Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 9)

DREAM CITIES by Wade Graham
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Graham delivers an intriguing architectural history and an effective antidote to the excesses of urban renewal and city planning."
Garden designer and historian Graham (American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to our Backyards: What Our Gardens Tell Us About Who We Are, 2011, etc.) explores how modern cities were built on foundations made of the fantasies and utopian dreams of individual architects.Read full book review >
INVENTOLOGY by Pagan Kennedy
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"A delightful account of how inventors do what they do."
A journalist delivers an enthusiastic overview of inventions and the researchers that study them. Read full book review >

THE MEANING OF SCIENCE by Tim Lewens
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Readers seeking a more humane, more direct orientation would do well to dust off Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man (1974), dated but still valuable."
What is science? In this sporadically interesting primer, Lewens (Philosophy of Science/Cambridge Univ.; Cultural Evolution: Conceptual Challenges, 2015, etc.) mostly answers by saying what science isn't. Read full book review >
THE POWER OF FIFTY BITS by Bob Nease
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"Although each strategy is common-sensical in its own right, taken together, they form a thoughtful, easy-to-digest approach for individuals and organizations seeking to foster better choices."
Useful advice on how to act on your good intentions. Read full book review >
CURE by Jo Marchant
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Jan. 19, 2016

"A balanced, informative review of a controversial subject."
Marchant (The Shadow King: The Bizarre Afterlife of King Tut's Mummy, 2013 etc.) explores how traditional and alternative medicine overlap.Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Jan. 16, 2016

"A must-read for anyone interested in the early history of space exploration."
Spaceflight didn't start with Neil Armstrong, or even with Sputnik, as this well-researched account of the early days of rocketry makes clear.Read full book review >
WHY WE SNAP by R. Douglas Fields
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"The interplay between conscious and unconscious cognition is not unfamiliar territory, as readers of Daniel Kahneman or Malcolm Gladwell will recognize, but Fields' personal experience adds a fresh viewpoint to an intriguing subject."
A neuroscientist asks, "what triggers [our] deadly switch for violence and killing?" Read full book review >
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A fine exploration of the brain's ability to draw the story of our life, from experience and from thin air."
A neurologist tours current research on the mysteries of perception, habit, learning, memory, and language—our very selfhood and identity—and their underlying brain mechanics. Read full book review >
THE IDEALIST by Justin Peters
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A hard look at Internet culture and the wunderkind it failed in the end."
The spectacular life and tragic downfall of an American iconoclast. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Nelson adds another chapter to the somber history of injustice toward African-Americans, but it is one in which science is enriching lives by forging new identities and connections to ancestral homelands."
Genealogical studies by black Americans have grown in popularity once companies were able to provide DNA analyses "direct to consumers." Has it helped civil rights? Social justice? Legal claims? Yes and no, writes Nelson (Sociology and Gender Studies/Columbia Univ.; Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, 2011, etc.) in this meticulously detailed study.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 11, 2016

"An unusual and vastly entertaining journey into the world of mysterious plant life as experienced by a gifted nature writer."
A prolific and talented British nature writer explores 40 plant species and how they have influenced the human imagination over the centuries. Read full book review >
A CRUDE LOOK AT THE WHOLE by John H. Miller
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A valuable companion to confusion, though it's not without a few tangles of its own."
The world is complicated and getting more so. Or, as Miller (Economics and Social Sciences/Carnegie Mellon Univ.; co-author: Complex Adaptive Systems, 2007) puts it, more cheerfully, "complexity abounds."Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Emma Straub
author of MODERN LOVERS
May 30, 2016

In Emma Straub’s new novel Modern Lovers, friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. “Straub’s characters are a quirky and interesting bunch, well aware of their own good fortune, and it’s a pleasure spending time with them in leafy Ditmas Park,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >