Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 7)

THE PERFECT BET by Adam Kucharski
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Kucharski's book, which necessarily oversimplifies an extremely complex subject, is no cure for that ignorance, but gamblers and math buffs alike will enjoy it for its smart approach to real-world problems."
A lucid yet sophisticated look at the mathematics of probability as it's played out on gaming tables, arenas, and fields. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"This is not light reading, but readers willing to pay close attention will come away with a deep understanding of an essential basis of life."
Robots read, talk, and beat grandmasters at chess, but, given legs, they can barely walk. How living creatures move turns out to be complicated but not dull, writes British biologist and science writer Wilkinson in this ingenious but not-dumbed-down history of life's 4-billion-year progress in getting from one place to another. Read full book review >

SMALL DATA by Martin Lindstrom
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Lindstrom's uncanny ability to detect and decipher seemingly unrelated clues will inspire reporters and detectives as well as companies looking for ways to develop new products and ideas."
A leading marketing guru recounts his firsthand experiences investigating the lives of consumers to develop global branding strategies. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"An insider's cheerful, energetic examination of an industry that has changed dramatically in the last decade."
An account of the boom in oil and gas production in the United States. Read full book review >
PANDEMIC by Sonia Shah
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"This is not fun reading, but it's necessary—one can only hope that it drives more effective surveillance and rapid response to tomorrow's plagues."
Vibrio cholerae was once a species of marine bacteria attached to some plankton in the coastal wetlands of the Bay of Bengal. In grim detail, science journalist Shah (The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, 2010, etc.) demonstrates how it became the global source of horrendous deaths and how the story of cholera is paradigmatic of how pandemics happen. Read full book review >

Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Netizens and white-hat programmers will be familiar with Segal's arguments, but most policymakers will not—and they deserve wide discussion."
The director of the Council of Foreign Relations' cyberspace policy program warns that the days of the open Internet may be closing as the medium becomes increasingly lawless. Read full book review >
THE TIDES OF MIND by David Gelernter
Released: Feb. 22, 2016

"Eschewing research in favor of literature and Freud, Gelernter delivers a personal, reasonable, nonscientific analysis of the mind."
Everyone agrees that computers do not employ reason; they compute. This harmony dissolves when the discussion turns to the future, where vastly more powerful machines will develop sentience and feelings—or not. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An enlightening account of past and present knowledge and the future possibilities of human heredity."
The information revolution in silicon gets the headlines, but a revolution in genetics has been running in parallel and will soon affect our lives even more profoundly. Plenty of authors are paying attention, but British physician and researcher Ryan (Metamorphosis: Unmasking the Mystery of How Life Transforms, 2011, etc.) delivers an up-to-date history that will be definitive—at least for a few years.Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"Whitehouse takes readers on a richly rewarding journey through space and time in this scientific travelogue."
In the spirit of Jules Verne's popular classic Journey to the Center of the Earth, Royal Astronomical Society fellow Whitehouse (The Sun: A Biography, 2005, etc.) describes how modern advances in geology provide insight into the evolution and dynamic structure of the Earth. Read full book review >
HAIR by Kurt Stenn
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A spirited, informative history of a fascinating fiber."
A hair-follicle scientist offers an edifying look at the biology, physiology, and history of hair. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"Vilcek artfully joins the chronicle of his scientific work and the dramatic events that punctuated his life under two totalitarian regimes, culminating in his flight to freedom. An inspiring page-turner."
A memoir of the extraordinary life and circumstances that led the author to the groundbreaking discovery of Remicade, which successfully treats two previously untreatable autoimmune diseases, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 9, 2016

"A watery romp under the waves that will appeal to anyone wanting to broaden their knowledge of our watery planet."
Coral and reef ecologist Hardt dives into the sex lives of sea creatures. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >