Amazon Discounts “Best Books of November”

Cover of Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson

Amazon’s created another fun web page to “lure” customers into buying more new Kindle ebooks. They’ve announced their “Best Books of the Month” — their editors personal picks — which will all be available at a 40% discount for the whole month of November. And Amazon’s also found a fun new use for their “Amazon Books” page on Facebook. To attract interest in these newly-discounted books, they’ve also started posting “Great Sentences from our Best Books of November.”

So what’s on the list? Their “Spotlight Selection” is Steve Jobs, a new biography by Walter Isaacson (a former managing editor at Time magazine). It became Amazon’s #1 best-selling book the week
that Jobs died before it was even released (based on pre-order sales) — and it’s still Amazon’s #1 best-selling book. Now it’s available as a Kindle ebook for just $16.99 (though the print edition usually retails for $35.00) — and it’s received the ultimate review from my friend Wendy. She told me her three-year-old son requested that she read the biography to him as a bedtime story. “We mostly concentrated on the photos and captions,” she told me today, “but he fell asleep very quickly.” But it still made her geeky husband very proud.

Amazon’s also selected the best fiction books for November — including the first collection of short stories ever by author Don DeLillo. “From one of the greatest writers of our time…” Amazon explains in their product description, “written between 1979 and 2011, chronicling – and foretelling – three decades of American life.” In the title story, two nuns in the south Bronx see the ghost of a child named Esmerelda. And there’s also an intriguing story called “Human Moments in World War III,” where two orbiting astronauts start picking up an American radio broadcast — from 50 years ago!

The book is called The Angel Esmerelda, and it won’t be shipped until November 15th — a week from next Tuesday. But Amazon’s already begun sharing some quotes on Facebook. It must be fun to be the editor at Amazon who gets to decide which “great sentence” to share. They’ve chosen two from The Angel Esmerelda — though it’s not clear what story they’re from.


“Vollmer has never said a stupid thing in my presence. It is just his voice that is stupid, a grave and naked bass, a voice without inflection or breath.”

“He spoke of distances in meters and kilometers and it took me a while to understand that this was not an affectation so much as a driving need to convert units of measurement more or less instantaneously.”

And there’s quotes from other books on the Facebook page for “Amazon Books” — including this intriguing sentence from an exploration of American oddballs that’s called Pulphead.


“He had touched death, or death had touched him, but he seemed to find life no less interesting for having done so.”

But one true crime book actually came from long interviews with “mafia royalty” over three years — the man who helped the Medellin Cartel smuggled cocaine into America. “As Wright’s tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping tales, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon,” reads the book’s description on Amazon.
At one point the criminal “became so powerful that he attracted the attention of the Republican Party’s leadership, was wooed by them, and even was co-opted by the CIA for which he carried out its secret agenda.” The title of the book? American Desperado: My Life–From Mafia Soldier to Cocaine Cowboy to Secret Government Asset. And Amazon’s identified some of the books most tantalizing quotes which they’re sharing on Facebook.


“They say crime doesn’t pay. What a farce.”

“The Medellin cartel was beyond evil. They were like Walmart.”

There’s also a book by a Nobel Prize winner — Daniel Kahneman, who won the Economic Sciences award for challenging the rationality of decision-making, and has finally collected his thoughts together
into a single book. He identifies “fast” thinking — our intuitive emotional responses, which have extraordinary power, but which also influences our more logical “slow” thinking. The book’s title is Thinking, Fast and Slow — and it’s hard to resist the idea of a book which could challenge the way we view our own thoughts!

I remember an aging author who once said we like to read because, just for that moment, there’s an order and a pattern to our experiences, giving a clear “dramatic structure” to life, which is otherwise messy with chaos. I thought of that line when I read Amazon’s “Great Sentence” from Daniel Kahneman’s new book — and it made me crave the security of books that much more. He wrote:


“The world makes much less sense than you think.”

But further down their Facebook page, Amazon also seemed to offering a “counter-quote” from the same book — which shows just how rich a reading experience can be.


“Experts are just humans … They are dazzled by their own brilliance and hate to be wrong.”

To bring this all back around — to me that sounds a lot like Steve Jobs!

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