For the second consecutive season, concepts of mind—what it is, how it arises, the nature of intelligence—appear to be on many, well, minds. But old questions concerning war, sex, and death perennially lurk in the background.
Science Top 10
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Frans de Waal. Norton, Apr. 25
World-renowned primatologist de Waal demonstrates that we have grossly underestimated the scope and depth of animal intelligence.
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself
Sean Carroll. Dutton, May 17
Caltech physicist Carroll gives a sweeping new perspective on how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview.
The Fate of Gender: Nature, Nurture, and the Human Future
Frank Browning. Bloomsbury, June 7
Browning looks at the fast-changing global landscape of gender today in this deeply reported, provocative, and pathbreaking book.
The Gene: An Intimate History
Siddhartha Mukherjee. Scribner, May 31
Pulitzer Prize–winner Mukherjee tells the story of the quest to understand human heredity and its surprisingly widespread influence.
The Genius of Birds
Jennifer Ackerman. Penguin Press, Apr. 12
Ackerman ventures into the latest findings about the bird brain that are revolutionizing our view of what it means to be intelligent.
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
Mary Roach. Norton, June 6
Roach introduces readers to the scientists tasked with keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of war.
Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life
Edward O. Wilson. Norton/Liveright, Mar. 7
The eminent naturalist concludes the trilogy begun by The Social Conquest of Earth and The Meaning of Human Existence, proposing that the only solution to our impending “Sixth Extinction” is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the Earth.
Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way It Does
Philip Ball. Univ. of Chicago, Apr. 5
Ball, editor of Nature, explores the math and science, as well as the beauty and artistry, behind vast and ancient forests, powerful rivers, massing clouds, and coastlines carved by the sea.
Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York’s Most Provocative Museum
Sarah Forbes. St. Martin’s, Apr. 5
Visit the suburban garages where tinkerers build sex machines, factories that make sex toys, and labyrinthine archives of erotica collectors as the curator of the Museum of Sex grapples with age-old sex questions.
Unforbidden Pleasures: Rethinking Authority, Power, and Vitality
Adam Phillips. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 17
Much has been written of the forbidden pleasures, but what of the “unforbidden” pleasures? British psychotherapist Phillips explores the philosophical, psychological, and social dynamics that govern human desire and shape our everyday reality.
Fluke: The Math and Myth of Coincidence by Joseph Mazur (Mar. 29, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-465-06095-5). Mathematician Mazur offers a mathematical guide to the reasons why life can seem to be one big coincidence, and why the odds of just about everything are better than one would think.
The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe by Stephon Alexander (Apr. 26, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-465-03499-4). Alexander, a theoretical physicist and jazz musician, combines his two loves to present a new theory of the universe: sound as the link between Einstein’s relativity and quantum mechanics.
The Fate of Gender: Nature, Nurture, and the Human Future by Frank Browning (June 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-62040-619-9). Just visible on the horizon is a world of gender and sexual fluidity that will remake the world in fundamental ways. Science writer Browning looks at the fast-changing global landscape of gender today in this deeply reported, provocative, and pathbreaking book.
Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age by Bruce Watson (Feb. 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-62040-559-8). Delving into mythology, religion, philosophy, painting, and science, Watson captures the wonder and awe of humanity’s study of light across three millennia of discovery.
Death on Earth: Adventures in Evolution and Mortality by Jules Howard (May 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4729-1507-8). In this wide-ranging exploration of death, zoologist Howard attempts to shed evolutionary light on one of humankind’s biggest and most unshakable taboos. He asks: can we ever become immortal? And if we could, would we really want to?
Herding Hemingway’s Cats: Understanding How Our Genes Work by Kat Arney (Mar. 1, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4729-1004-2). Researchers are developing a four-dimensional picture of DNA, a dynamic biological library rather than static strings of code, and geneticist Arney explores the intricacies of how life is created out of this chaos.
Miraculous Abundance: One Quarter Acre, Two French Farmers, and Enough Food to Feed the World by Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer (Mar. 18, trade paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-60358-642-9) is the couple’s inspiring account of their quest to design an almost Edenlike farm, hone their practices, and find new ways to feed the world.
Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and a Fight over How to Restore Nature by Jordan Fisher Smith (June 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-307-45426-3) is the fascinating story of a trial that opened a window onto the century-long battle to control nature in our national parks.
The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by Sean Carroll (May 17, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-95482-8). As he examines how the deep laws of nature connect to our everyday lives, Caltech physicist Carroll gives a sweeping new perspective on how human purpose and meaning naturally fit into a scientific worldview.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Unforbidden Pleasures: Rethinking Authority, Power, and Vitality by Adam Phillips (May 17, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-374-27802-1). Much has been written of the forbidden pleasures, but what of the “unforbidden” pleasures? British psychotherapist Phillips explores the philosophical, psychological, and social dynamics that govern human desire and shape our everyday reality.
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe (June 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-374-28821-1). Overturning myths about fishes and revealing their complex lives, ethologist Balcombe takes readers under the sea and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal what fishes can do, how they do it, and why.
Capture: A Theory of the Mind by David A. Kessler (Apr. 12, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-238851-3) offers a unified field theory of the human mind, providing insight into the ways in which experience, memory, emotion, thought, and behavior are inextricably linked, and how we might begin to unravel the processes of the human mind to create meaning and freedom.
A Mind of Your Own: What Women Can Do About Depression That Big Pharma Can’t by Kelly Brogan (Mar. 15, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-240557-9) is a groundbreaking, science-based, and holistic approach to treating depression—not as a disease but as a systemic imbalance—that holds the potential to rescue millions of women currently taking pharmaceuticals or considering doing so.
Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums by Samuel J. Redman (Mar. 14, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-66041-0) unearths the story of how human remains became highly sought-after artifacts for both scientific research and public display, and led to the discrediting of racial theory and the search for human origins and evolution.
The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction by Henry T. Greely (May 23, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-72896-7). Within 40 years many people will stop having sex for reproduction, Greely, a professor of genetics and law, predicts, as he explains the new technologies and sets out the deep ethical and legal challenges that humankind will face.
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths (Apr. 19, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-62779-036-9) is a fascinating exploration of how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminating the workings of the human mind.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices by Therese Huston (May 10, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-544-41609-3) is a definitive playbook for making stronger, wiser choices that thoughtfully addresses how the cultural landscape—and the research—defines how women decide.
This Is Your Brain on Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society by Kathleen McAuliffe (June 7, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-544-19222-5) reveals the eons-old war between parasites and other creatures playing out inside our bodies, and uncovers the decisive role that parasites may have played in the rise and demise of entire civilizations.
Johns Hopkins Univ.
The Intentional Brain: Motion, Emotion, and the Development of Modern Neuropsychiatry by Michael R. Trimble (May 13, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-4214-1949-7). Looking at neuropsychiatry in the context of major cultural and artistic achievements, neuropsychiatrist Trimble explores changing views of the human brain and its relation to behavior and cognition over 2,500 years of Western civilization.
Life in the Dark: Illuminating Biodiversity in the Shadowy Haunts of Planet Earth by Danté Fenolio (Mar. 17, hardcover, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-4214-1863-6). Aided by more than 200 mesmerizing color photographs, Fenolio, director of conservation and research at the San Antonio Zoo, shows readers the many ways that life forms have adapted to lightless environments, including sense refinements, evolution of unique body parts, and illumination using “biological flashlights.”
And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air by Bill Streever (July 26, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-41060-1). Nature writer Streever shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-tossed airplanes, and the uncomfortable interactions between wind and wars, drawing from natural science, history, business, and travel, including his own travels.
(dist. by Perseus)
The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions by Andrew Hacker (Mar. 1, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-62097-068-3). Mathematician Hacker scrutinizes many widely held assumptions about requiring advanced math education, showing how mandating it for everyone prevents other talents from being developed and acts as an irrational barrier to graduation and careers.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal (Apr. 25, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24618-6). World-renowned primatologist de Waal demonstrates that we have grossly underestimated the scope and depth of animal intelligence, offering a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are.
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens by Steve Olson (Mar. 7, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24279-9) interweaves history, science, and vivid personal stories of the volcano’s victims and survivors to portray the disaster as a multifaceted turning point in the economic, political, and social history of the Pacific Northwest.
Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach (June 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24544-8) tackles the science behind some of a soldier’s most challenging adversaries—panic, exhaustion, heat, noise—and introduces readers to the scientists who work at keeping human beings intact, awake, sane, uninfected, and uninfested in the bizarre and extreme circumstances of combat.
Idiot Brain: What Your Head Is Really Up To by Dean Burnett (July 25, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-25378-8) celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia, and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we’ve made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work.
Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid (June 27, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-28600-7) explores man’s relationship with machines, as well as the inventions and myths that shape our world to offer an unparalleled perspective into our anxious embrace of technology.
Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson (Mar. 7, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-082-8) concludes the trilogy begun with The Social Conquest of Earth and The Meaning of Human Existence, with Wilson proposing that the only solution to our impending “Sixth Extinction” is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the Earth.
The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data by Michael P. Lynch (Mar. 21, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-87140-661-3) shows how the modern Internet has distorted not only the way humans learn and communicate but also the very essence of what it means to be human.
The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness by David Gelernter (Feb. 22, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-87140-380-3). With far-reaching implications, Gelernter’s landmark work helps decode some of the most mysterious wonders of the human mind, showing how the purpose of the mind changes throughout the day and challenging the notion of the mind as a machine.
Humanity in a Creative Universe by Stuart A. Kauffman (Mar. 1, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0-19-939045-8). Complex systems specialist Kauffman argues that a preoccupation to explain all things with scientific law has deadened humans’ creative natures, concluding that the development of life on Earth is not entirely predictable because no theory could ever fully account for the limitless variations of evolution.
