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 Stephen Baker (2009). The Numerati.

In this captivating exploration of digital nosiness, business reporter Baker spotlights a new breed of entrepreneurial mathematicians (the numerati) engaged in harnessing the avalanche of private data individuals provide when they use a credit card, donate to a cause, surf the Internet—or even make a phone call. 

Review by Rob Walker, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/books/review/Walker-t.html


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John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman (1998). Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America.

The history of sexuality in the U.S. is not a progressive jump from repression to freedom, the authors maintain. Instead, sexuality has been continually remolded in each era, reflecting the dictates of economics, family structure and politics. 

Review by University of Chicago Press: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo3640327.html


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Thomas L. Friedman (2005). The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century.

"With his inimitable ability to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues, Friedman explains how the flattening of the world happened at the dawn of the twenty-first century; what it means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals; and how governments and societies can, and must, adapt."

Review by FAREED ZAKARIA, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/books/review/01ZAKARIA.html


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Jeffrey L. Geller (1995). Women of the Asylum: Voices from Behind the Walls, 1840-1945.

The 26 women who tell their stories here were incarcerated against their will, often by male family members, for holding views or behaving in ways that deviated from the norms of their day. The authors' accompanying history of both societal and psychiatric standards for women reveals the degree to which the prevailing societal conventions could reinforce the perception that these women were "mad". 

Review by Bryant Urstadt, Bloomberg Businessweekhttp://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_09/b4217086779050.htm





Stephen Jay Gould (1996). The Mismeasure of Man.

How smart are you? If that question doesn't spark a dozen more questions in your mind (like "What do you mean by 'smart,'" "How do I measure it," and "Who's asking?"), then The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould's masterful demolition of the IQ industry, should be required reading.

Review by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/11/09/home/gould-mismeasure.html


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Oren Solomon Harman (2011). The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness.

The Price of Altruism puts Price's work into a wide scientific and social context, showing real insight into its importance and genuine sympathy for the tale of his life. (Steve Jones - New Scientist)

Review by Frans de Waal, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/books/review/deWaal-t.html


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Dacher Keltner (2009). Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life.

From the publisher:  "Born to be Good grows out of Dacher Keltner's postgraduate work with Paul Ekman, a pioneer in the study of facial expressions. Revealing the unspoken language of every facial movement, bodily gesture, and vocal tone, often with fascinating illustrations, Keltner charts the highly coordinated patterns of behavior that have been honed by thousands of generations of evolution and that enable individuals to bring the good in others to completion. With studies that are thought-provoking (Is laughing at death a good sign for long-term happiness?) and unconventional (What can studying goose bumps tell us about our spiritual capacities?) Keltner shows how happiness is found in the rich landscape of positive emotions that until recently remained mysterious to science."

Review by Janet Maslin, New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/books/19masl.html?ref=firstchapters


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Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio and Barry L. Beyerstein (2009). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior.

Virtually every day, the news media, television shows, films, and Internet bombard us with claims regarding a host of psychological topics: psychics, out of body experiences, recovered memories, and lie detection, to name merely a few. Even a casual stroll through our neighborhood bookstore reveals dozens of self-help, relationship, recovery, and addiction books that serve up generous portions of advice for steering our paths along life’s rocky road. Yet many popular psychology sources are rife with misconceptions. 

Review by Philo Gabriel, Yahoo!: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5979990/book_review_50_great_myths_of_popular.html




John Allen Paulos (2001). Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences..

This is the book that made "innumeracy" a household word, at least in some households. Paulos admits that "at least part of the motivation for any book is anger, and this book is no exception. I'm distressed by a society which depends so completely on mathematics and science and yet seems to indifferent to the innumeracy and scientific illiteracy of so many of its citizens."

Review by CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/01/23/books/books-of-the-times-dangers-of-being-a-nation-of-number-numbskulls.html


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Carl Sagan (1997). The Demon-haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark.

Carl Sagan muses on the current state of scientific thought, which offers him marvelous opportunities to entertain us with his own childhood experiences, the newspaper morgues, UFO stories, and the assorted flotsam and jetsam of pseudoscience. 

Review by Book Review Weeklyhttp://www.bookreviewsweekly.com/the-demon-haunted-world-by-carl-sagan/


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Robert M. Sapolsky (2005). Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals.

Wry, witty prose that reads like the unexpected love child of a merger between Popular Science and GQ, written by an author who could be as much at home holding court at the local pub as he is in a university lab.

Review by Jamie Shreeve, New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/books/review/06shreeve.html


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 Theodore Schick and Lewis Vaughn (2010). How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age.

This brief, affordable text helps students to think critically, using examples from the weird claims and beliefs that abound in our culture to demonstrate the sound evaluation of any claim. It explains step-by-step how to sort through reasons, evaluate evidence, and tell when a claim (no matter how strange) is likely to be true. 

Review by Austin Cline, About.com: http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/WeirdThings.htm





Michael Shermer and Stephen Jay Gould (2002). Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time.

Shermer has five basic answers to the implied question in his title: for consolation, for immediate gratification, for simplicity, for moral meaning, and because hope springs eternal. He shows the kinds of errors in thinking that lead people to believe weird (that is, unsubstantiated) things, especially the built-in human need to see patterns, even where there is no pattern to be seen. 

Review by Cindy Voetsch, The Village Skeptic: http://www.thevillageskeptic.com/why-people-believe-weird-things


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Edward Shorter (1998). A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac.

The history of madness and its treatment is a fascinating one. At one time, the mentally ill were diagnosed as demonically possessed; later, when mental illness became the province of psychoanalysts, those conditions that are actually physical in nature, such as schizophrenia or manic depression, went insufficiently treated, their sufferers consigned to asylums. 

Review by Harrison G. Pope, Jr., M.D., New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199707033370120


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Elliot S. Valenstein (2010). Great and Desperate Cures: The Rise and Decline of Psychosurgery and Other Radical Treatments for Mental Illness.

Neuropsychologist Valenstein (Brain Control, etc.) here offers a critical and academic history of psychosurgery that he deems a "cautionary tale." The same factors that contributed to the rapid, injudicious acceptance of the lobotomy operationdesperate patients and their families, overcrowded mental institutions, sensationalism by the popular media, physicians' self-aggrandizementtoday still play a major role in prematurely promoting "miracle" medical techniques, warns the author.

Review by Daniel J. Kevles, Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/1986-04-13/books/bk-4349_1_elliot-valenstein








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