Reverse Innovation

Jun 21, 2012

A new book by a Dartmouth professor explores the changing world of advances in technology, medicine, and marketing and the greater role that developing nations are playing.  More and more, innovations are occurring in poorer countries, then exported to wealthy nations, turning traditional patterns on their head.  We’ll hear some examples, and why our guest says this could benefit everyone.  


(Photo by Lester Public Library via Flickr Creative Commons)

Summer time is book season, with seemingly every media outlet weighing in with lists of recommended beach reads. Audiobooks don’t get nearly as much play, though they are a staple for many, whether as the soundtrack to a road trips, a daily commute, or even an alternative to listening to the radio at home.

Fifty Shades of NHPR

Jun 18, 2012
(Photo by Rebecca Lavoie)

While we were prepping for today's segment on audio books, we couldn’t help but wonder about whether we could pass as audio book producers…perhaps even elevating a book of dubious quality by getting just the right people to read it. So, we took dramatic  stab at an excerpt from the hottest book around, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L.

Part 1: Is "Liking" Free Speech?/The Legacy of Limmer

Twilight of the Elites

Jun 12, 2012

A new book by liberal commentator Chris Hayes examines the widespread institutional failures over the last ten years…from government to Wall Street to the Catholic Church to major league baseball.  Hayes says this “lost decade” has led the public to distrust anyone in authority…and he points blame at a fundamental cherished  American ideal:  the meritocracy.


J.D. Salinger famously refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye, saying it was "unactable." It's true the subtleties of such great novels can get lost in translation. But I thought I'd take a look at three of my favorite novels that have never made it to the multiplex in wide release. Each of these will transport you to another time and another place.

Lizzie Skurnick writes the "That Should Be a Word" column for the New York Times Magazine.

England has always reveled in its drawing-room dramas, from Jane Austen's social minefields to E.M. Forster's Howards End to Upstairs, Downstairs — and yes, the blockbuster Downton Abbey.

(Photo by Corey Garland, Garland Photography)

If If fiction writers can learn from police reports, true crime writers have the tricky task of transforming those reports into prose. Word of Mouth Senior Producer Rebecca Lavoie is also a true crime author. She and her husband Kevin Flynn have written and published two books, in the genre.

David J. Murray,

International bestselling author Dan Brown talks about science, religion, and life after the Da Vinci Code at a benefit performance for Writers on a New England Stage, live from the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Brown’s novels, and the films based on them, have been banned by the Catholic church, inspired college courses, and have renewed dialogue about the interplay between science and religion. Brown, the son of a mathemeticiaa and a church organist, talks about his lifelong inquiry into life’s mysteries. 

Recently CNET reported that the FBI had been lobbying congress for a law that would require social networking companies and other web-based communication systems to make sure their systems are surveillance-compatible. FBI director Robert Mueller seemed to confirm that in an appearance last week before the senate judiciary committee.

For centuries, that transition between teen-hood and adulthood has been accompanied with a newfound independence, where young men and women leave the roost, go to college, buy a house and raise a family.  But according to author Katherine Newman, high unemployment rates, the rise of short-term employment, longer life expectancies and the high cost of living have forced many a young adult back home to live with mom and dad.  They are called 'Accordion Families' and depending on the culture, they're met with a variety of acceptance.  Today we look closer into this new phenomenon called Accord

Mike Doughty’s 2005 album Haughty Melodic was a breakthrough for the singer-songwriter…before going solo, Doughty had founded and fronted the 90’s band Soul Coughing…which he disbanded in 2000, much to the chagrin of die-hard fans. But  there was a reason beyond the typical story of egos and bad record deals for that band’s demise…one that Doughty hints at in haughty melodic’s biggest hit, "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well.”

Akash Kapur is the son of an Indian father and an American mother. In 2003, after working professionally in New York City for more than a decade, he decided to return to India. As he writes in his book, India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India, he arrived in a place he hardly recognized.

It's almost that time of year again, when a new crop of 20-something college graduates prepares to take those first steps into the working world.

In her new book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now, University of Virginia clinical psychologist Meg Jay argues that those first years of adulthood are the most important time in a young person's life.

Jay recently joined NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss why the 20s are such a crucial age for both college grads and non-college grads.

How much would you pay for a very rare book?

The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.

