30 Nonfiction Books That Are Sure to Make You Smarter
Hola amigo, If you are searching on Google, that which are the best Books which makes you smarter? Which gives your mind a boost? Then you are in the right place, here I curated some of the best books with the help of Bookbub. I hope you will be inspired by this best nonfiction book list and surely some of these books will be part of your books shelf. Enjoy my friends.!!!
Check out our list of nonfiction books to make you smarter below, complete with publishers’ descriptions.”Humbaa.com Best Non-fiction Books“
Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer (Author)
|Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer (Author)|
“Absolutely phenomenal” (Bill Gates), with over 17,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads: This New York Times bestseller shares the results of a yearlong search for memory mastery. “Deeply engrossing… A resounding tribute to the muscularity of the mind” (The Washington Post).
The blockbuster phenomenon that charts an amazing journey of the mind while revolutionizing our concept of memory
An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top “mental athletes.” He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author’s own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
|The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert|
A New York Times Book Review Best Book of 2014: This Pulitzer Prize winner explores the predicted sixth mass extinction — and humankind’s role in the possible devastation. A “combination of scientific rigor and wry humor that keeps you turning the pages” (National Geographic).
featured on BookBub on June 24, 2019
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW’S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
This “masterful” #1 New York Times bestseller (The Wall Street Journal) provides an eye-opening glimpse into the inner workings of space and time. “Lively and provocative” (The New York Times).
featured on BookBub on June 25, 2018
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?
Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
What If? by Randall Munroe
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions you probably never thought to ask.
Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following.
Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?
In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.
The book features new and never-before-answered questions, along with updated and expanded versions of the most popular answers from the xkcd website. What If? will be required reading for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.
“What If? is one of my Internet must-reads, and I look forward to each new installment, and always read it with delight.” —Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
“Randall Munroe is a national treasure.” —Phil Plait
“By speaking the language of geeks. . . while dealing with relationships and the meaning of a computer-centric life, xkcd has become required reading for techies across the world….The Internet has also created a bond between Mr. Munroe and his readers that is exceptional. They reenact in real life the odd ideas he puts forward in his strip.” —The New York Times
Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
|Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi|
The National Book Award winning history of how racist ideas were created, spread, and deeply rooted in American society.
Some Americans insist that we’re living in a post-racial society. But racist thought is not just alive and well in America–it is more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. He uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to drive this history: Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary activist Angela Davis.
As Kendi shows, racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created to justify and rationalize deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and the nation’s racial inequities.
In shedding light on this history, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose racist thinking. In the process, he gives us reason to hope.
Praise for Stamped from the Beginning:
“We often describe a wonderful book as ‘mind-blowing’ or ‘life-changing’ but I’ve found this rarely to actually be the case. I found both descriptions accurate for Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning… I will never look at racial discrimination again after reading this marvellous, ambitious, and clear-sighted book.” – George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017
”Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism.” –Seattle Times
“A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society.” –The Atlantic
Winner of the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction
A New York Times Bestseller
A Washington Post Bestseller
On President Obama’s Black History Month Recommended Reading List
Finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Review of Books, The Root, Buzzfeed, Bustle, and Entropy
ReviewAn “engrossing and relentless intellectual history of prejudice in America…The greatest service Kendi [provides] is the ruthless prosecution of American ideas about race for their tensions, contradictions and unintended consequences.”
—The Washington Post
“Kendi has done something that’s damn near impossible: write a book about racism that breaks new ground, while being written in a way that’s accessible to the nonacademic. If you’ve ever been interested in how racist ideas spread throughout the United States, this is the book to read.”
Stamped from the Beginning is “ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism.”
—The Seattle Times
“Kendi admits that he is not writing to change the minds of those who produce and espouse racist ideas. Rather, in his honesty about how deeply he himself had held multiple racist ideas before embarking on the historical odyssey of this book, he gives the reader permission to accompany him on that eye-opening journey…Kendi leaves plenty of room for self-questioning, and for drawing connections between the racist apologetics of the past and those of the present. The process makes for a compelling, thoroughly enlightening, unsettling, and necessary read.”
What You Should Know About Politics… But Don’t by Jessamyn Conrad
|What You Should Know About Politics… But Don’t by Jessamyn Conrad|
“Engaging and inspiring . . . Reading this book should make you want to vote.”—Barack Obama
In a world of sound bites, deliberate misinformation, and a political scene colored by the blue versus red partisan divide, how does the average educated American find a reliable source that’s free of political spin? What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don’t breaks it all down, issue by issue, explaining who stands for what, and why—whether it’s the economy, income inequality, Obamacare, foreign policy, education, immigration, or climate change. If you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or somewhere in between, it’s the perfect book to brush up on a single topic or read through to get a deeper understanding of the often murky world of American politics.
