Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing – Jacob Goldstein

The co-host of the popular NPR podcast Planet Money provides a well-researched, entertaining, somewhat irreverent look at how money is a made-up thing that has evolved over time to suit humanity’s changing needs. Money only works because we all agree to believe in it. In Money, Jacob Goldstein shows how money is a useful fiction that has shaped societies for thousands of years, from the rise of coins in ancient Greece to the first stock market in Amsterdam to the emergence of shadow banking in the 21st ...



Burning the Books: A History of the Deliberate Destruction of Knowledge – Richard Ovenden

The director of the famed Bodleian Libraries at Oxford narrates the global history of the willful destruction—and surprising survival—of recorded knowledge over the past three millennia. Libraries and archives have been attacked since ancient times but have been especially threatened in the modern era. Today the knowledge they safeguard faces purposeful destruction and willful neglect; deprived of funding, libraries are fighting for their very existence. Burning the Books recounts the history that brought us to this point. Richard Ovenden describes the deliberate destruction of knowledge held in ...



Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain – Lisa Feldman Barrett

From the author of How Emotions Are Made, a captivating collection of short essays about your brain, in the tradition of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. Have you ever wondered why you have a brain? Let renowned neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett demystify that big gray blob between your ears. In seven short essays (plus a bite-sized story about how brains evolved), this slim, entertaining, and accessible collection reveals mind-expanding lessons from the front lines of neuroscience research. You’ll learn where brains came from, ...

Future Visions: One Hundred Years of Culture and Society Through the Lens of Science Fiction – Ivan Litvinenko

Imagining the future has been a significant part of the mass culture and a way for our collective consciousness to process the world around us and our expectations of what’s to come. Science fiction was one of the first genres to emerge as soon as the moving image was made possible a little more than a hundred years ago. Over the XX century, as we have seen technology advancing faster than ever, sci-fi has always been exceptional at pushing the boundaries of what is possible, ...



The Language of Butterflies – Wendy Williams

In this fascinating book from the New York Times bestselling author of The Horse, Wendy Williams explores the lives of one of the world’s most resilient creatures—the butterfly—shedding light on the role that they play in our ecosystem and in our human lives. Butterflies are one of the world’s most beloved insects. From butterfly gardens to zoo exhibitions, they are one of the few insects we’ve encouraged to infiltrate our lives. Yet, what has drawn us to these creatures in the first place? And what are their lives ...



Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World – Matt Parker

The book-length answer to anyone who ever put their hand up in math class and asked, “When am I ever going to use this in the real world?” “Fun, informative, and relentlessly entertaining, Humble Pi is a charming and very readable guide to some of humanity’s all-time greatest miscalculations—that also gives you permission to feel a little better about some of your own mistakes.” —Ryan North, author of How to Invent Everything Our whole world is built on math, from the code running a website to the equations ...



Why Fish Don’t Exist – Lulu Miller

A “remarkable” (Los Angeles Times), “seductive” (The Wall Street Journal) debut from the new cohost of Radiolab, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder.​ “At one point, Miller dives into the ocean into a school of fish…comes up for air, and realizes she’s in love. That’s how I felt: Her book took me to strange depths I never imagined, and I was smitten.” —The New York Times Book Review David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order ...



Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You – Dan Riskin

This “fact-filled and amusing trek through nature’s dark side” (Kirkus Reviews) reveals the fascinating, weird, and often perverted ways that Mother Nature fends only for herself. It may be a wonderful world, but as Dan Riskin (host of the Animal Planet’s TV show Monsters Inside Me) explains, it’s also a dangerous, disturbing, and disgusting one. At every turn, it seems, living things are trying to eat us, poison us, use our bodies as their homes, or have us spread their eggs. In Mother Nature Is Trying to ...