Once a Best Seller, Always a Best Seller, Especially if You’re Rick Ross

By Elisabeth Egan

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME If you wrote a book that became a best seller, how would you celebrate? We’ve heard the champagne corks popping; we’ve read the shocked and overjoyed posts on social media (heavy on exclamation points and firecracker emojis); we’ve even seen necklaces engraved with lucky ISBN numbers. But Rick Ross, the rapper, hip-hop star and entrepreneur behind “The Perfect Day to Boss Up,” which just spent three weeks on the advice, how-to and miscellaneous list and is now No. 4 on the business list, is the only author in recent memory to commemorate his book’s success by getting the New York Times logo tattooed on his neck. The “T” in Georgia typeface appears below Ross’s right ear, joining a dazzling mural of body ink. Billed as a hustler’s guide to creating your own empire, “The Perfect Day to Boss Up” begins on March 15, 2020, with Ross en route from Miami to Colombia, where his dentist was going to “hook me up with a beautiful set of coke-white porcelain veneers.” His trip is derailed by coronavirus: “The fungus was among us and it was just getting started.” On the cover of this book, Ross is wearing a zebra-striped sweater; on the cover of his 2019 memoir, “Hurricanes” (also a best seller), he was shirtless, with tattoos of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington visible on his chest.

WHEN #BLESSED GETS OLD Another sophomore title enters the hardcover nonfiction list this week: Kate Bowler’s memoir, “No Cure for Being Human,” which appears at No. 4. This associate professor at Duke Divinity School and podcast host follows up on her 2018 best seller, “Everything Happens for a Reason,” with a sendup of the advice industry and its relentless insistence on positivity. After being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer at 35, Bowler quickly tired of well-meaning but oblivious people who advised her to grab life by the horns and make the best of her situation. In a funny scene in the introduction, she asks the manager of a hospital gift shop why the inventory includes books “that actively blame people for their own diseases.” The manager points out that Joel Osteen’s “Best Life Now” was a New York Times best seller. The next time Bowler wheels past the store window, copies of this book have been replaced with another Osteen title, “You Can, You Will.” In “No Cure for Being Human,” Bowler offers an alternative to the good vibes/prosperity gospel approach: honesty with room for mystery and humor.

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