Book cover of Why the West Rules—for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris
History

Why the West Rules—for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West’s rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last? […Learn More]

Book cover of Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
Biological Sciences

Proof: The Science of Booze

Humans have been perfecting alcohol production for ten thousand years, but scientists are just starting to distill the chemical reactions behind the perfect buzz. In a spirited tour across continents and cultures, Adam Rogers takes us from bourbon country to the world’s top gene-sequencing labs, introducing us to the bars, barflies, and evolving science at the heart of boozy technology. He chases the physics, biology, chemistry, and metallurgy that produce alcohol, and the psychology and neurobiology that make us want it. […Learn More]

Book cover of Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History by Lewis Dartnell
Earth Sciences

Origins: How Earth’s History Shaped Human History

A New York Times-bestselling author explains how the physical world shaped the history of our species

When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? Our planet wobbles, driving changes in climate that forced the transition from nomadism to farming. Mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece. […Learn More]

Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Health and Psychology

Thinking, Fast and Slow

In his mega bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, world-famous psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. […Learn More]

Book cover of 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C Mann
Biological Sciences

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.

More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy by Mariana Mazzucato
Business & Money

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

A scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been accounted and reveals how economic theory has failed to clearly delineate the difference between value creation and value extraction. Mariana Mazzucato argues that the increasingly blurry distinction between the two categories has allowed certain actors in the economy to portray themselves as value creators, while in reality they are just moving around existing value or, even worse, destroying it.  […Learn More]

Computers & Technology

Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

The fascinating untold story of how the ancients imagined robots and other forms of artificial life—and even invented real automated machines 

The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention. More than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythology was exploring ideas about creating artificial life—and grappling with still-unresolved ethical concerns about biotechne, “life through craft.” […Learn More]

Philosophy

The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long – Term Thinking

The most important question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we being good ancestors?”

So said Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine in 1953 but refused to patent it—forgoing profit so that more lives could be saved.

Salk’s radical generosity to future generations should inspire us. But when leading philosopher Roman Krznaric examines society today, he sees just the opposite: Our short term, exploitative mindsets have “colonized the future.” […Learn More]

Business & Money

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught? […Learn More]

Americas

Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America

From the author of Apocalyptic Planet comes a vivid travelogue through prehistory, that traces the arrival of the first people in North America at least twenty thousand years ago and the artifacts that tell of their lives and fates.

In Atlas of a Lost World, Craig Childs upends our notions of where these people came from and who they were. How they got here, persevered, and ultimately thrived is a story that resonates from the Pleistocene to our modern era. […Learn More]