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The highly anticipated new book from Malcolm Gladwell, No.1 international bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and David and Goliath.
In July 2015, a young black woman named Sandra Bland was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in rural Texas. Minutes later she was arrested and jailed. Three days later, she committed suicide in her cell. What went wrong? Talking To Strangers is all about what happens when we encounter people we don't know, why it often goes awry, and what it says about us. How do we make sense of the unfamiliar? Why are we so bad at judging someone, reading a face, or detecting a lie? Why do we so often fail to 'get' other people? Through a series of puzzles, encounters and misunderstandings, from little-known stories to infamous legal cases, Gladwell takes us on a journey through the unexpected.
You will read about the spy who spent years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the man who saw through the fraudster Bernie Madoff, the suicide of the poet Sylvia Plath and the false conviction of Amanda Knox. You will discover that strangers are never simple.
No one shows us who we are like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he sets out to understand why we act the way we do, and how we all might know a little more about those we don't.
In the bestselling, prize-winning A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson achieved the seemingly impossible by making the science of our world both understandable and entertaining to millions of people around the globe. Now he turns his attention inwards to explore the human body, how it functions and its remarkable ability to heal itself.
Full of extraordinary facts and astonishing stories, The Body- A Guide for Occupants is a brilliant, often very funny attempt to understand the miracle of our physical and neurological make up. A wonderful successor to A Short History of Nearly Everythingg, this book will have you marvelling at the form you occupy, and celebrating the genius of your existence, time and time again.
We live in an age of perfectionism.
Every day, we’re bombarded with the beautiful, successful, slim, socially-conscious and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self. We see this person constantly in shop windows, in newspapers, on the television, at the movies and all over our social media. We berate ourselves when we don’t match up to them – when we’re too fat, too old, too poor or too sad. This cycle can be extremely bad for us. In recent years, psychologists have even begun to think that many people take their own lives because of the impossible standards that are set for who they ought to be.
Will Storr began to wonder about this perfect self that torments so many of us. Who, actually, is this person? Why does it hold such power over us? Could it be humanity’s deadliest idea? And, if so, is there any way we can break its spell? To find out, Storr takes us on a journey from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, the encounter groups of 1960s California and self-esteem evangelists of the late twentieth century to modern-day America, where research suggests today’s young people are in the grip of an epidemic of narcissism. He’ll tell the strange story of the individualist Western self from its birth on the Aegean to the era of hyper-individualistic neoliberalism in which we find ourselves today.
Selfie reveals, for the first time, the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately . . . because it’s us.
When Edwin Hubble looked into his telescope in the 1920s, he was shocked to find that nearly all of the galaxies he could see through it were flying away from one another. If these galaxies had always been travelling, he reasoned, then they must, at some point, have been on top of one another. This discovery transformed the debate about one of the most fundamental questions of human existence - how did the universe begin?
Every society has stories about the origin of the cosmos and its inhabitants, but now, with the power to peer into the early universe and deploy the knowledge gleaned from archaeology, geology, evolutionary biology and cosmology, we are closer than ever to understanding where it all came from. In The Origin of (almost) Everything, New Scientist explores the modern origin stories of everything from the Big Bang, meteorites and dark energy, to dinosaurs, civilisation, timekeeping, belly-button fluff and beyond.
From how complex life evolved on Earth, to the first written language, to how humans conquered space, The Origin of (almost) Everything offers a unique history of the past, present and future of our universe.
From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493--an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow's world.
In forty years, Earth's population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups--Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug's cry. Only in that way can everyone win!
Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces--food, water, energy, climate change--grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author's insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.
THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER Fire gave us power. Farming made us hungry for more. Money gave us purpose. Science made us deadly. This is the thrilling account of our extraordinary history - from insignificant apes to rulers of the world. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it: us. In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we're going. `I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who's interested in the history and future of our species' Bill Gates
Brilliant but overlooked ideas you must know, as revealed by today’s most innovative minds
What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of the acclaimed science salon Edge.org (“The world’s smartest website”—The Guardian), presented to 205 of the world’s most influential thinkers from across the intellectual spectrum—award-winning physicists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, novelists, artists, and more. From the origins of the universe to the order of everyday life, This Idea Is Brilliant takes readers on a tour of the bold, exciting, and underappreciated scientific concepts that will enrich every mind.
