Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 9)

THE ART OF RISK by Kayt Sukel
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: March 1, 2016

"Not an in-depth trip but an enjoyable tour."
A science journalist who once took risks but now plays it safe explores what scientists know about risk-taking and why some people are risk takers and others are not. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"An intriguing exploration of a unique hypothesis with broad implications."
An exploration of the quest for a link between high-functioning autistic individuals and child prodigies, co-authored by mother-daughter team Ruthsatz (Psychology/Ohio State Univ.) and journalist Stephens. Read full book review >

DARK TERRITORY by Fred Kaplan
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"An important, disturbing, and gripping history arguing convincingly that, as of 2015, no defense exists against a resourceful cyberattack."
For centuries, spies could only listen to enemy communications. In this thoughtful, opinionated history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist warns that in today's cyberage, "once they hacked a computer, they could prowl the entire network…they could not only read and download scads of information, they could change its contents—disrupt, corrupt, or erase it—and mislead or disorient the officials who relied on it." Read full book review >
SNOWBALL IN A BLIZZARD by Steven Hatch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Hatch ably reveals the shortcomings of medicine but is less successful in providing guidance for those trying to find their ways through the confusion."
An exploration of the uncertainty that lies at the heart of Western medicine. Read full book review >
THE PERFECT BET by Adam Kucharski
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
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 >

RESTLESS CREATURES by Matt Wilkinson
HISTORY
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
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
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 >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
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
HEALTH & MEDICINE
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 >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
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
PSYCHOLOGY
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 >
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF THE HUMAN GENOME by Frank Ryan
HEALTH & MEDICINE
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 >
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 >