Michael Ian Black is a very famous comedian and actor who is also a prolific author of children’s books, and he called in to discuss his latest, “Cock-A-Doodle-Doo-Bop,” about a scat-singing rooster who wants to change his tune. We had a very entertaining chat about what inspired him to write books for children, how this story came about, and if he insisted on “name above the title” billing.
Jason Hanson is a former CIA officer, security specialist, and recent successful contestant on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” His new book is “Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Live.” We talked about basic protection and evasion techniques, how there’s no political divide when it comes to survival skills, and the #1 thing he took away from his time in the CIA that anyone can put to practical use.
H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who recently wrote the Vanity Fair cover article on Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. Buzz called in to talk about the 25th anniversary edition of “Friday Night Lights.” We discussed his original cancelled book tour in 1990, what the book means to him 25 years later, and how it still applies to high school students. We also debated whether his book is better than “Jay Cutler’s Interceptions for Dummies.”
Luther Campbell is a legendary rapper (the leader of the 2 Live Crew) who has been fighting for free speech rights for over two decades. His new book is “The Book of Luke: My Fight for Truth, Justice and Liberty City.” We talked about his beginnings as an independent artist, how the 2 Live Crew quickly caught on to mainstream success (and brought about an obscenity declaration and a case before the Supreme Court), and why he continues to fight the good fight for civil liberties.
Chris Epting’s “Roadside Baseball” is now in its new and improved second edition, and chronicles more than 500 important events in baseball history, with detailed descriptions of the event and information on each location (like the West Side Grounds in Chicago — the original home of the Cubs). We had a great conversation about the book and shared some great childhood baseball memories.
Dennis Lehane is the New York Times best-selling author of “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone” and “Shutter Island.” His newest book is “World Gone By.” We talked about making books into films, how his writing process has evolved, and how success changes the way you work. I hope to find out about that last point for myself one day.
Ted Gioia is a music historian and columnist for “Daily Beast.” His new book is “Love Songs: The Hidden History. In a very enlightening interview, I learned that love songs are basically responsible for the continued existence of humanity — in more than one way.
Ben Rosenfeld is a comedian and writer and is the creator of the hilarious new book, “Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes To Cheer You Right Up.” It’s an illustrated coffee table book filled with Russian nursery rhymes, lovingly translated into English. Ben discussed the history behind the book, read a few rhymes, and described what he means by “Russian Optimism.”
Steven Brill called in to discuss his new book, “America’s Bitter Pill.” We talked about his personal experience with insurance companies after a recent health scare, tips on deciphering the often not-to-helpful “Explanation of Benefits” form, and the tax shock that could be coming for many people as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
Jim DeFelice is a best-selling author who co-wrote “American Sniper” with Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen. Jim shared his thoughts on working with Chris Kyle, the success of the film, and why those who see certain aspects as controversial may be simply misinformed.