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Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook

June 13, 2012

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Author:
Elaine Fox
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Glass half-full or half-empty? Do you look on the bright side or turn towards the dark? These are easy questions for most of us to answer, because our personality types are hard-wired into our brains.

As pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Elaine Fox has discovered, our outlook on life reflects our primal inclination to seek pleasure or avoid danger — inclinations that, in many… read more

Distrust That Particular Flavor

January 3, 2012

distrust

Author:
William Gibson
Publisher:
Putnam Adult (2012)

Amazon | William Gibson is known primarily as a novelist, with his work ranging from his groundbreaking first novel, Neuromancer, to his more recent contemporary bestsellers Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. During those nearly thirty years, though, Gibson has been sought out by widely varying publications for his insights into contemporary culture. Wired magazine sent him to Singapore to report on one of the world’s most buttoned-up states. The New York Timesread more

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room

February 13, 2012

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Author:
David Weinberger
Publisher:
Basic Books (2012)

Amazon | We used to know how to know. We got our answers from books or experts. We’d nail down the facts and move on. But in the Internet age, knowledge has moved onto networks. There’s more knowledge than ever, of course, but it’s different. Topics have no boundaries, and nobody agrees on anything.

Yet this is the greatest time in history to be a knowledge seeker…… read more

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed

November 13, 2012

How to Create a Mind cover

Author:
Ray Kurzweil
Publisher:
Viking (2012)

The bold futurist and bestselling author explores the limitless potential of reverse-engineering the human brain.

Ray Kurzweil is arguably today’s most influential, and often controversial, futurist.

In How to Create a Mind, Kurzweil presents a provocative exploration of the most important project in human-machine civilization — reverse engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works and using that knowledge to create even more intelligent machines.

Kurzweil… read more

Imagine: How Creativity Works

January 4, 2012

imagine

Author:
Jonah Lehrer
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012)

Amazon | Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?

From the best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not… read more

The Rapture of the Nerds: A Tale of the Singularity, Posthumanity, and Awkward Social Situations

September 9, 2012

rapture-nerds-cover

Author:
Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross
Publisher:
Tor Books (2012)

Tor | Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.

Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming densethinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a… read more

Artificial Culture: Identity, Technology, and Bodies

March 22, 2012

ArtificialCulture_Cover1

Author:
Tama Leaver
Publisher:
Routledge (2011)

Amazon | Artificial Culture is an examination of the articulation, construction, and representation of “the artificial” in contemporary popular cultural texts, especially science fiction films and novels. The book argues that today we live in an artificial culture due to the deep and inextricable relationship between people, our bodies, and technology at large. While the artificial is often imagined as outside of the natural order and thus also beyond… read more

Humanity 2.0: What it Means to be Human Past, Present and Future

July 13, 2013

Humanity 2.0

Author:
Steve Fuller
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan (2011)

Social thinkers in all fields are faced with one unavoidable question: what does it mean to be ‘human’ in the 21st century? As definitions between what is ‘animal’ and what is ‘human’ break down, and as emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and nano- and bio- technologies develop, accepted notions of humanity are rapidly evolving.

Humanity 2.0 is an ambitious and groundbreaking book, offering a sweeping overview of key… read more

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite

December 14, 2011

WhatMakesYourBrainHappy

Author:
David DiSalvo
Publisher:
Prometheus Books (2011)

Amazon | Why do we routinely choose options that don’t meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we’re right even when evidence contradicts us?

In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Doread more

Augmenting Cognition

May 21, 2012

augmentingcognition

Author:
Idan Segev, Henry Markram
Publisher:
EFPL Press (2011)

Amazon | The Human brain is only 100,000 years old. Yet, this newly evolved organ endows us with unique creative capabilities beyond all other living creatures, including the gift to understand itself. As our very survival and success in life depends on utilizing our brain’s power, intense efforts have begun worldwide to understand the brain, reverse-engineer it and even augment its capacity. Towards this end we harness every trick in… read more

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter

December 14, 2011

incompletenature

Author:
Terrence W. Deacon
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2011)

Amazon | As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The “Theory of Everything” that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are. These most immediate and incontrovertible phenomena are left… read more

Avogadro Corp

March 19, 2012

avogadrocorpcr1

Author:
William Hertling
Publisher:
Liquididea Press (2011)

Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears is a techno-thriller about the accidental creation of an artificial intelligence.

David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence.

David and… read more

Who’s in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

December 14, 2011

whosincharge

Author:
Michael S. Gazzaniga
Publisher:
Ecco (2011)

Amazon | The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.

A powerful orthodoxy in the study of the brain has taken hold in recent years: Since physical laws govern the physical world and our own brains are part of that world, physical

read more

Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems

October 26, 2012

Surpassing Shanghai

Author:
Marc S. Tucker, Linda Darling-Hammond
Publisher:
Harvard Education Press (2011)

This book answers a simple question: How would one redesign the American education system if the aim was to take advantage of everything that has been learned by countries with the world’s best education systems?

With a growing number of countries outperforming the United States on the most respected comparisons of student achievement—and spending less on education per student—this question is critical.

Surpassing Shanghai looks in depth at… read more

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself

December 14, 2011

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Author:
David McRaney
Publisher:
Gotham (2011)

Amazon | An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you’re as deluded as the rest of us. But that’s OK- delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It’s like a… read more

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