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Shelf Life

2011 in review: Top author interviews on Marketplace

Kai Ryssdal Dec 12, 2011

This isn’t so much a books-of-the-year list as it is a here-are-some-of-my-favorite-author-interviews list. It’s an opportunity to cherry pick our archives and hear why what got written was written and, sometimes, what didn’t make the final edit.

“Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home,” by Caitlin Shetterly

This is an on-the-ground memoir of the Great Recession, told with detail and care. Shetterly, her husband and her newborn son share coast-to-coast car trips and huge personal changes through a changing economy. Check out the interview.

“On China,” by Henry Kissinger

The book is fine — there are some interesting details about Kissinger’s 1971/1972 ping-pong diplomacy, but the best part of this interview? I made Henry Kissinger laugh. Listen.

“Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories of Work,” by Richard Ford

Work is the through-line of the American economy. Ford’s selections in this anthology will make you think about why we work, and how. Read an except from the book.

“Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft,” by Paul Allen

The easy tech-industry biography to pick this year is Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs.” And it’s pretty good. But everyone already knows most of the Apple/Jobs story. Paul Allen’s recounting of how he and Bill Gates started Microsoft, and what it became, is a better tale. Take a listen to my full interview with Mr. Allen here.

And check out some of the picks our regular contributors suggested as the best business books of 2011.

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