185 results 1-20
New York Times Bestseller
'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year
'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Federica Cocco, Financial Times
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life - and threaten to rip apart our social fabric
We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.
And yet, as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and incontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort CVs, grant or deny loans, evaluate workers, target voters, and monitor our health.
O'Neil calls on modellers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.
***30th Anniversary Edition***
Cover note: Each copy of the anniversary edition of The Blind Watchmaker features a unique biomorph. No two covers are exactly alike.
Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection - the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin - is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?
Imagine a world where all the news you see is defined by your salary, where you live, and who your friends are. Imagine a world where you never discover new ideas. And where you can't have secrets.
Welcome to 2011.
Google and Facebook are already feeding you what they think you want to see. Advertisers are following your every click. Your computer monitor is becoming a one-way mirror, reflecting your interests and reinforcing your prejudices.
The internet is no longer a free, independent space. It is commercially controlled and ever more personalised. The Filter Bubble reveals how this hidden web is starting to control our lives - and shows what we can do about it.
From the bestselling author of Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson's The Invention of Air tells the incredible story of scientist and radical Joseph Priestley, who invented soda water, discovered oxygen, and incited rioting with his political views.
In 1794, Joseph Priestley - amateur scientist, ordained minister and radical thinker - set sail for America to escape persecution. Steven Johnson tells his incredible story: the discovery of oxygen, the invention of a science, the founding of a church, and, with the great minds of his time, the development of the United States itself. But Priestley's revolutionary ideas put him in terrible danger.
Johnson uses the progress of Priestley and his colleagues not merely to describe the wonder of discovery, but to show us how we have come to understand the world, how far we have travelled with the power of human enquiry - and how one man's curiosity can help build an entire country.
'A shot of the purest oxygen'
'Packed with excellent stuff'
'Entertaining ... clear-sighted and intelligent'
'As full of ingenuity and as delightful as its subject'
The New York Times
'Johnson paints Priestley not as a man of the past but precisely the sort of figure the world needs more than ever'
New York Post
Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.
Steven Johnson's Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software is a fascinating look at how self-organising systems are changing the world.
- Why do people cluster together in neighborhoods?
- How do internet communities spring up from nowhere?
- Why is a brain conscious even though no single neuron is?
- What causes a media frenzy?
The answer, as Steven Johnson's groundbreaking book shows, is emergence: change that occurs from the bottom up. When enough individual elements interact and organize themselves, the result is collective intelligence - even though no-one is in charge. It is a phenomenon that exists at every level of experience, and will
revolutionize the way we see the world.
'A dizzying, dazzling romp through fields as disparate as urban planning, computer-game design, neurology and control theory'
'Mind-expanding ... intelligent, witty and tremendously thought-provoking ... Popular science books interesting enough to read twice don't come along all that often'
'Not just a fascinating quirk of science: it's the future'
The New York Times
Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.
Published: 1 Aug 2002
Shumon Basar (Author), Douglas Coupland (Author), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Author)
Planet Earth needs a self-help book, and this is it
The future is happening to us far faster than we thought it would and this book explains why
Fifty years after Marshall McLuhan's ground breaking book on the influence of technology on culture The Medium is the Massage, Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist extend the analysis to today, touring the world that's redefined by the Internet, decoding and explaining what they call the 'extreme present'.
The Age of Earthquakes is a quick-fire paperback, harnessing the images, language and perceptions of our unfurling digital lives. The authors invent a glossary of new words to describe how we are truly feeling today; and 'mindsource' images and illustrations from over 30 contemporary artists. Wayne Daly's striking graphic design imports the surreal, juxtaposed, mashed mannerisms of screen to page. It's like a culturally prescient, all-knowing email to the reader: possibly the best email they will ever read.
Welcome to The Age of Earthquakes, a paper portrait of Now, where the Internet hasn't just changed the structure of our brains these past few years, it's also changing the structure of the planet. This is a new history of the world that fits perfectly in your back pocket.
Everything we think, do and refrain from doing is determined by our brain. From religion to sexuality, it shapes our potential, our desires and our characters. Taking us through every stage in our lives, from the womb to falling in love to old age, Dick Swaab shows that we don't just have brains: we are our brains.
