Science & Technology Book Reviews

Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"Like Malcolm Gladwell, Ridley's taste for counterintuitive arguments often oversimplifies and ignores contradictory evidence, but he provides a wild ride, almost too thought-provoking to read for long stretches but difficult to put down."
Evolution, a phenomenon without an underlying plan that explains life's development, has convinced scientists, if not the general public, but authorities still debate whether Darwin's theory applies to human society. Veteran science writer Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, 2010) investigates.Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature."
Two particles behave identically and instantaneously though separated by great space and with no force passing between them. How? Award-winning Scientific American contributing editor Musser (The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory, 2008) probes the riddle.Read full book review >

Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"One of the most absorbing and empowering science histories to hit the shelves in recent years."
One of the world's most renowned and forward-thinking oncologists recounts 35 years of cancer research and tells us why we should be optimistic about the future. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A scintillating popular account of the interplay between mathematical physics and astronomical observations."
Levenson (Science Writing/MIT; Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist, 2009, etc.) connects Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. In their day, each provided "a radical new picture of gravity" that ultimately depended on astronomical confirmation.Read full book review >
THE PLANET REMADE by Oliver Morton
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."
Economist briefings editor Morton (Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, 2008, etc.) offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet's climate system.Read full book review >

Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A top-notch science book from a leading researcher."
Randall (Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology/Harvard Univ.; Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, 2011, etc.) explores the causes of the fifth major extinction event, which occurred 66 million years ago and wiped out terrestrial dinosaurs and three-quarters of all other species living on Earth.Read full book review >
THE LAWS OF MEDICINE by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A splendid exploration of how medicine might be transformed."
Oncologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Mukherjee (Medicine/Columbia Univ.; The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, 2010) skillfully dives into the hidden side of medicine in this elaboration of the author's 18-minute TED talk.Read full book review >
CHILLED by Tom Jackson
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"There's much to wonder at in Jackson's captivating book."
The lively history of refrigeration from British science writer Jackson (Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers, 2012, etc.).Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A fascinating account of extreme efforts to stave off extinction, the ethics of these efforts, and an unsettling, not-terribly-optimistic analysis of their chances of success."
Everyone sympathizes with endangered species, and few object to traditional conservation measures (limits on hunting, habitat preservation) that work—but they don't work if habitats disappear or if numbers dwindle or vanish entirely. Radical measures are necessary, writes journalist O'Connor. Read full book review >
LET THERE BE WATER by Seth M. Siegel
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A major contribution to this hotly debated issue and to broader questions of environmental policy.
An in-depth report on how Israel has combined technological innovation with conservation to achieve a water surplus at home and become a world leader in water management. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 17, 2015

"A consistently fine appreciation of the medical maverick who, as much as any other, helped make the Space Age possible."
An author specializing in aviation tells the remarkable, almost-forgotten story of an aerospace pioneer. Read full book review >
UNIQUELY HUMAN by Barry M. Prizant
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A truly impactful, necessary book."
A remarkable new approach to autism. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jason Gay
November 17, 2015

In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >