The book, released on Tuesday, reveals that Musk developed an atmosphere of fear in Tesla and SpaceX – an environment where the billionaire had a reputation for exploding at top executives and employees on the assembly line alike.
In 2006, ahead of Tesla’s first Roadster reveal party, Musk had his head of marketing Jessica Switzer, as well as a public relations firm, ousted because he was unhappy with Switzer’s decision to spend money on marketing. Higgins said Musk thought his name alone would be enough to incite interest in the vehicle.
Shortly after the executive’s departure, Musk threatened to fire another PR which was later hired to take on the Roadster reveal, citing his anger over a New York Times story on Tesla that did not mention Musk.
“I was incredibly insulted and embarrassed by the NY Times article,” Musk emailed the firm. “If anything like this happens again, please consider [your] relationship with Tesla to end immediately upon publication of such a piece.”
Mark Goldberg, a Morgan Stanley banker that helped take Tesla public in 2010, told Higgins that Musk repeatedly threatened to fire bankers from Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs before Tesla’s IPO launch in 2010.
Musk’s fury caused several executives to leave the company, Higgins said. Peter Rawlinson, the executive leading the development of the Model S, left Tesla after a series of spats with Musk. Musk put pressure on CFO Deepak Ahuja and Rawlinson’s key deputy Nick Sampson to bring Rawlinson back to the company. When they couldn’t, Musk fired Sampson in a fit.
Later, Tesla found itself without the heads of its manufacturing department ahead of the Tesla Model 3 launch due to Musk’s ire. The CEO went into a rage during a factory visit over issues with the Model X’s window. When a worker on the assembly line proposed a solution, Musk lit into the worker’s manager.
“This is totally unacceptable that you had a person working in your factory that knows the solution and you don’t even know that,” Musk reportedly said before firing the head of the factory.
Higgins writes that when an employee disagreed with the CEO they were often fired. For example, a paint shop manager was fired on the spot when he told Musk his production goals were not possible, and Kate Pearson, an executive in charge of delivery operations, was ousted for saying it was not feasible to hit Tesla’s delivery goal of 100,000 during the quarter.
By 2017, Musk began flying to Tesla’s Gigafactory to frequently address issues that often led to verbal spats. Longtime Tesla employees told Higgins Musk’s fury was unpredictable and often focused on public humiliation.
“He’d always been quick to fire people, but it had historically been through managers, not in person,” Higgins wrote. “Now it might be whomever he came across on the factory floor.”
The blanket began as a Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $4.7 million.
I tested the blanket for a few weeks and got some of the best sleep of my life.
The Gravity Blanket helped my mind to stop racing and put me to sleep almost instantly.
Table of Contents: Masthead StickyBlanket (25 lb, Single) (small)
When first I got a Gravity Blanket to test out, I had big plans for turning it into a scientific experiment.
I would wear an Apple Watch, I reasoned, to test how my heart rate responded to a weighted blanket. I planned to take notes about my mood and stress levels to measure whether the blanket could actually relax my central nervous system and calm me down.
But at the most basic level, weighted blankets mostly just feel like a gentle hug.
Gravity’s version of the weighted blanket began as a Kickstarter project in 2017. Gravity raised more than $4.7 million from nearly 24,000 backers to create a plush, single-person blanket that weighs up to 25 pounds.
Now, Gravity says it’s sold more than 60,000 weighted blankets, resulting in $15 million in sales. Gravity has now expanded its product lineup to include a weighted sleep mask, a cooling blanket for those who “sleep hot,” and more.
Review of the Gravity Weighted Blanket
I had the chance to test out the original $250 Gravity Blanket and the $30 weighted mask for a few weeks. I offered them up to friends, coworkers, and anyone who was willing to sit with a 20-pound blanket on top of them. For some people, the experience felt strange and uncomfortable. Others described it as “womb-like.”
Me? I had some of the best naps of my life.
