As typically happens when the seasons change, and May marked the start of a new one in publishing, the NYT Nonfiction Bestseller list has undergone a notable shuffle with three new titles debuting this week.
At #3 is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample). The account of Nike’s early days and continuing dominance knocked When Breath Becomes Air (PRH/Random House) down a space.
Shoe Dog has received a lot of press, as we pointed out in an earlier Titles to Know column. Knight appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Charlie Rose show on PBS, and NPR’s Marketplace. USA Today and The Wall Street Journal [subscription may be required] also posted stories. It is a NYT‘s “Inside the List” feature too.
Taking the #10 spot is Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide, Michael Kinsley (PRH/Tim Duggan; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample).
Kinsley, a journalist and contributor to Vanity Fair, who learned at age 43 that he had Parkinson’s disease, explores how the Baby Boomer generation might approach aging.
It got triple treatment in the NYT‘s. Dwight Garner reviewed it for the Books of the Times section in which he writes: “Mr. Kinsley possesses what is probably the most envied journalistic voice of his generation: skeptical, friendly, possessed of an almost Martian intelligence. If we ever do meet Martians, or any alien civilization, he has my vote as the human who should handle Earth’s side of the initial negotiations.”
Author Phillip Lopate reviewed it for The New York Times Book Review, writing: “If it’s possible for a book about illness and death to be delightful, this one fills the bill.” It is also featured in an Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast.
The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal [subscription may be required], Vanity Fair, and NPR’s All Things Considered, This American Life, and The Diane Rehm Show provided coverage as well.
Breaking onto the list at #15 is Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, Frans de Waal (Norton; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), a book on animal intelligence that argues that the human view of animal intelligence is limited by our own narrow thinking and lack of empathy.
It too is getting wide attention. As we pointed out in the same Titles To Know that featured Shoe Dog, it has been a People pick, which called it “an astonishing study of animal intelligence [that] has the makings of a classic — and is one fascinating read.” The New York Times Book Review and NYT’s “Inside the List” feature it as well.
Additional coverage is in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Psychology Today, Wired, New York Post, and NPR’s Science Friday and The Diane Rehm Show.
Checking holds Old Age is doing best in libraries, with holds soaring past a 3:1 ratio. Both Shoe Dog and Are We Smart Enough are under that ratio in most locations.
Which titles changed fates with these newcomers? Slipping out of the top 15 rankings is Girls and Sex (Harper) which fell to #16 and Dark Money (PRH/Doubleday) which is at #19. Love That Boy (PRH/Harmony) fell off the list completely.