"A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner as is witty as he is knowledgeable." (Tom Holland) Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? Every day, from the moment our alarm clocks wake us in the morning until our heads hit our pillows at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old.
"The most enjoyable history lesson you've ever had"
The Sunday Times best seller. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we're going.
Graham Hancock's multimillion best seller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth's lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new scientific and archaeological evidence which has only recently come to light.
"Massive improvement on Finger Print of the Gods"
What Does it mean to feel truly alive? Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.
"A brave work for which I am so grateful"
Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
"More Fact Pact Bryson"
Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, extraordinary behaviour and the human mind. He has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Collected here from various sources (including The Guardian and GQ America) are the best of his adventures.
"Absolutely Brilliant !"
Using the metaphor of the hit film Groundhog Day, Paul Hannam presents his inspiration blueprint for making meaningful changes in your life. Paul Hannam has developed a programme based on the hidden, underlying road map to freedom found in the film Groundhog Day.
Every day, we face the challenge of persuading others to do what we want. But what makes people say 'yes' to our requests? Based on more than 60 years of research into the psychology of persuasion, this audiobook reveals many remarkable insights that will help listeners to be more persuasive, both at work and at home.
Almost a third of your whole life is spent asleep. Night School uncovers the scientific truth about the sleeping brain - and gives powerful tips on how those hours of apparently 'dead' time in the dark can transform your waking life.
"Informative with a quirky sense of humour"
Intuition is not some magical property that arises unbidden from the depths of our mind. It is a product of long hours and intelligent design, of meaningful work environments, and particular rules and principles. This audiobook shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices, and in everyday life.
"Enjoyable, but goes in an unexpected direction"
Why did crime in New York drop so suddenly in the mid-90s? How does an unknown novelist end up a best-selling author? Why is teenage smoking out of control, when everyone knows smoking kills? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? Why did Paul Revere succeed with his famous warning?
"Abridged version lacks substance"
Is the Greek alphabet all Greek to you? Is geometry your Achilles heel and does your knowledge of Homer have more to do with The Simpsons than the Sirens? From engineering and architecture to drama and democracy, the world around us is founded on the principles and discoveries of the Ancient World, yet our understanding of it is episodic at best. But it's never too late to learn....
"Light but not insubstantial"
Maverick thinker Nassim Nicholas Taleb had an illustrious career on Wall Street before turning his focus to his black swan theory. Not all swans are white, and not all events, no matter what the experts think, are predictable. Taleb shows that black swans, like 9/11, cannot be foreseen and have an immeasurable impact on the world.
"A magazine article posing as a book"
We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.
"Making science truly entertaining"
2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of C. S. Lewis's classic, Mere Christianity. Having sold over half a million copies in the UK alone, his overview of Christianity has been imitated many times, but never outdone. Mere Christianity brings together Lewis's legendary broadcasts from the war years; talks in which he set out simply to '"explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times."
"Superb - listened twice."
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story.
"Humboldt ‘read’ plants as others did books"
The No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling modern classic: A Bravo Two Zero for the Second Gulf War. They were branded as cowards and accused of being the British Special Forces Squadron that ran away from the Iraqis. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ten years on, the story of these sixty men can finally be told. In March 2003 M Squadron - an SBS unit with SAS embeds - was sent 1,000 kilometres behind enemy lines on a true mission impossible, to take the surrender of the 100,000-strong Iraqi Army 5th Corps.
"Gripping account of a special forces op"
Sam Harris has discovered that most people, from secular scientists to religious fundamentalists, agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, science's failure to address questions of meaning and morality has become the primary justification for religious faith.The underlying claim is that while science is the best authority on the workings of the physical universe, religion is the best authority on meaning, values, morality, and leading a good life.
"Thought provoking, perhaps a little antagonistic"
In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong. Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank is set for release in 2014, starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
"Interesting little tale"
David and Goliath is the dazzling and provocative new book from Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw. Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty.
"Swing and a miss"
A tragic but hopeful story of single fatherhood about to be turned into a tearjerking Hollywood film starring Magic Mike's Channing Tatum. Matt and Liz Logelin were high school sweethearts. After years of long-distance dating, the pair finally settled together in Los Angeles, and they had it all: a perfect marriage, a gorgeous new home, and a baby girl on the way. Liz's pregnancy was rocky, but they welcomed Madeline, beautiful and healthy, into the world on March 24, 2008.
