New and forthcoming

How to Change Your Mind

Michael Pollan

'It's as if we made entering gothic cathedrals illegal, or museums, or sunsets!'

When LSD was first discovered in the 1940s, it seemed to researchers, scientists and doctors as if the world might be on the cusp of psychological revolution. It promised to shed light on the deep mysteries of consciousness, as well as offer relief to addicts and the mentally ill. But in the 1960s, with the vicious backlash against the counter-culture, all further research was banned. In recent years, however, work has quietly begun again on the amazing potential of LSD, psilocybin and DMT. Could these drugs in fact improve the lives of many people? Diving deep into this extraordinary world and putting himself forwardas a guinea-pig, Michael Pollan has written a remarkable history of psychedelics and a compelling portrait of the new generation of scientists fascinatedby the implications of these drugs. How to Change Your Mind is a report from what could very well be the future of human consciousness.

'His approach is steeped in honesty and self-awareness. His cause is just, his thinking is clear, and his writing is compelling' - Washington Post


'An easy-going humane generosity ... mischievous self-regard ... as if Henry David Thoreau had had an encounter with Woody Allen and never been quite the same since' - Simon Schama

Speech Odyssey

Trevor Cox

Trevor Cox has been described by the Observer as ‘a David Attenborough of the acoustic realm’. In Speech Odyssey he takes us on a journey through the wonders of human speech, starting with the evolution of language and our biological capability to speak (and listen), and bringing us up to date with the latest computer technology that seeks to record, transform and mimic the human voice.

Language is what makes us human, and how we speak is integral to our personal identity. But with the invention of sound recording and the arrival of the electrified voice, human communication changed forever; now advances in computer science and artificial intelligence are promising an even greater transformation. And with it come the possibilities to reproduce, manipulate and replicate the human voice – sometimes with disturbing consequences.

Speech Odyssey is the fascinating story of our ability to converse. It takes us back to the core of our humanity, asking important questions about what makes us human and how this uniqueness might be threatened. On this illuminating tour we meet vocal coaches and record producers, neuroscientists and computer programmers, whose experience and research provide us with a deeper understanding of something that most of us take for granted – our ability to talk and listen.

All That Remains

Sue Black

Sue Black confronts death every day. As Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology, she focuses on mortal remains in her lab, at burial sites, at scenes of violence, murder and criminal dismemberment, and when investigating mass fatalities due to war, accident or natural disaster. In All that Remains she reveals the many faces of death she has come to know, using key cases to explore how forensic science has developed, and what her work has taught her.

Do we expect a book about death to be sad? Macabre? Sue’s book is neither. There is tragedy, but there is also humour in stories as gripping as the best crime novel. Our own death will remain a great unknown. But as an expert witness from the final frontier, Sue Black is the wisest, most reassuring, most compelling of guides.

Inventing Ourselves

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

The brain creates every feeling, emotion and desire we experience, and stores every one of our memories. And yet, until very recently, scientists believed our brains were fully developed in childhood. Now, thanks to imaging technology that enables us to look inside the living human brain at all ages, we know that this isn’t so – that the brain goes on developing and changing right through adolescence into adulthood.

So what makes the adolescent brain different? What drives the excessive risk-taking or the need for intense friendships common to this age group? Why does an easy child become a challenging teenager? And why is it that many mental illnesses – depression, addiction, schizophrenia – begin during these formative years.

Drawing upon her cutting-edge research in her London laboratory, award-winning neuroscientist, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains what happens inside the adolescent brain, and what her team’s experiments have revealed about our behaviour, and how we relate to each other and our environment as we ?go through this period of our lives. She shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity – one that should be acknowledged, nurtured and celebrated.

Our adolescence provides a lens through which we can see ourselves anew. It is fundamental to how we invent ourselves.

Elastic

Leonard Mlodinow

With rapid technological innovation leading the charge, today's world is transforming itself at an unprecedented pace. Fortunately, as Leonard Mlodinow shows, the human brain is uniquely engineered to adapt.

Drawing from cutting-edge research in neuroscience and psychology, Mlodinow takes us on an illuminating journey through the mechanics of our own minds as we navigate the rapidly shifting landscapes around us. Out of the exploratory instincts that allowed our ancestors to prosper hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans developed a cognitive style that Mlodinow terms elastic thinking, a collection of abilities that include neophilia (an affinity for novelty), schizotypy (a tendency toward unusual perception), imagination and idea generation, pattern recognition, mental fluency and divergent thinking.

