Selected Nonfiction

THE ELEMENT

Collaboration with Ken Robinson

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

 

A teenage boy goes through school and nobody thinks he has any particular musical talent. He goes on to be one of the most famous musicians in the world. A nine-year-old girl is thought to have a learning disorder. A psychologist thinks otherwise and opens the door to an extraordinary life in dance. A young girl in Greece dreams of academic life and becomes one of America’s leading political commentators. Paul McCartney, Gillian Lynne, and Ariana Huffington all took different paths to discovering their Element and each was changed profoundly by the experience.

 

The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the Element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, this book looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, it shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transform­ing education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.

 

Read an excerpt here

FINDING YOUR ELEMENT

Collaboration with Ken Robinson

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

 

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk video and groundbreaking book, The Element, introduced readers to a new concept of self-fulfillment through the convergence of natural talents and personal passions. The Element has inspired readers all over the world and has created for Robinson an intensely devoted following.

 

Now comes the long-awaited companion, the practical guide that helps people find their own Element. Among the questions that this new book answers are:



 

• How do I find out what my talents and passions are?


• What if I love something I’m not good at?


• What if I’m good at something I don’t love?


• What if I can’t make a living from my Element?


• How do I do help my children find their Element?



 

Finding Your Element comes at a critical time as concerns about the economy, education and the environment continue to grow. The need to connect to our personal talents and passions has never been greater. As Robinson writes in his introduction, wherever you are, whatever you do, and no matter how old you are, if you’re searching for your Element, this book is for you.

CREATIVE SCHOOLS

Collaboration with Ken Robinson

Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organization’s history. Now, the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes, observations and recommendations from professionals on the front line of transformative education, case histories, and groundbreaking research—and written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style—Creative Schools will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of education.

 

Read an excerpt here

 
 
 

Other Fiction

While writing about the hearts of men is a strong passion of mine, it is hardly my only one.

 

In my novels Blue and Differential Equations (along with the novella prequel to Blue, Until Again), I used elements of the fantastic to explore stories about people wrestling with life-changing challenges. I've always been fascinated with how people stand up in the face of crisis, and these stories allowed me to play this out in dramatic fashion.

 

Another fascination of mine is family dynamics. With my Gold family stories, I created a set of characters at once close-knit and moving in different directions – you know, like most families. 

BLUE

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

 

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.

 

Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed. 

 

Read an excerpt here

UNTIL AGAIN

Reviewers have called Lou Aronica’s novel Blue “compelling,” “beautifully written,” “a story to remember and cherish,” and “one of those books that everyone should find a moment to read.” Readers have said it was “a great inspiration,” “I’ve never been more moved or inspired,” and “one of the best books I’ve read.” Now comes this prequel novella, a short work that provides the essential story behind the story. 

Until Again tells of a decidedly real-world event: the final weekend in the breakup of a marriage. For Chris Astor, the divorce is not something he wants, primarily because of the distance it will put between his ten-year-old daughter Becky and himself. Juxtaposed against this is a critical event in Tamarisk, the bedtime-story fantasy world that Chris and Becky created when Becky was much younger. Miea, the university-age princess of Tamarisk fears that her world has become a terribly dangerous place…but she could not possibly have imagined where that danger will lead her and the people she loves. 

 

Read an excerpt here.  

DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS (with Julian Iragorri)

This evocative, moving, and gorgeously detailed novel is the story of Alex Soberano, a contemporary man in crisis. A tremendously successful New York businessman, Alex finds it difficult to embrace joy and accept love. When his life threatens to boil over, he escapes for a brief respite on the West Coast. What waits for him there is something he never could have imagined. 

Intertwined with Alex’s story are the stories of three people from different times and places whose lives affect him in surprising ways: 

• A woman from the South American city of Anhelo in 1928 that everyone knows as “Vidente.” For decades, Vidente, has been one of Anhelo’s most celebrated citizens because she has the ability to read colors that speak of a person’s fate. However, during one such reading, she sees her own future – a future that includes her imminent death. 
• A man named Khaled who left his home in Bethlehem in 1920 to seek fortune in the South American town of Joya de la Costa. He has barely begun to gain a foothold when he learns that the wife and three children he left behind have been murdered. When a magical woman enters his life, he believes that destiny has smiled on him. However, destiny has only just begun to deal with Khaled. 
• A nineteen-year-old student named Dro who flies from the South American country of Legado to Boston in 1985 and immediately walks onto the campus of MIT expecting instant admission. Dro’s skills at mastering complex, ever-changing differential equations intrigues the associate admissions director. However, the person he intrigues the most is the celebrated US ambassador from his country, and his relationship with her will define his life. 

