Archive for the ‘Popular Books on Famous Personalities’ Category

11 Things You Might Not Know About Barack Obama

Monday, August 4th, 2014

nn Today is the 53rd birthday of the 44th and the first African American President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. Even though people may know much about President Barack Obama, but there are still many things about this charismatic personality that you might be unaware of. On his birthday, we would like our readers to know a few more interesting things about the most popular world leader.  

 Nickname Is “Barry”: Barack Obama was known by his classmates as “Barry” when he was growing up in Hawaii, but preferred to be called Barack when he reached University.

Obama Is Bi-Racial. Barack Obama is a first bi-racial president of United States of America. He inherited equally from his father and mother. He inherited his skin-tone from his Kenyan Father, Barack Obama Sr. whereas his eyes and facial shape from his mother Ann Dunham, a white woman from Wichita, Kansas. “My father was black as pitch, my mother white as milk” – Barack Obama.

Obama Loves Playing Basketball: President’s favorite sport is basketball and he has a powerful force on the basket ball court. Even because of his famous double pump, left-handed shot at basketball, he was named as ‘O’Bomber’ at high school. Luol Deng was his favorite British professional basket player.

He’s Read Every Single Book In Harry Potter Series:  Barack parting the watersObama has almost read all seven books of the most popular J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Book Series. He read these books to his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are the fans of the magical series.

His Inspirations: The three men who inspired him the most were Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch- a Pulitzer Prize- winning book about Martin Luther King is one of his favorite books. Besides this, his  other favorite books including  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lincoln’s Collected Writings and The Bible. These books are also listed on his Facebook page.

He Is Left-Handed: Barack is the sixth post-war President who uses left hand to write. The President recounts that he was often punished with a ruler for writing with his left hand.

640x170He Cannot Stand The Taste Of Ice Cream: According to a survey, ice cream and frozen novelty treats business alone generated more than $11 billion sales in 2012 in US. And every year 15 quarts of ice cream is consumed by average Americans. But the current president of America has a great distaste for all types of ice creams. His disliking for ice creams started during his childhood when he once employed in a famous Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Movie: In an interview, the President of United States revealed “Casablanca” as his favorite movie. He also stated that he is also the biggest fan of 1975 Academy-Award-winning Jack Nicholson hit, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His other favorite movies are: The Godfather (1972), and The Godfather: Part II (1974).

He Experimented With Drugs As A Teenager: In Obama’s firstbarack book, “Dreams From My Father“, he had confessed that he experimented with marijuana and cocaine as a teenager. He did not try the Heroin as he did not like the supplier. Now he considers it was a fault and says that he is not proud of it.

Obama Is Addicted To Blackberry: The most powerful Man of USA is addicted to Blackberry. He has habit of constantly checking his BlackBerry. He is so addicted that he has been forced to hand it over for security reasons.

Obama Won Two Grammy Awards: US first African American president, Barack achieved not one-but two- Grammy awards for the audio version of his bestselling memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” and his book, “The Audacity Of Hope”.

So these were the list of fascinating facts on Barack Obama. Please share your thoughts and let us know whether you liked the article in the comments below.

Sources:

  • Chicago Tribune
  • usnews.com
  • Wikipedia
  • telegraph.co.uk

How the World Changes

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Guest Author: Cathleen Miller

deceptively sweet for webIn my life there’s been a recurring theme: I’m sitting in my study trying to write—between considering bankruptcy, wondering should I get a job, contemplating running off to South America and changing my name to Catalina—when the phone rings. And suddenly everything changes.

That’s what happened the morning the call came offering me the deal to write Desert Flower. And then four years later when the United Nations called me in California and asked if I’d like to write the life story of their top female leader, Nafis Sadik.

Such an innocuous thing, a telephone, that you don’t realize till years later how picking it up can send you in an unexpected direction and change your life. In this particular case, that direction was east, first to Manhattan to interview Nafis and her colleagues at the UN. Dr. Sadik had been named “One of the most powerful women in the world” by the London Times because of her groundbreaking work in women’s rights, so I knew I’d be in the presence of greatness. But I didn’t know I’d spend the next 10 years of my life delving into the source of that greatness.

By the time I finished Nafis’s biography, Champion of Choice, I hadMiller_cvr_final.indd orbited the globe to interview some of the most acclaimed minds of our time, including several female heads of state. What I came home with felt like a PhD in leadership and diplomacy, a deep understanding of how Nafis and her cohorts had changed the world.

The watershed event where this change took place was the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo where Nafis received the signatures from 183 governments agreeing to females’ rights to contraception, education and health care. The nations committed to create access to these opportunities back home in the coming years.