Weighted blanket sizing
The first and most important thing you need to know about the Gravity Blanket is that it comes in varying weights. The right blanket for you depends on your size, since it should be equivalent to about 10% of your body weight.
Not realizing that, I went with the 20-pound blanket and after a few weeks of testing, found it to be slightly too heavy for me. For most adults, 20 pounds doesn’t seem like that much, but it can be overwhelming when you’re lying underneath it (or trying to schlep it home on the subway).
The other thing to know about the blanket is that it’s not the size of a full comforter or duvet, and it’s not really meant to be shared. It won’t replace your bedding – unless maybe you sleep in a twin bed – and it won’t cover both you and a partner at the same time.
Plus, at $250, it’s one very pricey blanket.
‘It felt like I was in the womb’
All that aside, I was curious to see if a seemingly simple – albeit heavy – blanket would have the same effect that is usually found with pharmaceuticals or meditation. Could it really reduce stress and anxiety? Could it help me sleep?
I decided to offer up the Gravity Blanket to friends, my boyfriend, and coworkers. Let’s just say that reactions were … mixed.
“It feels like an animal is laying on you,” one person said.
“I feel relaxed!” another told me. “But maybe it’s just a placebo effect?”
A friend came over to my house to try it and informed me that the Gravity Blanket made him feel like he “was in the womb.”
I’m not someone who typically has a hard time falling or staying asleep – actually, sleeping is one of my favorite pastimes. But I’m not much of a napper, and I have a hard time taking “power naps” or falling asleep when it’s still light out.
Every time I went to go test the blanket, hoping to track how my heart rate changed or at least document how I was feeling, I passed right out. One night, I laid down with the blanket in the early evening and ended up sleeping under it all night. Another night, I used the blanket and sleep mask while in the throes of a migraine, hoping it might alleviate some of my symptoms – I slept for three hours and woke up with a much milder headache.
Here’s proof, kindly snapped by my boyfriend:
The bottom line
I haven’t been able to try the blanket yet without passing out within moments, but it seems as though I’ve been reaping the benefits of a weighted blanket, even while asleep. My mind usually races when I’m lying in bed, and I tend to stress about everything from what I’m going to wear the next day, to trips I have planned months from now. The Gravity Blanket seemed to calm my mind enough that I fell asleep instantly, time and again.
So while my tests certainly haven’t been scientific, I can definitely say the Gravity Blanket helps me feel calm, relaxed – and very, very sleepy.
Apple offered an early look at its newest retail store location at the historic Tower Theater in downtown Los Angeles before it opens to the public on Thursday.
The project was first announced almost three years ago, and the renovation involved manually removing layers of paint and delicately restoring architectural features that are nearly a century old.
“At every corner, Los Angeles bursts with creativity across the arts, music, and entertainment, and we are thrilled to build on our relationship with this special city,” Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People, Deirdre O’Brien said in a statement. “Apple Tower Theatre honors the rich history and legacy of this entertainment capital.”
First opened in 1927, the Tower Theater was the first to offer such modern features as motion pictures with sound, and “manufactured weather,” also known as air conditioning.
Renowned motion-picture theater architect S. Charles Lee designed the space, including several cinematic and classically inspired flourishes.
The theater closed in 1988 and was largely unused apart from serving as a set for films like Coyote Ugly and The Gangster Squad.
There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made.
You could look to classics, like “Super Mario Bros.” You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That’s your list!
But what we’ve got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you’ll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic.
One quick disclaimer!
We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we’re using the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.
Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:
50. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”
Critic score: 94/100
User score: 6.4/10
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Modern Warfare 2’ continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, ‘Modern Warfare 2’ multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons – Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment – Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks – AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports).”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The last ‘Final Fantasy’ for the PlayStation, ‘Final Fantasy IX’ returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make ‘Final Fantasy IX’ not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series.”
Platforms: PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Once conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia has been dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and engage the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘World of Goo’ is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls that live in the beautiful ‘World of Goo’ don’t know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.”
