New and forthcoming

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.

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.

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

The Wren

Stephen Moss

The wren is a paradox of a bird. On the one hand wrens are ubiquitous. They are Britain’s most common bird, with 8.5 million breeding pairs and have by far the loudest song in proportion to their size. They also thrive up and down Britain and Ireland: from the smallest city garden to remote offshore islands, blustery moors to chilly mountains.

Yet many people, particularly a younger generation, are not sure if they have ever seen a wren. Perhaps because the wren is so tiny, weighing just as much as two A4 sheets of paper, and so busy, always on the move, more mouse than bird.

However if we cast our eyes back to recent history wrens were a mainstay of literary, cultural and popular history. The wren was on postage stamps and the farthing, it featured in nursery rhymes and greetings cards, poems and rural ‘wren hunts’, still a recent memory in Ireland particularly.

With beautiful illustrations throughout, this captivating year-in-the-life biography reveals the hidden secrets of this fascinating bird that lives right on our doorstep.

Silver Shoals

Charles Rangeley-Wilson

Silver Shoals tells the story of fish in Britain and the fishermen whose lives are bound up with them.

Using the compass points as a structure, Charles Rangeley Wilson looks at cod in the North, eels in the East, Carp in the South, salmon in the West, and bookends this with a meditation on the herring seas of his Norfolk village.

Charles meets fishermen up and down the country and hears their story. His journey includes an unforgettable ten days on an North Atlantic Trawler, an attempt to bag his first elusive carp, afternoons wiled away with Fenland eel netters, and a near-futile search for the last remaining East coast herring boats.

Underpinning this journey is a bigger historical exploration of these creatures that shaped our island story. We learn how, centuries before our current crisis of over-fishing, fish were caught and sold in their millions; it was for good reason this scaly currency was once dubbed 'fish silver'. And we see how fish and fishing have long imprinted our landscape, from the astonishing historical migratory patterns of salmon to the carp whose ponds shaped our medieval topography.

Of course there is an environmental dimension to the story of fish. But Charles' optimistic perspective is this: no one is more invested in fish than the fishermen whose lives depend on them. If we can find a way to harness that, as has begun in countries like Iceland, then the future of fish in Britain could be as extraordinary as its past.

Octopuses: A Ladybird Expert Book

Dr Helen Scales

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Octopuses is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction to these eight-armed, ink-making, soft-bodied wonders.

Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

Blueprint

Robert Plomin

One of the world's top behavioural geneticists argues that we need a radical rethink about what makes us who we are

The blueprint for our individuality lies in the 1% of DNA that differs between people. Our intellectual capacity, our introversion or extraversion, our vulnerability to mental illness, even whether we are a morning person - all of these aspects of our personality are profoundly shaped by our inherited DNA differences.

In Blueprint, Robert Plomin, a pioneer in the field of behavioural genetics, draws on a lifetime's worth of research to make the case that DNA is the most important factor shaping who we are. Our families, schools and the environment around us are important, but they are not as influential as our genes. This is why, he argues, teachers and parents should accept children for who they are, rather than trying to mould them in certain directions. Even the environments we choose and the signal events that impact our lives, from divorce to addiction, are influenced by our genetic predispositions. Now, thanks to the DNA revolution, it is becoming possible to predict who we will become, at birth, from our DNA alone. As Plomin shows us, these developments have sweeping implications for how we think about parenting, education, and social mobility.

A game-changing book by a leader in the field, Blueprint shows how the DNA present in the single cell with which we all begin our lives can impact our behaviour as adults.

The Secret Network of Nature

Peter Wohlleben

Did you know that trees can make clouds?
Or that a change in wolf population can alter the course of a river?
Or that earthworms give wild boar directions?

The natural world is a web of intricate connections, many of which go unnoticed by humans. But it is these connections that maintain nature’s finely balanced equilibrium, and tinkering with one tiny element can set off a chain reaction that affects an entire ecosystem.

In The Secret Network of Nature, forester and bestselling author Peter Wohlleben opens our eyes to surprising connections and unlikely partnerships in nature. We’ll see how different animals, plants, rivers, rocks and weather systems co-operate, and what happens when these delicate systems are unbalanced.

Origins

Lewis Dartnell

Why is the world the way it is?

What forces have forged our planet and how have they in turn governed our evolution, influenced the rise and fall of civilisations through history, and ultimately shaped the story of humanity?

Lying imperceptibly beneath everything we encounter in the modern world is a vast architecture of causal links, chains of consequences that explain why things are the way they are. Origins is the story of this connectivity; it’s not about what we’ve done to our environment, but about what our environment has done to us.

We range from the deep roots behind everyday realities, like why do most of us eat cereal for breakfast, to the profound factors that enabled life to make transitions in evolution. These questions and their answers will take us via the make-up of our anatomy and the geography of the Mediterranean coastline, to the production of cocaine and the importance of volcanoes. With unquenchable curiosity, Lewis Dartnell shows us history that goes back far before the existence of historical records, relying instead on scientific clues like the tell-tale signs preserved in ancient rocks, revealed in our genes, or observed through a telescope.

