MixedNatureThe narrative is enjoyable and illuminating, but it is flawed by a failure to separate fact from speculation ... The book offers an admirable survey of how minds might comprise modules that control simple operations, which are combined to solve complex problems of survival ... Many assertions go beyond the facts ... Ogas and Gaddam jump the gun, in my view, when they suggest that Grossberg has all the answers ... The authors deploy some unedifying metaphors to tell their tale ... There is plenty to like in Journey of the Mind. It is so often informative and entertaining that it feels mean to cavil. But the book exemplifies a persistent problem in popular science, in which pet theories are presented with too much confidence and too little context. Readers deserve the full picture — less definitive and satisfying, perhaps, but ultimately more honest and illuminating.
PositiveThe Guardian (UK)It’s a somewhat guilty pleasure, then, to revel in Hanson’s globetrotting exploits, some of them conducted under the constraints of the pandemic. We are taken from the rainforests of Costa Rica to the Arctic ice of Franz Josef Land and the coral reefs of Indonesia. The range of species he investigates and the climate responses they exhibit are sometimes dizzying, but some general features emerge ... Hanson supplies abundant reason to marvel at nature’s ingenuity, but also to fear for it in the face of the drastic changes we are generating. He reminds us that our own responses, as we try to adjust to wildfires, heatwaves and sea level rise, are a part of that story too.
RaveProspect (UK)As a love letter to this undervalued form of life, Sheldrake’s book is deeply engaging and constantly surprising ... Sheldrake is not immune to romanticism of his own. His account of the mind-altering properties of magic mushrooms has a touch of the shaman about it: all very well, but descriptions of other people’s hallucinogenic trips tend to be tiresome ... But these are quibbles about what is otherwise a balanced, well-informed and at times beautifully written book ... beneath the playfulness is a serious and disruptive question: how different would our societies look, Sheldrake asks, if we thought of fungi rather than animals and plants as \'typical\' life forms?
MixedNatureWith its scepticism of religion but openness to humanistic wonder, awe of nature, celebration of the individual and recognition of the power of physical law, the narrative has a strong whiff of transcendentalism ... Such qualities lift this work above many accounts of the cosmic story spanning from the Big Bang to the end of time—whether that’s a big rip, heat death or cosmic bounce ... Until the End of Time is packed with ideas; whether they come together as a convincing story is another matter ... His grand tour is sometimes breathtaking, necessarily selective and occasionally superficial. It often lacks the space or rigour to do its vast range of subjects justice. Beyond fundamental physics, Greene is a lucid summarizer of other popular accounts, but little more. That can leave his story patchy, and even misleading at times ... what’s missing—foreshadowing a wider lacuna in the book—is any sense that intermediate levels of that organization, particularly the cell, are equally fundamental ... When it comes to human behaviour—creativity, art, story, religion—Greene places a reductive faith in evolutionary psychology ... It is an eloquent invitation to debate.
PositiveNature...stimulating, urgent ... Much of India’s recent history of water resources is a tale of how they were handled under British rule ... Amrith’s judgement on this imperial legacy is strikingly relevant today ... histories of this kind are needed more than ever. Political, economic and historical discourse cannot just linger on statecraft and strategy, alliances and migrations, trade and war. Increasingly, the environment is central—and its role needs to be understood not through sweeping, Wittfogel-style theses, but with the kind of attention to local detail and nuance that Amrith exhibits.
MixedProspect MagazineAlthough Plomin tries to dispel accusations of biological determinism by repeating the slogan of today’s geneticists that \'genes are not destiny,\' I suspect many readers of Blueprint will be left wondering why not ...Frankly I fear for this book. It has an important and valid message, but is sometimes written in a way that almost wilfully invites misunderstanding and reactive opposition ... This isn’t just sloppy writing and editing; it is irresponsible. Even so Blueprint, to its credit, shows that the argument about whether our genes affect our behaviour is largely over, and makes a strong case for why we need an urgent and open discussion of what that means for society.
PositiveNatureAnanthaswamy explains that this is what is so strange about quantum mechanics: it can seem impossible to eliminate a decisive role for our conscious intervention in the outcome of experiments. That fact drove physicist Eugene Wigner to suppose at one point that the mind itself causes the ‘collapse’ that turns a wave into a particle. Ananthaswamy offers some of the most lucid explanations I’ve seen of other interpretations ... Ananthaswamy’s conclusion—that perhaps all the major interpretations are \'touching the truth in their own way\'—is not a shrugging capitulation. It’s a well-advised commitment to pluralism, shared with Becker’s book and mine. For now, uncertainty seems the wisest position in the quantum world.