Profile Books

  • Pleasantville

    Attica Locke

    LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE 2016 It's 1996, Bill Clinton has just been re-elected and in Houston a mayoral election is looming. As usual the campaign focuses on Pleasantville -- the African-American neighbourhood of the city that has swung almost every race since it was founded to house a growing black middle class in 1949. Axel Hathorne, former chief of police and the son of Pleasantville's founding father Sam Hathorne, was the clear favourite, all set to become Houston's first black mayor. But his lead is slipping thanks to a late entrant into the race -- Sandy Wolcott, a defence attorney riding high on the success of a high-profile murder trial. And then, just as the competition intensifies, a girl goes missing, apparently while canvassing for Axel. And when her body is found, Axel's nephew is charged with her murder. Sam is determined that Jay Porter defends his grandson. And even though Jay is tired of wading through other people's problems, he suddenly finds himself trying his first murder case, a trial that threatens to blow the entire community wide open, and reveal the lengths that those with power are willing to go to hold onto it.

  • "Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?" Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don't understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they've come to know and love.

  • Features none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. The consequence is surprising, mildly shocking and funny.

  • THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Everyone needs to read this book as an act of digital self-defense.' - Naomi Klein, Author of No Logo , The Shock Doctrine , This Changes Everything and No is Not Enough The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control us. The heady optimism of the Internet's early days is gone. Technologies that were meant to liberate us have deepened inequality and stoked divisions. Tech companies gather our information online and sell it to the highest bidder, whether government or retailer. Profits now depend not only on predicting our behaviour but modifying it too. How will this fusion of capitalism and the digital shape our values and define our future? Shoshana Zuboff shows that we are at a crossroads. We still have the power to decide what kind of world we want to live in, and what we decide now will shape the rest of the century. Our choices: allow technology to enrich the few and impoverish the many, or harness it and distribute its benefits. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a deeply-reasoned examination of the threat of unprecedented power free from democratic oversight. As it explores this new capitalism's impact on society, politics, business, and technology, it exposes the struggles that will decide both the next chapter of capitalism and the meaning of information civilization. Most critically, it shows how we can protect ourselves and our communities and ensure we are the masters of the digital rather than its slaves.

  • In twenty years behind the till in The Bookshop, Wigtown, Shaun Bythell has met pretty much every kind of customer there is - from the charming, erudite and deep-pocketed to the eccentric, flatulent and possibly larcenous. In Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops he distils the essence of his experience into a warm, witty and quirky taxonomy of the book-loving public. So, step inside to meet the crafty Antiquarian , the shy and retiring Erotica Browser and gormless yet strangely likeable shop assistant Student Hugo - along with much loved bookseller favourites like the passionate Sci-Fi Fan , the voracious Railway Collector and the ever-elusive Perfect Customer.

  • Love, Nina meets Black Books : a wry and hilarious account of life in Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop and the band of eccentrics and book-obsessives who work there 'The Diary Of A Bookseller is warm (unlike Bythell's freezing-cold shop) and funny, and deserves to become one of those bestsellers that irritate him so much.' ( Mail on Sunday ) 'Utterly compelling and Bythell has a Bennett-like eye for the amusing eccentricities of ordinary people ... I urge you to buy this book and please, even at the risk of being insulted or moaned at, buy it from a real live bookseller.' (Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express ) Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

  • The concise edition of the 2019 WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS BOOK AWARD From the million-copy bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves. We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Concise Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defence.

  • Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by - power.

  • ''It is hard to imagine a more timely book ... much of the modern world will make more sense having read it.'' The Times We live in a world that''s more interconnected than ever before. Our lives are shaped by outbreaks - of disease, of misinformation, even of violence - that appear, spread and fade away with bewildering speed. To understand them, we need to learn the hidden laws that govern them. From ''superspreaders'' who might spark a pandemic or bring down a financial system to the social dynamics that make loneliness catch on, The Rules of Contagion offers compelling insights into human behaviour and explains how we can get better at predicting what happens next. Along the way, Adam Kucharski explores how innovations spread through friendship networks, what links computer viruses with folk stories - and why the most useful predictions aren''t necessarily the ones that come true.

