How to Download James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty as a Free Audio Book

A quick heads up: The former director of the FBI James Comey has now officially released A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. The 304-page memoir gives you an inside look at Comey's long career in law enforcement. But it's mostly gaining attention because of what Comey has to say about his controversial interactions with Donald Trump--interactions which, The New York Times correctly observes, set "in motion a cascade of political and legal consequences that led directly to the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election."

You can now buy A Higher Loyalty in hardback and Kindle formats. Or if you start a 30 day free trial with Audible.com, you can download two free audio books of your choice. At the end of 30 days, you can decide whether you want to become an Audible subscriber or not. No matter what you decide, you get to keep the two free audiobooks. A Higher Loyalty can be one of them. It runs 9 hours and is narrated by Comey himself. To sign up for Audible's free trial program here, follow the prompts/instructions on this page.

NB: Audible is an Amazon.com subsidiary, and we're a member of their affiliate program. Also, this post is not an endorsement of the book.

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175+ College Admissions Offices Promise Not to Penalize High School Students Who Get Suspended for Protesting Peacefully Against Gun Violence

Image by Lorie Shaull, via Flickr Commons

“Will my admission get rescinded if I get suspended for engaging in a school walk-out meant to bring attention to the school shooting issue?” That's a question many high school students have posed to college admissions offices around the country, especially after some high school officials threatened to suspend students taking part in anti-gun demonstrations.

Many leading universities have since issued policy statements and given these students their blessing and support. In a post called "In Support of Student Protests," Hannah Mendlowitz, from Yale's Admissions Office, writes:

[W]e continue to get the question: will Yale look unfavorably upon discipline resulting from peaceful demonstrations?

The answer is simple: Of course not.

To the students who have reached out to us with these concerns, we have made clear that they should feel free to participate in walk-out events to bring attention to this issue without fear of repercussion. Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone’s admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school’s disciplinary policy. I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven.

And on the official Twitter feed for the Brown University, a tweet reads:

Applicants to Brown: Expect a socially conscious, intellectually independent campus where freedom of expression is fundamentally important. You can be assured that peaceful, responsible protests against gun violence will not negatively impact decisions on admission to Brown.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Below, find a list of 175+ universities that have granted similar assurances, along with links to their statements. The list comes from Alex Garcia, who is maintaining a regularly-updated Google Doc. Access it online here.

Again, you can refer to this Google Doc for more updates.

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Robert Reich Makes His UC Berkeley Course on Wealth and Inequality in America Available on Facebook

Robert B. Reich served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton and was later named one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century by TIME Magazine. Nowadays, Reich teaches courses on public policy at UC Berkeley, and uses his popular Facebook page to discuss policy questions with a much broader audience. So here's the next the logical step: This semester, Reich is teaching a Berkeley course on wealth and inequality in America, and he's making the lectures themselves available on Facebook too. Watch the opening lecture above, and then check back in for new installments.

Note: Once you start playing the video, you might need to enable the audio in the lower right hand corner of the video player.

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David Byrne Launches the “Reasons to Be Cheerful” Web Site: A Compendium of News Meant to Remind Us That the World Isn’t Actually Falling Apart

Whatever your ideological persuasion, our time has no doubt given you more than a few reasons to fear for the future of civilization, not least because bad news sells. Musician, artist, and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has certainly felt the effects: "It seems like the world is going to Hell. I wake up in the morning, look at the paper, and go, 'Oh no!'," he writes. "Often I’m depressed for half the day." But he writes that on the front page of his new project Reasons to Be Cheerful, which began as a quasi-therapeutic collection of pieces of "good news that reminded me, 'Hey, there's actually some positive stuff going on!'" and has grown into an online observatory of world improvement.

What kind of positive stuff has Byrne found? He identifies certain common qualities among the stories that have caught his eye: "Almost all of these initiatives are local, they come from cities or small regions who have taken it upon themselves to try something that might offer a better alternative than what exists." These adjustments to the human condition tend to develop in a "bottom up, community and individually driven" manner, they happen all over the world but could potentially work in any culture, all "have been tried and proven to be successful" and "can be copied and scaled up" without the singular efforts of "one amazing teacher, doctor, musician or activist."




The stories collected so far on Reasons to Be Cheerful fall into several different categories. In Civic Engagement, for example, he's found a variety of effective examples of that practice in his travels back and forth across the United States. In Health, he writes about efforts to end the war on drugs in places like Vancouver, Colorado, and Portugal. As anyone who's followed Byrne's writing and speaking about cycling and the infrastructure that supports it might imagine, this side also includes a section called Urban/Transportation, whose first post deals with the global influence of bike share systems like Paris' Velib and bike-only street-closure days like Bogotá's Ciclovia.

In Culture, Byrne writes about the rise of a form of music called AfroReggae that offers an alternative to a life of crime for the youth of Brazil's favelas, the distinctive libraries established at the end of Bogotá's rapid bus lines and in poor parts of Medellín, and even some of his own work related to the recording and tour design of his own upcoming album American UtopiaAmerican Utopia in the year 2018? That might sound awfully optimistic, but remember that David Byrne is the man who once went on an artistic speaking tour about his love of Powerpoint. If he can see the good in that, he can see the good in anything.

