New and forthcoming

Picnic Comma Lightning

Laurence Scott

Cognitive science now proposes that we have evolved to construct mental maps of the world not according to its actual, physical nature, but according to what allows us to thrive. In other words, our individual and collective realities are fictions – carefully built up to enable us to maintain a particular perspective about the world and our place within it.

But how are our 'fictions' pieced together today? What can cause them to collapse? And what happens to us when they do? And more importantly, how do we maintain a sense of reality in an increasingly fantastic world?

Picnic Comma Lightning is an innovative examination of the nature of reality and identity in the twenty-first century, one that explores the key ethical, political and neurological forces contouring our inner worlds, but also the private influences of grief and desire, memory and imagination. In it Laurence Scott tackles what this period in Western civilisation feels like, providing a lively and accessible existentialism for the early twenty-first century, and a book that will almost certainly change the way you see the world.

Alone Time

Stephanie Rosenbloom

Travelling with friends and family is usually thought of as a privilege. In theory, anyway. In practice, it's often about debating which sights to see, panicking over diminishing phone batteries and bickering over what to eat. But alone you can do as you please. You can wander markets, relish silence, go to a park. Go to Paris. Why not?

In Alone Time, New York Times travel columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom travels alone in four seasons to four remarkable cities - Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York - exploring the sensory experience of solitude. She uses people, places and things to illuminate the psychological arguments for alone time - and in doing so reveals that if you want to be better with others and happier with yourself, living a more enriched life, it's good to occasionally be alone.

This is a book about the pleasures and benefits of savouring the moment, examining things closely, using all the senses. It's about solitude being restorative, benefitting the mind and aiding creativity. Travelling alone means experiencing the sensual details of the world - patterns, textures, colours, tastes and sounds - in ways that are impossible when you're chattering with someone else or keeping half an ear on the pings and bleeps of our ever-present devices.

Through on-the-ground observations and anecdotes, and drawing on the thinking of artists, writers and innovators, Alone Time lays bare the pleasures and magic of going solo.

Happiness

Edith Hall

What’s the secret to long-term happiness? Should we be minimalists, or should we be more hygge? Is the key to life fitting in 10 minutes of mindfulness before work?

Long before we were puzzling these existential questions, one of the greatest thinkers in history was dedicating his life to the human quest for happiness.

Aristotle is the father of modern thinking and the forefather of self-help who pondered many of the challenges that still cause us trouble today:

How do I decide what career path to take?
How do I overcome grief?
How do I choose a partner?
And how do I live a good life?

In this handbook to Aristotle’s timeless teachings, Professor Edith Hall shows how a return to ancient thinking might be just what the modern world needs. In ten key lessons that guide us from birth to the end of life, Happiness turns to the greatest mind in history to arm you with the knowledge you need to live a good life.

This is advice that won’t go out of fashion.

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful

Sarah Wilson

'Probably the best book on living with anxiety that I've ever read' Mark Manson, bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Sarah Wilson gravitates to life’s problems, passing on her hard-earned wisdoms to all who want to make life better. Having helped over 1.5m people across the world to quit sugar, in First, we make the beast beautiful she now turns her intense focus and fierce investigatory skills onto the lifetime companion that’s brought her the most pain and become her finest teacher. Anxiety.

Looking at the triggers and treatments, fashions and fads, she reads widely, interviewing fellow sufferers, mental health patients, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experience. She pulls at the thread of accepted definitions of anxiety, unravelling the notion that it is a disease that must be medicated into submission. Could anxiety be re-sewn, she asks, into a thing of beauty?

There are many books about coping with anxiety. This one encourages the myriad sufferers of the world's most common mental illness to thrive with anxiety, and even to delight in the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.

Practical, poetic, wise and funny, this is a small book with a big heart.

Artificial Intelligence: A Ladybird Expert Book

Alice Roberts

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Artificial Intelligence is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction to intelligent machines and the humans that program them.

Written by computer scientist Michael Wooldridge, Artificial Intelligence chronicles the development of computers that 'think' from Turing's primitive chatbots to today's digital assistants like Siri and Alexa.

AI is not something that awaits us in the future. Inside you'll learn how we have come to rely on embedded AI software and what a society of ubiquitous AI might look like.

Object-Oriented Ontology

Graham Harman

We humans tend to believe that things are only real in as much as we perceive them, an idea reinforced by modern philosophy, which privileges us as special, radically different in kind from all other objects. But as Graham Harman, one of the theory's leading exponents, shows, Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) rejects the idea of human specialness: the world, he states, is clearly not the world as manifest to humans. 'To think a reality beyond our thinking is not nonsense, but obligatory.'

