Science & Technology Book Reviews

NOW by Richard A. Muller
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"Not for the faint of heart or mathematically averse, but Muller is a masterful guide within this survey of cosmology."
Educated readers know that time is one of four dimensions, but most can't shake the feeling that it's the odd man out. They will enjoy this popular account of "an extremely simple yet fascinating and mysterious concept." Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"Just the thing for aspiring astronauts and rocketeers."
Engaging account of the race to get a rocket up to the Karman line without getting NASA involved. Read full book review >

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"A charming natural history of eclipses and a guide to witnessing the awe-inspiring event yourself."
Solar and lunar eclipses have played an integral role in unlocking some of the biggest mysteries of the universe and are now revered for their celestial beauty; but for our ancestors, eclipses were seen as portending doom. Read full book review >
POWER AT GROUND ZERO by Lynne Sagalyn
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 9, 2016

"The narrative's sheer bulk will likely intimidate some readers, and that would be a shame, because Sagalyn has produced a definitive history and an urban studies classic."
A superbly qualified scholar thoroughly deconstructs the tortured story behind the rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex. Read full book review >
UTOPIA IS CREEPY by Nicholas Carr
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A collection that reminds us that critical thinking is the best way to view the mixed blessings of rampant technology. A treat for Carr fans."
Popular technology guru Carr (The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, 2014, etc.) offers a skeptical chronicle of the wonders of the digital revolution. Read full book review >

THE CURE FOR CATASTROPHE by Robert Muir-Wood
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Readers will find it hard to stop reading this excellent book and will share the author's perhaps futile yearning that elected officials have the courage to pass inconvenient laws and spend the electorate's money to prevent disasters."
A fascinating examination of the "forensics of disasters." Read full book review >
WHAT THE LUCK? by Gary Smith
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A welcome, widely applicable follow-up to the author's equally useful first book."
Another delightful addition to the stuff-you-think-you-know-that's-wrong genre, á la Freakonomics, Outliers, and The Black Swan. Read full book review >
ADHD NATION by Alan Schwarz
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"In this powerful, necessary book, Schwarz exposes the dirty secrets of the growing ADHD epidemic."
A troubling look at the systemic overdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a chilling analysis of the effect ADHD medications have on patients, especially children. Read full book review >
WEAPONS OF MATH DESTRUCTION by Cathy O'Neil
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"An unusually lucid and readable look at the daunting algorithms that govern so many aspects of our lives."
How ill-conceived algorithms now micromanage America's economy, from advertising to prisons. Read full book review >
WASTING TIME ON THE INTERNET by Kenneth Goldsmith
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Goldsmith outlines a future that perhaps offers a hope we can embrace, since a retreat seems impossible."
A persuasive argument about how what conventional wisdom dismisses as "wasting time" is actually time well spent. Read full book review >
SEVEN SKELETONS by Lydia Pyne
HISTORY
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Ian Tattersall's The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack (2015) remains the best popular modern history of human evolution, but Pyne casts her net more widely, adding captivating accounts of how each discovery fascinated the mass media and entered literature and popular culture."
Describing human evolution through accounts of fossils that became media events might seem a publicity ploy, but science journalist Pyne (Institute for Historical Studies/Univ. of Texas; Bookshelf, 2016, etc.) pulls it off. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A highly thoughtful and entertaining treatment of a subject that merits serious consideration."
An internationally recognized leader in the field of childhood learning debunks the concept of "good parenting." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jeff Chang
September 20, 2016

In the provocative essays in journalist Jeff Chang’s new book We Gon’ Be Alright, Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, personal writing, and cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. “He implores readers to listen, act, and become involved with today’s activists, who offer ‘new ways to see our past and our present,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations.” View video >