Written in the form of a self-help book for Asians striving to get ahead, the novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia (Riverhead Books) by MOHSIN HAMID ’93 is the tale of one man’s journey from impoverished boy to corporate tycoon. Hamid is the author of the 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist, named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

A professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Yale, VLADIMIR ALEXANDROV *79 describes in The Black Russian (Atlantic Monthly Press) the unusual life of Frederick Bruce Thomas, who was born to former slaves in Mississippi in 1872, left the South, and eventually moved abroad. He changed his name and became a wealthy theater and restaurant owner in Moscow before ending up in Constantinople.

“Everything is live, real-time, and always-on,” writes media theorist DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF ’83 in Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Current). As a result, he argues, people have lost a sense of a future and of goals and tend to live in a “distracted present.” Rushkoff explores how this affects behavior, politics, and culture, and what people can do to pace themselves.

JOHN EATON ’57 *59 composed the music and Estela Eaton wrote the libretto for the opera The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, whose story is based on F. Scott Fitzgerald ’17’s short story about a man who is born old and ages in reverse. The Albany Records DVD of the opera was filmed at a performance by Eaton’s opera company, Pocket Opera Players, in 2010.

Click here to watch a video excerpt of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.