In May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unleashed a terrible new form of warfare: the suicide pilots, or kamikaze. A story of courage, The Kamikaze Hunters is a gripping account of how a few brave men helped to ensure peace.
In this no-holds-barred collection of essays, prominent women authors, journalists and TV personalities explore the truth about becoming mothers. Covering topics from labour to the breastapo, twins to IVF, weaning to post-birth sex, and with writers including Cathy Kelly, Adele Parks, Kathy Lette and Lucy Porter and many more, Things I Wish I'd Known is a reassuring, moving and often hilarious collection that will speak to mothers - and mothers-to-be - everywhere.
Historian and broadcaster Tessa Dunlop tells the story of the women of Bletchley Park through exclusive and unprecedented access to the women themselves. The Bletchley Girls weaves together the lives of 15 women who were all selected to work in Britain's most secret organisation - Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper.
In the summer of 1990, Cathy's brother, Matty, was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, two weeks before receiving his GCSE results. Sitting by his unconscious body in hospital, holding his hand and watching his heartbeat on the monitors, Cathy and her parents willed him to survive. They did not know then that there are many fates worse than death.
What if I were to tell you that a psychopathic arsonist might also be the person most likely to save you from a burning building? This book is about a special kind of persuasion: 'flipnosis'. It has an incubation period of just seconds and can instantly disarm even the most discerning mind. Flipnosis is black-belt mind control. It doesn't just turn the tables; it kicks them over.
Now a major motion picture starring Juliette Binoche and Antonio Banderas. August 2010: the San Jose mine in Chile collapses, trapping 33 men half a mile underground for 69 days. Faced with the possibility of starvation and even death, the miners make a pact: if they survive, they will share their story only collectively, as 'the 33'.
We are not born knowing what to eat. We all have to learn it as children sitting expectantly at a table. For our diets to change, we need to relearn the food experiences that first shaped us. Everyone starts drinking milk. After that it's all up for grabs. We are not born knowing what to eat; we each have to figure it out for ourselves. From childhood onwards, we learn how big a portion is and how sweet is too sweet.
Great stories from around Australia to lift your heart, make you laugh and puff out your chest. In his very popular Saturday column, the 'Fitzy Files', Peter FitzSimons usually writes about famous sports men and women. But from time to time, he throws in stories taken from grassroots sport and daily life.
On September 1, 1994, Lee Child went out to buy the paper to start writing his first novel - in pencil. The result was Killing Floor, which introduced his hero Jack Reacher. Twenty years later, on September 1, 2014, he began writing Make Me, the 20th novel in his number-one best-selling Reacher series. Same day, same writer, same hero. The difference this time was that he had someone looking over his shoulder. Andy Martin, uber Reacher fan, Cambridge academic and dedicated surfer, sat behind Lee Child.
The world of maths can seem mind-boggling, irrelevant and, let's face it, boring. This groundbreaking book reclaims maths from the geeks. Mathematical ideas underpin just about everything in our lives: from the surprising geometry of the 50p piece to how probability can help you win in any casino. In search of weird and wonderful mathematical phenomena, Alex Bellos travels across the globe and meets the world's fastest mental calculators in Germany and a startlingly numerate chimpanzee in Japan.
"A wonderful journey through mathematics"
Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell? Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception.
The 1980s was the revolutionary decade of the 20th century. From the Falklands war and the miners' strike to Bobby Sands and the Guildford Four, from Diana and the New Romantics to Live Aid and the 'big bang', from the Rubik's cube to the ZX Spectrum, McSmith's brilliant narrative account uncovers the truth behind the decade that changed Britain forever - politically, economically and culturally.
"So close and yet so far"
By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
"Great Book Full of Insight"
Ian Moore is a stand-up comedian in the UK and a husband, father of three boys, farmhand and chutney-maker in France. He is a mod in both walks of life and most of his time is spent travelling grumpily between the two. Comedian, mod and professional grump Ian Moore has had enough. Tired of being unable to park anywhere near his cramped house in a noisy town he doesn't like, he hatches a plan to move his wife and young son to a remote corner of the Loire Valley in search of serenity and space.
"tale of ex pat Brit in France with a Parka & pets"
Who volunteers? Why? What are you willing to do? This title presents the hilarious, heartwarming adventures of a volunteering cynic. Do the feel-good rewards commensurate with the time and effort involved? When Seb Hunter accidentally picks up the phone to a charity Fundraiser one day, he faces a moment of reckoning. It isn't so much that he lacks a social conscience; but he can no longer assuage it by buying the odd copy of the Big Issue and eating Fairtrade chocolate.
"Is Google making us stupid?" When Nicholas Carr posed that question in an Atlantic Monthly cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: as we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Now, Carr expands his argument into the most compelling exploration yet published of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences.
Why Gen Xers - waiting for Boomers to retire--have made the choices they have, and how their creativity can save us from economic ruin. Generation X grew up in the greed-is-good 1980s, before the Great Middle-Class Squeeze and the roller coaster of economic insecurity and tech revolution began driving Xers' cultural trends, lifestyle choices, and sociological circumstances.
Completely off-the-wall, It's a Plot is a fascinating geographical and historical journey around Britain. The Tibetans have the Book of the Dead. This is Ann Treneman's Book of the Dead Interesting. The Times writer, best known for her hilarious parliamentary sketches, has branched out - to graveyards. In this riveting book - part travelogue, part biography, part social history - she takes you to the best graves in Britain.
"Interesting idea, but alas was rather dull"
Tales of adventures on the high seas captivate both sailors and those who stand on the shore and gaze out across the oceans. In this original collection of sea stories, edited by veteran writer Dick Durham, the gamut of human experience is mirrored in a world of tragic shipwrecks and sea monsters, epic races and brave rescues, tall ships and tiny dinghies.
With the help of 14 leading physicists, scientists, and spiritual thinkers, this book guides listeners on a course from the scientific to the spiritual, and from the universal to the personal. Along the way, it asks such questions as: Are we seeing the world as it really is What is the relationship between our thoughts and our world? How can I create my day every day? What the Bleep answers this question and others through an innovative new approach to self-help and spirituality.
A hilarious field guide to the world's most remarkable and unusual creatures: the English. Who are the English? What is this puzzling species? Where does it live? What are its habits? What does it eat? Why does it eat that? And why has it developed such unexotic mating rituals? Join us on a journey deep into the natural habitat of the English, a journey to rival anything David Attenborough did with gorillas, a journey that begins on a sofa (and continues, unflinchingly, into the kitchen, out into the garden, off to work, down to the pub and then on to the beach...and the bedroom).
Since the Enlightenment, there has been a very simple but widely held assumption that we are a species of thinking individuals and human behaviour is best understood by examining the psychology of individuals. It appears, however, that this insight is plain wrong. The evidence from a number of leading scientists suggests that our species is designed as a herd or group animal. Mark Earls applies this evidence to the traditional mechanisms of marketing and consumer behavior.
Mark Stevenson has been to the future a few years ahead of the rest of us - and reckons it has a lot going for it. His voyage of discovery takes him to Oxford to meet Transhumanists (they intend to live forever), to Boston where he confronts a robot with mood swings, to an underwater cabinet meeting in the Indian Ocean, and Australia to question the Outback's smartest farmer.
"One of the best books I've listened to..."
Losing weight has become the modern woman's Holy Grail.... Everything will be better when we're thin. In the 21st century, being thin, even more than being rich or happy, sends a clear message of success to the outside world. No wonder then that disordered eating is on the rise and we're increasingly unhappy with our bodies. The Ministry of Thin takes a controversial, unflinching look at how our desire to lose weight is out of control; at the widespread depression that results, the tyranny of celebrity culture and the dangerous extremes - including drip-diets and cosmetic surgery - to which we will go to be skinny.
From ancient empires to modern economics, veteran journalist Andrew Lawler delivers a sweeping history of the animal that has been most crucial to the spread of civilization across the globe - the chicken. Queen Victoria was obsessed with it. Socrates' last words were about it. Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur made their scientific breakthroughs using it. Catholic popes, African shamans, Chinese philosophers, and Muslim mystics praised it.
"chickens? Well, their history seems to be ours"