  • The first story collection in a decade from the great Russell Banks

  • SPQR

    Mary Beard

    Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller Shortlisted for a British Book Industry Book of the Year Award 2016 The new series Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit is on BBC2 now Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome. SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus , 'the Senate and People of Rome'.

  • The fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 has become the commemorative symbol of the French Revolution. But this violent and random act was unrepresentative of the real work of the early revolution, which was taking place ten miles west of Paris, in Versailles. There, the nobles, clergy and commoners of France had just declared themselves a republic, toppling a rotten system of aristocratic privilege and altering the course of history forever. The Revolution was led not by angry mobs, but by the best and brightest of France's growing bourgeoisie: young, educated, ambitious. Their aim was not to destroy, but to build a better state. In just three months they drew up a Declaration of the Rights of Man, which was to become the archetype of all subsequent Declarations worldwide, and they instituted a system of locally elected administration for France which still survives today. They were determined to create an entirely new system of government, based on rights, equality and the rule of law. In the first three years of the Revolution they went a long way toward doing so. Then came Robespierre, the Terror and unspeakable acts of barbarism. In a clear, dispassionate and fast-moving narrative, Ian Davidson shows how and why the Revolutionaries, in just five years, spiralled from the best of the Enlightenment to tyranny and the Terror. The book reminds us that the Revolution was both an inspiration of the finest principles of a new democracy and an awful warning of what can happen when idealism goes wrong.

  • WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS BOOK AWARD 2019 Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves. We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defence.

  • This is the story of our quest to understand the most mysterious object in the universe: the human brain. Today we tend to picture it as a computer. Earlier scientists thought about it in their own technological terms: as a telephone switchboard, or a clock, or all manner of fantastic mechanical or hydraulic devices. Could the right metaphor unlock the its deepest secrets once and for all? Galloping through centuries of wild speculation and ingenious, sometimes macabre anatomical investigations, scientist and historian Matthew Cobb reveals how we came to our present state of knowledge. Our latest theories allow us to create artificial memories in the brain of a mouse, and to build AI programmes capable of extraordinary cognitive feats. A complete understanding seems within our grasp. But to make that final breakthrough, we may need a radical new approach. At every step of our quest, Cobb shows that it was new ideas that brought illumination. Where, he asks, might the next one come from? What will it be?

  • For thousands of years, mathematicians have used the timeless art of logic to see the world more clearly. In The Art of Logic , Royal Society Science Book Prize nominee Eugenia Cheng shows how anyone can think like a mathematician - and see, argue and think better. Learn how to simplify complex decisions without over- simplifying them. Discover the power of analogies and the dangers of false equivalences. Find out how people construct misleading arguments, and how we can argue back. Eugenia Cheng teaches us how to find clarity without losing nuance, taking a careful scalpel to the complexities of politics, privilege, sexism and dozens of other real-world situations. Her Art of Logic is a practical and inspiring guide to decoding the modern world.

  • MR FIVE PER CENT

    Jonathan Conlin

    When Calouste Gulbenkian died in 1955 at the age of 86, he was the richest man in the world, known as 'Mr Five Per Cent' for his personal share of Middle East oil. The son of a wealthy Armenian merchant in Istanbul, for half a century he brokered top-level oil deals, concealing his mysterious web of business interests and contacts within a labyrinth of Asian and European cartels, and convincing governments and oil barons alike of his impartiality as an 'honest broker'. Today his name is known principally through the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, to which his spectacular art collection and most of his vast wealth were bequeathed. Gulbenkian's private life was as labyrinthine as his business dealings. He insisted on the highest 'moral values', yet ruthlessly used his wife's charm as a hostess to further his career, and demanded complete obedience from his family, whom he monitored obsessively. As a young man he lived a champagne lifestyle, escorting actresses and showgirls, and in later life - on doctor's orders - he slept with a succession of discreetly provided young women. Meanwhile he built up a superb art collection which included Rembrandts and other treasures sold to him by Stalin from the Hermitage Museum. Published to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, Mr Five Per Cent reveals Gulbenkian's complex and many-sided existence. Written with full access to the Gulbenkian Foundation's archives, this is the fascinating story of the man who more than anyone else helped shape the modern oil industry.

