Science & Technology Book Reviews

ALPHA DOCS by Daniel Muñoz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 11, 2015

"Muñoz offers little turning of new ground in what has become a fertile genre, but the book is enjoyably idiosyncratic and elucidative."
From physician Muñoz, a chronicle of becoming a doctor at the extremely demanding Johns Hopkins cardiology program. Read full book review >
GENIUS AT PLAY by Siobhan Roberts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"While nonmathematicians may have trouble comprehending Roberts' mathematical achievements, they will enjoy this entertaining portrait of a charismatic genius."
A biography of the brilliant mathematician John Horton Conway (b. 1937). Read full book review >

A BEAUTIFUL QUESTION by Frank Wilczek
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: July 14, 2015

"A commendable investigation of the nature of reality."
Nobel Prize winner Wilczek (Physics/MIT; The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether and the Unification of Forces, 2008, etc.) posits that a powerful Creator made the world because of "an impulse to make something beautiful."Read full book review >
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 16, 2015

"A propulsive and fascinating portrait of the people who helped upend an industry and challenge how music and media are consumed."
A history of the music industry's reckoning with digital technology, the Internet, and the "pirate generation." Read full book review >
The Dance of the Moon by Pari Spolter
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 16, 2015

"A complex collection of lunar data that invites interpretation and consideration."
A book that attempts to explain the motion of the moon—a phenomenon that has baffled astronomers for quite some time. Read full book review >

APPLIED MINDS by Guru Madhavan
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"Madhavan is a less engaging writer than Henry Petroski, who covers much the same ground, but he provides a readable survey for would-be engineers and those seeking to understand them."
Want to be an engineer? Then learn to think like one, especially by learning how to see structure where chaos abounds. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 9, 2015

"Clynes makes a persuasive case for allowing gifted children the freedom and resources to pursue their interests."
Popular Science contributing editor Clynes (Music Festivals From Bach to Blues: A Travellers Guide, 1996, etc.) uses the story of Taylor Wilson—who, at age 14, became "one of only thirty-two individuals on the planet to build a working fusion reactor, a miniature sun on Earth"—to illustrate the potential for improving our educational system.Read full book review >
LIFE’S GREATEST SECRET by Matthew Cobb
HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2015

"The greatest milestone in 20th-century biology received an iconic account in Horace Freeland Judson's The Eighth Day of Creation (1979). Much has happened since that publication, and Cobb's gripping, insightful history, often from the mouths of the participants themselves, updates the story, bringing it all the way into the present."
Animal breeders have always known that "like breeds like," but no one, Charles Darwin included, knew why offspring resemble parents except, sometimes, when they don't. Cobb (Zoology/Univ. of Manchester; Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris 1944, 2014, etc.) describes how they learned.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 2015

"Less truly revelatory and more just a difference in tone and spirit than previous accounts."
A reframing of the biographical narrative of the late Apple visionary, from the perspectives of business journalists Schlender and Tetzeli and the associates of Jobs' they interviewed. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Jan. 28, 2015

"A genuinely original position on a historically significant cultural issue."
A scientifically rigorous and philosophically challenging argument that digital media is not merely shaping culture, but also the very nature of the human brain. Read full book review >
THE ORDINARY SPACEMAN by Clayton C. Anderson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"A spaceman delivers an overlong chronicle of his adventures that may prove engaging to ardent space fans."
An astronaut's memoir from "a small-town boy from Nebraska—nothing special, just an ordinary American." Read full book review >
WHY INFORMATION GROWS by César Hidalgo
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 2, 2015

"Some readers, perhaps economists especially, will construe Hidalgo's widely allusive musings as dotty dispatches from Jonathan Swift's Laputa; others will delight in his novel, holistic take on the dismal science."
An interdisciplinary theorist, Hidalgo, the Macro Connections group leader at the MIT Media Lab, invites us to understand the economy in an entirely different way. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >