bookshelf by year

This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works

July 15, 2013

this explains everything cover

author |
John Brockman
year published |
2013

In This Explains Everything, John Brockman, founder and publisher of Edge.org, asked experts in numerous fields and disciplines to come up with their favorite explanations for everyday occurrences. Why do we recognize patterns? Is there such a thing as positive stress? Are we genetically programmed to be in conflict with each other? Those are just some of the 150 questions that the world’s best scientific minds answer with elegant simplicity.… read more

Thirty Years that Shook Physics: The Story of Quantum Theory

June 1, 2011

Thirty Years That Shook Physics book cover

author |
George Gamow
year published |
1985

Goodreads | In 1900, German physicist Max Planck postulated that light, or radiant energy can exist only in the form of discrete packages or quanta. This profound insight, along with Einstein’s equally momentous theories of relativity, completely revolutionized man’s view of matter, energy, and the nature of physics itself.

In this lucid layman’s introduction to quantum theory, an eminent physicist and noted popularizer of science traces the… read more

Thinking, Fast and Slow

December 14, 2011

thinkingfastandslow

author |
Daniel Kahneman
year published |
2011

Amazon | Drawing on decades of research in psychology that resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, Daniel Kahneman takes readers on an exploration of what influences thought example by example, sometimes with unlikely word pairs like “vomit and banana.” System 1 and System 2, the fast and slow types of thinking, become characters that illustrate the psychology behind things we think we understand but really don’t,… read more

Thinking Machines: The Quest for Artificial Intelligence and Where It’s Taking Us Next

March 17, 2017

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author |
Luke Dormehl
year published |
2017

A fascinating look at Artificial Intelligence, from its humble Cold War beginnings to the dazzling future that is just around the corner.

When most of us think about Artificial Intelligence, our minds go straight to cyborgs, robots, and sci-fi thrillers where machines take over the world. But the truth is that Artificial Intelligence is already among us. It exists in our smartphones, fitness trackers, and refrigerators that tell us… read more

Things that Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine

February 21, 2014

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author |
Donald A. Norman
year published |
1994

Amazon | In Things that Make Us Smart, Donald A. Norman explores the complex interaction between human thought and the technology it creates, arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine. Humans have always worked with objects to extend our cognitive powers, from counting on our fingers to designing massive supercomputers.

But advanced technology does more than… read more

Theo Gray’s Mad Science: Experiments You Can do At Home – But Probably Shouldn’t

March 1, 2012

MadScience

author |
Theodore Gray
year published |
2011

Amazon | In Mad Science, Theodore Gray launches a toy rocket using the energy released from an Oreo cookie, ignites a phosphorus sun by suspending half a gram of white phosphorus in a globe filled with pure oxygen and creates a homemade hot tub by adding 500 pounds of quicklime to water. These are just a few of the 54 experiments included in this astonishing book that demonstrates essential scientific principles… read more

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

April 10, 2014

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author |
Jeremy Rifkin
year published |
2014

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, New York Times bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its… read more

The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

November 5, 2012

The World As It Is

author |
Chris Hedges
year published |
2011

Drawing on two decades of experience as a war correspondent and based on his numerous columns for Truthdig, Chris Hedges presents The World As It Is, a panorama of the American empire at home and abroad, from the coarsening effect of America’s War on Terror to the front lines in the Middle East and South Asia and the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Underlying his reportage is a constant… read more

The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone)Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale

January 25, 2011

The Winter of Our Disconnect

author |
Susan Maushart
year published |
2011

Amazon | The wise and hilarious story of a family who discovered that having fewer tools to communicate with led them to actually communicate more.

When Susan Maushart first announced her intention to pull the plug on her family’s entire armory of electronic weaponry for six months — from the itsy-bitsiest iPod Shuffle to her son’s seriously souped-up gaming PC — her three kids didn’t blink an eye.… read more

The Wealth of Humans: Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-first Century

October 4, 2016

the-wealth-of-humans-cover

author |
Ryan Avent
year published |
2016

None of us has ever lived through a genuine industrial revolution. Until now.

Digital technology is transforming every corner of the economy, fundamentally altering the way things are done, who does them, and what they earn for their efforts. In The Wealth of Humans, Economist editor Ryan Avent brings up-to-the-minute research and reporting to bear on the major economic question of our time: can the modern world manage… read more

The VR Book: Human-Centered Design for Virtual Reality

May 9, 2016

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author |
Jason Jerald
year published |
2015

Virtual reality (VR) potentially provides our minds with direct access to digital media in a way that at first seems to have no limits.However, creating compelling VR experiences is an incredibly complex challenge.When VR is done well, the results are brilliant and pleasurable experiences that go beyond what we can do in the real world.When VR is done badly, not only is the system frustrating to use, but sickness can… read more

The Visioneers: How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Future

January 29, 2013

The Visioneers

author |
W. Patrick McCray
year published |
2012

In 1969, Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill began looking outward to space colonies as the new frontier for humanity’s expansion. A decade later, Eric Drexler, an MIT-trained engineer, turned his attention to the molecular world as the place where society’s future needs could be met using self-replicating nanoscale machines. These modern utopians predicted that their technologies could transform society as humans mastered the ability to create new worlds, undertook atomic-scale… read more

The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier

April 9, 2009
author |
Howard Rheingold
year published |
2000

Howard Rheingold has been called the First Citizen of the Internet. In this book he tours the “virtual community” of online networking. He describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community—one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others.

At the same time that he tells moving stories about people who have received… read more

The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality

August 13, 2013

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author |
Dave Goldberg
year published |
2013


A physicist speeds across space, time and everything in between showing that our elegant universe—from the Higgs boson to antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies—is shaped by hidden symmetries that have driven all our recent discoveries about the universe and all the ones to come.

Why is the sky dark at night? Is it possible to build a shrink-ray gun? If there is antimatter, can… read more

The Universe in a Nutshell

April 9, 2009

universe-nutshell

author |
Stephen William Hawking
year published |
2001

Professor Hawking is seeking to uncover the grail of science — the elusive “Theory of Everything” that lies at the heart of the cosmos. In this book he guides us on his search to uncover the secrets of the universe — from supergravity to supersymmetry, from quantum theory to M-theory, from holography to duality. In this exciting intellectual adventure he seeks “to combine Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and… read more

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