Visit Byrne's Reasons to Be Cheerful site here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How to Download Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House Now as a Free Audiobook?: Check Out Audible’s 30-Day Free Trial

Despite cease and desist orders issued by the president's lawyers, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is now out and it's the #1 bestselling book on Amazon. If you want a print copy, you'll have to wait 2-4 weeks. But there are some more immediate options: You can instantly snag a copy in Kindle format (price $14.99). Or download it as an audio book essentially for free.

If you start a 30 day free trial with Audible.com, you can download two free audio books of your choice. At the end of 30 days, you can decide whether you want to become an Audible subscriber or not. (I definitely recommend the service and use it every day.) No matter what you decide, you get to keep the two free audiobooks. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House can be one of them. It runs 12 hours.

To sign up for Audible's free trial program here, follow the prompts/instructions on this page.

NB: Audible is an Amazon.com subsidiary, and we're a member of their affiliate program. Also, this post is not an endorsement of the book. (We haven't read it yet.) It's simply an fyi on how you can "read" a bestselling book that's in short supply.

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Net Neutrality Explained and Defended in a Doodle-Filled Video by Vi Hart: The Time to Save the Open Web is Now

By the end of December, net neutrality may be a thing of the past. We'll pay the price. You'll pay the price. Comcast, Verizon and AT&T will make out like bandits.

If you need a quick reminder of what net neutrality is, what benefits it brings and what you stand to lose, watch Vi Hart's 11-minute explainer above. It lays things out quite well. Then, once you have a handle on things, write or call Congress now and make a last stand for the open web.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

Meet Daryl Davis, the Black Blues Musician Who Befriended 200 Klan Members & Made Them See the Errors of Their Ways

Musician Daryl Davis is a great, lumbering bear of a man with a very, very long fuse.

His disposition and his race are equally critical components of his decades-long project—engaging, as a black man, with members of the KKK, the National Socialist Movement, and other groups espousing white supremacy.

Diplomacy seems to be the major lesson of his globetrotting childhood. His father was a State Department official, and wherever the family relocated, Davis went to school with the children of other foreign service workers, whatever their race. This happy, multicultural experience left him unprepared for his return to his country of origin, when he was one of just two black pupils at his Belmont, Massachusetts elementary school, and the only black Cub Scout in his troop.

When Belmont’s Cub Scouts were invited to participate in a 1968 march to commemorate Paul Revere’s ride, his troop leaders tapped the 10-year-old Davis to carry the flag, provoking a furious reaction from many white spectators along the route.

His prior experience was such that he assumed their bile was directed toward scouting, even after his parents sat him down to tell him the truth.

Now, as the subject of Matt Ornstein’s documentary, Accidental Courtesy (watch it on Netflix here), Davis muses that the unusual circumstances of his early childhood equipped him to instigate and maintain an open dialogue with the enemy. He listens carefully to their opinions in the expectation that they will return the courtesy. It’s a long game approach that Davis refuses to play over social media or email. Only face-to-face.

Over time, his even-keeled manner has caused 200 card-carrying racists, according to NPR, to renounce their former path, presenting their cast-off hoods and robes to their new friend, Davis, as a rite of passage.

One of the most fascinating parts of the documentary is the tour of his klan memorabilia—patches, jewelry, pocket knives and belt buckles. He is able to explain the colors, insignia and provenance of the robes as methodically as he discusses musical history.

Presumably, some of this knowledge was handed down from the former owners—one of whom volunteers that Davis is far more knowledgable than he ever was about the ins and outs of klan hierarchies.

Davis doesn’t wait for an outspoken racist to renounce his beliefs before claiming him as a friend.

It’s fairly easy to feel clemency toward those Davis has nudged toward a whole new set of values, such as soft-spoken former-Grand-Dragon-turned-anti-racist activist, Scott Shepherd, or Tina Puig, a mother of two who was taken aback by Davis’ offer of a ride to the far away federal penitentiary where her white supremacist husband was serving a ten-year sentence.

It’s queasier to watch Davis posing with a smile in front of Confederate flags at a klan rally, or staunchly refraining from comment as jacked up supremacists spew vile, provocative remarks in his presence.

Not everyone has—or wants to have—the stomach for this sort of work. The most heated encounter in the film is the one between Davis and Baltimore-based Black Lives Matter activists Kwame Rose, Tariq Touré, and JC Faulk.

As director Ornstein told PBS’ Independent Lens:

Daryl operates under the principle that if you aren’t hearing viewpoints that are distasteful to you, that they are also not hearing yours. I think there’s wisdom in that. We saw this last election cycle how not doing that ended in not only disaster for this country, but a lot of infighting and yelling into echo chambers and news that serves to reinforce what you already believe. The economic arguments that Tariq and Kwame present in the film have a tremendous amount of validity, but in no way does this diminish the importance of what someone like Daryl does. If we all took the time to speak to even one or two people we disagree with and both really hear them and be heard that alone would begin to make a difference.

You can watch Accidental Courtesy on Netflix here. (If you don't have a subscription, you could always sign up for a 30-day free trial.) We have also added an NPR profile of Davis above.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her current project is Theater of the Apes' Sub-Adult Division's production of Animal Farm, opening this week in New York City.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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