These are the qualities that enabled innovators from Mary Shelley to Miles Davis, and from Nike to Pokemon Go to create paradigm shifts. And they're the qualities that will enable each of us to succeed, personally and professionally. With his keen acumen and rapid-fire wit, Mlodinow gives us the essential tools to harness the power of elastic thinking in an endlessly dynamic world.

The Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

When the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin returned from South America on board the HMS Beagle in 1836, he brought with him the notes and evidence that would form the basis of a world-changing theory: the evolution of species by a process of natural selection. This theory, published as On the Origin of Species in 1859, is the basis of modern biology and the concept of biodiversity. Its publication sparked a fierce scientific, religious and philosophical debate which continues to this day.

Adventures in the Anthropocene

Gaia Vince

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

In recent decades human beings have altered the planet beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.5 billion-year history. We have become a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary – from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or the Age of Man.

Gaia Vince quit her job to travel the world and to explore what all these changes really mean to our daily lives. She discovers the shocking ways in which we have reshaped our living planet and reveals the ingenious solutions we’ve evolved to engineer Earth for the future.

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?

In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age – and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world.

'Unbelievably good. Jaw dropping from the first word to the last' Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2

Brain Food

Dr Lisa Mosconi

The eminent neuroscientist and nutritionist explains how what we eat affects how we think

'We are what we eat' is an age-old adage. But while we often talk about diets affecting our fitness, we don't talk about how what we eat and drink affects the health of the hungriest organ in the body - our brain.

Brain Food makes clear the connection between nutrition and our brain's health, focusing attention on how crucial dietary recommendations are - three eggs, for example, provide the daily amount of brain super-nutrients that are often deficient in Alzheimer's patients. Based partly on her own discoveries, and using proven dietary concepts and emerging science, such as the connection between the brain and the gut, Dr Lisa Mosconi expertly reveals the importance of starting work now to prevent dementia, stress and memory loss, no matter how old we are.

Innovative and timely, and with accompanying recipes and guides to show each of us how we can most effectively change our diets, Brain Food demonstrates how being smart about our diet can make us smarter overall.

The Beautiful Cure

Daniel M Davis

The immune system holds the key to human health. In The Beautiful Cure, leading immunologist Professor Daniel Davis describes the scientific quest to understand how it works – and how it is affected by stress, sleep, age and our state of mind – and explains how this knowledge is now unlocking a revolutionary new approach to medicine and well-being.

The body's ability to fight disease and heal itself is one of the great mysteries and marvels of nature. But within the last few years painstaking research has resulted in major advances in our understanding of this breathtakingly beautiful inner world: a vast and intricate network of specialist cells, regulatory proteins and dedicated genes that are continually protecting our bodies. Far more powerful than any medicine ever invented, it also plays a crucial role in our daily lives. Already we have found ways to harness these natural defences to create breakthrough drugs and so-called immunotherapies that help us fight cancer, diabetes, arthritis and many age-related diseases, and we are starting to understand whether or not activities such as mindfulness might play a role in enhancing our physical resilience.

Written by an expert at the forefront of this adventure, The Beautiful Cure tells a dramatic story of detective work and discovery, of puzzles solved and of the mysteries that remain, of lives sacrificed and saved, introducing the reader to this revelatory new understanding of the human body and what it takes to be healthy.

The Other Side of Happiness

Dr. Brock Bastian

'Required reading ... Brock Bastian expertly picks apart the fundamental idea that humans thrive when they approach pleasure and avoid pain, explaining why hardship sometimes yields richer lives that are laden with meaning, deep social connections, and unexpected bliss' Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink

In today's culture, happiness has become the new marker of success, while hardships are viewed as personal weaknesses, or problems to be fixed. We increasingly try to eradicate pain through medication and by insulating ourselves from risk and offence, despite being the safest generation to have ever lived. Yet in his research, renowned social psychologist Brock Bastian has found that suffering and sadness are neither antithetical to happiness nor incidental to it: they are a necessary ingredient for emotional well-being.

Drawing on psychology, neuroscience and internationally acclaimed findings from Bastian's own lab, The Other Side of Happiness encourages us to take a more fearless approach to living. The most thrilling moments of our lives are often balanced on a knife edge between pleasure and pain, whether it is finding your true love, holding your new-born for the first time, finishing a marathon or even plunging into an icy sea. This is because pain and the threat of loss quite literally increase our capacity for happiness, as Bastian reveals, making us stronger, more resilient, more connected to other people and more attuned to what truly matters. Pain even makes us more mindful, since in our darkest moments we are especially focused and aware of the world around us.

