NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: San Francisco Chronicle, Chrisitian Science Monitor, Kirkus, Winnipeg Free Press
One of the decade's most original and masterfully reported books, A Deadly Wandering by Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist Matt Richtel interweaves the cutting-edge science of attention with the tensely plotted story of a mysterious car accident and its aftermath to answer some of the defining questions of our time: What is technology doing to us? Can our minds keep up with the pace of change? How can we find balance?
On the last day of summer, an ordinary Utah college student named Reggie Shaw fatally struck two rocket scientists while texting and driving along a majestic stretch of highway bordering the Rocky Mountains. A Deadly Wandering follows Reggie from the moment of the tragedy, through the police investigation, the state's groundbreaking prosecution, and ultimately, Reggie's wrenching admission of responsibility. Richtel parallels Reggie's journey with leading-edge scientific findings on the impact technology has on our brains, showing how these devices play to our deepest social instincts. A propulsive read filled with surprising scientific detail, riveting narrative tension, and rare emotional depth, A Deadly Wandering is a book that can change—and save—lives.
Matt Richtel is a Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter and bestselling nonfiction and mystery author. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Meredith, a neurologist, and their two children. In his spare time, he plays tennis and piano and writes (not very good) songs. Visit him online at www.mattrichtel.wordpress.com.
The expressive moment is that point in time when we grasp a situation and respond quickly, even before we are aware of it. In this book, Marc Leman argues that expression drives this kind of interaction, and he proposes a general framework for understanding expressive interactions. He focuses on the dynamic, fast, and pre-reflective processes underlying our interactions with music—whether we are playing an instrument, dancing, listening, or using new interactive technologies. Music offers a well-established domain for studying these fast and interactive processes, and Leman argues that understanding the power of expressive interaction through music may help us understand cognitive processing in other domains, including language, human action coordination, human-animal interaction, and human-machine interaction.
Leman regards expressive interactions with music as energizing and empowering. He argues that music is based on patterns that intervene with a reinforcing loop in the human brain, strengthening learning, motivation, and reward. He argues further that the reinforcing effect is influenced by the interaction flow, by fast processes that handle expressive qualities on the fly.
Leman sets out the framework in which expressive interaction is situated, describing, among other things, a pragmatic model of communication in which the fundamental components are enactment and dynamics. He looks in more detail at the cognitive-motivational architecture, discussing sensorimotor and motivational schemes. Finally, he discusses applications for the concepts behind expressive motivation in such fields as sports, entertainment, rehabilitation, multimedia art, and music education.
What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the world's most influential minds. Flowing from the horizons of physics, economics, psychology, neuroscience, and more, This Explains Everything presents 150 of the most surprising and brilliant theories of the way of our minds, societies, and universe work.
Jared Diamond on biological electricity • Nassim Nicholas Taleb on positive stress • Steven Pinker on the deep genetic roots of human conflict • Richard Dawkins on pattern recognition • Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on simplicity • Lisa Randall on the Higgs mechanism • BRIAN Eno on the limits of intuition • Richard Thaler on the power of commitment • V. S. Ramachandran on the "neural code" of consciousness • Nobel Prize winner ERIC KANDEL on the power of psychotherapy • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on "Lord Acton's Dictum" • Lawrence M. Krauss on the unification of electricity and magnetism • plus contributions by Martin J. Rees • Kevin Kelly • Clay Shirky • Daniel C. Dennett • Sherry Turkle • Philip Zimbardo • Lee Smolin • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein • Seth Lloyd • Stewart Brand • George Dyson • Matt Ridley
A grand tour of the human immune system and the secrets of health, by the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist
“One of those rare nonfiction books that transcends the genre. ... Extraordinary.” —Douglas Preston
A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. Matt Richtel's An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science’s centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before.
The immune system is our body’s essential defense network, a guardian vigilantly fighting illness, healing wounds, maintaining order and balance, and keeping us alive. Its legion of microscopic foot soldiers—from T cells to “natural killers”—patrols our body, linked by a nearly instantaneous communications grid. It has been honed by evolution over millennia to face an almost infinite array of threats.
For all its astonishing complexity, however, the immune system can be easily compromised by fatigue, stress, toxins, advanced age, and poor nutrition—hallmarks of modern life—and even by excessive hygiene. Paradoxically, it is a fragile wonder weapon that can turn on our own bodies with startling results, leading today to epidemic levels of autoimmune disorders.
Richtel effortlessly guides readers on a scientific detective tale winding from the Black Plague to twentieth-century breakthroughs in vaccination and antibiotics, to the cutting-edge laboratories that are revolutionizing immunology—perhaps the most extraordinary and consequential medical story of our time. The foundation that Richtel builds makes accessible revelations about cancer immunotherapy, the microbiome, and autoimmune treatments that are changing millions of lives. An Elegant Defense also captures in vivid detail how these powerful therapies, along with our behavior and environment, interact with the immune system, often for the good but always on a razor’s edge that can throw this remarkable system out of balance.
Drawing on his groundbreaking reporting for the New York Times and based on extensive new interviews with dozens of world-renowned scientists, Matt Richtel has produced a landmark book, equally an investigation into the deepest riddles of survival and a profoundly human tale that is movingly brought to life through the eyes of his four main characters, each of whom illuminates an essential facet of our “elegant defense.”
In this engaging account of innovative triumphs, Guru Madhavan examines the ways in which engineers throughout history created world-changing tools, from ATMs and ZIP codes to the digital camera and the disposable diaper. Equal parts personal, practical, and profound, Applied Minds charts a path to a future where we borrow strategies from engineering to find inspired solutions to our most pressing challenges.
When the next generation of technology seeps into the brains of the next generation of people, former medical student turned journalist Nat Idle must investigate and stop the invasion.
In the tradition of Lisa Gardner, Steve Berry, and Joseph Finder, Richtel has delivered a whip-smart page-turner that melds cutting-edge science with a technological mystery and a shocking finale. A deftly told tale, the scariest part of The Cloud is how close to reality it could be.
The Cloud, the second in the Nat Idle series, includes a bonus short story, "Floodgate."
All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they've found have much to teach us.
In a dazzlingly interdisciplinary work, acclaimed author Brian Christian (who holds degrees in computer science, philosophy, and poetry, and works at the intersection of all three) and Tom Griffiths (a UC Berkeley professor of cognitive science and psychology) show how the simple, precise algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one's inbox to understanding the workings of human memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.