Tom Zoellner biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Tom Zoellner
© Paul Charest

Tom Zoellner

How to pronounce Tom Zoellner: zollner

Tom Zoellner Biography

Tom Zoellner is the author of five nonfiction books, including Train. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book An Ordinary Man, and his book Uranium won the 2011 Science Writing Award from The American Institute of Physics. Tom has worked as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and The Arizona Republic, and as a contributing editor for Men's Health magazine.

He is now an associate professor of English at Chapman University. Tom lives in downtown Los Angeles and is a founding member of the journalism collective Deca.

Tom Zoellner's website

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Interview

Tom Zoellner discusses his book The Heartless Stone - a panoramic and unflinching look at the modern diamond industry which uncovers the secrets behind one of our most luxurious and costly status symbols.

Q: Why are diamonds such a big deal in America?
A: It’s now a $25 billion dollar business. Seven out of every ten American women own at least one. But as it turns out, the idea of a diamond as a popular luxury item is fairly new in this country. A magazine advertising campaign sponsored by De Beers created the consumer desire just a few years before World War II. They sought to make diamonds not just rare, but essential for every man seeking to get married. Famous painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali were commissioned to create landscapes next to advertising text that had a strange fixation on death, of all things. But De Beers tried to plant this subtle idea that diamonds are a kind of shield against mortality. "Diamonds are the most imperishable record a man may leave of his personal life," said one of the ads. That’s part of the source for the famous slogan they eventually cooked up in 1948: "A Diamond Is Forever." A phony "tradition" was also established: a groom must spend two months’ salary on his wife’s stone. But this was not a global standard. British men were viewed as more stingy and were told to save one month’s pay. The...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tom Zoellner at BookBrowse
Uranium jacket The Heartless Stone jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tom Zoellner but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Dr. Ross Donaldson MD, MPH

    Dr. Ross Donaldson MD, MPH

    Dr. Ross Donaldson is the Director of the Emergency Medicine Global Health Program at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and holds appointments in the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He is the critically acclaimed ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Heartless Stone

    Try:
    The Lassa Ward
    by Dr. Ross Donaldson MD, MPH

  • Richard Fortey

    Richard Fortey

    Richard Fortey is a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. His books include the critically acclaimed Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth, short-listed for the Rh&#... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Heartless Stone

    Try:
    Dry Storeroom No. 1
    by Richard Fortey

We recommend 5 similar authors

View all 5 Readalikes

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Editor's Choice

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Book Discussion
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An audacious American epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.

About the book
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