At OOO's heart is the idea that objects - whether real, fictional, natural, artificial, human or non-human - are mutually autonomous. This core idea has significance for nearly every field of inquiry which is concerned in some way with the systematic interaction of objects, and the degree to which individual objects resist full participation in such systems.

In this brilliant new introduction, Graham Harman lays out OOO's history, ideas and impact, taking in art and literature, politics and natural science along the way.

Enlightenment Now

Steven Pinker

Oneof the world's greatest contemporary thinkers and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature (described by Bill Gates as 'the most inspiring book I have ever read') shows how to think afresh about the human condition and to meet the challenges that confront us

Is modernity really failing? Or have we failed to appreciate progress and the ideals that make it possible?

If you follow the headlines, the world in the 21st century appears to be sinking intochaos, hatred, and irrationality. Yet Steven Pinker shows that this is an illusion - a symptom of historical amnesia and statistical fallacies. If you follow the trendlines rather than the headlines, you discover that our lives have become longer, healthier, safer, happier, morepeaceful, more stimulating and more prosperous - not just in the West, but worldwide. Such progress is no accident: it's the gift of a coherent and inspiring value system that many of us embrace without even realizing it. These are the values of the Enlightenment: of reason, science, humanism and progress.

The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. Butthe way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it's to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved otherproblems in the past. In making the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how we can use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitablycome with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe. We will never have a perfect world, but - defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction - we can continue to make it a better one.

Hermeneutics

John D Caputo

Is anything ever not an interpretation?
Does interpretation go all the way down?
Is there such a thing as a pure fact that is interpretation-free? If not, how are we supposed to know what to think and do?

These tantalizing questions are tackled by renowned American thinker John D Caputo in this wide-reaching exploration of what the traditional term 'hermeneutics' can mean in a postmodern, twenty-first century world. As a contemporary of Derrida's and longstanding champion of rethinking the disciplines of theology and philosophy, for decades Caputo has been forming alliances across disciplines and drawing in readers with his compelling approach to what he calls "radical hermeneutics." In this new introduction, drawing upon a range of thinkers from Heidegger to the Parisian "1968ers" and beyond, he raises a series of probing questions about the challenges of life in the postmodern and maybe soon to be 'post-human' world.'

Being Ecological

Timothy Morton

Don't care about ecology? This book is for you. Morton sets out to show us that whether we know it or not, we already have the capacity and the will to change the way we understand the place of humans in the world, and our very understanding of the term 'ecology'. A cross-disciplinarian who has collaborated with everyone from Björk to Hans Ulrich Obrist, Morton is also a member of the object-oriented philosophy movement, a group of forward-looking thinkers who are grappling with modern-day notions of subjectivity and objectivity, while also offering fascinating new understandings of Heidegger and Kant. Calling the volume a book containing 'no ecological facts', Morton confronts the 'information dump' fatigue of the digital age, and offers an invigorated approach to creating a liveable future.

12 Rules for Life

Jordan B. Peterson

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research

Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility, distilling the world's wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith and human nature, while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its readers.

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind

Shoukei Matsumoto

Cleanliness is next to enlightenment. In this Japanese bestseller a Buddhist monk explains the traditional meditative techniques that will help cleanse not only your house - but your soul.

Live clean. Feel calm. Be happy.

We remove dust to sweep away our worldly cares. We live simply and take time to contemplate the self, mindfully living each moment. It's not just monks that need to live this way. Everyone in today's busy world needs it.

In Japan, cleanliness is next to enlightenment. This bestselling guide by a Zen Buddhist monk draws on ancient traditions to show you how a few simple changes to your daily habits - from your early morning routine to preparingfood, from respecting the objects around you to working together as a team -will not only make your home calmer and cleaner, but will leave you feeling refreshed, happier and more fulfilled.

Ancient Rhetoric

Thomas Habinek

A new and original anthology that introduces the key writings on rhetoric in the classical world, from Aristotle to Cicero and beyond.


Classical rhetoric is one of the earliest versions of what is today known as media studies. It was absolutely crucial to life in the ancient world, whether in the courtroom, the legislature or on ceremonial occasions, and was described as either the art of persuasion or the art of speaking well. This anthology, edited by Thomas Habinek, brings together all the most important ancient writings on rhetoric, including works by Cicero, Aristotle, Quintilian and Philostratus. Ranging across such themes as memory, persuasion, delivery and style, it provides a fascinating introduction to classical rhetoric and will be an invaluable sourcebook for students of the ancient world.