Science & Technology Book Reviews

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 >
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 >

IMBECILES by Adam Cohen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A shocking tale about science and law gone horribly wrong, an almost forgotten case that deserves to be ranked with Dred Scott, Plessy, and Korematsu as among the Supreme Court's worst decisions."
Attorney, journalist, and bestselling author Cohen (Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America, 2009, etc.) revisits an ugly chapter in American history: the 1920s mania for eugenics.Read full book review >
HERDING HEMINGWAY'S CATS by Kat Arney
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"A robust, bouncy, pellucid introduction to DNA and genetics."
A survey of recent research and thinking on genes. Read full book review >
SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS by Carlo Rovelli
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 1, 2016

"An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both scientists and general readers."
Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli (General Relativity: The Most Beautiful of Theories, 2015, etc.) shares his thoughts on the broader scientific and philosophical implications of the great revolution that has taken place over the past century.Read full book review >

STRANGE GLOW by Timothy J. Jorgensen
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"A seismic piece of scientific inquiry, top shelf in narrative style and illumination."
An examination of the nature of radiation and the history of our understanding of the process. 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 >
SMARTER FASTER BETTER by Charles Duhigg
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 8, 2016

"Highly informative and entertaining and certain to have wide appeal."
Why some people are more productive than others. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 15, 2016

"A delightfully lucid combination of the history, philosophy, and science behind thinking machines."
Advances in computers have made artificial intelligence a new hot topic for most observers—but not science writer and futurist Zarkadakis, who maintains that it is an ancient human obsession. Read full book review >
THE INTERNET OF US by Michael Patrick Lynch
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 21, 2016

"An excellent, much-needed contribution to the constant battle to sort truth from falsity."
How the Internet and "Google-knowing" can aggravate our tendency to be unreasonable. Read full book review >
LAB GIRL by Hope Jahren
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 5, 2016

"Jahren transcends both memoir and science writing in this literary fusion of both genres."
Award-winning scientist Jahren (Geology and Geophysics/Univ. of Hawaii) delivers a personal memoir and a paean to the natural world. Read full book review >
THE MOST PERFECT THING by Tim Birkhead
HISTORY
Released: April 12, 2016

"One doesn't have to be a bird enthusiast to relish this book, but it would be the most perfect gift for anyone who is."
A thrilling voyage through what most of us think of as an ordinary item sold at the supermarket. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >