates with prosecutors for an early release in exchange for testifying against his brother in an upcoming trial. As part of the deal, he demands custody of his fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Grace, who’s survived a string of disastrous foster homes.

The Kortelisy Escape is a moving, unlikely love story narrated in alternating chapters by Grace and Nate Larson. It’s also a coming-of-age story enriched by mounting tension and large questions concerning magic, loyalty and wonder.

kidsmith

Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness

Moderated by authors Michelle Hodkin and Malinda Lo. This event will take place at Coolidge Corner Theatre. TICKETS SOLD HERE.

Cassandra Clare returns to the world of the Shadowhunters in the third book in the Dark Artifices trilogy, The Queen of Air and Darkness.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined.

Ha Jin

The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po)

With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the life story of Li Bai (701-762), whose poems–shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life–rang throughout the Tang Dynasty. Jin follows Li Bai from his birth on China’s western frontier through his travels as a young man seeking a place among the empire’s civil servants, his wanderings allowing him to hone his poetic craft, share his verses, and win him friends and admirers along the way. In his later years he is swept up in a military rebellion that alters the course of China, and his death is shrouded in speculation and legend to this day. The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, and mourn without reservation produced some of the most enduring verses in the world.

HA JIN left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of eight novels, four story collections, three volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor at the creative writing program at Boston University.

Brookline Booksmith Book Club

The Brookline Booksmith Book Club meets downstairs at 7:30pm. To contact our moderator, email bookclub@brooklinebooksmith.com.

Joanna Schaffhausen

No Mercy: A Mystery

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season.  Ellery is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.”

JOANNA SCHAFFHAUSEN wields a mean scalpel, skills developed in her years studying neuroscience. She has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain—how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. Previously, she worked for ABC News, writing for programs such as World News TonightGood Morning America, and 2020. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and daughter. No Mercy is her second novel.

James Charlesworth & Susan Bernhard

The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill

Winter Loon

The Patricide of George Benjamin

All their lives, the children of George Benjamin Hill have fought to escape the shadow of their father, a dust-bowl orphan, self-made millionaire in bedrock American capitalism (fast food and oil), and destroyer of two families on his way to financial success. Now, they are approaching middle age and ruin. While their father takes his place at the center of a national scandal, these estranged siblings find themselves drawn from their four corners of the country for a final confrontation with the father they never had.

James Charlesworth is a recipient of the Martin Dibner Fellowship from the Maine Community Foundation and an MFA from Emerson College. He is at work on his second book.

Winter Loon

Abandoned by his father after his mother drowns in a frozen Minnesota lake, fifteen-year-old Wes Ballot is stranded with coldhearted grandparents and holed up in his mother’s old bedroom, surrounded by her remnants and memories. As the wait for his father stretches unforgivably into months, a local girl, whose own mother died a brutal death, captures his heart and imagination, giving Wes fresh air to breathe in the suffocating small town.

Susan Bernhard is a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship recipient and a graduate of the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program.

Small Press Book Club

Read something off the beaten path! Our Small Press Book Club will meet to discuss a book from an independent publisher. To contact our moderator, email smallpress@brooklinebooksmith.com

Dani Shapiro

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro’s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Abby Ellin

Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married

Abby Ellin was shocked to learn that her fiancé was leading a secret life. But as she soon discovered, double lives are everywhere.

In Duped, Ellin plunges headlong into the world of double lives. Studying the art and science of lying, talking to women who’ve had their worlds upended by men who weren’t who they professed to be, and writing with great openness about her own mistakes, she lays the phenomenon bare. These remarkable–yet surprisingly common–stories reveal just how strange and improbable our everyday lives really are.

Abby Ellin is an award-winning journalist and the author of Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In On Living Large, Losing Weight and How Parents Can (and Can’t) Help. For five years she wrote the “Preludes” column about young people and money for the Sunday Money and Business section of the New York Times. She is also a regular contributor to the Health, Style, Business and Education sections of the New York Times. Her work has been published in The New York Times MagazineNew York, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and many others.

Joseph Finder

Judgment: A Novel

It was nothing more than a one-night stand. Juliana Brody, a judge in the Superior Court of Massachusetts, is rumored to be in consideration for the federal circuit, maybe someday the highest court in the land. At a conference in a Chicago hotel, she meets a gentle, vulnerable man and has an unforgettable night with him—something she’d never done before. They part with an explicit understanding that this must never happen again.

But back home in Boston, Juliana realizes that this was no random encounter. The man from Chicago proves to have an integral role in a case she’s presiding over–a sex-discrimination case that’s received national attention. Juliana discovers that she’s been entrapped, her night of infidelity captured on video. Strings are being pulled in high places, a terrifying unfolding conspiracy that will turn her life upside down. 

Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen previous novels, including The SwitchGuilty MindsThe FixerSuspicionVanished, and Buried Secrets. Finder’s international bestseller Killer Instinct won the International Thriller Writers’s Thriller Award for Best Novel of 2006. Other bestselling titles include Paranoia and High Crimes, which both became major motion pictures. He lives in Boston.

Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars

Leigh Bardugo is hitting the road in support of her next adventure in the Grishaverse, King of Scars, and Brookline Booksmith is lucky enough to be one of the hosts!

Exciting news: we’re partnering with Macmillan to host a Grishaverse fan meet-up an hour before Leigh arrives! We’ll be closing the store to everyone but ticketholders for this meet-up–Grishaverse fans will have the run of the store! The meet-up will include trivia/games, a themed King of Scars photo backdrop (so come in costume!), exclusive fan-meet-up-only moments, and more!

Once Leigh arrives, she’ll host a 30 minute Q&A followed by a book signing where you’re able to get King of Scars personalized and two additional Leigh Bardugo titles signed. You’ll also be able to grab a quick photo with her, so have your cameras ready to go!

All parts of this event will take place at Brookline Booksmith / 279 Harvard St / Brookline, MA 02446.

FAN MEET-UP: 6-7PM
Q&A AND SIGNING: 7PM

ABOUT THE BOOK

Face your demons…or feed them.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

Enter the Grishaverse with this new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Karen Dillon & Efosa Ojomo

The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty

Clayton M. Christensen, the author of such business classics as The Innovator’s Dilemma and the New York Times bestseller How Will You Measure Your Life, and co-authors Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon reveal why so many investments in economic development fail to generate sustainable prosperity, and offers a groundbreaking solution for true and lasting change.

Efosa Ojomo works side-by-side with Christensen and the Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, where he leads the organization’s Global Prosperity Practice. His work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Guardian, Quartz, CNBCAfrica, and the Emerging Markets Business Review.

Karen Dillon is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller How Will You Measure Your Life? She is a graduate of Cornell University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In 2011 she was named by Ashoka as one of the world’s most influential and inspiring women.