The pursuit of happiness—whether through education, love, marriage, immigration, health, or work—dominates this season’s offerings.

In Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Kate Bolick offers a timely look at why she (along with millions of American women) have chosen to remain unmarried. Meanwhile, on the other sign of that coin, marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples has seen a major lift over the past year. But in It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality, prominent LGBTQ activist Michelangelo Signorile reminds us how far we have to go.

Matthew B. Crawford, bestselling author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, takes on our digitally driven “crisis of attention” in The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction. And in Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) journalist Bill Gifford explores the world of anti-aging science—and hucksterism.

Whitney Phillips delves into the world of online trolling with This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. And New York Times columnist David Brooks explores values once again in The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life.

In his too-short life, hacktivist Aaron Swartz (who committed suicide in 2013, at age 26) virtually reshaped the Internet. His writings are collected in The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz, with an introduction by Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor.

One of Swartz’s passions—education—plays a key role in three solid offerings this spring. Kevin Carey delivers a “paradigm-changing examination” of the college experience in The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere. And in Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education, Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica ask how we can better educate young people. Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, by Frank Bruni, is a critique of the frenzied college admissions process. In it, the New York Times op-ed columnist and bestselling author dismantles the myth that people’s future success hinges on what schools they get in to.

PW’S Top 10: Social Science

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz. Aaron Swartz, intro. by Lawrence Lessig. New Press, May 26

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education. Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica. Viking, Apr. 21

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere. Kevin Carey. Riverhead, Mar. 3

It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality. Michelangelo Signorile. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr. 7

The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life. David Brooks. Random House, Apr. 21

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. Kate Bolick. Crown, Apr. 21

Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying). Bill Gifford. Grand Central, Mar. 17

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. Whitney Phillips. MIT, Apr. 10

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. Frank Bruni. Grand Central, Mar. 17

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction. Matthew B. Crawford. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar. 31

Social Science Listings


Twisted: The Dreadlock Chronicles by Bert Ashe (June 9, paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-932841-96-1). Ashe, director of African American Studies at the College of the Holy Cross, delivers a witty and unprecedented account of black male identity as seen through our culture’s perceptions of hair, in the process telling a larger story about the truths and biases present in how we perceive ourselves and others.

Atria/Beyond Words

Everyday Ambassador: Make a Difference by Connecting in a Disconnected World by Kate Otto (May 26, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-58270-523-1). In a world of limitless technology, we are more connected than ever. But do our hyper-connected lifestyles threaten our ability to know ourselves and interact with each other? Otto demonstrates that the power of technology is not in the tool but in the intention of the person using it, revealing the secrets of how to unite people, even when technology keeps us at a distance.


Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country by Shelby Steele (Feb. 24, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-465-06697-1). A conservative scholar traces the post-1960s divisions between the right and the left, and offers a scathing critique of American liberalism. All of America’s well-intentioned social programs have not only failed, Steele argues, but have actively harmed America’s minorities and poor, and only a return to “our founding principles” of individual freedom and merit-based competition can redeem us. 40,000-copy announced first printing.


Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire by Margaret Regan (Mar. 10, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-8070-7194-6). Journalist Regan argues that increasingly draconian detention and deportation policies have broadened police powers and enriched an industry whose profits are derived from human incarceration. Drawing on interviews with those in detention, Regan offers a timely, humanizing glimpse into the lives of those caught up in the U.S. immigration enforcement cycle, with special attention given to the separation of families and the treatment of women.

Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest U.S. Minority Its Rights by Lennard Davis (July 14, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-8070-7156-4). The first significant book on the history and impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the widest-ranging piece of civil rights legislation ever passed in the history of the United States, published for the 25th anniversary of the legislation.


Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When You’re Told to Do Wrong by Ira Chaleff (July 7, paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-1-62656-427-5). Abu Ghraib prison. Enron. Abuse in the Catholic Church. NSA surveillance of blameless citizens. Chaleff uses dozens of examples involving major historical events and everyday situations to explore when and how to disobey orders, and how to disagree in intelligent, helpful, and ethical ways.

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris (June 15, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-62656-351-3) takes aim at “negative propaganda” about black women in such areas as marriage, career, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, showing how real black women are pushing back, and asserting the truth of the black female experience.

Bloomsbury Press

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (Apr. 21, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-62040-250-4). Journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok: the unfettered growth of pain medications during the 1990s, and the massive influx of black tar heroin, and shows how players, whether from small towns in Mexico or the boardrooms of Big Pharma and doctors’ offices in suburbia, contributed to an explosive drug epidemic.


Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin, edited by Don Weise; commentaries by Devon W. Carbado; foreword by Barack Obama; afterword by Barney Frank (Mar. 17, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-62778-126-8). In his own voice, the history of the civil rights movement, by the openly gay civil rights leader and organizer of the March on Washington. From Gandhi’s impact on African-Americans, to white supremacists in Congress, the assassination of Malcolm X to Rustin’s never-before-published essays on Louis Farrakhan, affirmative action, and the call for gay rights, this book chronicles five decades of Rustin’s commitment to justice and equality.

Columbia Univ.

Happiness and Goodness: Philosophical Reflections on Living Well by Steven M. Cahn and Christine Vitrano, foreword by Robert Talisse (June 9, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0-231-17241-7) defends the view that our well-being is dependent not on particular activities, accomplishments, or awards but on finding personal satisfaction while treating others with due concern.

Cornell Univ.

Fat-Talk Nation: The Human Costs of America’s War on Fat by Susan Greenhalgh (June 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-8014-5395-3) chronicles the explosion over the past two decades of media coverage and cultural conventions that loudly and continuously vilify fatness and fat people, and gives voice to the children and teens who have grown up bullied and marginalized by the “war on fat.”


(dist. by PGW)

The Spiral Notebook: The Aurora Theater Shooter and the Forces Shaping Generation Z by Stephen Singular and Joyce Singular (July 14, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-61902-534-9). New York Times bestselling author Singular teams with his wife, Joyce, to investigate why America keeps producing 20-something mass killers, offering a glimpse into the forces shaping the future of American youth.


Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial by Kenji Yoshino (Apr. 21, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-385-34880-5). A renowned legal scholar tells the definitive story of the trial that will stand as the most potent argument for marriage equality: the battle over Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick (Apr. 21, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-385-34713-6). Part memoir and and part cultural exploration, Bolick invites us into her considered life, weaving together past and present to examine why she (along with more than 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing) remains unmarried.


Beyond the Abortion Wars: A Way Forward for a New Generation by Charles C. Camosy (Mar. 12, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-0-8028-7128-2) unpacks the complexity of the abortion issue , and argues that despite our polarized, confused public discourse about abortion, Americans actually have broad agreement about the major issues at stake.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age by Susan Neiman (May 5, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-28996-6). In this wry and witty meditation on modernity’s obsession with youth, philosopher Neiman asks not just why one should grow up, but how, as she challenges both those who dogmatically privilege innocence, and those who see youth as weakness.

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford (Mar. 31, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-29298-0). The bestselling author of Shop Class as Soulcraft argues that our current “crisis of attention” is only superficially the result of digital technology, and has more to do with human nature.

Grand Central

Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) by Bill Gifford (Mar. 17, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4555-2744-1) offers a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science, revealing both the extraordinary breakthroughs that may yet bring us longer-lasting youth, and the dangerous deceptions that prey on the innocent and ignorant. 40,000-copy announced first printing.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni (Mar. 17, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4555-3270-4). The New York Times op-ed columnist and bestselling author pens an inspiring manifesto decrying the frenzied college admissions process and dismantling the myth that a person’s future success hinges on it. 50,000-copy announced first printing.


Naked at Lunch: A Reluctant Nudist’s Adventures in the Clothing-Optional World by Mark Haskell Smith (June 2, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2351-0). With equal parts cultural history and gonzo participatory journalism, Haskell Smith dives into the nudist world, uncovering nudism’s amusing and provocative past while exploring its prevalence in society today.

Hachette/Center Street

Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom by Alysia Burton Steele (Apr. 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4555-6284-8). An award-winning photojournalist, inspired by memories of her beloved grandmother, interviewed and photographed 50 female church elders in the Mississippi Delta, weaving their stories into her personal narrative. 30,000-copy announced first printing.


Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman (Mar. 17, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-228246-0). Social networking has become a staple of modern life, but Silverman argues that its continued evolution is becoming increasingly detrimental to our lives, as shifts in communication, identity, and privacy are affecting us more than we realize or understand. 25,000-copy announced first printing.


Charity Detox: What Charity Would Look Like If We Cared About Results by Robert D. Lupton (July 7, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230726-2). The veteran urban activist and author of the revolutionary Toxic Charity offers proven, results-oriented ideas for transforming our system of giving. 40,000-copy announced first printing.

Harvard Univ.

The Economics of Race in the United States by Brendan O’Flaherty (June 8, hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 978-0-674-36818-7) brings the tools of economic analysis—incentives, equilibrium, optimization, and more—to bear on contentious issues of race in the United States, arguing that good policies can make a difference, but only careful analysis can figure out what are good policies.

The End Game: How Inequality Shapes Our Final Years by Corey M. Abramson (June 9, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-674-74395-3). Senior citizens face a gauntlet of physical, psychological, and social hurdles. But do disadvantages accumulated over a lifetime make the final years especially difficult for some people? Abramson investigates whether lifelong inequality structures the lives of the elderly.


The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China by Chen Guangcheng (Mar. 10, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8050-9805-1) records the memoirs of Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who inspired millions with his fight for justice and his belief in the cause of freedom.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality by Michelangelo Signorile (Apr. 7, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-544-38100-1). One of the most prominent voices on politics and gay civil rights boldly confronts the hidden forces still standing in the way of full equality, and charts a hopeful course toward victory. 25,000-copy announced first printing.

Johns Hopkins Univ.

Constitutional Calculus: The Math of Justice and the Myth of Common Sense by Jeff Suzuki (Feb. 26, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-1-4214-1595-6). How should we count the population of the United States? What would happen if we replaced the electoral college with a direct popular vote? What are the consequences of allowing unlimited partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts? Whether you are fascinated by history, math, social justice, or government, your interest will be piqued Suzuki’s analyses.


Dream Chasers: Immigration and the American Backlash by John Tirman (Mar. 20, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-262-02892-9) shows how the resistance to immigration in America is more cultural than political. Although cloaked in language about jobs and secure borders, the cultural resistance to immigration expresses a fear that immigrants are changing the dominant white, Protestant, “real American” culture.

Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web by Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (Apr. 10, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-262-02893-6). Reagle visits communities of Amazon reviewers, fan fiction authors, online learners, scammers, freethinkers, and mean kids to show how Internet comments can inform us (through reviews), improve us (through feedback), manipulate us (through fakery), alienate us (through hate), shape us (through social comparison), and perplex us.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture by Whitney Phillips (Apr. 10, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-262-02894-3) shows how Internet trolls, “the grimacing poster children for a socially networked world,” aren’t just an Internet problem but reflect deeper cultural issues.


Population Control: How Corporate Owners Are Killing Us by Jim Marrs (June 23, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-235989-6). New York Times bestselling author Marrs explores how the GOD syndicate—a global monopoly of guns, oil, and drugs—is consciously destroying American values, and offers prescriptive solutions to fix our nation. 75,000-copy announced first printing.

New Press

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, intro. by Lawrence Lessig (May 26, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-62097-066-9). In his too-short life, hacktivist Aaron Swartz reshaped the Internet, questioned our assumptions about intellectual property, and touched all of us in ways that we may not even realize. 15,000-copy announced first printing.

The End of the Rainbow: How Educating for Happiness—Not Money—Would Transform Our Schools by Susan Engel (Feb. 3, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-59558-954-5) proposes a new, more vibrant public conversation about what the future of American education should look like, and a bold reframing of the very purpose of education. 25,000-copy announced first printing.

New York Univ.

Naked: A History of American Nudism by Brian S. Hoffman (May 1, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-8147-9053-3) presents a history of nudism in the United States, from its beginnings in a New York City gym to its roots in the counterculture and sexual revolution, and the heated courtroom battles.

Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men by Jane Ward (July 31, paper, $25, ISBN 978-1-4798-2517-2). A straight white girl can kiss a girl, like it, and still call herself straight, but do straight white guys experience the same easy sexual fluidity? Ward argues a fascinating new take on the complexities of heterosexuality in the modern era.

Oxford Univ.

The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters by Thomas Hurka (Apr. 1, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-19-022831-6). Philosopher Thomas Hurka argues that if we are to live a good life, one thing we need to know is which activities and experiences will most likely lead us to happiness and which will keep us from it, while also reminding us that happiness isn’t the only thing that makes life good.

From Field to Fork: Food Ethics for Everyone by Paul B. Thompson (June 2, paper, $21.95, ISBN 978-0-19-939169-1). Thompson offers a fresh way to think about food ethics, and discusses social injustice in the food systems of developed economies, while showing how we have missed the key insights for understanding food ethics in the developing world.

Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism by David S. Cohen and Krysten Connon (May 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-19-937755-8). In this chilling exposé, Cohen and Connon traveled across the country to look at how abortion providers are targeted at home, at work, or in community spaces, harassed in person or online, and how abortion opponents target not only the providers themselves but also their families, neighbors, and others close to them.

Penguin/Hudson Street

Grain of Truth: The Real Case for and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stephen Yafa (May 12, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-59463-249-5). In this Pollanesque look at the truth about wheat, Yafa breaks down the botany of the wheat plant, the science of nutrition and digestion, and the effects of mass production on our health.

Penguin Press

The Professor in the Cage: Why Men Fight and Why We Like to Watch by Jonathan Gottschall (Apr. 14, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-59420-563-7). An English professor begins training in the sport of mixed martial arts and explores the science and history behind the violence of men.

