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 >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: July 12, 2016

"A book in which the author's fascinating, well-researched ideas regarding holistic health may presage a paradigm shift in medicine."
Fully 90 percent of human cells are microbial. This astonishing fact means that we are not merely human but a superorganism whose "microbiome" plays a major role in health and disease. Read full book review >

THE GRID by Gretchen Bakke
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A lively analysis of the challenges renewables present to the production and distribution of electricity."
A primer on the challenges facing a power industry in transition. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 5, 2016

"A convincing argument that the most secure way to communicate is via snail mail."
The history of cyberespionage, combining "related stories like encryption and code-breaking [and] the rise of the computer industry and its complex relationship with the secret world." Read full book review >
THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE by Stuart Clark
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 5, 2016

"Since satisfying results have yet to turn up, Clark's book ends on a cliffhanger, but readers will be entirely pleased with the experience."
Updates on the universe continue to pour from the presses, but since new discoveries appear regularly, cosmology aficionados may read one every few years. They will be wise to read this latest from New Scientist contributor Clark (The Day Without Yesterday, 2013, etc.), a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Read full book review >

RISE OF THE MACHINES by Thomas Rid
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 28, 2016

"Not a history of computers but an ingenious look at how brilliant and not-so-brilliant thinkers see—usually wrongly but with occasional prescience—the increasingly intimate melding of machines and humans."
A fascinating study of the "seductive power of the cybernetic mythos." Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 14, 2016

"A thoughtful examination of the role of aging and death in supporting life."
An advancement of the challenging theory that, along with growth and puberty, aging also unfolds "on a schedule programmed into the regulatory portion of our DNA." Read full book review >
ECCENTRIC ORBITS by John Bloom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A tour de force history of a star-crossed technological leap."
A spellbinding history of a massively impressive work of technology. Read full book review >
ORDINARILY WELL by Peter D. Kramer
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: June 7, 2016

"Written with the compassion, verve, and style that are the author's trademark, this book offers an invaluable overview on the state of treatment and the options available."
The 1993 publication of Kramer's Listening to Prozac set off a controversy about the use of mind-altering drugs in the treatment of mental illness that has still to be resolved, a situation the author finds deplorable. Read full book review >
THE INEVITABLE by Kevin Kelly
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"Kelly's arguments ring true, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Readers will enjoy the ride provided they forget that he has disobeyed his warning against assuming that today's trends will continue."
That futurists have a terrible record hasn't discouraged them, and this delightful addition to the genre does not deny that predictions have been wildly off-base. Read full book review >
MAGIC AND LOSS by Virginia Heffernan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A thoroughly engrossing examination of the Internet's past, present, and future."
New York Times Magazine writer Heffernan considers the mighty Internet in all its terrible beauty and power. Read full book review >
STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by Robert V. Levine
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: June 1, 2016

"A provocative and convincing case of the malleability of what we think of as 'our self, which in reality is a multiplicity of characters' developed through time and circumstances."
A multiangled exploration of the slippery notion of self-identity. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Morgan Matson
July 25, 2016

The Unexpected Everything is a YA feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan. Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks. So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all. “Romance fans will find plenty to enjoy, as Andie gradually lets down her guard and risks the messy and unpredictable wonder of first love,” our reviewer writes. “A novel best read on a lazy summer day with sand between the toes.” View video >