Science & Technology Book Reviews

IDIOT BRAIN by Dean Burnett
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: July 26, 2016

"Burnett should give a TED talk. His book will appeal immensely to general readers and deserves a place on college reading lists."
A neuroscientist's irreverent guide to the brain. Read full book review >
BIG DATA by Timandra Harkness
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A readable guide for the non-IT set."
A pleasing excursion into the daunting terrain of computer-driven information. Read full book review >

WILD SEX by Carin Bondar
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A fascinating peek into the intimate behavior of our animal cousins that provides new insight into the benefits of being human."
A lively exploration of "the nitty-gritty of the diverse sex life of animals." 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 >
VENOMOUS by Christie Wilcox
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Wilcox writes in a lively style, but the book is likely of greatest interest to those already drawn to the subject."
How the creatures that embody some of mankind's deepest fears use toxic substances to defend themselves against predators and to prey on the creatures they eat—and why this is important to us today. Read full book review >

THE FOUR-DIMENSIONAL HUMAN by Laurence Scott
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"More Adorno than Negroponte but of interest to students of contemporary first-world culture."
Is Airbnb the beginning of our end? Perhaps not, but, as this elegant meditation explores, it's just one more sign of our sterile, disembodied times. Read full book review >
I CONTAIN MULTITUDES by Ed Yong
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"An exceptionally informative, beautifully written book that will profoundly shift one's sense of self to that of symbiotic multitudes."
The microbiome is one of the most talked-about topics in modern science, but it's a complex and evolving field with important nuances often missed by the media. Atlantic science writer Yong refines the natural history of these microscopic wonders and breaks down the cutting-edge science that may soon result in revolutionary medical advances. 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 >
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 >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"In what is a growing genre, Aiken provides a thoughtful approach to the attractions, distractions, and pitfalls of our digital culture."
An expert in the field of cyberpsychology looks at how the interface between digital technology and our daily activities impacts social and personal relationships. Read full book review >
HUMAN EVOLUTION by Robin Dunbar
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 2016

"Readers who pay attention and do not skim the many graphs, tables, and statistics will discover a rich trove of discoveries on how primitive primates became modern humans."
A history of the "insatiable curiosity about who we are and where we have come from." 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 >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >