The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System
by James Rickards

The premise of this book is fairly straight forward: The current monetary system is unsustainable and is bound to collapse. Rickard’s analysis of causes can be boiled down to these four: debt, structural problems in the world economy, derivatives, and out-of-control increases in the money supply. According to Rickards, it’s only a question of time.

Monetary collapse can sound quite alarmist to some. But as Rickards points out, it is not as uncommon as people tend to think. In the past century alone, the international monetary system changed three times; the first after WWI, the second after WWII (Bretton-Woods agreement), the third was in 1971 after Nixon closed the gold window. Rickards offers a bracing analysis of the issues and shows why money itself is now at risk and what we can do to protect ourselves.

James G. Rickards is an American lawyer and senior Managing Director at Tangent Capital Partners LLC, a merchant bank based in New York City.

Publisher: Portfolio; hard cover edition (April 8, 2014)

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande

In this best-selling book, Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public-health researcher, addresses end-of-life care, and how we’re getting it wrong, both within the medical establishment and in our families. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, confine patients to railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, and check for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Atul Gawande argues that we should focus less on prolonging life and more on making it meaningful. He offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. A deeply affecting, urgently important book–one not just about dying and the limits of medicine but about living to the last with autonomy, dignity, and joy.

Atul Gawande MD, MPH is an American surgeon, author, and public health researcher.

Publisher: Metropolitan Books; first edition (October 7, 2014)

Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts

This book, which covers the earliest beginnings of the United States (1740-1797), is an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families and their country was just as crucial to the forging of the nation as the rebellion that established it.

Drawing upon their personal correspondence, letters, and private journals, Roberts highlights the contributions made by such exceptional women as Abigail Adams and Martha Washington, Deborah Read Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and many others who, working behind-the-scenes, managed property, raised their children, and served in countless ways in support of the cause of liberty.

Cokie Roberts is an American journalist and author, and a contributing senior news analyst for National Public Radio.

Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (February 15, 2005)

The Wright Brothers
by David McCullough

In this thrilling, easy-to-read book, master historian David McCullough tells the dramatic behind-the-scenes story of the Wright Brothers, two unknown bicycle mechanics, who ushered in the age of flight. Bicycle shop owners by day, Wilbur and Orville taught themselves flight theory. Soon realizing that theory was no match for practical testing, they repeatedly risked life and limb in pursuit of their goal.

Based upon family correspondence, private diaries, notebooks, and more than a thousand letters, McCullough tells the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might have turned out differently for them.

David McCullough, an American historian, is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition (May 5, 2015)

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
by Frances E. Jensen, MD

In this groundbreaking book, Frances Jensen, MD, an internationally respected neurologist—and mother of two boys—offers a revolutionary look at the science of the adolescent brain. She explains why teenagers can be especially impulsive, moody and not very good at responsible decision-making. Drawing on her years of research and clinical experience, she not only dispels commonly held myths about the adolescent years, but offers practical advice for both parents and teenagers on learning, multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making.

The Teenage Brain is a valuable resource for parents, youth workers, educators, and anyone involved with teens in any way.

Frances E. Jensen, MD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She lectures widely on the subject of adolescent brain development.

Publisher: Harper (January 6, 2015)


The Parent Trap, 1998
This romantic comedy is about identical twins, Hallie Parker and Annie James. They were separated at birth by their parents’ divorce and grew up unaware of each other’s existence—Hallie in California with her dad; Annie in London with her mother. By coincidence the twins meet at the same all-girls summer camp in Maine 11 years later.

Much to their amazement and surprise, they discover that not only were they born on the same day but that they are, in fact, sisters. Eager to meet their respective parents, the girls devise a scheme to switch places and ultimately, reunite their mom and dad. The Parent Trap, a wonderfully entertaining feel-good movie for the whole family, was a critical and financial success.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 1988
This American comedy film, set on the French Riviera, is about two con men, Lawrence Jamison (Michael Caine), a suave Continental who lives in luxury in the town of Beaumont-sur-Mer and Freddy Benson (Steve Martin) a brash young American upstart who wants to horn in on the action. Although they attempt to develop a working relationship, it becomes apparent that the town just isn’t big enough for both of them.

The fun begins when they devise a winner-take-all competition to decide who will stay and who will go: The first to con 50,000 dollars out of a selected mark may remain; the other must leave town. Embarking on separate strategies, they target a newly-arrived, American soap heiress. The bet, which brings out the best and the worst in each of them, turns into a battle of wits and double-cross as they attempt to sabotage each other’s efforts. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which ranks 85 on Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies, is a buoyant, funny film with a clever twist at the end.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

The Goonies, 1985
This American adventure comedy film is about a group of pre-teens who live in the “Goon Docks” neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon. When a group of developers attempt to buy out their neighborhood and turn it into a golf course, the “Goonies” as they call themselves, take on the mission to raise enough money to save their homes. That’s quite unlikely until they stumble upon an old Spanish map that leads them on a quest to unearth the long-lost treasure of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary 17th-century pirate.

But complications set in when they discover that the entrance to the cavern where the treasure is located is under the hideout of local gangsters whom they must outsmart in order to get to it. This beloved 1980s classic was nominated for best adventure motion picture.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Get Low, 2009
In this film, Oscar winners Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek team up to tell the true story of Felix Bush, an irascible backwoods Tennessee hermit who, in 1938, planned to attend his own funeral while he was still alive. Gruff, confrontational, and ill-tempered, Felix had been the target of malicious rumors for over 40 years. But the death of an old friend inspired Felix to make plans of his own, and to set the record straight by requesting a “funeral party” for himself while he’s still alive.

On the big day Felix reveals to everyone the long-held secrets of his past and exactly why he shunned society to lead a life of solitude in the deep woods. Get Low, a movie about guilt and redemption, is a poignant, moving film that you’ll want to see again and again.

Available: DVD; Rated PG-13

The Man Who Knew Too Little, 1997
This American comedy/satire is about Wallace Ritchie (Bill Murray), an American who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity. In London to celebrate his birthday with his wealthy younger brother, Wally gets signed up for an audience-participation event which promises to treat the participant as a character in a crime drama. But an unfortunate case of mistaken identity leads him into a web of espionage in which he’s mistaken for a real spy.

The clueless Wally is unaware that he’s become involved in a plot to kill Russian dignitaries on the eve of signing an international peace agreement. To him it’s all part of an elaborate theater performance with the people around him as actors. Recommended for the whole family!

Available: DVD; Rated PG

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