RaveNPRIn this new book, Kolbert once again looks down the barrel of the Anthropocene, the new geologic epoch where human activity represents the most powerful force shaping the machinery of Earth\'s planetary evolution ... The consequence of the extraordinary power we\'re exerting on the Earth is that the planet is changing. It\'s sliding out of the state we found it in 10,000 years ago when the last ice age ended. But this new planet seems like it\'s going to be a lot less hospitable to our \'project of civilization\' than the one we\'ve started with. In response to this sobering fact, communities across the world are trying to shift from inadvertent impacts on the natural world to conscious and intentional control. Kolbert\'s book is, essentially, reporting from the front lines of these frenzied efforts ... What unites Kolbert\'s reporting in all these stories is the sense of scale that comes with the problems we face targeting a reasonable outcome for our Anthropocene ... What makes Under A White Sky so valuable and such a compelling read is Kolbert tells by showing. Without beating the reader over the head, she makes it clear how far we already are from a world of undisturbed, perfectly balanced nature — and how far we must still go to find a new balance for the planet\'s future that still has us humans in it.
RaveNPRMitenbuler\'s real target is a quintessentially American story of daring ambition, personal re-invention and the eternal tug-of-war of between art and business ... Mitenbuler peppers the stories of these hard-scrabble years with well-drawn characters ... Mitenbuler\'s book is a gem for anyone wanting to understand animation\'s origin story.
PositiveNPR... [a] delightful introduction to a guy I\'d never met but felt I\'d known my whole life ... gives us strong insights into the forces that drove Lee and Marvel to success ... Fingeroth spends some time in the book unpacking Lee\'s long running dispute with Kirby and others. He also mentions abuse allegations previously noted by media. These sections were not particularly compelling to me, but they are an important part of Lee\'s legacy and Fingeroth handles them with grace ... One small criticism of the book is that it tells us very little of Lee\'s response to the founding and runaway success of Marvel Studios (beginning with Iron Man in 2008). That seems a strange omission given how much of Lee\'s later story is him trying to get Hollywood to pick up Marvel properties ... Taken as a whole though, A Marvelous Life is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Stan Lee set Marvel on the path to world domination (in a good way).
RaveNPRWhat makes Carroll\'s new project so worthwhile...is that...he offers us a cogent, clear and compelling guide to the subject while letting his passion for the scientific questions shine through every page ... in straight-forward language, Carroll keeps his justification for the Many Worlds view grounded in principles like simplicity and economy of description that scientists should all agree on. As his previous books have demonstrated, Carroll is an excellent guide through the frontiers of physics for interested laypeople. Those skills are on ample display in the new book as well. Carroll expertly takes his readers through the conundrum quantum mechanics dumps into the laps of scientists ... It is worth noting, however, that this book does not seem aimed at folks who are entirely new to the subject. It works at a slightly higher level and might prove challenging for those who\'ve never seen the topic at all. I\'d like to be able to say that I came away convinced of Carroll\'s argument that the Many Worlds interpretation is the right way to view the world. But that didn\'t happen ... convincing people is not Carroll\'s only intention—which is the books\' greatest charm. In a remarkable chapter, Carroll presents a number of the Many World\'s competitor interpretations (including QBIsm) in a wonderfully fair and balanced way ... Most important, though, Carroll wants readers to see how remarkable the questions quantum mechanics poses are in-and-of-themselves.
David Ewing Duncan
MixedNPR... if you want to see what that future might look like, Duncan\'s book is a fun place to start ... The use of real world (or ERE) experts pays off when it delivers surprising visions of our robot future ... The best part of Talking to Robots is it does not take itself too seriously ... Unfortunately, Duncan\'s central conceit — that these chapters are a history written from far in the future — often fails him. The structural demands of keeping the viewpoint anchored in the future while using interviews with experts alive today proves to be too much in many of the chapters, and the \'future history\' enterprise just collapses on itself. Other times, the research for the book seems a glib ... But taken as a whole, Duncan\'s book holds a lot of pleasures. It\'s funny and broad and, in its way, asks important questions.
PositiveNPRWhile Fishman is interested in the origins of the space race and the mechanics of problem solving that got us there, he\'s just as concerned with the ways Apollo transformed us ... spends considerable and well-used time demonstrating NASA\'s role in birthing digital technologies that are now ubiquitous.
PositiveNPR\"Rich\'s writing is compelling and clear, even as he lays out details of 1980s international environmental policy. Reading like a Greek tragedy, Losing Earth shows how close we came to making the right choices — if it weren\'t for our darker angels.\
PositiveNPRIf you are interested...in how the U.S. launched itself on the improbable mission of getting people to the moon when it could barely get a rocket off the pad, then Douglas Brinkley\'s American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy And The Great Space Race may be the read for you. Part Kennedy biography, part political space history, Brinkley\'s book makes it clear that launching the Apollo program was all about beating the Russians ...
PositiveNPR\"... [the book offers] valuable perspectives ... One criticism of the book is that it favors worst-case scenarios. Indeed, when it comes to extrapolating the human impacts of climate change, researchers must rely on separate models of the planet, its ecosystems and, say, human economic behavior ... There is a broader point in The Uninhabitable Earth that Wallace-Wells makes eloquently — one that must become part of how we think about climate change ... To me, this is one of the great strengths of The Uninhabitable Earth. It\'s the recognition that we are already quite far down the road toward a different kind of Earth. Most importantly, keeping civilization up and running on this new version of the planet will depend on our collective actions right now. Wallace-Wells\' instinct for telling this story is, more than anything, what makes the book worthwhile.\
PositiveNPRNow, maybe you think you\'ve heard all this before. But Rushkoff is not delivering a blandwich of common-wisdom complaints. Instead, this remarkably brief and accessible book gets us under the hood to understand how...technologies allowed a witches\' brew of dislocation and disconnection to emerge. His answer comes from a thoroughly fascinating exploration of the long interplay between power and the technologies of communication ... Rushkoff\'s knowledge of digital technology shines...horrifying us with the capacities of the machines we\'ve built and the ways they have been used against us. This is an important book that readers are going to want to share with others. Luckily, Rushkoff doesn\'t leave us with a sense of dread. In the last few chapters he offers a vision that is neither anti-technology or techno-utopian.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewYou would be right to think this sounds like science fiction or to be skeptical that some of it is even possible. (I’m good with terraforming but doubt that we are nothing but our neurons.) But the strength of Kaku’s writing is knowing which science fiction ideas are worth following. Kaku grounds his readers in science happening right now, while throwing open the windows to imagine where it might lead in a thousand years. In this effort he is particularly adept at drawing from the lexicon of popular science fiction. From Marvel’s Iron Man to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, he uses ideas from our shared cultural warehouse as launchpads for questions of the deep future.
RaveNPRThe ‘true’ in Wright's title doesn't refer to the traditional kinds of scriptural truths we think of when we think of religions and truth. Wright is explicitly not interested in the traditional aspects of Buddhism as a religion. The book, for example, makes no claims about reincarnation or Tibetan rainbow bodies or the like. Instead, Wright wants to focus on Buddhism's diagnosis of the human condition. The part that is relevant to the here and now … Wright does an excellent job of unpacking this reality for his readers, demonstrating again and again how contemplative practice can lead to understanding and how understanding can lead to an important kind of freedom.