  • Whether it's the Protestant work ethic, or the capitalist need for productivity, most of us in the English-speaking world believe that in order to achieve anything worthwhile, we must first expend huge amounts of effort. In fact, just the opposite is true. In The French Art of Not Trying Too Hard, Ollivier Pourriol shows how the best results in life, love, work, art and even sports come not from working harder, but from letting go. This is not a new idea in France: since Montaigne, philosophers have suggested that a certain je ne sais quoi is the key to a more creative, fulfilling and productive existence. We can see it in their laissez faire parenting, their chic style, their haute cuisine and enviable home cooking - the French barely seem to be trying, yet the results are world famous. Drawing lessons from French legends like Descartes, Stendhal and Francoise Sagan, Rodin and Zidane, Cyrano de Bergerac and Coco Chanel, Ollivier Pourriol explores how to be efficient a la francaise , and how to effortlessly reap the rewards.

  • From imaginary numbers to the fourth dimension and beyond, mathematics has always been about imagining things that seem impossible at first glance. In x+y, Eugenia Cheng draws on the insights of higher-dimensional mathematics to reveal a transformative new way of talking about the patriarchy, mansplaining and sexism: a way that empowers all of us to make the world a better place. Using precise mathematical reasoning to uncover everything from the sexist assumptions that make society a harder place for women to live to the limitations of science and statistics in helping us understand the link between gender and society, Cheng''s analysis replaces confusion with clarity, brings original thinking to well worn arguments - and provides a radical, illuminating and liberating new way of thinking about the world and women''s place in it.

  • THE HAPPY TRAITOR - SPIES, LIES EXILE IN RUSSIA: THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF GEORGE BLAKE Nouv.

    '' A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.'' Philippe Sands Those people who were betrayed were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It''s all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I''d invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea. George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant. In 1961, Blake was sentenced to forty-two years imprisonment for betraying to the KGB all of the Western operations in which he was involved, and the names of hundreds of British agents working behind the Iron Curtain. This was the longest sentence for espionage ever to have been handed down by a British court. On the surface, Blake was a charming, intelligent and engaging man, and most importantly, a seemingly committed patriot. Underneath, a ruthlessly efficient mole and key player in the infamous ''Berlin Tunnel'' operation. This illuminating biography tracks Blake from humble beginnings as a teenage courier for the Dutch underground during the Second World War, to the sensational prison-break from Wormwood Scrubs that inspired Hitchcock to write screenplay. Through a combination of personal interviews, research and unique access to Stasi records, journalist Simon Kuper unravels who Blake truly was, what he was capable of, and why he did it.

  • The ultimate hustle is to move freely between the street and corporate worlds, to find your flow and never stay locked in the same position. This is a manifesto for how to operate in the twenty-first century, where everything has been turned on its head.

  • Suitable for those with an interest in conquest, self-defense, wealth, power or simply being an educated spectator, this book teaches you how to cheat, dissemble, feign, fight and advance your cause in the modern world.

  • 'Bernie Sanders has changed US politics forever' Owen Jones Bernie Sanders stormed to international headlines after running an extraordinary campaign for the Democratic primaries that saw over 13 million people turn out to vote for him, and changed the global discussion surrounding US politics. But how did a complete unknown and a democratic socialist make such waves? In Our Revolution , Sanders provides a unique insight into the campaign that galvanized a movement, sharing experiences from the campaign trail and the ideas and strategies that shaped it. Sanders' message resonated with millions. His supporters are young and old, dissatisfied with expanding social inequality, struggling with economic instability and fighting against a political elite which has long ignored them. This global phenomenon is driving movements from Syriza in Greece to Podemos in Spain and the support for Jeremy Corbyn in the UK. Drawing on decades of experience as an activist and public servant, Sanders outlines his ideas for continuing this revolution. He shows how we can fight for a progressive economic, environmental, racial and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages and protects the planet. Searing in its assessment of the current political and economic situation, but hopeful and inspiring in its vision of the future, this book is essential for anyone tired of 'same as usual' politics and looking for a way to change the game.

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