Platforms: Wii, PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Nintendo Switch
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Following the prologue Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain concludes the Metal Gear Solid V experience by following the story of the protagonist of the series, Big Boss (a.k.a. Snake). The Metal Gear Solid V experience is Creator and Director Hideo Kojima’s first time incorporating open world gameplay to the groundbreaking Metal Gear franchise.”
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Portal 2’ is the sequel to the title named “Game of the Year” 2007 by over 30 publications around the world. ‘Portal 2’ promises to break new ground in next generation gaming by expanding the award-winning recipe of innovative gameplay, immersive story, and creative inclusion of music while also introducing multiplayer co-op game modes.”
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Prepare for an all-new RPG experience in Persona 5 Royal based in the universe of the award-winning series, Persona! Don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Break free from the chains of modern society and stage grand heists to infiltrate the minds of the corrupt and make them change their ways! Persona 5 Royal is packed with new characters, confidants, story depth, new locations to explore, and a new grappling hook mechanic for stealthy access to new areas. With a new semester at Shujin Academy, get ready to strengthen your abilities in the metaverse and in your daily life. Persona 5 Royal presents a unique visual style and award nominated composer Shoji Meguro returns with an all-new soundtrack. Explore Tokyo, unlock new Personas, customize your own personal Thieves Den, discover a never-before-seen story arc, cutscenes, alternate endings, and more! Even for the most seasoned Phantom Thieves among us, Persona 5 Royal is a new challenge to defy conventions, discover the power within, and fight for justice. Wear the mask. Reveal your truth.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Take Your Game Online: Access an online community where you can meet, chat, and play head-to-head against other gamers. Audio Dream Team: Dynamic play-by-play and analysis by Madden and Michaels. All-New Mini-camp: Hop on John Madden’s Cruiser Tour Bus and travel to all NFL cities to complete skilled tasks. Create-A-Playbook: Customize receiver routes, player formations, and your team’s entire playbook. Deepest Franchise Mode Ever: Play 30 years of Franchise mode and draft players each season with tips from your scouts.”
Platforms: Game Boy Advance, PC, GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Twenty years after a pandemic radically transformed known civilization, infected humans run amok and survivors kill one another for sustenance and weapons – literally whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a salty survivor, is hired to smuggle a fourteen-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a rough military quarantine, but what begins as a simple job quickly turns into a brutal journey across the country.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Thrown into a parallel world by the mischievous actions of a possessed Skull Kid, Link finds a land in grave danger. The dark power of a relic called Majora’s Mask has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Termina, but their most urgent problem is a suicidal moon crashing toward the world. Link has only 72 hours to find a way to stop its descent.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The Covenant alien race threatens to destroy all humankind, and the only thing standing in its way is Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier. Master Chief returns in ‘Halo 2,’ which features new vehicles, weapons, environments, and more. This time, you can interact with your environment, wield two weapons at the same time, board opponents’ vehicles, and even switch sides to play the role of a Covenant Elite. ‘Halo 2’ also supports broadband multiplayer action via Xbox Live.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “With the addition of two new courses (a downtown Tokyo circuit and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix course), an impressive range of cars (from Vipers to Cooper Minis), and a soundtrack featuring everything from Lenny Kravitz to Jimi Hendrix, this highly anticipated title is finally ready to be driven.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rockstar San Diego, as a follow up to the 2004 hit game ‘Red Dead Revolver,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. The story of former outlaw, John Marston, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ takes players on a great adventure across the American frontier. Utilizing Rockstar’s proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), ‘Red Dead Redemption’ features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes – each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Receive four complete classic Zelda games all on one disc when you buy the Zelda GameCube Bundle: ‘The Legend of Zelda,’ ‘Zelda II – The Adventure of Link,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.'”
Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (various platforms)
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘LittleBigPlanet,’ players meet on a blue and green planet scattered with individual plots – and use their character’s amazing abilities to play, create and share what they build with other gamers throughout the world via the PlayStation Network. The ‘LittleBigPlanet’ experience starts with players learning about their character’s powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve – all requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as players begin their creative skills will grow and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing them with the whole community. Characters have the power to move anything in this glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play. There’s no complicated level editor; all of these skills can be learned by simply playing the game. Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it’s ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch – or can go and explore everybody else’s.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s. Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli. They were understandably nervous about his re-appearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He’s set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself. Vice City offers vehicular pleasures to suit every taste. For the speed enthusiast, there’s high-performance cars and motorbikes. For the sportsman, a powerboat or a golf buggy lets you enjoy the great outdoors. For those that need that sense of freedom and escape, why not charter a helicopter and see the beauty of Vice City from the air.”
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas… a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it’s the early 90s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.”
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Fire OS
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An epic continuation of the story that began in ‘Baldur’s Gate,’ this RPG is set along the southern portion of the Sword Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms called Amn. It features 300 spells and 130-plus monster types compared to only 130 spells and 60 monster types in ‘Baldur’s Gate.'”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Since the incident on Shadow Moses Island, Metal Gear’s top-secret technology has been leaked into the black market through the machinations of Revolver Ocelot. As a result, countless variations of Metal Gears have sprung up in every corner of the globe, making the weapon an increasingly common component of the armed forces of nuclear powers. In the midst of all of this, Solid Snake, now a member of the anti-Metal Gear group ‘Philanthropy,’ has learned that a new prototype Metal Gear has been developed by the U.S. Marines and is being transported in secret to an unknown destination. To learn more about this new machine, Snake must infiltrate the transport, disguised as a tanker, as it makes its way down the Hudson River. Just as Snake is about to begin his mission, however, the ship is seized by a mysterious and well-armed group bent on stealing the new Metal Gear for their own, nefarious purposes
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Vita
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to the most advanced racing game ever created! Encounter exhilarating high-speed racing in 11 stunning environments. Feel handling agility and throttle response so convincing, the car seems to be an extension of yourself. Experience the extraordinary world of ‘Gran Turismo’!”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In this ninth entry in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link debuts on GameCube with a fun new cel-shaded look, but the game stays true to the respected heritage of the series. The classic mix of sword-swinging action, perplexing puzzles and stirring story lines remains intact, but the stunning cel-shaded graphics give the people and places of Link’s watery world a wildly artistic new look. And for the very first time, Link sails freely on the high seas. Join Link on his most epic and scenic adventure yet. Face unimaginable monsters, explore puzzling dungeons, and meet a cast of unforgettable characters as he searches for his kidnapped sister, Aryll.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Half-Life’ combines great storytelling in the tradition of Stephen King with intense action and advanced technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players need to think smart to survive. ‘Half-Life’ has won more than 50 Game of the Year awards from publications around the world, and was named ‘Best PC Game Ever’ in PC Gamer’s November 1999 issue.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The next chapter in the ‘Elder Scrolls’ saga arrives from the Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of ‘The Elder Scrolls’ is realized like never before. Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons. Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions. Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.”
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the next chapter in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link can transform into a wolf to scour the darkened land of Hyrule. With the help of Midna, a mysterious being, you must guide Link through hordes of foul creatures and challenging bosses using new moves and a new horseback combat system. Many puzzles stand between Link and the fulfillment of his quest, so you must sharpen your wits as you hunt for weapons and items.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy is a science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren’s evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An ancient evil force has reawakened, attacking in secret and feeding on the souls of mighty warriors. To lure it out of hiding will take the greatest fighting contest the world has ever seen…Tekken 3. Some are fighting for revenge, some for honor. Ultimately, all are fighting for their lives and the fate of all mankind.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rocksteady Studios, ‘Batman: Arkham City’ builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum,’ sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security ‘home’ for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Games included in The Orange Box compilation: The original Half-Life 2 – The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people – people he cares about – are counting on him. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode One’ – The player reprises his role of Dr. Freeman, who must immediately face the repercussions of his actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Freeman reconnects with Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, as they continue their support of the resistance’s battle against the Combine forces. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode Two’ — the second installment in Valve’s episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17. ‘Portal’ – a pioneering type of single player action game that rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment – much like how Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun reinvented the way gamers interact with objects in the game. ‘Team Fortress 2’ – an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games. The game’s daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.”
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Linux, Mac
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘Resident Evil 4’ players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Department’s idealistic rookie cop from ‘Resident Evil 2.’ It has been six years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the U.S. government has been able to destroy the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Fast forward to 2004 and players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission. He has been tasked to look into the abduction of the President’s daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Europe. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything.”
Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Zeebo, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a third-person action-adventure/shooter created by award-winning developer Naughty Dog. Down on his luck, Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who’s after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything – but has his luck finally run out?”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “You are Bond. James Bond. You are assigned covert operations connected with the GoldenEye weapons satellite. M will brief you on your mission and objectives from London. Q Branch will support your efforts with a plentiful supply of weapons and gadgets. Moneypenny offers you light-hearted best wishes and you’re off! Your mission begins in the heavily guarded chemical warfare facility at the Byelomorye Dam in the USSR. Look and shoot in any direction as you navigate 12 interactive 3-D environments. Use stealth and force as you see fit in matters of international security. Consider the military personnel expendable. You are licensed to kill!”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Going beyond ‘run and gun corridors,’ ‘monster-closet AIs’ and static worlds, BioShock creates a living, unique and unpredictable FPS experience. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities. Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience. Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game. Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture…or save them?”
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, ‘Half-Life 2’ opens the door to a world where the player’s presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors — even the emotions — of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.”
Platforms: PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, Linux, Android
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Enter the mysterious world of Halo, an alien planet shaped like a ring. As mankind’s super soldier Master Chief, you must uncover the secrets of Halo and fend off the attacking Covenant. During your missions, you’ll battle on foot, in vehicles, inside, and outside with alien and human weaponry. Your objectives include attacking enemy outposts, raiding underground labs for advanced technology, rescuing fallen comrades, and sniping enemy forces. ‘Halo’ also lets you battle three other players via intense split screen combat or fight cooperatively with a friend through the single-player missions.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Mario embarks on a new journey through unknown worlds, running and jumping through huge 3D worlds in the first sandbox-style Mario game since ‘Super Mario 64’ and ‘Super Mario Sunshine.’ Set sail between expansive worlds aboard an airship, and perform all-new actions, such as throwing Mario’s cap.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Players are put at the heart of their very own gangster movie, and let loose in a fully-realized 3 dimensional city with a cast of hundreds, 50 plus vehicles, ranging from sports cars to ice cream trucks and from boats to buses, 3 hours of music, including opera, reggae, house, drum and bass, pop and disco, and a huge array of street ready weapons.”
Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Samus returns in a new mission to unravel the mystery behind the ruined walls scattered across Tallon IV. In Metroid Prime, you’ll play the role of this bounty hunter and view the world through her visor, which displays information ranging from current energy levels to ammunition. Equipped with a Power Beam and Gravity Suit, you must shoot locked switches, solve puzzles, and eliminate enemies. It’s up to you to explore the world and recover more power-ups and weapons, which gradually open more gameplay areas.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Step into the Dark… As Carrington Institute’s most promising new Agent, Joanna Dark must uncover the truth behind the dataDyne Corporation’s recent technological breakthroughs – breakthroughs which could have serious consequences for mankind.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across fields, through forests and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this open-air adventure. Explore the wilds of Hyrule any way you like.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay alive in a time of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV. Amidst the turmoil, three very unique criminals plot their own chances of survival and success: Franklin, a street hustler looking for tangible opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is less rosy than he figured it would be; and Trevor, a violent dude driven by the opportunity for a cheap high and his next big score. With options at a premium, the crew risks it all in a myriad of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.”
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC
Plot summary (from Metacritic): ” Developed by the creators of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ and ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world also provides the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience. America, 1899. The end of the Wild West era has begun. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang has to rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal fissures threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang that raised him.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to the galaxy-hopping original game, includes the gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first game, but is loaded with entirely new galaxies and features to challenge players. On some stages, Mario can pair up with his dinosaur buddy Yoshi and use his tongue to grab items and spit them back at enemies. Players can also have fun with new items such as a drill that lets our hero tunnel through solid rock.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ultimate Nintendo hero is taking the ultimate step … out into space. Join Mario as he ushers in a new era of video games, defying gravity across all the planets in the galaxy. When some creature escapes into space with Princess Peach, Mario gives chase, exploring bizarre planets all across the galaxy. Mario, Peach and enemies new and old are here. Players run, jump and battle enemies as they explore all the planets in the galaxy. Since this game makes full use of all the features of the Wii Remote, players have to do all kinds of things to succeed: pressing buttons, swinging the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, and even pointing at and dragging things with the pointer. Since he’s in space, Mario can perform mind-bending jumps unlike anything he’s done before. He’ll also have a wealth of new moves that are all based around tilting, pointing and shaking the Wii Remote. Shake, tilt and point! Mario takes advantage of all the unique aspects of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller, unleashing new moves as players shake the controller and even point at and drag items with the pointer.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “This is a tale of souls and swords, transcending the world and all its history, told for all eternity… The greatest weapons-based fighter returns, this time on Sega Dreamcast. Soul Calibur unleashes incredible graphics, fantastic fighters, and combos so amazing they’ll make your head spin!”
Platforms: Dreamcast, iOS, Arcade, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “What does the American Dream mean today? For Niko Belic, fresh off the boat from Europe. It’s the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them an a living nightmare for those who don’t.”
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Hawk’s back – with new technology, new pros and new tricks! ‘THPS2,’ the legend rides on! Skate as legendary Tony Hawk or any one of 12 other pro skaters. Create your own custom skaters. Multiple play modes including 1-Player, Career and Free Skate modes, as well as 2-player modes such as Trick Attack, Graffiti Tag and Horse. Build your own custom skate parks with the real-time 3D park editor”
Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Mac, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, iOS, Xbox
Plot summary (from Metacritic): “As a young boy, Link is tricked by Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo Thieves. The evil human uses Link to gain access to the Sacred Realm, where he places his tainted hands on Triforce and transforms the beautiful Hyrulean landscape into a barren wasteland. Link is determined to fix the problems he helped to create, so with the help of Rauru he travels through time gathering the powers of the Seven Sages.”
Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console (various platforms)
Since the killing of George Floyd, many Americans continue to talk about how they can be an ally for Black people. And this Black History Month is an important time to continue that work.
In this era, it’s not enough for allies to say they’re “not racist,” activists and leading scholars are saying. Instead, they have to actively adopt anti-racism, which is the set of beliefs and actions that oppose racism and promote the inclusion and equality of Black and brown people in society.
One important way to learn about anti-racism is by reading. As Vulture aptly puts it, “The how could this happen meets the I told you so. They rendezvous at the anti-racist reading list.”
So which books should you read? Business Insider reached out to Black professors and scholars at institutions across the country to find out which books they recommend. We also included some popular books on anti-racism Americans are digitally reading at their libraries right now.
This updated article was originally published in June 2020.
“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo
In this bestseller, Seattle-based writer Ijeoma Oluo prompts people of all races to start having honest conversations about race, giving readers handy phrases and questions to start unpacking racism within their own social networks. She tackles subjects ranging from intersectionality to microaggressions, or subtly racist remarks or actions.
Thomonique Moore, a 2016 graduate of Howard University, founder of online book club Books&Shit, which explores titles by authors of color, and an incoming master’s candidate at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, recommends everyone pick of this title.
“This is a good book to help white people and non-black people of color answer often spoken and unspoken questions about race and racism,” Moore told Business Insider.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
In “The New Jim Crow,” legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” Jim Crow laws were state and local laws created in the late 1800s and early 1900s that enforced racial segregation and encouraged the disenfranchisement of black people in the US.
“Michelle Alexander breaks down the historic ‘war on crime’ and how the explosive increase in the number US citizens incarcerated, namely black men, is just another trickier, evolved, version of slavery, and Jim Crow,” Moore said.
“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo
In this best-selling book, academic, lecturer, and author Robin Diangelo explores the defense mechanisms white people commonly employ when challenged on their assumptions about race. These counterproductive reactions, Diangelo explains, prevent white people from having much needed conversations to usher in progress.
“White Fragility is a mirror and self-reflection guide, so to speak, for white people who are ready to face their privileges and finally have the tough and necessary conversations,” Moore said.
“Two Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage” by Leslie Picca and Joe Feagin
“Two-Faced Racism,” published in 2007, features more than 600 journal entries of racial events kept by white college students at 28 colleges in the US. It exposes how closely held racist beliefs are still very much a part of American culture.
Fleming assigns this book to students taking her “Racism and Ethnic Relations” course at Stony Brook University.
“Picca and Feagin analyze data from journal entries provided by white college students which reveals how racism works behind closed doors as well as in public and semi-public spaces,” Fleming said.
“How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide” by Crystal Fleming
In addition to recommending other authors, Fleming suggest a book she wrote on the topic of racism, which serves as a primer on the topics of racial oppression and white supremacy.
“I wrote the book to help people understand the historical roots of white supremacy and to be able to draw connections between past and present racism. The last chapter includes 10 concrete steps that everyone can take to help dismantle systemic racism,” she told Business Insider.
“The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions” by Vilna Bashi Treitler
“The Ethnic Project” was written by Vilna Bashi Treitler, a sociology professor in the department of black students at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
In this historical narrative work, Treitler examines the ethnic history of the US from the arrival of the English in North America to the present day. She shows how each group of immigrants from Irish to Chinese people negotiated their place in the pecking order of ethnic groups within in the country.
“‘The Ethnic Project’ is incredibly useful for understanding the racial hierarchy in the United States,” Fleming said.
“Racist America: Roots, Current Realities, and Future Reparations” by Joe Feagin
Feagin incorporates more than 200 recent research studies and reports in his book, which illustrates the origins of racism in the US, and how it still pervades white culture today.
Augustine Kposowa, professor and chair of the department of sociology at the University of California, Riverside, cites this book as an important read for anyone looking to be anti-racist.
“Joe Feagin reveals just how racist whites are,” Kposowa said. “Feagin is white and he is privy to secret conversations that whites have in white networks that blacks can never join. In his book, he mentions stories, and what white people say in private, at dinner tables, in their circles about black people, leaving no stone untouched.”
“White Rage; the Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson
“White Rage” explores how each time blacks in America have made progress, there has been strong white backlash.
“The book is a critical reflection of why racism persists in the United States, including things that enrage white people about racial issues. In the book, it is evident that no matter what happens in America, including the most open outrages like police killings of blacks, whites never seem interested,” Kposowa said.
This book, written by distinguished Afro-American sociologist and former long term chairman of the Department of Sociology at Hunter College Alphonso Pinkney, explores several facets of different black experiences in the US, including homicide as a public health problem and the prevalence of police brutality.
“Pinkney’s book is a comprehensive account of black life in America, and covers why in almost every sphere, blacks are forced to stay behind,” Kposowa said.
“Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” by Harriet Washington
Maryann Erigha, assistant sociology professor at the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Georgia recommends this book written by Harriet Washington, which won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
“Washington’s book provides a full context and comprehensive understanding of the history and present of medical experimentation and the mistreatment of Blacks in the medical industrial complex. She covers a wide range of areas, from academic pseudoscience to the medical atrocities committed by the government and armed forces, prisons, and private institutions,” she said.