The media usually focuses on the depressing facts of destruction and decline; but thanks to Nafis’s decades of effort here is one startling and earth-changing achievement: when this ob-gyn started with the UN Population Fund in 1971 the average global birthrate was six children per mother. By the time of her retirement 30 years later, that birthrate had been cut in half, and much of it’s due to her paradigm: birth control + education = a reduction in the world’s population.

March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. and the thing I am most proud of in Champion of Choice is that built into the story of how Nafis became “one of the most powerful women in the world” is the information on how she did it, in case others reading her biography also have a secret desire to change the world.

It’s my small contribution to women. After all, my life was changed by access to birth control and education…oh, and the telephone.

About Author:

Cathleen Miller’s latest book, Champion of Choice, the biography of UN leader Nafis Sadik, has been named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Biographies of 2013. Her previous work includes the international bestseller Desert Flower, which was adapted as a feature film. Miller’s travel essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times. 

10 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin-Luther-KingAn apostle of peace and a preacher of universal love, harmony and brotherhood- Martin Luther King Jr. is an iconic figure in the U.S. history whose mission in life was to serve others. One of the greatest orators in the history of America, King was a charismatic figure who both amazed and uplifted people by his clear sense of purpose, his commitment to social transform and the brilliance of his insights. For his non-violent movements to eradicate racial prejudices and segregations in America, he was awarded with the Noble Peace Prize in 1964.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15th, 1929, Martin would not bow his head in apathy and, with his outstanding efforts, gave hope to the poor and strengthened the lives of millions of mistreated and downtrodden people. US Civil rights leader, Dr. King also authored many books, including Why We Can’t Wait, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, The Measure of a Man, I Have a Dream Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, and many more.

There’s no doubt that most of us are pretty familiar with his civil rights movement and his eloquent oratory skills, but there are indeed some facts that have slipped under the radar. In honor of a great man and leader, we have dug up some interesting and lesser-known facts about the legendary icon that you probably may not be aware of.

1. King’s Birth Name Was Michael, Not Martin.

The original name of this civil rights leader was “Michael King, Jr.” In 1931, when his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany, he changed his name to Martin Luther in homage to the German Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther as well as that of his 5-year-old son. But no records documenting a formal name change and hence until his death he officially remained Michael King, Jr.

2. Martin Skipped the 9th and 12th grades

Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a bright student that he skipped both the ninth and the twelfth grades and entered Morehouse College at the tender age of 15. By the age of 19, he graduated college with a degree in sociology. King also received a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological seminary and earned his Ph.D. degree in 1955 from Boston University. The title of his theses was “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

3. King Was Jailed 29 Times

According to the King Center, King was arrested and sent to prison nearly 30 times over the course of his life. Most of the reasons he was arrested were for acts of civil disobedience. In 1963, he was taken to jail in the consequence of the Birmingham confrontation with the municipal authorities. He wrote a prose, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that ranks among most important American documents written. He was also ridiculously jailed for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956.

4. The Youngest Person To Receive Noble Prize

King won a Noble Peace Prize at the age of 35. In 1964 when he received the Noble Prize, he was the youngest overall for the Peace Prize. He earned $54,123 (about $400,000 today) for his Noble Peace Prize but donated all his money to the Civil Rights movement. Moreover, he was the first African American to be named Man of the Year by Time Magazine in 1963.

5. King Was Nearly Assassinated A Decade Before His Death

Assassination new

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray but it was not the first assassination attempt. While King was on a book tour in Blumstein’s department store, signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” on September 20, 1958, he was approached by a black woman, Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked him if he was Martin Luther King Jr., which he obviously replied yes. After he gave affirmative answer, she said, “I have been looking for you for five years,” and then pulled out a seven-inch steel letter opener and stabbed him in his chest. The sharp point end of the blade came on the edge of his aorta, and King underwent hours of emergency chest surgery.

6. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech on the Steps of The Lincoln Memorial Was Not His First.

Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream” on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial was considered as one of the finest addresses ever delivered to a public audience. About 250,000 people attended and listened to his immortal speech. Although this outstanding speech was not King’s first at Lincoln Memorial. His first national address was delivered on the topic of voting rights at the monument.

7. There are Over 1,000 streets Around the World Named After Him

street

You might not know that there are more than 1,000 streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. all over the world so far. Presently, over 730 streets have named after king can be found in nearly every major city in America.

 8. MLK Is the Only Non-President With A National Holiday In His Honor

To date, there are George Washington and Christopher Columbus are the only other two people in American history that have national holidays honoring them. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the only non-president native-born United States citizen to have had his birthday observed as a federal holiday. In 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday as a national holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. Each year MLK day, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the King’s birthday, January 15.

9. King’s Last Words

According to Jesse Jackson, who was also present at the assassination, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last words were:”Ben, make sure you play: Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” to musician Ben Branch, who would be playing at Dr. King’s speech that night. On the day King was assassinated, he was out on the balcony for a smoke. Later, the last words spoken by him became his last wish as at his funeral, his good friend Mahaila Jackson sang the same hymn for him.

10. King’s Heart was 20 Year Older Than Him

Martin’s autopsy results revealed that although he was only thirty-nine at the time of his death, he had the heart of a sixty-year-old man. It can be assumed that it was a consequence of the lot of stress he was gone through during thirteen years of civil rights movement. King once himself had verbally predicted that he would not live to see forty.  

Famous Disabled People and Their Achievements

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

All humans experience trials and tribulations or hardships in their lives, whether minor or major. The thing that defines their personalities and characters is the way they face and respond to these hardships. There are some valiant people, who set high standards of achievements despite being physically disabled. These brave and heroic people have surprised the world with their strong will power and courage and never let their disabilities come in the path of glory. With their determination, the lives of these outstanding personalities became a triumph over crushing adversity and devastating affliction.

Below, we have collected a list of some of such personalities who made a difference to the world with their incredible stories and amazing talent.

 

John MiltonJohn Milton Helen_KellerAHelen Keller John NashJohn Nash Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking Jean Domnique BaubyJean Domnique Bauby

John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674)

 

John Milton

One of the greatest English poets of all time and the most powerful political thinkers- John Milton is recognized in the world of literature for his masterpiece “Paradise Lost”. Being a civil servant, he spent most of his time working on theology, political philosophy and history that have always been reflected in his writings. Though, he became blind at the age of 43, which is more likely due to bilateral retinal detachment or glaucoma, he did not stop writing poems. And the fact that makes him one of the most appreciable disabled persons of the world is his finest works of poetry during his blindness. He is renowned all around the world for his greatest works “Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained”, “Samson Agonistes”, and “Aeropagitica”.” His works had a tremendous impact on the Romantic Movement in English Literature, and that is why his fellow poet William Wordsworth used to refer him as one of the pioneers of English Revolution.

 

Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)

Helen_KellerA

Helen Adams Keller is one of the most inspiring deaf and blind women who became the famous activist. She was born a normal child, but lost her sense of vision, hearing and speaking at the age of 18 months when an unidentified disease struck her. She made a difference by proving the people anything can be achieved in life with sheer determination. She was first deaf-blind person who earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from college and became a prolific author, academic, social and political activist. She also penned down 12 books, including her autobiography, The Story of My Life that was used as the basis for 1957 three-act teleplay The Miracle Worker. Despite of her disability, she traveled all over the world and daringly raised her voice for the education of the differently abled people and for the importance of equality and women upliftment.

 

John Forbes Nash (born June 13, 1928)

John Nash

John Forbes Nash, is an American Mathematician who gave diverse and extraordinary contributions not only to game theory winner, for which he rewarded the Nobel Prize, but to pure mathematics–from differential geometry and partial differential equations. In 1959, he started showing symptoms of extreme paranoia and his wife later explained that he started behaving erratically. In the same year, he was admitted to McLean Hospital for the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. After recovering from his unexpected behavior, he became more successful due to his work and received numerous awards and recognition. For his discovery of non-cooperative equilibria in 1978, which is now named as Nash equilibria, he won John von Neumann Theory Prize. He is lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University where he teaches Chemical engineering, chemistry and mathematics. Sylvia Nasar’s book, A Beautiful Mind, which was adapted into an Academy Award winning movie, was loosely based on his biography.

 

Stephen Hawking (born 8 January 1942)

Stephen Hawking

Born in the year 1942 in England, Cosmologist Stephen Hawking is considered as one of the most famous theoretical physicists after Albert Einstein. His discoveries on the beginning and evolution of universe, from the Big Bang to black holes, have revolutionized the field, while his best-selling books and public appearances have made him a scholastic icon. He received the highest civilian award in the United States and was rewarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In the early 1963, a few years after his 21st birthday, he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). This is such a dangerous in disease in which certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord gradually die. Doctors expected that he would only survive for two or three years. He is almost completely paralyzed and communicates through a machine device known as Speech Generating Device (SGDs). Yet Hawking defied the odds, not only attaining success as a bestselling author but also creating new roads into the formation of the universe in the decades since. His “A Brief History of Time” that was published in 1988 topped the charts and stayed on the British Sunday Times bestsellers list for more than 4 years.