What are things made of? What is the sun? Why is there night and day, winter and summer? Why do bad things happen? Are we alone? Throughout history people all over the world have invented stories to answer profound questions such as these. Have you heard the tale of how the sun hatched out of an emu's egg? Or what about the great catfish that carries the world on its back? Has anyone ever told you that earthquakes are caused by a sneezing giant? These fantastical myths are fun - but what is the real answer to such questions?
The Magic of Reality, with its explanations of space, time, evolution and more, will inspire and amaze readers of all ages - young adults, adults, children, octogenarians. Teaming up with the renowned illustrator Dave McKean, Richard Dawkins answers all these questions and many more. In stunning words and pictures this book presents the real story of the world around us, taking us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality, and showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths.
We encounter rainbows, our genetic ancestors, tsunamis, shooting stars, plants, animals, and an intriguing cast of characters in this extraordinary scientific voyage of discovery. Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean have created a dazzling celebration of our planet that will entertain and inform for years to come.
The highly anticipated new book from Malcolm Gladwell, No.1 international bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and David and Goliath In July 2015, a young black woman named Sandra Bland was pulled over for a minor traffic violation in rural Texas. Minutes later she was arrested and jailed. Three days later, she committed suicide in her cell. What went wrong? Talking to Strangers is all about what happens when we encounter people we don't know, why it often goes awry, and what it says about us. How do we make sense of the unfamiliar? Why are we so bad at judging someone, reading a face, or detecting a lie? Why do we so often fail to 'get' other people? Through a series of puzzles, encounters and misunderstandings, from little-known stories to infamous legal cases, Gladwell takes us on a journey through the unexpected. You will read about the spy who spent years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the man who saw through the fraudster Bernie Madoff, the suicide of the poet Sylvia Plath and the false conviction of Amanda Knox. You will discover that strangers are never simple. No one shows us who we are like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he sets out to understand why we act the way we do, and how we all might know a little more about those we don't.
How an unknown German and an Englishman on opposite sides of WWI created a scientific revolution In 1916, Arthur Eddington, a war-weary British astronomer, opened a letter written by an obscure German professor named Einstein. The neatly printed equations on the scrap of paper outlined his world-changing theory of general relativity. Until then, Einstein's masterpiece of time and space had been trapped behind the physical and ideological lines of battle, unknown. Many Britons were rejecting anything German, but Eddington realized the importance of the letter: perhaps Einstein's esoteric theory could not only change the foundations of science but also lead to international co-operation in a time of brutal war. Few recognize how the Great War, the industrialized slaughter that bled Europe from 1914 to 1918, shaped Einstein's life and work. While Einstein never held a rifle, he formulated general relativity blockaded in Berlin, literally starving. His name is now synonymous with 'genius', but it was not an easy road. This was, after all, the first complete revision of our conception of the universe since Isaac Newton. Its victory was far from sure. Einstein spent a decade creating relativity and his ascent to global celebrity, which saw him on front pages around the world, also owed much to against-the-odds international collaboration, including Eddington's crucial, globe-spanning expedition of 1919 - which was still two years before they finally met - to catch a fleeting solar eclipse for a rare opportunity to confirm Einstein's bold prediction that light has weight. We usually think of scientific discovery as a flash of individual inspiration, but here we see it is the result of hard work, gambles and wrong turns. Einstein's War is a celebration of how bigotry and nationalism can be defeated and of what science can offer when they are. Using previously unknown sources and written like a thriller, it sheds light on science through history: we see relativity built brick-by-brick in front of us, as it happened 100 years ago.
An enchanting biography of the most resonant - and most necessary - chemical element on Earth. Carbon. It's in the fibres in your hair, the timbers in your walls, the food that you eat and the air that you breathe. It's worth billions as a luxury and half a trillion as a necessity, but there are still mysteries yet to be solved about the element that can be both diamond and coal. Where does it come from, what does it do, and why, above all, does life need it? With sparkling prose and engaging narrative, earth scientist Robert Hazen leads us on a vibrant journey through the origin and evolution of life's most ubiquitous element. The story unfolds in four movements - Earth, Air, Fire and Water - and transports us through 14 billion years of cosmic history. From the outer reaches of the universe to the cliffs of Scotland and into the precious-metal mines of Namibia, Symphony in C is a sweeping chronicle of carbon: the most essential element on Earth.
A cutting-edge examination of what it means to be human and to have a 'self' in the face of new scientific developments in genetic editing, cloning and neural downloading. After seeing his own cells used to grow clumps of new neurons - essentially mini-brains - Philip Ball begins to examine the concepts of identity and consciousness. Delving into humanity's deep evolutionary past to look at how complex creatures like us emerged from single-celled life, he offers a new perspective on how humans think about ourselves. In an age when we are increasingly encouraged to regard the 'self' as an abstract sequence of genetic information, or as a pattern of neural activity that might be 'downloaded' to a computer, he return us to the body - to flesh and blood - and anchors a conception of personhood in this unique and ephemeral mortal coil. How to Build a Human brings us back to ourselves - but in doing so, it challenges old preconceptions and values. It asks us to rethink how we exist in the world.
Take a journey through the fascinating story of fractions, numbers, patterns, and shapes in order to better understand the complex world we live in. Continuing the "Big Ideas" series' trademark combination of authoritative, clear text and bold graphics to chart the development of maths through history, the book explores and explains some of the most complex and fascinating mathematical subjects. Delve into everything from the mathematical ideas and inventions of the ancient world such as the first number systems, magic squares, and the Chinese abacus, through to the developments in mathematics during medieval and Renaissance Europe, to the rise of group theory and cryptography more recently. This diverse and inclusive account of mathematics will have something for everybody- for those interested in the maths behind world economies, secret spies, modern technology and plenty more, taking readers around the world from Babylon to Bletchley Park. Tracing maths through the Scientific Revolution to its 21st-century use in computers, the internet, and AI, The Maths Book uses an innovative visual approach to make the subject accessible to everyone, casual readers and students alike.
No recent scientific enterprise has been so alluring, terrifying, and filled with extravagant promise and frustrating setbacks as artificial intelligence. How intelligent are the best of today's AI programs? To what extent can we entrust them with decisions that affect our lives? How human-like do we expect them to become, and how soon do we need to worry about them surpassing us in most, if not all, human endeavours? From leading AI researcher and award-winning author Melanie Mitchell comes a knowledgeable and captivating account of modern-day artificial intelligence. Flavoured with personal stories and a twist of humor, Artificial Intelligence illuminates the workings of machines that mimic human learning, perception, language, creativity and common sense. Weaving together advances in AI with cognitive science and philosophy, Mitchell probes the extent to which today's 'smart' machines can actually think or understand, and whether AI requires such elusive human qualities in order to be reliable, trustworthy and beneficial. Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans provides readers with an accessible, entertaining, and clear-eyed view of the AI landscape, what the field has actually accomplished, how much further it has to go, and what it means for all of our futures.
How to Draw a Map is a fascinating meditation on the centuries-old art of map-making, from the first astronomical maps to the sophisticated GPS guides of today. Maps have influenced humanity in many unexpected ways: life, death, sexual reproduction, espionage, war and peace. How to Draw a Map traces the story of mapmaking - cartography - from the first scratchings on the cave wall to the detailed high-tech `navigator'. This is the story of human conceptions, often misconceptions, of our world. It is also a very personal story about a mapmaker's journey through life - the exciting new perspectives and the occasional misadventures. Over the last 5,000 years societies and empires have risen and fallen; most, if not all, attempt to record their own visions of our world. In the 15th century, Europeans developed a global reach with their oceanic ships, exploring outward into the world, revealing new possibilities, peoples and opportunities. Mapmakers recorded this journey, revealing to us a window into past triumphs and disasters. The story continues into our own day when diplomats carve up our globe, presenting what we now see as the `modern' world. In How to Draw a Map, father and son cartographers Alexander and Malcolm Swanston demonstrate the skill, creativity and care involved in the timeless art of creating maps - and what these artefacts reveal about the legion of mapmakers who went before us.
How Food Works is your own friendly nutritionist, on hand to debunk common food myths and give you the answers to those pressing questions with easy-to-swallow information. Today's media is full of new discoveries about food - red wine is good for your heart, caffeine will raise your blood pressure - but is there a biological basis to these claims? How Food Works reveals the facts behind your food, evaluates the benefits of superfoods and antioxidants, and explores behind-the-scenes of modern food production. Delve into the science behind diets including gluten-free and veganism, as well as the benefits of different diets from around the world. Understand what actually makes food organic, how important sell-by dates really are, and how much salt you should actually be eating. Get the answers to dozens more niggling food questions in How Food Works.