This is an essential volume for understanding the background to the 2020 presidential election. But it is also a book that transcends the season. It’s truly for anyone who wants to know more about the perennial issues that will continue to affect our everyday lives. The fourth edition includes an introduction by Martin Garbus discussing the themes and issues that have come to the fore during the present presidential cycle.
“Engaging . . . An invaluable tool for all of us who yearn to move beyond the confusing level of political discussion in our contentious era . . . An intelligent nonpartisan guide.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize—winning presidential historian and author of Team of Rivals
“Weather you are a Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in between, this book is an invaluable guide to the state of the political world today. If you want to nkow what’s really going on, What You Should Know About Politics . . . But Don’t is a must read.” —Bob Dole, former U.S. Senate majority leader and Republican presidential nominee
“Deeply insightful . . . Written in language as clear as it is elegant. A remarkable achievement.” —Walter Mondale, former U.S. vice president and Democratic presidential nominee
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
|Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson|
Over a year on the New York Times bestseller list and more than a million copies sold.
|Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson|
The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.
What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.
While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe
“Masterly….A sublime introduction to some of the most exciting ideas in astrophysics that will leave readers wanting more.”
Even readers normally adverse to anything to do with physics or chemistry will find Tyson’s wittily delivered explanations compelling and disarmingly entertaining.
Masterly….A sublime introduction to some of the most exciting ideas in astrophysics that will leave readers wanting more.
Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
|Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith|
Although mammals and birds are widely regarded as the smartest creatures on earth, it has lately become clear that a very distant branch of the tree of life has also sprouted higher intelligence: the cephalopods, consisting of the squid, the cuttlefish, and above all the octopus. In captivity, octopuses have been known to identify individual human keepers, raid neighboring tanks for food, turn off lightbulbs by spouting jets of water, plug drains, and make daring escapes. How is it that a creature with such gifts evolved through an evolutionary lineage so radically distant from our own? What does it mean that evolution built minds not once but at least twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how subjective experience crept into being–how nature became aware of itself. As Godfrey-Smith stresses, it is a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind’s fitful development, Godfrey-Smith shows how unruly clumps of seaborne cells began living together and became capable of sensing, acting, and signaling. As these primitive organisms became more entangled with others, they grew more complicated. The first nervous systems evolved, probably in ancient relatives of jellyfish; later on, the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous mollusks, abandoned their shells and rose above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so. Taking an independent route, mammals and birds later began their own evolutionary journeys.
But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? Drawing on the latest scientific research and his own scuba-diving adventures, Godfrey-Smith probes the many mysteries that surround the lineage. How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually “think for themselves”? What happens when some octopuses abandon their hermit-like ways and congregate, as they do in a unique location off the coast of Australia?
By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind–and on our own.
Think Like a Freak Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
|Think Like a Freak|
The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Then came SuperFreakonomics, a documentary film, an award-winning podcast, and more.
Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.
Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.
Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:
First, put away your moral compass—because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it.
Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to.
Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions.
Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world.
Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day.
Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.
Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.
Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson A History of How We Cook and Eat
Award-winning food writer Bee Wilson’s secret history of kitchens, showing how new technologies – from the fork to the microwave and beyond – have fundamentally shaped how and what we eat.
Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious–or at least edible. But these tools have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson takes readers on a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of objects we often take for granted. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide machines of the modern kitchen, but also the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks. Blending history, science, and personal anecdotes, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be and how their influence has shaped food culture today. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
|Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari|
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.
#1 New York Times Bestseller
The Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, now available as a beautifully packaged paperback
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
“[I]nteresting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” (President Barack Obama)
“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” (Bill Gates)
“Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book.” (Sebastian Junger)
Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
|Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss|
We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.
“You don’t need to be a grammar nerd to enjoy this one… Who knew grammar could be so much fun?” -Newsweek
“Witty and instructive… Truss is an entertaining, well-read scold in a culture that could use more scolding.” -USA Today
“Truss is William Safire crossed with John Cleese’s Basil Fawlty.” -Entertainment Weekly
“Witty, smart, passionate, it gives long-overdue attention to ‘the traffic signals of language.’”–John Rechy, Los Angeles Times Book Review “Best Books of 2004: Nonfiction”
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
|Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman|
Major New York Times bestseller
Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012
Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011
A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title
One of The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year
One of The Wall Street Journal’s Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011
2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient
Kahneman’s work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis’s The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds
In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
|Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly|
The #1 New York Times bestseller that inspired the feature film: Immerse yourself in the lives and work of the extraordinary African American women whose mathematical advances made space missions possible. “A tender account of genuine transcendence and camaraderie” (The New York Times)
The #1 New York Times bestseller
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
|The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks|
In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century”(The New York Times)recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks’sThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hattells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”
Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik
|Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik|
New York Times Bestseller • New York Times Notable Book 2014 • Winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books
“A thrilling account of the modern material world.” —Wall Street Journal
“Miodownik, a materials scientist, explains the history and science behind things such as paper, glass, chocolate, and concrete with an infectious enthusiasm.” —Scientific American
Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? These are the sorts of questions that renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik constantly asks himself. Miodownik studies objects as ordinary as an envelope and as unexpected as concrete cloth, uncovering the fascinating secrets that hold together our physical world. In Stuff Matters, Miodownik explores the materials he encounters in a typical morning, from the steel in his razor to the foam in his sneakers. Full of enthralling tales of the miracles of engineering that permeate our lives, Stuff Matters will make you see stuff in a whole new way.
“Stuff Matters is about hidden wonders, the astonishing properties of materials we think boring, banal, and unworthy of attention…It’s possible this science and these stories have been told elsewhere, but like the best chocolatiers, Miodownik gets the blend right.” —New York Times Book Review
A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley
|A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley|
The companion book to COURSERA®’s wildly popular massive open online course “Learning How to Learn”
Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a new skill set, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating material. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.
In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to learning effectively—secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions—you just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. The learning strategies in this book apply not only to math and science, but to any subject in which we struggle. We all have what it takes to excel in areas that don’t seem to come naturally to us at first, and learning them does not have to be as painful as we might think!
The Power of by Habit Charles Duhigg
|The Power of by Habit Charles Duhigg|
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Wall Street Journal • Financial Times
In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to the sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
With a new Afterword by the author
“Sharp, provocative, and useful.”—Jim Collins
“Few [books] become essential manuals for business and living. The Power of Habit is an exception. Charles Duhigg not only explains how habits are formed but how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.”—Financial Times
“A flat-out great read.”—David Allen, bestselling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
“You’ll never look at yourself, your organization, or your world quite the same way.”—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“Entertaining . . . enjoyable . . . fascinating . . . a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.”—The New York Times Book Review
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
|The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan|
One of the New York Times Book Review’s Ten Best Books of the Year
Winner of the James Beard Award
Author of How to Change Your Mind and the #1 New York Times Bestsellers In Defense of Food and Food Rules
What should we have for dinner? Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In the years since, Pollan’s revolutionary examination has changed the way Americans think about food. Bringing wide attention to the little-known but vitally important dimensions of food and agriculture in America, Pollan launched a national conversation about what we eat and the profound consequences that even the simplest everyday food choices have on both ourselves and the natural world. Ten years later, The Omnivore’s Dilemma continues to transform the way Americans think about the politics, perils, and pleasures of eating.
The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
|The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku|
The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a “smart pill” to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.
Praise for The Future of the Mind, #1 New York Times Bestseller
“Compelling…Kaku thinks with great breadth, and the vistas he presents us are worth the trip”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Intriguing….extraordinary findings…A fascinating sprint through everything from telepathy research to the 147,456 processors of the Blue Gene computer, which has been used to simulate 4.5% of the brain’s synapses and neurons”
The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger—all by the time he was thirty. He solidified his standing as the nation’s foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the 2012 election. Silver is the founder and editor in chief of the website FiveThirtyEight.
Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.
In keeping with his own aim to seek truth from data, Silver visits the most successful forecasters in a range of areas, from hurricanes to baseball, from the poker table to the stock market, from Capitol Hill to the NBA. He explains and evaluates how these forecasters think and what bonds they share. What lies behind their success? Are they good—or just lucky? What patterns have they unraveled? And are their forecasts really right? He explores unanticipated commonalities and exposes unexpected juxtapositions. And sometimes, it is not so much how good a prediction is in an absolute sense that matters but how good it is relative to the competition. In other cases, prediction is still a very rudimentary—and dangerous—science.
Silver observes that the most accurate forecasters tend to have a superior command of probability, and they tend to be both humble and hardworking. They distinguish the predictable from the unpredictable, and they notice a thousand little details that lead them closer to the truth. Because of their appreciation of probability, they can distinguish the signal from the noise.
With everything from the health of the global economy to our ability to fight terrorism dependent on the quality of our predictions, Nate Silver’s insights are an essential read.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
|Mindset by Carol S. Dweck|
The updated edition of the book that has changed millions of lives with its insights into the growth mindset.
After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.