(dist. by Norton)
In Our Own Image: Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence by George Zarkadakis (Mar. 7, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-107-6) explores the history and future of humankind’s love-hate relationship with artificial intelligence, as well as its social and ethical implications as we approach the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution.
The Unknown Universe: A New Exploration of Time, Space, and Modern Cosmology by Stuart Clark (July 4, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-153-3) is a groundbreaking guide to the universe that reveals how the latest deep-space discoveries are forcing scientists to revisit what we know—and what we don’t.
The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman (Apr. 12, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-59420-521-7) examines the newly discovered brilliance of birds and describes how that knowledge came about, delving into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are revolutionizing our view of what it means to be intelligent.
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman (July 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-59184-776-2). Complexity scientist Arbesman argues that our technological systems have become too complex and interconnected for us to fully understand or predict, and explores what leads us to continue to make systems more complicated and more incomprehensible, despite our apparent best efforts to make them simpler.
Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe by Roger Penrose (July 6, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-11979-3) argues that fashion, faith, and fantasy, while sometimes productive and even essential in physics, may be leading today’s researchers astray in three of the field’s most important areas—string theory, quantum mechanics, and cosmology.
The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters by Sean B. Carroll (Feb. 22, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-691-16742-8) recounts how knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, making the case that it is time to use the rules to heal the planet.
Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation by Timothy J. Jorgensen (Feb. 22, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-691-16503-5) describes mankind’s extraordinary, thorny relationship with radiation—including the hard-won lessons of how radiation helps and harms our health—to empower readers to make informed choices while offering a clearer understanding of broader societal issues.
The Call of the Primes: Surprising Patterns, Peculiar Puzzles, and Other Marvels of Mathematics by Owen O’Shea (Mar. 22, trade paper, $19, ISBN 978-1-63388-148-8). This sampler of entertaining mathematical diversions reveals the elegance and extraordinary usefulness of mathematics especially for readers who think they have no aptitude for the subject.
The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind’s Gravest Dangers by Ali Khan, with William Patrick (May 3, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-591-5). Drawing on his long career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Khan confronts the most urgent question facing our species: when, where, and how will the next major outbreak arrive?
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli (Mar. 1, hardcover, $18, ISBN 978-0-399-18441-3). This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics from Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli explains general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role of humans in this strange world.
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (May 31, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-4767-3350-0). Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Pulitzer Prize–winner Mukherjee tells the story of the quest to understand human heredity and its widespread influence.
The Boiling River by Andrés Ruzo (Feb. 16, hardcover, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-5011-1947-7). Mixing an adventure tale with accounts of scientific discovery, explorer and geoscientist Ruzo navigates scientific, political, and personal obstacles as he journeys deep into the Amazon—where rivers boil and legends come to life.
The Physics of Life: The Evolution of Everything by Adrian Bejan (May 24, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-07882-7) illuminates the meaning of evolution in its broadest scientific sense and empowers the reader with a new view of the intertwined movement of all life—that evolution is more than biological.
Sex in the Museum: My Unlikely Career at New York’s Most Provocative Museum by Sarah Forbes (Apr. 5, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-250-04167-8). Visit the suburban garages where tinkerers build sex machines, factories that make sex toys, and labyrinthine archives of erotica collectors as the curator of the Museum of Sex grapples with age-old sex questions.
Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connection with Sex-Changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep by Marah J. Hardt (Feb. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-137-27997-2) is a deliciously voyeuristic excursion to exploring the staggering ways life begets life beneath the waves; the author connects the timeless topic of sex with the timely issue of sustainable oceans.
Univ. of Chicago
Patterns in Nature: Why the Natural World Looks the Way It Does by Philip Ball (Apr. 5, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-226-33242-0) explores the math and science as well as the beauty and artistry behind vast and ancient forests, powerful rivers, massing clouds, and coastlines carved by the sea. Richly illustrated with more than 300 color photographs.
The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters by Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray (Mar. 22, hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-0-670-78583-4). Fusing cutting-edge research and personal anecdotes, psychologists Wegner and Gray explore the moral dimensions of mind perception, revealing the surprisingly simple basis for what compels us to love and hate, to harm and to protect.
Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos by Priyamvada Natarajan (Apr. 26, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-300-20441-4) provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. It’s a lively introduction to radical ideas and discoveries that are transforming our knowledge of the universe.
On Being Human: Why Mind Matters by Jerome Kagan (Mar. 22, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-300-21736-0). In this thought-provoking book, revered psychologist Kagan invites readers to re-examine their thinking about controversial contemporary issues, including the genetic basis for behaviors and the functions of education.
13.8: The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything by John Gribbin (Mar. 8, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-300-21827-5) attempts to show how—despite skepticism among many physicists—relativity and quantum theory are actually compatible, and point to a deep truth about the nature of our existence.