Origins unravels the story of humanity by exposing this vast web of connections that stretch deep into the past, that explain our present and that will inform how we face the challenges of the future.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

Randolph M. Nesse

One of the world's most respected psychiatrists provides a much-needed new evolutionary framework for making sense of mental illness

With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Randolph Nesse established the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us with fragile minds at all.

Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments and our ancient human past. Taken together, these insights and many more help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings will fascinate anyone who wonders how our minds can be so powerful, yet so fragile, and how love and goodness came to exist in organisms shaped to maximize Darwinian fitness.

The Thriving Child

William Stixrud

** Published in the U.S. as The Self-Driven Child**


A hands-off parenting guide to nurture independent thinking and collaboration for happier, smarter and stress-free kids.

'Sometimes the most helpful thing we can do as parents is to parent our children a little less. This humane, thoughtful book turns the latest brain science into valuable practical advice for parents on how to pull back, when to engage and when to let go. Read it. Your children will thank you.' Paul Tough, New York Times bestselling author of How Children Succeed

As parents we all want the best for our child, but so often we give in to societal pressures which can result in us over-managing every aspect of their lives leaving them overwhelmed, over-scheduled and lacking motivation. This can terrifyingly lead to mental health problems as adolescents and adults. How can we prevent this happening to our child?

Over their combined sixty years of practice, William Stixrud, a clinical neuropsychologist, and Ned Johnson, the founder of an elite tutoring agency, have worked with thousands of children all facing this problem. Together they discovered that the best antidote to stress is to give kids more of a sense of control over their lives. In this ground-breaking book they reveal how you can actively help your child to sculpt a brain that is resilient, stress-proof and ready to take on new challenges.

The Thriving Child offers a combination of cutting-edge brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioural therapy, and case studies drawn from the thousands of kids and teens Bill and Ned have helped over the years. They will teach you how to set your child on the real road to success and share their successful techniques to show you the best ways of helping your child to:

· Reduce their stress and anxiety
· Foster independent thinking
· Find their internal motivation
· Achieve their full potential
· Transform defiance into decision making
· Tame rebellious tendencies


The Thriving Child is essential reading for every parent and demonstrates precisely how nurturing independent thinking, and collaborating with your child rather than micro-managing them, will lead to happier, smarter and stress-free kids.

'This serious and probing look at how to give our children the right kinds of independence shows us how much power we have to ensure they can function optimally. It is a book about how to make our children more meaningfully independent, and to set ourselves free in the process.' Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree

'Compelling, revolutionary, and wise, The Thriving Child empowers parents with the courage, the tools, and the mindset to reduce toxic stress, and to foster our child's capacity for resilience, success, and optimal development. Its message-that we should trust kids to have more control over their own lives-is one every parent needs to hear.' Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, co-author of The Whole Brain Child and The Yes Brain

Genetics

Adam Rutherford

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Genetics is an accessible, authoritative and insightful introduction to the code that shapes the lives of all living things - DNA.

Written by broadcaster and geneticist Adam Rutherford, Genetics breaks down the DNA code - an alphabet of four letters and twenty-one words - that has been passed down from cell to cell for four billion years.

You'll learn how in the 150 years since DNA was first discovered, we are beginning to understand, and even radically rewrite, the code of life on Earth.

Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history, and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

Consciousness: A Ladybird Expert Book

Hannah Critchlow

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Consciousness is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction to one of life's most interesting questions: what does it mean to be conscious?

Written by celebrated neurologist and neuropsychologist Dr Hannah Critchlow, Consciousness will take you on a voyage to discover what allows the grey matter in our skulls to produce such complex emotions, personality traits, thoughts and memories.

Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

Origin Story

David Christian

'I have long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative' Bill Gates

This is the epic story of the universe and our place in it, from 13.8 billion years ago to the remote future

How did we get from the Big Bang to today's staggering complexity, in which seven billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction?

Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during eight key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. This last mega-innovation gave us an energy bonanza that brought huge benefits to mankind, yet also threatens to shake apart everything we have created.

This global origin story is one that we could only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge. Panoramic in scope and thrillingly told, Origin Story reveals what we learn about human existence when we consider it from a universal scale.

Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? 200 birds, 12 months, 1 lapsed birdwatcher

Lev Parikian

At twelve years old, Lev Parikian was an avid birdwatcher. He was also a fraud, a liar and a cheat. Those lists of birds seen and ticked off? Lies. One hundred and thirty species? More like sixty.
Then, when he turned fifty, he decided to right his childhood wrongs. He would go birdwatching again. He would not lie. He would aim to see two hundred species of British bird in a year.

Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? is the story of that year, a story about birds, family, music, nostalgia, the nature of obsession and obsession with nature. It’s about finding adventure in life when you twig it’s shorter than you thought, and about losing and regaining contact with the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world.

It’s a book for anyone who has ever seen a small brown bird and wondered what it was, or tried to make sense of a world in which we can ask, ‘What’s that bird?’ and ‘What’s for lunch?’ and get the same answer.

How to Change Your Mind

Michael Pollan

Could psychedelic drugs change our worldview? One of America's most admired writers takes us on a mind-altering journey to the frontiers of human consciousness

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