New and forthcoming

The Science of Meditation

Daniel Goleman

A radical reinterpretation of mental exercise from two New York Times bestselling authors - "What if we could exercise our minds like we exercise our bodies?" - backed by state-of-the-art scientific research

More than forty years ago, two friends and collaborators at Harvard, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson were unusual in arguing for the benefits of meditation. Now, as mindfulness and other brands of meditation become ever more popular, to fix even more about our lives, they reveal the cutting-edge science of how smart practice can change our personal traits and even our genome for the better.

Drawing on the kind of cutting-edge research that has made them giants in their fields, Goleman and Davidson sweep away neuromythology and reveal what we can learn from a one-of-a-kind data pool of world-class meditators. They share for the first time remarkable findings that show how meditation can cultivate - without drugs or high expense - qualities such as focus, selflessness, and compassion.

For beyond the pleasant states that mental exercises can produce, purposeful, sustained mind training can create altered traits: sustained, beneficial qualities of thinking, feeling, and acting that are accompanied by lasting, supportive changes in the brain.

Demonstrating two master thinkers at work, The Science of Meditation explains precisely how and when mind training benefits us. More than daily doses or sheer hours, we need smart practice, including crucial ingredients such as targeted feedback from a master teacher and a more spacious, less attached view of the self, all of which are missing in many versions of mind training. Exploring, too, how new technologies can really help with meditation, this is the truth about what meditation can do for us today.

Gripping in its storytelling and grounded in new research, this is one of those rare books that has the power to change us at the deepest level.

Life 3.0

Max Tegmark

'All of us - not only scientists, industrialists and generals-should ask ourselves what can we do now to improve the chances of reaping the benefits of future AI and avoiding the risks. This is the most important conversation of our time, and Tegmark's thought-provoking book will help you join it' Stephen Hawking

We stand at the beginning of a new era. What was once science fiction is fast becoming reality, as AI transforms war, crime, justice, jobs and society-and, even, our very sense of what it means to be human. More than any other technology, AI has the potential to revolutionize our collective future - and there's nobody better situated to explore that future than Max Tegmark, an MIT professor and co-founder of the Future of Life Institute, whose work has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial.

In this deeply researched and vitally important new book, Tegmark takes us to the heart of thinking about AI and the human condition, bringing us face to face with the essential questions of our time. How can we grow our prosperity through automation, without leaving people lacking income or purpose? How can we ensure that future AI systems do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will AI help life flourish as never before, or will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, and even, perhaps, replace us altogether?

Life 3.0 gives us the tools to join what may be the most important conversation of our time, guiding us through the most controversial issues around AI today -- from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

What sort of future do you want?

Improbable Destinies

Jonathan Losos

A dazzling tour of evolution in action that sheds light on one of the greatest debates in science

The natural world is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. Convergence suggests that evolution is predictable, and if we could replay the tape of life, we would get the same outcome. But there are also many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change - a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze - caused evolution to take a completely different course.

So are we humans, and all the plants and animals in the world today, inevitabilities or evolutionary freaks? What role does chance play in evolution? And what could it tell us about life on other planets?

In Improbable Destinies, renowned researcher Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. Evolution can occur far more rapidly than Darwin expected, which has opened the door to something that was previously thought impossible: experimental studies of evolution in nature. Drawing on his own work with anole lizards on the Caribbean islands, as well as studies of guppies, foxes, field mice and others being conducted around the world, Losos reveals just how rapid and predictable evolution can be.

By charting the discoveries of the scientists who are rewriting our understanding of evolutionary biology, Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution.

The Vacation Guide to the Solar System

Olivia Koski (and others)

Imagine taking a hike along the windswept red plains of Mars to dig for signs of life, or touring one of Jupiter’s sixty-four moons where you can take photos of its swirling storms. For a mini-break on a tight budget, the Moon is quite majestic and very quiet if you can make it during the off-season.

Beautifully illustrated and packed with real-world science, The Vacation Guide to the Solar System is the essential planning guide for the curious space adventurer, covering all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive. Written by an astronomer from the American Museum of Natural History and one of the creators of the Guerilla Science collective, this tongue-in-cheek reference guide is an imaginative exploration into the ‘what if’ of space travel, sharing fascinating facts about the planets in our solar system and even some moons!

Universal

Brian Cox (and others)

'Inspirational' Buzz Aldrin

When exactly did life begin? What really happened during the big bang - and before it? Is the universe expanding? Is dark matter real? Do we live in one of many worlds? What's more, how can we prove any of this?

This book is all about how we - any of us - can gain an understanding of the Universe in all its awe-inspiring glory. Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw take us on an epic journey of scientific exploration, revealing how the biggest questions - from the size of the earth to the distance to the stars - are answerable from our own back gardens.

You don't need a Large Hadron Collider or a Hubble Space Telescope to explore the cosmos. You just need this book.

Caesar's Last Breath - the Epic Story of the Air we Breathe

Sam Kean

It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

Letters to a Beekeeper

Alys Fowler (and others)

This the story of how, over the course of a year, Alys, the Guardian gardening writer, learns how to keep bees; and Steve, the urban beekeeper, learns how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden.

Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, rewards and joys of working with, rather than against, nature. And along the way, you will pick up a wealth of advice, tips and ideas for growing food and keeping pollinators well fed.

Letters to a Beekeeper is for lazy gardeners, novice beekeepers and everyone in between. It is the best rule-breaking, wildlife-friendly, guerilla, urban gardening, insect-identifying, honey-tasting, wax-dripping, epistolary how-to book you could ever hope to own.

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