 

Jean-Dominique Bauby (April 23 1952 – March 9, 1997)

Jean Domnique Bauby

Jean-Dominique Bauby, famous French journalist, and author of several books and Editor-in-Chief of French Elle Magazine suffered from a massive stroke at the age of 43 causing him to go into a coma for twenty days. After waking up from a coma, he found himself afflicted with a very rare neurological disorder called Locked-in syndrome that made him paralyzed from head to foot wherein the mental state remained intact. After this stroke, he found that he could only blink his left eyelid. Despite this pathetic condition, he wrote the book ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ by blinking his left eye when a person reciting the alphabetical letters reached at the correct letter. Bauby died just two days after the publication of his book in France on 7 March 1997.

These are few of those great personalities whose life stories touch the heart and soul of every human being. This piece is just for paying heartily tribute and saying thanks to all the valiant people for the marvelous contributions they make to the world.

Five Must Include Historian’s Books To Your Reading List

Friday, April 12th, 2013

 

Author : Sherry Helms

History is all around us that continues to be made, still fascinates those who write it, and allows the modern being to take history on its surface for granted. You may have heard the name of Herodotus, “Father of History” who was the first historian collected his resources and assemble them in a well-built and vivid narrative, and whose perspectives formed the basis of ancient Greek and Persian historical civilization. Around the world and down through the ages, thousands of self-made and qualified historians have presented their exceptional perspectives on what’s happened and why it’s happened.

History is still filled with significant dates and accomplishments of dignified men and women who are more educated or many just have a better vantage point to trace history. Today our editorial team has selected five among the very best historians who bring their own compelling viewpoint on various subjects through their extremely fascinating, yet profoundly written books.

 

Robert Marshall Utley:Robert M. Utley

An American author and Historian, Robert M. Utley has  written sixteen books that are based on the history of the American West. An ex-chief historian of the National Park Service, Utley is now live with his wife Melody Webb, historian and a published author, in a retirement community in Scottsdale, Arizona. His second book, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation (1963) is a heart-touching book about the confrontation of the Sioux tribe and Army at the Battle of Wounded Knee Creek. For those who want to know more about his life and experiences can read his memoir Custer and Me: A Historian’s Memoir.

Stephen Ambrose: Stephen Ambrose

Stephen Ambrose was a major American historian and biographer of 20th century who wrote a wide variety of books, most of which centered on the soldiers themselves. His belief that the history should be exciting and accurate made him a famous writer. In addition of writing books regarding soldiers of Civil War, he initiated the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans for giving tribute to the people who fought in the war. Best-known for his book on World-War II, Ambrose also written various other popular books such as “The Wild Blue,” Undaunted Courage,”- to name just a few.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is an American essayist, Unitarian minister, philosopher, poet and historian whose own feelings on Nature, Politics, Self-Reliance, and Experience made for great essays. His first published work, Nature, is the result of his soul-searching and intellectual study in the fields of philosophy and religion. Leader of the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, Ralph was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of abolition and the countervailing pressures of society, and he spread his perspectives through dozens of published essays and over 1500 public lecturers across the US. Emerson emerged as one of the original thinkers of his age whose essays and lectures offer models of style, clarity and thought that had a profound influence in 19th century American life.

Patricia Nelson Limerick: Patricia Nelson Limerick

Born in the year 1951in Banning (California), Patricia Nelson Limerick is an eminent scholar, sophisticated American historian, brilliant teacher, and well-known author. She is a professor of history and chair of the Board of the centre at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her sharp and insightful thoughts greatly change how we visualize the history of the American West. She has published a large variety of books, articles and reviews. Recipient of numerous awards and honorary appointment, Limerick is best-known for her 1987 book The Legacy of Conquest in which she offers the earthy and uncomfortable reality of a living west.  Along with several book reviews and scholarly articles, she writes many op-ed pieces and columns for “The Denver Post”, “USA Today,” “The New York Times,” etc. Her other books comprises “Something in the Soil,” A Ditch In Time,” The Atomic West,” and many more.

David McCullough: David McCullough

Widely acclaimed as the master of the art of narrative history, McCullough won two Pulitzer Prizes for his books on two U.S. Presidents that were later made into an HBO film and miniseries. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McCullough is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal for Freedom and a twice winner of National Book Award, which is the nation’s highest award a civilian can achieve. His work “John Adams” published in 2001 was the widely read and highly praised American Biography of all time. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris is his most recent book, which has been named “an epic of ideas,” …”dazzling” has become the number one New York Times bestseller.

While there are plenty of other historians, who continually are writing about all things present in actual time, these five historians as well as writers have done a great job in commenting on the moment and offering insights in spectacular clarity.

 

 

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