Category Archives: Technology & Science

Being Mortal

Being Mortal

Picador
Paperback
304 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-07622-9

Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande’s masterful exploration
of aging, death, and the medical profession’s
mishandling of both, is his best and most
personal book yet.” —The Boston Globe

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering. Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

© Tim Llewellyn

Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications; Better; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Being Mortal has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

East Central University Honors Program (OK); Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science (OH); Moravian College (PA); Pennsylvania College of Health and Sciences; Tufts University School of Medicine (MA); University of Massachusetts Medical School; University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill

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Spare Parts

Spare Parts

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Paperback
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-53498-1


Los Inventores
Spanish Language Edition
Paperback
240 pages • $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-28450-3

Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

Joshua Davis

Finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize

Spare Parts is a delightful book . . . Davis writes well, and he keeps his plot moving swiftly . . . A great American story.”—Peter Carlson, The Washington Post

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much—but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.

And build a robot they did.

They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition—and yet, against all odds . . . they won!

But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story—which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement—will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan. Joshua Davis’s Spare Parts is a story about overcoming insurmountable odds and four young men who proved they were among the most patriotic and talented Americans in this country—even as the country tried to kick them out.

Spare Parts is an unforgettable tale of hope and human ingenuity. Joshua Davis offers a moving testament to how teamwork, perseverance, and a few good teachers can lift up and empower even the humblest among us.”—Héctor Tobar, author of Deep Down Dark

“It’s the most American of stories: how determination and ingenuity can bring triumph over long odds. There are too few stories like these written about Latino students. Poignant and beautifully told, Spare Parts makes you feel their frustration at the obstacles and indignities faced by Cristian, Lorenzo, Luis, and Oscar—and to cheer as they rise to overcome each one of them.”—Sonia Nazario, author of Enrique’s Journey 

“This is important reading . . . Young adults will benefit from from reading and discussing this realistic, eye-opening chronicle . . . Davis pulls no punches as he describes the grim sociopolitical atmosphere that allows the oppression of talented people for no morally acceptable reason. The four young inventors and their struggles helped spur the DREAMers movement.”—Donna Chavez, Booklist (starred review)

“A gratifying human interest story that calls attention to the plight and promise of America’s undocumented youth.”Library Journal

“Davis takes what could have been another feel-good story of triumphant underdogs and raises the stakes by examining the difficulties of these young immigrants in the context of the societal systems that they briefly and temporarily overcame.”Publishers Weekly

Joshua Davis © Sebastian Mlynarski

© Sebastian Mlynarski

Joshua Davis is a contributing editor at Wired and a cofounder of Epic magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his family.

Spare Parts has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Alamo Heights High School (TX); Broward College (FL); The Browning School (NY); Cedar Valley College (TX); Chemeketa Community College (OR); Concordia University (TX); Hesston College (KS); Hood College (MD); Johns Hopkins University (MD); Kansas State University; Lafayette Public Library and School District (LA); Lewis University (IL); Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods (MO); Miami University (OH); Monroe Community College (NY); Naugatuck Valley Community College (CT); Nash Community College (NC); North Iowa Area Community College; North Lake College (TX); Norwalk Community College (CT); Oakland University, The Honors College (MI); Pasadena City College (CA); Providence College (RI); Queensborough Community College (NY); Rutgers University, Honors College (NJ); Salem State University (MA); Santa Ana College; Stony Brook University (NY); Texas A&M University, University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science; University of Michigan College of Engineering; Washington State University, Vancouver; Winthrop University (SC)

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The Sixth Extinction

The Sixth Extinction

Picador
Paperback
336 pages • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-06218-5

An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Your view of the world will be fundamentally changed . . . Kolbert is an astute observer, excellent explainer, and superb synthesizer, and even manages to find humor in her subject matter.”—The Seattle Times

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamanian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. “Ms. Kolbert shows in these pages that she can write with elegiac poetry about the vanishing creatures of this planet, but the real power of her book resides in the hard science and historical context she delivers here, documenting the mounting losses that human beings are leaving in their wake.”—The New York Times

© Barry Goldstein

Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

The Sixth Extinction has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Colgate University (NY); Lafayette College (PA); Linfield College (OR); Occidental College (CA); Feather River College (CA); Millsaps College (MS); Rowan University (NJ); Saint Francis High School (CA); Stanford University (CA); Villanova University (PA); Williams College (MA); University of Vermont (VT)

Unwarranted

Unwarranted

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Paperback
448 pages • $17.00
ISBN: 978-0-374-53745-6

Policing Without Permission

Barry Friedman

“An important book about the 21st-century rules of engagement for counter-terrorism, police work, surveillance and crime prevention.”

—Matt Welch, The Wall Street Journal

In June 2013, documents leaked by Edward Snowden sparked widespread debate about secret government surveillance of Americans. Just over a year later, the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, set off protests and triggered concern about militarization of law enforcement and discriminatory policing. In Unwarranted, Barry Friedman argues that these two seemingly disparate events are connected—and that the problem is not so much the policing agencies as it is the rest of us. We allow these agencies to operate in secret and to decide how to police us, rather than calling the shots ourselves. Unwarranted tells the stories of ordinary people whose lives were torn apart by policing—by the methods of cops on the beat and those of the FBI and NSA. Driven by technology, policing has changed dramatically. Once, cops sought out bad guys; today, increasingly militarized forces conduct wide surveillance on all of us. Friedman captures the eerie new environment in which CCTV, location tracking, and predictive policing have made suspects of us all, while proliferating SWAT teams and increased use of force have put everyone’s property and lives at risk. Policing falls particularly heavily on minority communities and the poor, but as Unwarranted makes clear, the effects of policing are much broader still. Policing is everyone’s problem. Police play an indispensable role in our society. But our failure to supervise them has left us all in peril. Unwarranted is a critical, timely intervention into debates about policing, a call to take responsibility for governing those who govern us.

Barry Friedman

© Stocks Photography

Barry Friedman is the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and the director of the Policing Project. He is the author of The Will of the People. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, and The New Republic, among other publications. He lives in New York City.

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars

How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars

St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover
304 pages • $26.99
ISBN: 978-1-250-10861-6

The Snapchat Story

Billy Gallagher

In 2013 Evan Spiegel, the brash CEO of the social network Snapchat, and his co-founder Bobby Murphy stunned the press when they walked away from a three-billion-dollar offer from Facebook: how could an app teenagers use to text dirty photos dream of a higher valuation? Was this hubris, or genius? In How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars, tech journalist Billy Gallagher takes us inside the rise of one of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups. Snapchat began as a late-night dorm room revelation, the brainchild of Stanford English major Reggie Brown who was nursing regrets about photos he had sent. After an epic feud between best friends, Brown lost the company to Spiegel, who has gone on to make a name for himself as a visionary—if ruthless—CEO worth billions, linked to celebrities like Taylor Swift and his wife, Miranda Kerr. A fellow Stanford undergrad and fraternity brother of the company’s founding trio, Gallagher has covered Snapchat from the start. He brings unique access to a company Bloomberg Businessweek called “a cipher in the Silicon Valley technology community.” Gallagher offers insight into challenges Snapchat faces as it transitions from a playful app to one of the tech industry’s preeminent public companies. In the tradition of great business narratives, How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars offers the definitive account of a company whose goal is no less than to remake the future of entertainment.

Billy Gallagher (c) Larry Langton

© Larry Langton

Billy Gallagher is an M.B.A. candidate at Stanford’s Business School. Previously, he was a writer at TechCrunch, which he joined as a Stanford sophomore, writing a profile of a popular startup on campus: Snapchat. Billy wrote over a dozen exclusive pieces on Snapchat. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and Playboy; he has been interviewed by New York magazine and Wired. As a Stanford undergraduate, Billy was the student body president and the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper.

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Black Man in a White Coat

Black Man in a White Coat

Picador
Paperback
304 pp • $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-10504-2

A Doctor’s Reflections on Race
and Medicine

Damon Tweedy, M.D.

“A timely, thought-provoking examination of our heartbreaking health care system.” —USA Today

When Damon Tweedy begins medical school, he envisions a bright future where his segregated, working-class background will become largely irrelevant. Instead, he finds that he has joined a new world where race is front and center. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black student enrollment, Tweedy soon meets a professor who bluntly questions whether he belongs in medical school, a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his career. Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of most health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.

© Stocks Photography

© Stocks Photography

Damon Tweedy, M.D. is a graduate of Duke Medical School and Yale Law School. He is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham VA Medical Center. He has published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Annals of Internal Medicine. His columns and op-eds about race and medicine have appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He lives outside Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

Black Man in a White Coat has been adopted for First-Year Experience programs at:

Atlanta Metropolitan College’s SSS-STEM Program; Florida State College at Jacksonville; Kansas City University of Medicine

Thank You for Being Late

Thank You for Being Late

Picador
Paperback
560 pages • $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-250-14122-4

An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Thomas L. Friedman

“It is hard to think of any other journalist who has explained as many complicated subjects to so many people . . . Now he has written his most ambitious book—part personal odyssey, part commonsense manifesto.”

—The New York Times Book Review

In this new book, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your students need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology); the Market (globalization); and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”—for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and reflecting on its possibilities and dangers. Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations—if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. This is Friedman’s most ambitious book—and an essential guide to the present and the future.

© Ralph Alswang

Thomas L. Friedman is a three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his work with The New York Times and the author of six bestselling books, including The World Is Flat, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and That Used to Be Us (co-written with Michael Mandelbaum). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.

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