Science & Technology Book Reviews

Shift by Haydn Shaughnessy
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 12, 2015

"Engages some worthwhile themes, often tangled in dense prose."
A scholarly look at how technology has radically transformed the world of commerce, coupled with advice for how to navigate this new landscape. Read full book review >
Fight Like A Physicist by Jason, PhD Thalken
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 7, 2015

"An enlightening book for martial artists seeking a competitive edge."
Thalken explores how physics can be applied to martial arts. Read full book review >

THE HIDDEN HALF OF NATURE by David R. Montgomery
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Nov. 16, 2015

"A must-read for avid gardeners, those interested in bolstering our precarious food supply, or anyone remotely concerned about their health and the soil under their feet."
A geologist and a biologist and environmental planner chronicle the transformation of their desolate Seattle backyard into a fertile garden and how they learned about the importance of beneficial microbes in their newly revived soil. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"Another deeply felt entry on two divergent, yet ultimately compatible, ways of engaging the world and understanding reality."
The New Atheists have it all wrong, insists McGrath (Science and Religion/Oxford Univ.; C.S. Lewis—A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet, 2013, etc.).Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"What does it mean to be human? Henrich's book, a pleasure for the biologically and scientifically inclined, doesn't provide the definitive answer, but it does offer plenty of material for a definition."
As Henrich (Evolutionary Biology/Harvard Univ.; co-author: Why Humans Cooperate, 2007, etc.) notes, we humans are big-brained but not big enough, for "our kind are not that bright, at least not innately smart enough to explain the immense success of our species."Read full book review >

WHY TORTURE DOESN'T WORK by Shane O'Mara
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 30, 2015

"Everything you never wanted to know—but probably should—about interrogation techniques and outcomes."
A catalog of the scientific evidence of how torture is at best ineffective, usually counterproductive, and always inhumane. Read full book review >
CYBERPHOBIA by Edward Lucas
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"An engaged overview of technology's strange new virtual hazards."
Ominous look at how our love of technology and "the Internet of things" have made society newly vulnerable. Read full book review >
SUSPICIOUS MINDS by Rob Brotherton
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"A thoughtful, general analysis of conspiracy theories arguing that belief in secret plots is neither new nor unusual but a time-tested part of the human experience."
Combining historical anecdote and psychology research, Brotherton endeavors to explain how the human mind concocts conspiracy theories and the effects of these theories on society. Read full book review >
THE REAL PLANET OF THE APES by David R. Begun
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"The questions of where, when, and how our species evolved are fascinating, but this well-developed, technically challenging account will be tough going for those without a background in the subject matter."
Paleoanthropologist Begun (Anthropology/Univ. of Toronto; editor: A Companion to Paleoanthropology, 2013, etc.) claims that the great ape ancestors of humans evolved in Europe and moved to Africa, not the other way around.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"One of the most absorbing and empowering science histories to hit the shelves in recent years."
One of the world's most renowned and forward-thinking oncologists recounts 35 years of cancer research and tells us why we should be optimistic about the future. Read full book review >
THE BROTHERS VONNEGUT by Ginger Strand
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 17, 2015

"An engaging yet disquieting portrait of postwar America through the eyes of a pair of brothers who accomplished great things in different fields."
In this meticulously researched dual biography of scientist Bernard Vonnegut (1914-1997) and his brother, fiction writer Kurt (1922-2007), Orion contributing editor Strand (Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate, 2012, etc.) focuses on the late 1940s to the early 1950s, when the brothers both worked at General Electric.Read full book review >
THE SUPERHUMAN MIND by Berit Brogaard
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Fruitful reading for devout self-improvers, though Maria Konnikova's Mastermind (2013), which covers some of the same ground, is more appealing and better written."
Another in a long line of you-can-be-Einstein treatises, blending hard neuroscience with parlor tricks. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Libba Bray
author of LAIR OF DREAMS
August 25, 2015

In Lair of Dreams, the second installment of Libba Bray’s bestselling young adult Diviners series, after a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities....Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer? “Weaving together a chilling mystery with a truly elusive solution, several poignant love stories, agonizing injustice, terrifyingly monstrous dreams, and even a cameo by legendary psychiatrist Carl Jung, this installment wraps enough up to satisfy but clearly sets the stage for more,” our reviewer writes in a rare starred review. “How will readers stand the wait?” View video >