Princeton Univ.

Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs by Lauren A. Rivera (Apr. 26, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-691-15562-3). Challenging beliefs about college as an equalizer and the job market as a level playing field, Rivera exposes the class biases built into American ideas about the best and the brightest, and shows how social status plays a significant role in determining who reaches the top of the economic ladder.


The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness by Jim Auchmutey (Mar. 31, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-354-6). A poignant and uniquely American story of one student who defied his community of Americus, Ga., and supported racial integration, the bullies who tormented him for it, their unlikely reconciliation 40 years later, and the slow path toward change in the Jim Crow South.

Will College Pay Off: A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make by Peter Cappelli (June 9, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-526-7). From Cappelli, an eye-opening look at the college marketplace that separates myth from reality in the frenzied, expensive college game, and provides a pragmatic cost-effective guide to making rational choices that bring long-term payoff.


The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life by David Brooks (Apr. 21, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8129-9325-7). New York Times opinion columnist Brooks offers a controversial and eye-opening look at how our culture has lost sight of the value of humility and why only an engaged inner life can yield true meaning and fulfillment.

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains by Susan Greenfield (Feb. 10, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8129-9382-0). Renowned neuroscientist Greenfield addresses a problem as pervasive and wide-spread as climate change: the digital age has already altered our cultural landscape, fueled an epidemic of oversharing, and transformed how we learn, remember, and spread information.


The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey (Mar. 3, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59463-205-1). A renowned education writer, Carey delivers a paradigm-changing examination of the rapidly changing world of college that every parent, student, educator, and investor needs to understand today.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Mar. 31, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-59448-713-2). For the past three years, Ronson, the bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, has been immersing himself in the world of modern-day public shaming—meeting famous shamees, shamers, and bystanders who have been affected. The result is a exploration of one of our world’s most underappreciated forces.


The Autism Job Club: How Adults with Autism Will Find Work in Today’s Employment Market by Michael Bernick and Richard Holden (Mar. 3, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-63220-696-1) reviews the high unemployment rates among adults with autism and other neuro-diverse conditions more than two decades after the ADA. The authors analyze national data and outline six strategies that could reshape employment for adults with autism. 10,000-copy announced first printing.

The Hands of Peace: A Holocaust Survivor’s Fight for Civil Rights in the American South by Marione Ingram (June 2, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-63220-289-5). Born in Hamburg in the 1930s, Marione Ingram fled Nazi Germany, only to find racism as pervasive in the American South as anti-Semitism was in Europe. This is her empowering story of courage, strength, and determination.

St. Martin’s

Saltwater Cowboy: The Rise and Fall of a Marijuana Empire by Tim McBride, with Ralph Berrier Jr. (Apr. 7, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-05128-8). In the spirit of Blow and Doctor Dealer, the story of an all-American boy who became the head of a multimillion-dollar marijuana smuggling ring.

Time Home Entertainment

Weed the People by Bruce Barcott (Apr. 7, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-61893-140-5). The legalization of marijuana is a major issue, and Barcott explores the issues surrounding the emergence of legal pot, from trivial details (should one bring cannibis to a Super Bowl party?) to more profound implications (how parents talk to their children about the drug). 80,000-copy announced first printing.

Univ. of Chicago

The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges Must Talk to Students About Vocation by Tim Clydesdale (Mar. 23, hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-0-226-23634-6). Clydesdale makes the case for giving students an explicit sense of purpose or calling at university, arguing that if learning is aimed at an end, or a goal in life, it can make for better education.

Univ. of North Carolina

Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist by Randy D. McBee (May 10, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-4696-2272-9). In the late 1940s, the leather-clad biker emerged in the American consciousness as a menace to law-abiding motorists and small towns. Yet a few decades later, the motorcyclist became mainstream. McBee narrates the evolution of motorcycle culture.

Univ. of Texas

Border Odyssey: Travels along the U.S./Mexico Divide by Charles D. Thompson Jr. (Apr. 15, hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-0-292-75663-2). This compelling chronicle of a journey along the entire U.S.-Mexico border shifts the conversation away from danger and fear to the shared histories and aspirations that bind Mexicans and Americans despite the border walls.


(dist. by Random)

The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies (May 12, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-78168-845-8). In this brilliant dissection of our times, political economist Davies shows that the science of happiness is less a science than an extension of hypercapitalism. 25,000-copy announced first printing.


Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica (Apr. 21, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-670-01671-6). Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Element and Finding Your Element,offers revolutionary reappraisal of how to educate our children and young people.

Yale Univ.

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard (Apr. 28, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-19947-5). Should we fear or welcome the Internet’s evolution? A professor and frequent commenter on digital life looks at the most powerful political tool ever created.