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Bestsellers

Culture | The five best-selling nonfiction hardbacks as measured by placement on four leading lists as of March 28

Issue: "Dr. Laura: Taking static," April 8, 2000
Scoring system:10 points for first place, 9 for second, down to 1 for tenth, on the lists of the American Booksellers Association (independent, sometimes highbrow stores), the New York Times (4,000 bookstores, plus wholesalers), USA Today (3,000 large-inventory bookstores), and Amazon.com (web purchases).
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Dave Eggers 32 points (ABA: 1st; NYT: 7th; USA Today: 3rd; Amazon.com: 1st)
CONTENT
A "memoir" about Dave, a 21-year-old charged with raising his eight-year-old brother after their parents die.

GIST
The brothers journey to Berkeley, where their sister is beginning law school. Dave hangs out with high-school buddies, tries to start a magazine, has sex and thinks about having sex, and raises his brother without any moral foundation but with a determination to do it better than his parents could have.

WORLDVIEW
Relativism, solipsism, and idealism.

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CAUTION
Language, hostility to God.

Tuesdays with Morrie
Mitch Albom 31 points (ABA: 2nd; NYT: 1st; USA Today: 2nd; Amazon.com: 8th)
CONTENT
Weekly conversations of a middle-aged sportswriter searching for purpose and the articulate, witty, caring professor who taught him 20 years before.

GIST
Morrie Schwartz, dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, probes Mitch Albom's motivations: "Have you found someone to share your heart with? Are you giving to the community? Are you at peace with yourself?"

WORLDVIEW
Smorgasboard. Chasing material things is shallow, and the answer lies in a mix of Buddhism, Christianity, and Judaism on an agnostic base.

CAUTION
N/A

Who Moved My Cheese?
Spencer Johnson, M.D. 25 points (ABA: 5th; NYT: n/r; USA Today: 1st; Amazon.com: 2nd)
CONTENT
A parable about the inevitability of change and the need to embrace it.

GIST
In the parable, cheese is that which makes us happy. We get accustomed to it, develop an entitlement attitude toward it, and don't notice when it begins to smell bad or disappear. When we fight to hold on to cheese, we hurt ourselves and our organizations. The parable, however, doesn't show how to discern when it is wise or necessary to resist change to uphold a higher principle.

WORLDVIEW
Relativism.

CAUTION
None

The Millionaire Mind
Thomas J. Stanley 24 points (ABA: 10th; NYT: 3rd; USA Today: 4th; Amazon.com: 3rd)
CONTENT
The results of a study of the way millionaires think about work, home, family, and success.

GIST
This follow-up to The Millionaire Next Door shows the blessings of living a Proverbs-centered life. The 900 millionaires who are the subject of the book testify to the value of hard work, honesty and integrity, marriage, frugality, common sense, and the pursuit of a calling that uses a person's gifts.

WORLDVIEW
Biblical.

CAUTION

'Tis
Frank McCourt 17 points (ABA: 4th; NYT: 4th; USA Today: 8th; Amazon.com: n/r)
CONTENT
McCourt describes his adjustment to America, his search for sex, his encounters with hypocritical priests and other religious folk, his time in bars, his excuses for failure.

GIST
Life is hard, especially for McCourt, an Irishman with bad eyes, bad teeth, and a fondness for alcohol learned from his father.

WORLDVIEW
Cynicism. Life is full of misery, which the simple-minded relieve with religion and the poet relieves with drink.

CAUTION
Obscenities, profanities, and crude descriptions.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Anyone who aspires to wealth, and hasn't been endowed with extraordinary height or sports skill, will be encouraged by The Millionaire Mind. These millionaires are not endowed with extraordinary gifts. But they work to their strengths, work at something they enjoy, find a niche in which they can compete, have supportive spouses and stay married, develop their social skills, and value honesty and integrity. Although millionaires many times over, they live relatively frugal lifestyles, spending time with family and friends rather than jet-setting around. Their homes, while nice, are in old, established neighborhoods rather than new, mega-mansion enclaves. They buy quality, not fashion, and refurbish rather than replace; they have their shoes resoled and their clothes altered. About one third of them cite a strong religious faith as a source for their courage to take risks. Through interviews with people like the chairmen of Chick-fil-A and Toro, the author lets the reader see the role that faith has played in their lives.

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