What do we, as parents, really mean when we say we want the best for our children?
Irena Smith tackles this question from a unique vantage point: as a former Stanford admissions officer, a private Palo Alto college counselor, and a mother of three children who struggle to find their place in the long shadow of Stanford University.
Written as a series of responses to actual college essay prompts, this witty, raw memoir takes the reader from the smoke-filled lobby of the Hebrew Aid Society in Rome, where Irena and her parents await asylum with other Soviet refugees in 1977, to the overpriced house she and her husband buy in Palo Alto in 1999, to the hushed inner sanctum of the Stanford admissions office. Irena grows a successful college counseling practice but struggles to reconcile the lofty aspirations of tightly wound, competitive high school seniors (and their anxious parents) with her own attempts to keep her family from unraveling as, one by one, her children are diagnosed with autism, learning differences, depression, and anxiety. And although she doesn’t initially understand her children—or how to help them—she will not stop stumbling and learning until she figures it out.
The Golden Ticket opens a much-needed conversation about extreme parenting, the weight of generational expectations, and what happens when Gen-X dreams meet unexpected realities. It's a sharp-eyed depiction of hard-won triumphs and of the messy, challenging parts of parenting you won't see on Facebook or Instagram. Above all, it's an invitation to embrace a broader, more generous definition of success.
WINNER Nonfiction: Creative Science 2023 International Book Awards
An unprecedented visual biography of the iconic pioneer of modern physics, with signed photographs, letters, manuscripts and more
A one-of-a-kind, hard-cover, 4.4 pound book with rarely-seen photos of Albert Einstein as well as of beautifully preserved letters, manuscripts, journals, and even equations written in Einstein's hand. Extraordinary among Einstein biographies, the book presents the holdings of an unparalleled private collection of Einstein memorabilia and helps place in historical context his ideas about time, gravity, quantum theory, and cosmology. With annotations and commentary by the collection owner, by a world-class rare book dealer, and by eminent physicist Hanoch Gutfreund of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, this book is fascinating reading for people interested in scientist biographies. It's also an exquisite photo research opportunity for scholars of the history and philosophy of physics.