Featured Author: Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, The Big Short, Moneyball)

Michael Lewis is one of America’s best known financial writers.  His book Moneyball was made into a motion picture starring Brad Pitt, and his book The Big Short iwas recently made into a movie. He is also the author of the book Blind Side, which was made into a very successful movie.

All Michael Lewis books here.

Here are a couple of books by Michael Lewis that I’ve written about previously.

Liar’s Poker is an account of the high pressure deals on Wall Street during the 1980s. The author, Michael Lewis, was a bright and very young recent college graduate who suddenly found himself making insane amounts of money trading bonds on the floor of Salomon Brothers.

Lewis recounts his adventures in learning to trade the market, the profane culture of the brokerage, and playing Machiavellian office politics. It’s pretty dramatic, with lots of high stakes deals, backbiting and secret alliances, and the stench of greed. It’s also how the financial world operates.

Moneyball is about an unlikely success: how the cash strapped Oakland A’s baseball team found ways to win without the ability to afford highly priced skills. One simply must find players with unusual and overlooked talents. One does this by identifying talents that no-one else can see – a tough business in a 100-year old game that few thought held any more secrets.

Those people were wrong. Baseball did have secrets. And these were ferreted out by Bill James, an eccentric and charming former night watchman from Kansas. Famed business writer Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker) tackles the subject of how the Oakland A’s turned baseball shibboleths on their head by using these unconventional insights gleaned from reams of statistical data.

How To Find Keywords Within 5 Words of Each Other

Bet you didn’t know about “proximity” searches in the Ebscohost family of databases. These commands allow you to search 2 words that occur in the text near each other.

The upshot of which is: the article is more likely to be written about your topic if your words occur close to one other.

(Ebscohost is the name of the publisher that brings you several of our databases. You may know them by their proper names, like Academic Search Complete. Once inside an Ebsco database, you can always “choose databases” to search several Ebscohost databases at once.)

Here’s the official directions from Ebscohost:

Proximity Searches

You can use a proximity search to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other in the databases. Proximity searching is used with a Keyword or Boolean search.

The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched, as follows:

Near Operator (N) – N5 finds the words if they are within five words of one another regardless of the order in which they appear.

For example, type tax N5 reform to find results that would match tax reform as well as reform of income tax.

Within Operator (W) – In the following example, W8 finds the words if they are within eight words of one another and in the order in which you entered them.

For example, type tax W8 reform to find results that would match tax reform but would not match reform of income tax.

In addition, multiple terms can be used on either side of the operator. See the following examples:

  • (baseball or football or basketball) N5 (teams or players)
  • oil W3 (disaster OR clean-up OR contamination)

How to Find Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents that are direct records of an event, raw data, documents, magazines or newspapers from the time, photos or other material created at the time of an event. Even audio recordings, buildings, or just about anything could be considered primary sources.

Our historical primary source databases are located here.

Again, if you’re working in the field of history, you can search our catalog for published collections of primary sources.

Our history maven Margaret Vavarek suggests the searching the following key words in the catalog: Correspondence, Description and Travel, Diaries, Interviews, Personal Narratives, Sources, Letters or Speeches

Lynda.com: Watch Tutorials on Computer Programs

Lynda.com (link here) is a favorite with our patrons.  Very advanced walkthrough video tutorials for various computer programs.  Description below:

Online tutorials for popular software tools and the latest technology for beginner to advanced skill levels. Beyond Microsoft Office and business tools for both MAC and PC, Lynda.com provides instruction on software for 3D Animation, Audio/Music/Video, AutoCAD, Design, Development and Programming, Photography, Presentation tools, IT, Marketing tools, and web design.

Learn to Identify Historical Forgeries

If a newly discovered photo of a famous person has pencil writing on the back, that’s a mark against it being real. Why? Ink is easy to date, and the age of lead is almost impossible to measure. So forgers often use pencils.

You should check out author Joe Nickell – he got started as a forensics investigator and then moved on to investigate historical document forgeries and real-life X-files (always with a skeptical mind of course).

Here’s the table of contents for his book Real or Fake?

pt. I. Documents — Investigating documents — Diary of Jack the ripper — Novel by an American slave — Lincoln’s lost Gettysburg address — An outlaw’s scribblings — Out of the archives — pt. II. Photographs — Photo sleuthing — A second photo of Emily Dickinson — Likenesses of Lincoln — Assassin or look-alike — From the album — pt. III. Other artifacts — Authenticating artworks and other artifacts — Lost icon found — Jefferson Davis’s musket — Debris from the Titanic — Off the shelf.

Highly recommended for the historian’s thought process. Clues reside in the strangest places: a turn of phrase, hairstyle, kind of stamp, anachronisms, as well as technical analysis of ink, paper, handwriting styles and more.