New Books Network

Lance Fortnow, “The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible” (Princeton UP, 2013))
Today we’ll be discussing Lance Fortnow‘s bookThe Golden Ticket:P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible (Princeton University Press, 2013).The book focuses on the challenges associated with solving problems requiring significant computation, such as “What is the largest group of Facebook users, all of whom know each other?”If it is... Read More
Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, “How Much is Enough: Money and the Good Life” (Other Press, 2012)
Why do we work so hard, and should we? These are the questions that Robert and Edward Skidelsky explore in their thought provoking book How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life (Other Press, 2012). Their answer to the first question is (to put it in my own words)... Read More
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, “American Umpire” (Harvard UP, 2013)
Is there an “American Empire?” A lot of people on the Left say “yes.” Actually, a lot of people on the Right say “yes” too. But Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman says “no.” In her stimulating new treatment of the history of American foreign policy American Umpire (Harvard UP, 2013), Hoffman lays... Read More
Peter Gray, “Free to Learn” (Basic Books, 2013)
In his book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013), Peter Gray¬†proposes the following big idea: we shouldn’t force children to learn, rather we should allow them to play and learn by themselves.... Read More
Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., “Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help” (Basic Books, 2012)
In their book Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It (Basic Books, 2012), Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. present the following big idea: race preferences in higher education harm those preferred. Their argument is interesting in that it is not... Read More
Lawrence M. Krauss, “A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing” (Atria, 2012)
In A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing (Atria, 2012), Lawrence M. Krauss presents this big idea: something can–and perhaps must–come from nothing. That something is, well, everything–you, me, and the entire universe. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will. Of course, as Lawrence explains,... Read More
Landon Storrs, “The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left” (Princeton UP, 2012)
Most people who listen to this podcast will have heard of Joseph McCarthy and HUAC (The House Committee on Un-American Activities). His activities and those of HUAC were, however, only the tip of a very large iceberg. In the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. government conducted something like a “purge”... Read More
John Wood, “Creating Room to Read” (Viking Press, 2013)
In Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy (Viking Press, 2013), John Wood presents this big idea: you can change the world if want to. The nice thing about John’s book is that he doesn’t tell you the “theory” of world-changing (though he... Read More
Christopher I. Beckwith, “Warriors of the Cloisters: The Central Asian Origins of Science in the Medieval World (Princeton UP, 2012)
In Warriors of the Cloisters: The Central Asian Origins of Science in the Medieval World (Princeton University Press, 2012), Christopher I. Beckwith gives us a rare window into the global movements of medieval science. Science can be characterized not by its content, but instead by its methodology. Starting from this... Read More
Richard J. Smith, “The I Ching: A Biography” (Princeton UP, 2012)
Texts have lives. They grow, travel, transform, fade, and are reborn into new and other lives. In The I Ching: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2012), Richard J. Smith has given us a wonderfully readable (and assignable, and shareable, and enjoyable) life of one of the most important texts in... Read More