Letters From the Editor

Confessions of a Businessman

It’s meant to be an ironic title – I’m a terrible businessman, and really I have no idea what to do when it comes to numbers, selling, or any non-editorial brass tacks. That said, one of our major goals for The Morning News this year is to make some money without charging for stories, so we are exploring many new ways to bring in revenue. (Get ready for the TMN store! Coffee mugs and other fusty things! Coming soon!)

You’ve seen the Google advertisements around the site – now say hello to the Editors’ Picks Amazon Lists: featured in Andrew’s and my letters sections, you’ll find advertisements for books (my pages) and albums (Andrew’s) that we’ve recently fallen in love with. A few notes about those lists:

 Both lists are hand-picked because we particularly loved the book or album and believe you may like it too. Neither Amazon.com nor any persuasive flacks have access to our tastes, so our recommendations come untainted straight from our couches to your computers.

 Occasionally I’ll have things other than books in my list; same with Andrew and things other than records. It just so happens, as Chris pointed out two years ago, that I’m the book-dork and Andrew’s the music-dork. Go figure.

 If you purchase any of our recommended books or albums by using the click-through link to Amazon.com, you’ll be helping us out. And we thank you for that.

So as for my first two picks: Confessions of a Philosopher by Bryan Magee came to me by my friend Chris a few months ago and was the best non-fiction book I’ve read in at least five years. Maybe I was primed for it – Magee writes beautifully about a life spent reading, worrying, and working with philosophy, and his personal anecdotes struck many chords with my own questions. Though it is compulsively readable, the story is slow-going: along with covering his life, Magee investigates nearly every major philosopher in detail, with many pages paid to Kant, Schopenhauer, and Karl Popper, loaded with surprising frankness and humor. It’s a supremely rewarding book, full of life and insight.

Second is Night Soliders by Alan Furst. I’m late to Furst but happy I found him. His are extremely good historical spy novels, and from the few I’ve read, Night Soliders is my favorite. Some review I read this summer said Furst novels are the books you expect to find on the nightstands of London newspaper editors (the kind who like crosswords, S&M-lite, and obituaries) and fine – shoot me – that sent me to racing to 3 Lives & Company. Like Michael Malone with his ‘Justin & Cuddy’ series, Furst stands far above his genre and writes fine, fine novels. (‘There are no second-rate genres,’ Oates said (or so I’ve heard quoted), ‘only second-rate practitioners.’) In fact, I recently bought a new one, but it’s pinned under J.M. Coetzee’s collected essays, so I don’t get to read it for a week.

Note: the irony of my recommending a book through Amazon after I bought it from an independent bookstore is understood and appreciated, thank you very much. We are actually pursuing relationships with independent sellers, and hopefully will have something to report soon.

And that’s all. As usual, we love to hear from you.



Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at rosecransbaldwin.com. More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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