“My book highlights the ubiquity and implications of underlying beliefs about race and value, inferiority/superiority, profit/loss, desirability/undesirability, that are pervasive among whites in Hollywood and that influence their decision-making about what movies get made, for how much, and under what conditions,” she told Business Insider.
In the “code of the street,” Yale professor Elijah Anderson, presents an explanation for high rates of violence among black teens in the US. Anderson explains how living in impoverished areas without access to economic opportunities, being separated from mainstream society, as well as persistent discrimination was linked with anti-social attitudes and and violent behavior in black teens.
Mansa Bilal Mark King, associate professor of sociology at Morehouse College, told Business Insider it’s one of the most important books non-black people can read.
“This is one of the best books for helping non-black people begin to understand that the adoption of a street persona is often a matter of everyday safety for black people who are not actually committed to a street ethos,” he said.
Author Frantz Fanon was a distinguished psychiatrist from Martinique who took part in the Algerian Nationalist Movement, a movement that fought for the rights French colonizers to be extended to native Algerians. In “The Wretched of the Earth,” Fanon captures the psychology of the colonized and their path to liberation.
“This book can be hard for most non-black Americans to read, and it can be even more difficult for them to see how it relates to African Americans, particularly those of us whose families survived American slavery and Jim and Jane Crow apartheid. That is exactly why people need to read it,” King said.
“The Mis-Education of the Negro” by Carter Woodson
Carter Godwin Woodson was an American historian, author, journalist, and one of the first scholars to study the history of the African diaspora. In this book, he argues that black people were being indoctrinated, rather than educated, in American schools, and that black Americans needed to educate themselves on the history of race and racism.
“This book is almost a century old, and the fact that its basic critique remains a valid one should help readers to understand a key source of black American anger,” King said. “For many Black Americans, not getting a helpful education on Africa and her American Diaspora is part of the reason for educational disengagement.”
“UNESCO General History of Africa, Vol. I by Joseph Ki-Zerbo and Vol. II” by G. Mokhtar
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has put together comprehensive titles on the history of Africa and its people that are useful for any American of any color to read.
These works “help the reader overcome the poor historical education that most Americans get when it comes to Africa,” King said.
“Black Wealth/White Wealth” by Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro
In “Black Wealth/White Wealth,” sociological researchers Oliver and Shapiro capture just how large the wealth gap is between black and white Americans.
“This book helps people of all races begin to understand that it was white America that systematically chooses for us to have almost all black, low-income, ‘ghetto areas.’ Equally important, this imposed reality means that black children are born at a disadvantage, in the vast majority of cases, through no fault of their own,” King said.
“me and white supremacy,” by Layla Saad
This was the most popular anti-racism book checked out digitally from the end of May through June, according to Overdrive.
In this hit title, Saad brings her unique perspective as an East African, Arab, British, Black, Muslim woman — who’s also a speaker and writer — to the forefront. Her book came after the hashtag she started #MeandWhiteSupremacy, where people shared their own experiences with racism, went viral. Saad’s book lists the common reasons why white people aren’t actively anti-racist, and includes concrete steps on how to be a better ally.
“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
“Stamped,” a young adult nonfiction book, is another popular title among readers, according to Overdrive. In this book, Reynolds, renowned young-adult author, reimagines Kendi’s bestseller for a younger audience. The book explores how the history of racism is inextricably linked to the creation of the US.
In “Just Mercy,” Stevenson tells his incredible story of creating the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice to help those most desperate and in need, like the wrongly condemned. One of his first clients was Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to death for a murder he said he didn’t commit. The story of Stevenson’s fight for justice was turned into a major motion film.
In McMillan Cottom’s eyes, the personal is political, and she doesn’t shy away from talking about all of it. In eight treatises on beauty, media, money, race, and abuse, McMillan Cottom explores the ways American culture treats Black women. Roxanne Gay, writer, professor and author of the best-selling essay collection Bad Feminist calls this book “brilliant.”