How the stories of these four people merge is the central mystery of this arresting work of imagination. Differential Equations is a story that will sweep you up in its magic, enrich you with its wisdom, and compel you with its deep humanity. 

 

Read an excerpt here

LEAVES

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

 

Welcome to Oldham, CT, a small town rich in Colonial heritage while being utterly contemporary. Situated along the Connecticut River Valley, Oldham bursts with color every fall, as the leaves on its trees evolve into an unmatched palette of scarlet, orange, purple, yellow, and bronze. For more than three decades, the Gold family has been a central part of Oldham in the fall, its Sugar Maple Inn a destination for “leaf-peepers” from all over the country, and its annual Halloween party a stirring way to punctuate the town’s most active month.

 

But this year, more than just the leaves are changing. With the death of their parents, the Gold siblings, Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler, have decided to sell the Sugar Maple Inn, and this year’s Halloween party will be the last. As October begins, the Golds contend with the finality that faces them, and the implications it has for a family that has always been so close. For some, it means embracing new challenges and new love. For others, it means taking on unimagined roles. And for others, it means considering the inconceivable. Complicating it all is a series of “hauntings” that touch each of the Gold siblings, a series of benign interventions that will remain a mystery until October draws to a close. Filled with romance, tension, and unforgettable family drama,

 

Leaves is the first in a series of novels about a world and a family that readers will want to make their own. 

 

Read an excerpt here

RECOVERY

As November chill settles on the town of Oldham, CT, the world has shifted under the feet of Corrina and her teenaged stepson Ryan. Contending with tradition when nothing is the way it used to be is a challenge for the steadiest of relationships – and no one would ever define Corrina and Ryan’s relationship that way. But tradition is still staring them in the face, and they’re going to have to deal with it whether they want to or not. On a day when Ryan is too vulnerable to fight, he agrees to spend some time with his stepmother. Will it be the first stage in their recovery, or a final passage together before they go their separate ways forever? 

In the first novelette about the Golds – who we first met in the national bestseller Leaves – Lou Aronica further explores the nuances, complexities, and unique comforts of family and shows that “nothing will be the same” has a multitude of connotations. 

 

Read an excerpt here

AN ANNIVERSARY FEAST

Deborah Gold and her boyfriend Sage are celebrating their three-month anniversary, marking one of the longest relationships Deborah has had in a young life of too much work and not nearly enough play. They have a special, very romantic day planned, one that will culminate in a sumptuous meal at one of the hottest restaurants in the country. When they wake up to a blizzard, though, they realize that not only have their evening plans changed, but everything they were going to do for their celebration has been snowed out. Fortunately, for a couple of food lovers like Deborah and Sage, there’s a day’s worth of entertainment available in trying to turn the limited supplies in Sage’s apartment into a fine-dining experience. The adventure this entails will challenge their creativity and define their relationship in ways they’ve never before considered. 

The second novelette about the Golds, who we first met in the national bestseller Leaves, An Anniversary Feast is a cornucopia of food and romance. 

 

Read an excerpt here

EVERYTHING OR NOTHING

Maxwell Gold is at the most dramatic inflection point in his life. A successful businessperson, he has been asked to run for mayor of Oldham, CT against a horribly flawed incumbent. A dedicated father, he has come to a time when his toddler son Joey is a wildly entertaining playmate. A loving husband, he has faced a test that has proven to him that he is more committed to his wife Annie than ever. Everything could be going Maxwell’s way. 

Or not. The incumbent’s base is deeper than Maxwell’s campaign imagined, and the current mayor is willing to resort to some nasty tricks to remain in office. Joey is having tantrums and acting more willfully than kids his age normally act. And Annie hasn’t finished testing Maxwell and is beginning to make it clear that she doesn’t want him to pass the test. 

As the summer heats up on the most tumultuous year of Maxwell Gold’s life, he has come to realize that he could have everything he’s ever wanted . . . or he could wind up with nothing. 

 

Read an excerpt here