We need to talk about light. When Anna Levin began suffering adverse reactions to new forms of lighting, she found herself stumbling into a labyrinth of unanswered questions about how and why light is changing - for the worse - in the modern world... And light really has changed, dramatically. In recent decades, artificial light has spread exponentially around the world at the expense of darkness. And the quality of light has altered, with technology and legislation crushing incandescent lighting - a source of warm, bright light - and leaving colder, harsher LED light in its place. Incandescent explores this phenomenon and its deep impacts on our physical environment, health and psychological well-being. This important book shines a light on a subject that has been little scrutinised but intimately affects us all, and asks, just where do we go from here?
The Sunday Times Bestseller In Wonders of the Solar System - the book of the acclaimed BBC TV series - Professor Brian Cox will take us on a journey of discovery where alien worlds from your imagination become places we can see, feel and visit. The Wonders of the Solar System - from the giant ice fountains of Enceladus to the liquid methane seas of Titan and from storms twice the size of the Earth to the tortured moon of Io with its giant super-volcanoes - is the Solar System as you have never seen it before. In this series, Professor Brian Cox will introduce us to the planets and moons beyond our world, finding the biggest, most bizarre, most powerful natural phenomena. Using the latest scientific imagery along with cutting edge CGI and some of the most spectacular and extreme locations on Earth, Brian will show us Wonders never thought possible. Employing his trademark clear, authoritative, yet down-to-earth approach, Brian will explore how these previously unseen phenomena have dramatically expanded our horizons with new discoveries about the planets, their moons and how they came to be the way they are.
`Roundly debunks racism's core lie - that inequality is to do with genetics, rather than political power' Reni Eddo-Lodge For millennia, dominant societies have had the habit of believing their own people to be the best, deep down: the more powerful they become, the more power begins to be framed as natural, as well as cultural. When you see how power has shaped the idea of race, then you can start to understand its meaning. In the twenty-first century, we like to believe that we have moved beyond scientific racism, that most people accept race as a social construct, not a biological one. But race science is experiencing a revival, fuelled by the misuse of science by certain political groups. Even well-intentioned scientists, through their use of racial categories in genetics and medicine, betray their suspicion that race has some basis in biology. In truth, it is no more real than it was hundreds of years ago, when our racial hierarchies were devised by those in power. In Superior, award-winning author Angela Saini explores the concept of race, from its origins to the present day. Engaging with geneticists, anthropologists, historians and social scientists from across the globe, Superior is a rigorous, much needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science.
The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide, from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the million-selling What If? and Thing Explainer For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally bad that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole. Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a millennial by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and getting to your appointments on time by destroying the moon. And if you want to get rid of this book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapour, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the sun. By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, he invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.
Bone is a marvel, an adaptable and resilient building material developed over 500 million years of evolutionary history. It has manifested itself in wings, sails, horns, armor, and an even greater array of appendages since the time of its origin. In dinosaur fossils, skeletons are biological time capsules that tell us of lives we'll never see in the flesh. Inherited from a common fishy ancestor, it is the stuff that binds all of us vertebrates together into one great family. Swim, slither, stomp, fly, dig, run - all are expressions of what bones make possible. But that's hardly all. In The Secret Life of Bone, Brian Switek frames the history of our species through the importance of bone from instruments and jewellery, to objects of worship and conquest from the origins of religion through the genesis of science and up through this very day. While bone itself can reveal our individual stories, the truth very much depends on who's telling it. Our skeletons are as embedded in our culture as they are in our bodies. Switek, an enthusiastic osteological raconteur, cuts through biology, history, and culture to understand the meaning of what's inside us and what our bones tell us about who we are, where we came from and the legacies we leave behind.
Edited and introduced by Bill Bryson, with contributions from Richard Dawkins, Margaret Atwood, Richard Holmes, Martin Rees, Richard Fortey, Steve Jones, James Gleick and Neal Stephenson amongst others, this beautiful, lavishly illustrated book tells the story of science and the Royal Society, from 1660 to the present. Since its inception in 1660, the Royal Society has pioneered scientific discovery and exploration. The oldest scientific academy in existence, its backbone is its Fellowship of the most eminent scientists in history including Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Today, its Fellows are the most influential men and women in science, many of whom have contributed to this ground-breaking volume alongside some of the world's most celebrated novelists, essayists and historians. This book celebrates the Royal Society's vast achievements in its illustrious past as well as its huge contribution to the development of modern science. With unrestricted access to the Society's archives and photographs, Seeing Further shows that the history of scientific endeavour and discovery is a continuous thread running through the history of the world and of society - and is one that continues to shape the world we live in today.
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