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Stuff You Should Read

A new line of books from major podcast publisher iHeart Media and leading book publisher Flatiron Books

From your earbuds to the pages of a book

Stuff Mom Never Told You by Anney Reese & Samantha McVey

About the Book SMNTY

Anney Reese and Samantha McVey of the popular iHeart podcast, Stuff Mom Never Told You, show the breadth of what feminism can stand for, what it can achieve, and whom it can help lift up.

Written with a sharp tongue, an infectious curiosity, and a deeply empathetic voice, Reese and McVey explore the history, strategy, and emotion that went into several milestones and emergent issues of the recent feminist movement. Starting with Billie Jean King’s famous “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, they also talk about the Civil Rights movement and the women who helped shape it; the disturbing prevalence of major backlogs in rape kit testing; how LGBTQ rights and women’s right intersect; and how women have been critical to the advancement of disability rights, and more.

Stuff They Don't Want You To Know by Ben Bowlin, Matt Frederick, and Noel Brown

About the Book STDWYTK

The hosts of the podcast Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, discern conspiracy fact from conspiracy theory in this lively, erudite, and insightful book.

From internet rumors to lying politicians to the tinderbox that is social media, it has become remarkably clear that a vast swath of people believe really bonkers things. Why is that? How did these theories proliferate? Is there a kernel of truth to them or are they fully fiction?

Ben Bowlin, Matt Frederick, and Noel Brown are the hosts of the popular iHeart podcast that seeks to answer these questions. With cool heads and extensive research, they regularly break down the wildest conspiracy theories, from chemtrails and biological testing to the secrets of lobbying and why the Kennedy assassination is of perennial interest.

Written in a smart, witty, and conversational style, and with amazing illustrations, Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know is a vital book in understanding the unexplainable and using truth as a powerful weapon against ignorance, misinformation, and lies.

Stuff You Should Know by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

About the Book SYSK

An exploration of the fun and fascinating world around us, from the duo behind the massively successful and award-winning podcast Stuff You Should Know.

Armed with their inquisitive natures and a passion for sharing, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant are taking their near-boundless curiosity from your earbuds to the pages of a book for the first time. Follow along as they uncover the weird, delightful, or unexpected elements of a wide variety of topics, digging into the underlying stories of everything from the origin of Murphy beds, to the history of facial hair, to the psychology of being lost.

Come join them and escape into Stuff You Should Know—where you can get curious about the world around you and find the magic in the everyday. With Josh and Chuck as your guide, there’s something interesting about everything (…except maybe jackhammers).

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The Avatar

Excerpt Chapter 2

Fictional Women Presents

Video games got caught up in the gendering of toys that occurred in the ’80s and ’90s, and they were, at the time, labeled for boys. Early video game sellers targeted boys because they wanted boys, rather than girls, as their consumers. The same can be said for action figures and board games, which historically have been highly gendered.

More women play video games than men. Let me repeat myself. More women play video games than men. And yet, the narrative around it would have you believe that only men play games, that women don’t care about video games. Therefore, games are geared mainly toward men. And if women don’t really play them anyway, the argument goes, what does it matter if the world of gaming is toxic? Who cares if the few women characters exist mostly for the male gaze and for the male playable character’s conquest and storyline? (A playable character, also known as a player character or PC, is a fictional character in gaming whose actions the real-life player controls.) Why shouldn’t the female characters usually be skimpily dressed or nude? Don’t even get me started on the games that glorify rape.

In over 75 percent of games with only one protagonist, that protagonist is male. Some male video game developers have even stated, out loud, that female characters are too hard to animate. 😑

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Secret Societies

Excerpt Chapter 8

Secret Societies

I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. —Groucho Marx, as quoted by Arthur Sheekman, The Groucho Letters, 1967

Who doesn’t want to be part of the in-crowd? Human beings love exclusivity.

You see it in schools, where children sort themselves into cliques based on common interests, talents, or goals. You see it in the history of conflict, where countless people have died due to ideological or religious differences that can often seem obscure and irrelevant to outsiders. You see it in academia, where disputes over an arcane point of interpretation can launch a thousand ships of discourse, prompting multigenerational schools of thought in direct opposition.

For better or worse, we all want to feel like a part of something bigger than ourselves. We like having an “in.” Secret societies are the bread, butter, and adrenochrome of conspiratorial thought. That ancient impulse toward exclusivity and advantage, toward belonging to something, is both inherent and universal. Secret societies, as a concept and practice, are real, though not always in the ways we think they are. In fact, many of the stories surrounding these groups are myths. Which, for some members of secret societies, is just fine, since some of these tall tales may well have been created by them.

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Direction Head

Excerpt from Chapter 1

How to Get Lost

Do you want to hear an astounding number? 65,439. Sure, it’s not so astounding on its own, so you have to know the context: That’s the number of search and rescue (SAR)39 missions launched for people who went missing inside America’s national parks between 1992 and 2007.

65,439! Basically, the entire population of Jupiter, Florida.

Over a fifteen-year period, that’s nearly twelve lost people per day. One every two hours who just went *poof* and disappeared into the wilderness somewhere across America. Like we said, astounding. Fortunately, the period of time people are typically lost for is rarely ever very long. The average search and rescue mission for a lost hiker or hunter—who make up more than 40 percent of those national parks cases—lasts about ten hours, which usually isn’t a life threatening amount of time, although it’s probably several hours longer than it takes to scare the bejeezus out of them.

There are a million different ways to get lost, but what’s interesting is that when people get lost (particularly out in nature), they all act in the exact same ways. This is the discovery of psychology professor Kenneth Hill, who studies the psychology of being lost at Saint Mary’s University way up in Nova Scotia, Canada. Independent of race or gender or nationality or outdoor experience or even age, when people get lost, they kind of lose their minds—but in predictable ways. They forget their training (if they had any). They forget what they were taught by parents and teachers—some forget themselves entirely and just kind of go berserk. And they engage in some combination of the same eight behaviors, kind of like robots that have been programmed with outdated guidance software that’s chock full of bugs: random traveling, route traveling, direction traveling, route sampling, direction sampling, view enhancing, backtracking, staying put.

The thing is: when you take a closer look at each of these “lost person behaviors,” as they’re called in the search-and-rescue field, it’s easy to see how each one of us could fall prey to them. Including you—yes, you!—and everyone you know and love. All of you: lost, lost, lost!

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