The news business has changed a lot in recent years, and that's especially true of political news. But when you ask about a book that captures what it's like to report on a presidential campaign, one decades-old classic still rules: The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse.

The rough-and-tumble account of the reporters who covered President Richard Nixon's re-election against George McGovern back in 1972 is part of a Morning Edition series on political history.

I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"

Blogger Jenny Lawson called upon a few of her biggest fans to make the trailer for her new memoir, including author Neil Gaiman there, musician Amanda Palmer, and Star Trek actors Wil Wheaton and Jeri Ryan, claiming to be Lawson in a YouTube video that’s been viewed more than seventy thousand times…

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown has been thinking about the contributions of journalists to global culture.

The Rise Of Hitler, As Seen By Americans Abroad

Photo of A.J. Jacobs by Michael Cogliantry

A.J. Jacobs is serious about self improvement.

One doesn't necessarily associate spring travel with heavy reading. For one, books are bulky luggage, the weighty enemies of economical packers; even an e-reader takes up precious space in one's overflowing duffel. And two, escapist migration to mountaintops or flowery fields or seaside locales for sun worship and meditative communion with nature connotes a markedly book-free environment, an escape from the office or the solemn halls of academe.

Hellbent For Living: A Screwball Parisian Adventure

Apr 12, 2012

Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of Paris, I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down.

It's not always the case, but Americans are feeling pretty good about the French these days. Look at this year's Academy Awards: Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, his top-grossing movie of all time, was nominated in four categories. More telling: This year's Best Picture statue went to a French film, The Artist, for the very first time.

In a 24-hour, Internet-fueled news cycle, political campaign reporters often seem to be focused on what just happened, and only what just happened. But presidential candidates profess to take a longer view: They consciously link their critiques and promises to the influential figures and debates of the past.

Carole King has an armful of Grammy Awards and countless Top 10 hits, both under her own name and as a songwriter for artists from Little Eva to the Monkees to Aretha Franklin.

Her solo album Tapestry spent 15 weeks at the top of the charts, becoming one of the biggest-selling records of all time. King managed to fit in all those hits by starting very, very young. She tells NPR's Renee Montagne that she was just 15 when she and some classmates formed a doo-wop group called the Co-Sines.

Blaise Pascal once wrote that writing succinctly can be hard. It's something many of us aim for, yet few of us master. But if you're writing on Twitter, you have to keep it short.

The Nigerian writer Teju Cole recently devoted himself to the goal of writing in brief. On his Twitter account, he crafts compact stories based on small news items, things you might overlook in the metro section of a newspaper. And with brevity, his stories gain deeper meaning.

There are plenty of pop culture references to the dangers of a close mother-son relationship. From the myth of Oedipus to the movie Psycho, narrative after narrative harps on the idea that mothers can damage their sons, make them weak, awkward and dependent.

But for millions of men, the opposite has turned out to be true, author Kate Lombardi tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. Lombardi — a mother herself — is the author of the new book, The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.

We have all felt the ethereal siren song of other universes — the thrilling suspicion that touching a certain ring may in fact suck you into a Wood Between the Worlds, or that if you walk just so between platforms nine and 10 at King's Cross Station, you might find yourself departing from platform nine and three-quarters. For some, the tingling sensation of magical lands fades after leaving childhood behind. But I still peer curiously into wardrobes, and thus here are three blazingly intelligent adult novels for the untamable Alice in all of us.

Photo by Beast of Traal via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1:

Users, Unite!

This is the one union that will kick you out if you pass a drug test. Jesse McKinley wrote about the evolution and demands of the San Francisco drug users union for The New York Time.

New York Times Article  

Part 2:

The Cow Clause

Photo by Robert S. Donovan via Flickr Creative Commons

Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook has touched down in China.

The Amazing, Untrue Story Of A Sept. 11 Survivor

Mar 26, 2012

Tania Head had one of the most tragic and inspiring stories to come out of the Sept. 11 attacks.

She was in the south tower, on the same floor that the second plane hit. She saw horrific carnage and was handed a wedding ring by a dying man who requested that she give it to his wife. Then she was led to safety by Welles Crowther, the famous "man in the red bandanna," who lost his own life rescuing others. And finally, she woke up in a hospital burn unit six days later, only to find out that her husband had been killed in the north tower.