New Books Network

Douglas Rushkoff, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” (Current, 2013)
Humans understand the world through stories, some short and some long. But what happens when the stories become so short that they, well, aren’t stories at all? In Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Current, 2013), Douglas Rushkoff explores this question. He points out that always-on, always “new” digital communications... Read More
Helen Longino, “Studying Human Behavior: How Scientists Investigate Aggression and Sexuality” (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
What explains human behavior? It is standard to consider answers from the perspective of a dichotomy between nature and nurture, with most researchers today in agreement that it is both. For Helen Longino, Clarence Irving Lewis Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, the “both” answer misses the fact that the... Read More
Joseph November, “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
There are pigeons, cats, and Martians here. There are CT scanners, dentures, computers large enough to fill rooms, war games, and neural networks. In Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), Joe November mobilizes this ecology of instruments and objects, people and programs, in... Read More
Sam Sommers, “Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World” (Riverhead Books, 2011)
Human behavior is notoriously complex and difficult to predict. For decades, social psychologists have been exploring situational variables and how they impact our behavior. We might like to think that we behave consistently in various contexts, but that turns out not to be the case. In his book, Situations Matter:... Read More
Victor Stenger, “God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion” (Prometheus, 2012)
Are science and religion compatible, or are they fundamentally different ways of viewing the world? In the book,God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion(Prometheus, 2012), physicist Victor Stenger uses his knowledge of science to argue that the latter option is the case. Though acknowledging that... Read More
Leonard Wapner, “Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball” (A.K. Peters, 2012)
Today I talked to Leonard Wapner about his new book Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball (A.K. Peters, 2012).  Prof. Wapner’s previous book, The Pea and the Sun, was an in-depth investigation of the Banach-Tarski Theorem, one of the most counterintuitive results in mathematics.  Expectation is an extension... Read More
Paul Barrett, “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” (Broadway, 2013)
History is in many respects the story of humanity’s quest for transcendence: to control life and death, time and space, loss and memory. When inventors or companies effectively tap into these needs products emerge that help define their times. The Kodak ‘Brownie’ allowed average consumers – without the knowledge of... Read More