Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions? As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is.
"Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science"
"A wonderful book, wonderfully narrated"
The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us. Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works. In Gut, Giulia Enders shows that rather than the utilitarian and - let's be honest - somewhat embarrassing body part we imagine it to be, it is one of the most complex, important, and even miraculous parts of our anatomy.
An astonishing new scientific discovery called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the adult human brain is fixed and unchanging. It is, instead, able to change its own structure and function, even into old age. In this revolutionary look at the brain, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., provides an introduction to both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they've transformed.
"A must listen"
The Blind Watchmaker, knowledgably narrated by author Richard Dawkins, is as prescient and timely a book as ever. The watchmaker belongs to the 18th-century theologian William Paley, who argued that just as a watch is too complicated and functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. Charles Darwin's brilliant discovery challenged the creationist arguments; but only Richard Dawkins could have written this elegant riposte.
"Sparkling with life!"
Since Darwin's day, we've been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science - as well as religious and cultural institutions - has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man's possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman's fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing....
"Thought provoking and controversial"
In The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins takes on creationists, including followers of 'Intelligent Design' and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection. Like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, he sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects.
"Simple and elegantly written"
In this groundbreaking book, Alanna Collen explores the extraordinary world of the powerful microbes that make up 90 percent of the human body. You are just 10 percent human. For every one of the cells that make your body, there are nine impostor cells. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but bacteria and fungi. You are not an individual but a colony of microbes. Far from being passive, the trillions of microbes that live on and in you are intimately involved in running your body.
"Most interesting and informative book"
Dish up the red meat, eggs, and whole milk! In this well-researched and captivating narrative, veteran food writer Nina Teicholz proves how everything we've been told about fat is wrong. For decades, Americans have cut back on red meat and dairy products full of "bad" saturated fats. We obediently complied with nutritional guidelines to eat "heart healthy" fats found in olive oil, fish, and nuts, and followed a Mediterranean diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, and grains. Yet the nation's health has declined. What is going on?
"Excellent Book. Easy listen."
For decades medical science has believed that genes determined our biological destiny. Now the new genetics has changed that assumption forever. You will always have the genes you were born with, but genes are dynamic, responding to everything we think, say, and do. Suddenly they've become our strongest allies for personal transformation. When you make lifestyle choices that optimize how your genes behave, you can reach for a state of health and fulfillment undreamed of even a decade ago.
The structures that lie beneath our skin represent a remarkable and beautiful assortment of biological mechanisms that are essential for our lives. However, we often take these structures for granted. In these 14 fascinating lectures, a basic overview of the human body, its physical features, biological systems, and general functioning will be presented for the benefit of anyone from budding medical students to curious laymen.
In the New York Times bestseller Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule - what scientists know for sure about how our brains work - and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. Medina's fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science.
One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding biology-the intricate machinery of life-a progress to which the period we are living in right now has contributed the most.As you read these words, researchers are delving ever deeper into the workings of living systems, turning their discoveries into new medical treatments, improved methods of growing food, and innovative products that are already changing the world.
"Biology brought to life!"
In Brain Rules for Baby, Dr. John Medina shares what the latest science says about how to raise smart and happy children from zero to five. This book is destined to revolutionize parenting. Just one of the surprises: The best way to get your children into the college of their choice? Teach them impulse control. Brain Rules for Baby bridges the gap between what scientists know and what parents practice.
"very interesting book"
In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman - chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field - gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.
How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.
"Essential Reading for Humanity"
A comprehensive history of cancer - one of the greatest enemies of medical progress - and an insight into its effects and potential cures, by a leading expert on the illness. In The Emperor of All Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher and award-winning science writer, examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with - and perished from - for more than five thousand years.
"I had no idea how little I knew about Cancer"
The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Joshua Foer's part-memoir, part-guide on mastering your memory. Read by Mike Chamberlain. On average, people squander forty days annually trying to remember things they've forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S.
"A very interesting listen"
In The China Study, T. Colin Campbell revolutionized the way we think about our food with the evidence that a whole food, plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. Now, in Whole, he explains the science behind that evidence, the ways our current scientific paradigm ignores the fascinating complexity of the human body, and why, if we have such overwhelming evidence that everything we think we know about nutrition is wrong, our eating habits haven't changed.
"hard reading, good information"
This course chronicles the history of Earth and life on Earth from the point of view of the minerals that made it all happen. A major theme is how minerals and life coevolved, leading to the unprecedented mineral diversity on our world compared to the other planets in the solar system. Professor Hazen tells this epic story in 48 action-packed lectures that take you from the big bang to the formation of the solar system to the major milestones that marked the evolution of Earth and life.
We are all increasingly bewildered by the simple question of what to eat. Despite advice from experts, governments and dieticians about the dangers of too much fat, sugar, protein and lack of exercise, our nutrition - and the global obesity crisis - is getting worse. Why can one person eat a certain meal and gain weight and another eat exactly the same food and lose pounds? Genes provide part of the answer, but we have been overlooking one vital aspect of diet that lies within us.