'A blockbuster about the brain ... provocative, fascinating, remarkable' Clive Cookson, Financial Times
'A giant in the field' Zoe Williams, Guardian
'Engrossing, intriguing and enlightening' Robin Ince
'Enchantingly written' The Times Higher Education
'Wide-ranging, fun and informative ... as an ice-breaker at parties, it is unmatched' Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
Published: 15 May 2000
A guide to critical thinking in the 'post-truth' era, from the author of Sunday Times best-seller The Organized Mind
We live in a world of information overload. Facts and figures on absolutely everything are at our fingertips, but are too often biased, distorted, or outright lies. From unemployment figures to voting polls, IQ tests to divorce rates, we're bombarded by seemingly plausible statistics on how people live and what they think. Daniel Levitin teaches us how to effectively ask ourselves: can we really know that? And how do they know that?
In this eye-opening, accessible guide filled with fascinating examples and practical takeaways, acclaimed neuroscientist Daniel Levitin shows us how learning to understand statistics will enable you to make better, smarter judgements on the world around you.
The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year, Anatomies by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of bestseller Periodic Tales, is a splendidly entertaining journey through the art, science, literature and history of the human body.
'Magnificent, inspired. He writes like a latter-day Montaigne. Stimulating scientific hypotheses, bold philosophic theories, illuminating quotations and curious facts. I recommend it to all' Telegraph *****
'Splendid, highly entertaining, chock-full of insights ... It inserts fascinating scientific snippets and anecdotes about our organs into the wider history of our changing understanding of our bodies' Sunday Times
'A relentlessly entertaining cultural history of the human body ... brims with fascinating details, infectious enthusiasm ... the terrain he covers is so richly brought to life' Guardian
'Elegant and informative ... For Aldersey-Williams, [the body] is a thing of wonder and a repository of fascinating facts' Mail on Sunday ****
In Anatomies, bestselling author Hugh Aldersey-Williams investigates that marvellous, mysterious form: the human body. Providing a treasure trove of surprising facts, remarkable stories and startling information drawn from across history, science, art and literature - from finger-prints to angel physiology, from Isaac Newton's death-mask to the afterlife of Einstein's brain - he explores our relationship with our bodies and investigates our changing attitudes to the extraordinary physical shell we inhabit.
'More than a science book - it's also history, biography and autobiography - Anatomies is writing at its most refined, regardless of genre' Sunday Times
Praise for Periodic Tales:
'Science writing at its best ... fascinating and beautiful ... if only chemistry had been like this at school ... to meander through the periodic table with him ... is like going round a zoo with Gerald Durrell ... a rich compilation of delicious tales, but it offers greater rewards, too' Matt Ridley
'Immensely engaging and continually makes one sit up in surprise' Sunday Times
'Splendid ... enjoyable and polished' Observer
'Full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well ... an agreeable jumble of anecdote, reflection and information' Sunday Telegraph
'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes ... sharp and often witty' Financial Times
Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. His previous book Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been published in many languages around the world. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.
The phenomenal Sunday Times bestseller Periodic Tales by Hugh Andersey-Williams, packed with fascinating stories and unexpected information about the building blocks of our universe.
Everything in the universe is made of them, including you.
Like you, the elements have personalities, attitudes, talents, shortcomings, stories rich with meaning.
Here you'll meet iron that rains from the heavens and noble gases that light the way to vice. You'll learn how lead can tell your future while zinc may one day line your coffin. You'll discover what connects the bones in your body with the Whitehouse in Washington, the glow of a streetlamp with the salt on your dinner table.
Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colourful pasts, Periodic Tales is a voyage of wonder and discovery, showing that their stories are our stories, and their lives are inextricable from our own.
'Science writing at its best. A fascinating and beautiful literary anthology, bringing them to life as personalities. If only chemistry had been like this at school. A rich compilation of delicious tales'Matt Ridley, Prospect
'A love letter to the chemical elements. Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well'Sunday Telegraph
'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes'Financial Times
'The history, science, art, literature and everyday applications of all the elements from aluminium to zinc' The Times
Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.
A Sunday Times 'Must Read' book.
Described by the Sunday Times as "a gently studious Bill Bryson crossed with an upbeat and relaxed WG Sebald", Tide is "a superb book... a delight to read. It is profound and powerful, and should win prizes."
From Cnut to D-Day, the history and science of the unceasing tide is explored for the first time.
Half of the world's population lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. Yet how little most of us know about the tide - a key force on our planet that has altered the course of history and will transform our future.
Our ability to predict and understand the tide depends on centuries of science, from the observations of Aristotle and the theories of Newton to today's supercomputer calculations. This story is punctuated here by notable tidal episodes in history, from Caesar's thwarted invasion of Britain to the catastrophic flooding of Venice, and interwoven with a rich folklore that continues to inspire art and literature today.
With Aldersey-Williams as our guide to the most feared and celebrated tidal features on the planet, from the original maelstrøm in Scandinavia to the world's highest tides in Nova Scotia to the crumbling coast of East Anglia, the importance of the tide, and the way it has shaped - and will continue to shape - our civilization, becomes startlingly clear.
Simplifying chaos and complexity theory for the perplexed, John Gribbin's Deep Simplicity: Chaos, Complexity and the Emergence of Life brilliantly illuminates the harmony underlying our existence.
The world around us can be a complex, confusing place. Earthquakes happen without warning, stock markets fluctuate, weather forecasters seldom seem to get it right - even other people continue to baffle us. How do we make sense of it all?
In fact, John Gribbin reveals, our seemingly random universe is actually built on simple laws of cause and effect that can explain why, for example, just one vehicle braking can cause a traffic jam; why wild storms result from a slight atmospheric change; even how we evolved from the most basic materials. Like a zen painting, a fractal image or the pattern on a butterfly's wings, simple elements form the bedrock of a sophisticated whole.
'The master of popular science writing'
'What makes Deep Simplicity different from other books on complexity theory is that Gribbin ... goes back to the fundamentals'
'One is left feeling even more - if this is possible - filled with admiration for science and delight at the world it investigates'
John Gribbin is one of today's greatest writers of popular science and the author of bestselling books, including In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Stardust, Science: A History and In Search of the Multiverse. Gribbin trained as an astrophysicist at Cambridge University and is currently Visiting Fellow in Astronomy at the University of Sussex.
110 times wider than Earth; 15 million degrees at its core; an atmosphere so huge that Earth is actually within it: come and meet the star of our solar system
Light takes eight minutes to reach Earth from the surface of the Sun. But its journey within the Sun takes hundreds of thousands of years. What is going on in there? What are light and heat? How does the Sun produce them and how on earth did scientists discover this?
In this astonishing and enlightening adventure, you'll travel millions of miles from inside the Sun to its surface and to Earth, where the light at the end of its journey is allowing you to read right now. You'll discover how the Sun works (including what it sounds like), the latest research in solar physics and how a solar storm could threaten everything we know. And you'll meet the groundbreaking scientists, including the author, who pieced this extraordinary story together.
In Our Mathematical Universe, Max Tegmark, one of the most original physicists at work today, leads us on an astonishing journey to explore the mysteries uncovered by cosmology and to discover the nature of reality
Part-history of the cosmos, part-intellectual adventure, Our Mathematical Universe travels from the Big Bang to the distant future via parallel worlds, across every possible scale - from the sub-atomic to the intergalactic - showing how mathematics provides the answers to our questions about the world. Where do we come from? What makes the universe the way it is? In essence, why are we here? With dazzling clarity, Max Tegmark ponders these deep mysteries and allows us to grasp the most cutting-edge and mind-boggling theories of physics. What he proposes is an elegant and fascinating idea: that our physical world not only is described by mathematics, but that it is mathematics.
'Our Mathematical Universe is nothing if not impressive. Brilliantly argued and beautifully written, it is never less than thought-provoking about the greatest mysteries of our existence' - New York Times
'An amazing ride through the rich landscape of contemporary cosmology... Physics could do with more characters like Tegmark... an imaginative intellect and a charismatic presence' - Clive Cookson, Financial Times
Max Tegmark is author or co-author of more than 200 technical papers, twelve of which have been cited more than 500 times. He has featured in dozens of science documentaries, and his work with the SDSS collaboration on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine's "Breakthrough of the Year: 2003". He holds a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a physics professor at MIT.
From bestselling author Stephen Pinker, The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature shatters the myths surrounding human behaviour and 'nature versus nurture'.
Recently many people have assumed that we are shaped by our environment: a blank slate waiting to be inscribed by upbringing and culture, with innate abilities playing little part.
The Blank Slate shows that this view denies the heart of our being: human nature. Violence is not just a product of society; male and female minds are different; the genes we give our children shape the more than our parenting practices. To acknowledge our nature, Pinker shows, is not to condone inequality, but to understand the very foundations of humanity.
'Magnificent and timely'
'A passionate defence of the enduring power of human nature ... both life-affirming and deeply satisfying'
Tim Lott, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
'Brilliant ... enjoyable, informative, clear, humane'
Steven Pinker is a best-selling author and Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for cognitive Neuroscience at MIT. Pinker has been awarded research prizes from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association, graduate and undergraduate teaching prizes from MIT, and book prizes from the American Psychological Association, the Linguistics Society of America and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Language Instinct.