Our addiction to positivity and the pursuit of pleasure is actually making us miserable. Brock Bastian shows that, without some pain, we have no real way to achieve and appreciate the kind of happiness that is true and transcendent.

How to Be Human: The Manual

Ruby Wax

It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now. No question, anyone reading this has won the evolutionary Hunger Games by the fact you're on all twos and not some fossil. This should make us all the happiest species alive - most of us aren't, what's gone wrong? We've started treating ourselves more like machines and less like humans. We're so used to upgrading things like our iPhones: as soon as the new one comes out, we don't think twice, we dump it. (Many people I know are now on iWife4 or iHusband8, the motto being, if it's new, it's better.)

We can't stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we're on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we'll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we'll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what's 'better', and if we can do that we're on the yellow brick road to happiness.

I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us 'us' in the brain. We answer every question you've ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you'll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you've upgraded your iPhone

The Robin

Stephen Moss


'There is no doubt that Moss’s book, with its charming cover and quaint illustrations, will make it into many a stocking this year' The Times

No other bird is quite so ever-present and familiar, so embedded in our culture, as the robin. With more than six million breeding pairs, the robin is second only to the wren as Britain’s most common bird. It seems to live its life alongside us, in every month and season of the year. But how much do we really know about this bird?

In The Robin Stephen Moss records a year of observing the robin both close to home and in the field to shed light on the hidden life of this apparently familiar bird. We follow its lifecycle from the time it enters the world as an egg, through its time as a nestling and juvenile, to the adult bird; via courtship, song, breeding, feeding, migration – and ultimately, death. At the same time we trace the robin's relationship with us: how did this particular bird – one of more than 300 species in its huge and diverse family – find its way so deeply and permanently into our nation’s heart and its social and cultural history? It’s a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself.

The Secret Life of the Owl

John Lewis-Stempel

‘Dusk is filling the valley. It is the time of the gloaming, the owl-light.
Out in the wood, the resident tawny has started calling, Hoo-hoo-hoo-h-o-o-o.’

There is something about owls. They feature in every major culture from the Stone Age onwards. They are creatures of the night, and thus of magic. They are the birds of ill-tidings, the avian messengers from the Other Side. But owls – with the sapient flatness of their faces, their big, round eyes, their paternal expressions – are also reassuringly familiar. We see them as wise, like Athena’s owl, and loyal, like Harry Potter's Hedwig. Human-like, in other words.

No other species has so captivated us.

In The Secret Life of the Owl, John Lewis-Stempel explores the legends and history of the owl. And in vivid, lyrical prose, he celebrates all the realities of this magnificent creature, whose natural powers are as fantastic as any myth.

'John Lewis-Stempel is one of the best nature writers of his generation' Country Life

The Inner Life of Animals

Peter Wohlleben

FROM THE AUTHOR OF INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES

Mother deer that grieve?
Horses that feel shame?
Squirrels that adopt their grandchildren?

We humans tend to assume that we are the only living things able to experience feelings intensely and consciously. But have you ever wondered what’s going on in an animal’s head?

From the leafy forest floor to the inside of a bee hive, The Inner Life of Animals takes us microscopic levels of observation to the big philosophical, ethical and scientific questions. We hear the stories of a grateful humpback whale, of a hedgehog who has nightmares, and of a magpie who commits adultery; we meet bees that plan for the future, pigs who learn their own names and crows that go tobogganing for fun. And at last we find out why wasps exist.

As more and more researchers are discovering, animals experience a rich emotional life that is ready to be explored. The Inner Life of Animals will show you these living things in a new light and will open up the animal kingdom like never before.

The Unexpected Truth About Animals

Lucy Cooke

'Eye-opening, informative and very funny!' - Chris Packham
History is full of strange animal stories, invented by the brightest and most influential, from Aristotle to Disney, and they reveal as much about us and the things we believe as they do about the animals they misrepresent. We once thought that eels were born from sand, that swallows hibernated under water, and that bears gave birth to formless lumps that were licked into shape by their mothers.

Zoologist Lucy Cooke unravels many such myths, revealing the facts she’s uncovered while sniffing out vultures, snooping on sloths and stalking drunk moose.

The Unexpected Truth About Animals is in equal parts astonishing, illuminating and laugh-out-loud funny. Starring: feminist hyenas; perverted penguins, exploding bats and frogs in taffeta trousers...