Imagine controlling a machine with your mind. Imagine a communication line direct from your mind to someone else's. Imagine controlling a prosthetic limb with a thought or "seeing" through a camera located miles away. Once the stuff of science fiction, such remarkable feats are now within the grasp of neuroscience. Malcolm Gay tells the fascinating stories of the researchers delving into the intricate workings of the brain to map the neural signals that make up our thoughts.
An excellent bottle of wine can be the spark that inspires a brainstorming session. Such was the case for Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, scientists who frequently collaborate on book and museum exhibition projects. When the conversation turned to wine one evening, it almost inevitably led the two - one a palaeoanthropologist, the other a molecular biologist - to begin exploring the many intersections between science and wine. This audiobook presents their fascinating, freewheeling answers to the question.
Paul Falkowski looks "under the hood" of microbes to find the engines of life, the actual working parts that do the biochemical heavy lifting for every living organism on Earth. With insight and humor, he explains how these miniature engines are built - and how they have been appropriated by and assembled like Lego sets within every creature that walks, swims, or flies. Falkowski shows how evolution works to maintain this core machinery of life, and how we and other animals are veritable conglomerations of microbes.
The burgeoning new science of epigenetics offers a cornucopia of insights - some comforting, some frightening. For example, the male fetus may be especially vulnerable to certain common chemicals in our environment, in ways that damage not only his own sperm but also the sperm of his sons. And it's epigenetics that causes identical twins to vary widely in their susceptibility to dementia and cancer. But here's the good news: unlike mutations, epigenetic effects are reversible. Indeed, epigenetic engineering is the future of medicine.
Own an unruly horse? Thinking about purchasing a horse but don't exactly know what to expect once you do? Ever wondered what and how a horse thinks? Mark Rashid tells stories that provide horse owners and potential buyers with the best training solutions - straight from the horse's mouth. By considering the horse's point of view, he explores a variety of solutions to common training problem like head tossing, trailer loading, mounting problems, and more.
"Another great book"
Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way.
Are men literally born to cheat? Does monogamy actually serve women's interests? These are among the questions that have made The Moral Animal one of the most provocative science books in recent years. Wright unveils the genetic strategies behind everything from our sexual preferences to our office politics - as well as their implications for our moral codes and public policies.
"The best book I've read in a long time"
As physicists work toward completing a theory of the universe and biologists unravel the molecular complexity of life, a glaring incompleteness in this scientific vision becomes apparent. The "theory of everything" that appears to be emerging includes everything but us: the feelings, meanings, consciousness, and purposes that make us (and many of our animal cousins) what we are.
Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolutions history by describing its 10 greatest inventionsfrom sex and warmth to deathresulting in a stunning account of natures ingenuity.
"Very poor reader"
By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only 24, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.
"A Fascinating real life story, and well written"
We have long fantasized about finding life on planets other than our own. Yet even as we become aware of the vast expanses beyond our solar system, it remains clear that Earth is exceptional. The question is: Why? In Lucky Planet, astrobiologist David Waltham argues that Earth's climate stability is what makes it uniquely able to support life, and it is nothing short of luck that made such conditions possible. The four-billion-year stretch of good weather that our planet has experienced is statistically so unlikely that chances are slim that we will ever encounter intelligent extraterrestrial others.
The idea of a missing link between humanity and our animal ancestors predates evolution and popular science and actually has religious roots in the deist concept of the Great Chain of Being. Yet, the metaphor has lodged itself in the contemporary imagination, and new fossil discoveries are often hailed in headlines as revealing the elusive transitional step, the moment when we stopped being "animal" and started being "human". In The Accidental Species, Henry Gee, longtime paleontology editor at Nature, takes aim at this misleading notion.
In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet", focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.
"Coherent and engaging"
Cats have been popular household pets for thousands of years, and their numbers only continue to rise. Today there are three cats for every dog on the planet, and yet cats remain more mysterious, even to their most adoring owners. In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to explain the true nature - and needs - of our feline friends. Tracing the cat's evolution from solitary hunter to domesticated companion, Bradshaw shows that cats remain independent, predatory, and wary of social contact.
Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the earth was the centre of a universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the universe was created essentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Less than 150 years ago, the special creation by God of living species was still dominant.
We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football - or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist Marlene Zuk reveals that the story is not so simple. Popular theories about how our ancestors lived - and why we should emulate them - are often based on speculation, not scientific evidence. Armed with a razor-sharp wit and brilliant, eye-opening research, Zuk takes us to the cutting edge of biology to show that evolution can work much faster than was previously realized.
In Strange Bedfellows, David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton look at how biology actually promotes monogamy in some species and how these lessons apply to human beings. An accessible work of science that is relevant to our intimate daily life, Strange Bedfellows will reassure some people, surprise others, and engage everyone.
The fascinating science behind the eventual end to everything - from the individual to all existence. Although we may try to keep it tucked at the back of our minds, most of us are aware of our own mortality. But few among us know what science, with the help of insights yielded from groundbreaking new research, has to say about death on a larger scale. Enter astronomer Chris Impey, who chronicles the death of the whole shebang.