Praise for Mindset
“A good book is one whose advice you believe. A great book is one whose advice you follow. This is a book that can change your life, as its ideas have changed mine.”—Robert J. Sternberg, co-author of Teaching for Wisdom, Intelligence, Creativity, and Success
“An essential read for parents, teachers [and] coaches . . . as well as for those who would like to increase their own feelings of success and fulfilment.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Everyone should read this book.”—Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick
“One of the most influential books ever about motivation.”—Po Bronson, author of NurtureShock
“If you manage people or are a parent (which is a form of managing people), drop everything and read Mindset.”—Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start 2.0
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
|Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal|
A New York Times bestseller: “A passionate and convincing case for the sophistication of nonhuman minds.” —Alison Gopnik, The Atlantic
Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition—in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos—to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.
“A good book. Read it instead of watching TV or playing video games. The whole world will be better as a result.”
– Maria Rodale, Daily Beast
“When I was growing up, aspiring naturalists or behavioural scientists would be given a copy of Konrad Lorenz’s zoological investigation King Solomon’s Ring to inspire them. With its wide-ranging and thought-provoking content, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? is an appropriate 21st-century replacement. If you are at all interested in what it is to be an animal, human or otherwise, you should read this book.”
– Matthew Cobb, The Guardian
“An entertaining, convincing case for assessing each species’s intelligence on its own terms….not only full of information and thought-provoking, it’s also a lot of fun to read.”
– Nancy Szokan, The Washington Post
“Astonishing…has the makings of a classic–and one fantastic read.”
This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin
|This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin|
In this groundbreaking union of art and science, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explores the connection between music—its performance, its composition, how we listen to it, why we enjoy it—and the human brain.
Taking on prominent thinkers who argue that music is nothing more than an evolutionary accident, Levitin poses that music is fundamental to our species, perhaps even more so than language. Drawing on the latest research and on musical examples ranging from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Van Halen, he reveals:
• How composers produce some of the most pleasurable effects of listening to music by exploiting the way our brains make sense of the world
• Why we are so emotionally attached to the music we listened to as teenagers, whether it was Fleetwood Mac, U2, or Dr. Dre
• That practice, rather than talent, is the driving force behind musical expertise
• How those insidious little jingles (called earworms) get stuck in our head
A Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist, This Is Your Brain on Music will attract readers of Oliver Sacks and David Byrne, as it is an unprecedented, eye-opening investigation into an obsession at the heart of human nature.
Gulp by Mary Roach
|Gulp by Mary Roach|
The irresistible, ever-curious, and always best-selling Mary Roach returns with a new adventure to the invisible realm we carry around inside.
Like all of Roach’s books, Gulp is as much about human beings as it is about human bodies.
Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton
|Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton|
It’s time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.
Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that’s so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan’s 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.
Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.
Anyone can be a tourist. ATLAS OBSCURA is for the explorer.
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
|Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall|
In this New York Times bestseller, an award-winning journalist uses ten maps of crucial regions to explain the geo-political strategies of the world powers–“fans of geography, history, and politics (and maps) will be enthralled” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
Maps have a mysterious hold over us. Whether ancient, crumbling parchments or generated by Google, maps tell us things we want to know, not only about our current location or where we are going but about the world in general. And yet, when it comes to geo-politics, much of what we are told is generated by analysts and other experts who have neglected to refer to a map of the place in question.
All leaders of nations are constrained by geography. In “one of the best books about geopolitics” (The Evening Standard), now updated to include 2016 geopolitical developments, journalist Tim Marshall examines Russia, China, the US, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Greenland and the Arctic–their weather, seas, mountains, rivers, deserts, and borders–to provide a context often missing from our political reportage: how the physical characteristics of these countries affect their strengths and vulnerabilities and the decisions made by their leaders.
Offering “a fresh way of looking at maps” (The New York Times Book Review), Marshall explains the complex geo-political strategies that shape the globe. Why is Putin so obsessed with Crimea? Why was the US destined to become a global superpower? Why does China’s power base continue to expand? Why is Tibet destined to lose its autonomy? Why will Europe never be united? The answers are geographical. “In an ever more complex, chaotic, and interlinked world, Prisoners of Geography is a concise and useful primer on geopolitics” (Newsweek) and a critical guide to one of the major determining factors in world affairs.
|Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz|
“Both wise and clever, full of fun and surprise about a topic so central to our lives that we almost never even think about it.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
In the tradition of The Wisdom of Crowds and Predictably Irrational comes Being Wrong, an illuminating exploration of what it means to be in error, and why homo sapiens tend to tacitly assume (or loudly insist) that they are right about most everything. Kathryn Schulz, editor of Grist magazine, argues that error is the fundamental human condition and should be celebrated as such. Guiding the reader through the history and psychology of error, from Socrates to Alan Greenspan, Being Wrong will change the way you perceive screw-ups, both of the mammoth and daily variety, forever.
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
|The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee|
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.
Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.
The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.
From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.
Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
|Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond|
In this “artful, informative, and delightful” (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion–as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war–and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California’s Gold Medal.