Science & Technology Book Reviews

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 >

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 >
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 >
A FIELD GUIDE TO LIES by Daniel J. Levitin
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Valuable tools for anyone willing to evaluate claims and get to the truth of the matter."
A crash course in Skepticism 101. Read full book review >

EINSTEIN'S MASTERWORK by John Gribbin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Walter Isaacson goes deeper into his life and Dennis Overbye into his work, but readers will find this shorter biography entirely satisfactory."
A prolific British science writer examines the creation of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. 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 >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Much of the work will be confusing to the mathematically disinclined, but their story is inspiring and enlightening."
An inside look at the World War II-era black female mathematicians who assisted greatly in the United States' aeronautics industry. 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 >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Sept. 13, 2016

"It's no match for Jesse Sheidlower's fluent, fun The F Word (1995), but Bergen's study is still a winner for the psycholinguistics nerd in the house."
An examination of the sub rosa language that sets us all atwitter—and athwart. 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 >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >