1. bookpickings:

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better

Clive Thompson



"Tip-of-the-tongue syndrome," transactive memory and how the internet is making us smarter than we think – superb read:

#curious

    bookpickings:

    Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better

    Clive Thompson

    "Tip-of-the-tongue syndrome," transactive memory and how the internet is making us smarter than we think – superb read:

    #curious

  2. The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World

Sandor Ellix Katz

From the Amazon blurb: The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.”

This looks awesome. #wishlisted

    The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World

    Sandor Ellix Katz

    From the Amazon blurb: The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.”

    This looks awesome. #wishlisted

  3. Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning
Gary Marcus

From the Amazon blurb:
"On the eve of his 40th birthday, Gary Marcus, a renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone—of any age —can become musical. Do you have to be born musical to become musical? Do you have to start at the age of six?
Using the tools of his day job as a cognitive psychologist, Gary Marcus becomes his own guinea pig as he takes up the guitar. In a powerful and incisive look at how both children and adults become musical, Guitar Zero traces Marcus’s journey, what he learned, and how anyone else can learn, too. A groundbreaking peek into the origins of music in the human brain, this musical journey is also an empowering tale of the mind’s enduring plasticity.”

    Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning

    Gary Marcus

    From the Amazon blurb:

    "On the eve of his 40th birthday, Gary Marcus, a renowned scientist with no discernible musical talent, learns to play the guitar and investigates how anyone—of any age —can become musical. Do you have to be born musical to become musical? Do you have to start at the age of six?



    Using the tools of his day job as a cognitive psychologist, Gary Marcus becomes his own guinea pig as he takes up the guitar. In a powerful and incisive look at how both children and adults become musical, Guitar Zero traces Marcus’s journey, what he learned, and how anyone else can learn, too. A groundbreaking peek into the origins of music in the human brain, this musical journey is also an empowering tale of the mind’s enduring plasticity.”

  4. Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia
Richard E. Cytowic, David M. Eagleman
I found Eagleman’s book INCOGNITO fascinating. How much of our brain activity is really behind-the-scenes, versus how much we think we’re in control of everything. I also found it informative on the background biology of the brain. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
How the extraordinary multisensory phenomenon of synesthesia has changed our traditional view of the brain.

    Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia

    Richard E. Cytowic, David M. Eagleman

    I found Eagleman’s book INCOGNITO fascinating. How much of our brain activity is really behind-the-scenes, versus how much we think we’re in control of everything. I also found it informative on the background biology of the brain. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

    How the extraordinary multisensory phenomenon of synesthesia has changed our traditional view of the brain.

  5. This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
John Brockman
Another one for the summer reading pile, which is building faster than I can read them. Mark me curious.
The Amazon blurb:
What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.
Daniel Kahneman on the “focusing illusion” • Jonah Lehrer on controlling attention • Richard Dawkins on experimentation • Aubrey De Grey on conquering our fear of the unknown • Martin Seligman on the ingredients of well-being • Nicholas Carr on managing “cognitive load” • Steven Pinker on win-win negotiating • Daniel C. Dennett on benefiting from cycles • Jaron Lanier on resisting delusion • Frank Wilczek on the brain’s hidden layers • Clay Shirky on the “80/20 rule” • Daniel Goleman on understanding our connection to the natural world • V. S. Ramachandran on paradigm shifts • Matt Ridley on tapping collective intelligence • John McWhorter on path dependence • Lisa Randall on effective theorizing • Brian Eno on “ecological vision” • Richard Thaler on rooting out false concepts • J. Craig Venter on the multiple possible origins of life • Helen Fisher on temperament • Sam Harris on the flow of thought • Lawrence Krauss on living with uncertainty

    This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

    John Brockman

    Another one for the summer reading pile, which is building faster than I can read them. Mark me curious.

    The Amazon blurb:

    What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.

    Daniel Kahneman on the “focusing illusion” • Jonah Lehrer on controlling attention • Richard Dawkins on experimentation • Aubrey De Grey on conquering our fear of the unknown • Martin Seligman on the ingredients of well-being • Nicholas Carr on managing “cognitive load” • Steven Pinker on win-win negotiating • Daniel C. Dennett on benefiting from cycles • Jaron Lanier on resisting delusion • Frank Wilczek on the brain’s hidden layers • Clay Shirky on the “80/20 rule” • Daniel Goleman on understanding our connection to the natural world • V. S. Ramachandran on paradigm shifts • Matt Ridley on tapping collective intelligence • John McWhorter on path dependence • Lisa Randall on effective theorizing • Brian Eno on “ecological vision” • Richard Thaler on rooting out false concepts • J. Craig Venter on the multiple possible origins of life • Helen Fisher on temperament • Sam Harris on the flow of thought • Lawrence Krauss on living with uncertainty

  6. The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel
Téa Obreht
I know that a million people have read this already, but I just got to it, and it’s a really terrific read. It’s got mythology, relationships between generations, love, heartbreak, music, a combination of old-fashioned story telling and real present-day dialogue, a dynamite character in the old doctor, and tigers. Several of them.

    The Tiger’s Wife: A Novel

    Téa Obreht

    I know that a million people have read this already, but I just got to it, and it’s a really terrific read. It’s got mythology, relationships between generations, love, heartbreak, music, a combination of old-fashioned story telling and real present-day dialogue, a dynamite character in the old doctor, and tigers. Several of them.

  7. A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories

April Bloomfield

Old-school British nose-to-tail cooking, in the mold of Fergus Henderson. I’d really like to eat at her place The Breslin in NY, just for the stuffed trotter. Looks like a great book. #wishlisted

    A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories

    April Bloomfield

    Old-school British nose-to-tail cooking, in the mold of Fergus Henderson. I’d really like to eat at her place The Breslin in NY, just for the stuffed trotter. Looks like a great book. #wishlisted

  8. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain

A friend and colleague mentioned this book to me a week ago, and it sounds fascinating. As teachers, we consistently encourage kids to participate. What we really want to do is to encourage them to be engaged, but the line between the two is often blurred. In fact, we sometimes equate “vocal participation” with “engagement,” when they can be quite different things.

When a child is quiet in class, is she listening, attentive, spaced-out, asleep? Is he uncomfortable, bored, shy, or just taking it all in? Those are important questions to ask. I’m very curious about this book.

    Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

    Susan Cain

    A friend and colleague mentioned this book to me a week ago, and it sounds fascinating. As teachers, we consistently encourage kids to participate. What we really want to do is to encourage them to be engaged, but the line between the two is often blurred. In fact, we sometimes equate “vocal participation” with “engagement,” when they can be quite different things.

    When a child is quiet in class, is she listening, attentive, spaced-out, asleep? Is he uncomfortable, bored, shy, or just taking it all in? Those are important questions to ask. I’m very curious about this book.

  9. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping (2nd Edition)
Robert M. Sapolsky
"Combining cutting edge research with a healthy dose of humor and practical advice, Sapolsky explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies mental afflictions." - Amazon

Curious about this one. OpenCulture just posted a lecture of Sapolsky’s, the introduction to his Human Behavioral Biology course at Stamford (which is available in 25 videos that are free on YouTube and iTunes). #OnTheStack

    Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping (2nd Edition)

    Robert M. Sapolsky

    "Combining cutting edge research with a healthy dose of humor and practical advice, Sapolsky explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies mental afflictions." - Amazon
    Curious about this one. OpenCulture just posted a lecture of Sapolsky’s, the introduction to his Human Behavioral Biology course at Stamford (which is available in 25 videos that are free on YouTube and iTunes). #OnTheStack
  10. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America
Timothy Egan

This book is also about an event that happened a hundred years ago (see also The Race to the Pole). The firest that burned through the forests of Idaho, Montana, and Washington state destroyed an area about the size of Connecticut (approximately 3 million acres). It is also a book about the birth of conservation as we know it, and it chronicles the work of Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, as they set aside millions of acres of forest for preservation at the beginning of the 1900s. This was an unprecedented effort, and they ran up against stiff opposition from the entrenched railroad, copper, and timber barons of the day. This protection of land, setting aside forests for the people, necessitated some oversight, and here we see the formation of the U.S. Forest Service.
 
Egan has a knack for writing about disasters. His book The Worst Hard Time describes the plight of farmers during the American dust bowl. Both books are tragic but incredibly informative.  
 

    The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America

    Timothy Egan

    This book is also about an event that happened a hundred years ago (see also The Race to the Pole). The firest that burned through the forests of Idaho, Montana, and Washington state destroyed an area about the size of Connecticut (approximately 3 million acres). It is also a book about the birth of conservation as we know it, and it chronicles the work of Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot, as they set aside millions of acres of forest for preservation at the beginning of the 1900s. This was an unprecedented effort, and they ran up against stiff opposition from the entrenched railroad, copper, and timber barons of the day. This protection of land, setting aside forests for the people, necessitated some oversight, and here we see the formation of the U.S. Forest Service.
     
    Egan has a knack for writing about disasters. His book The Worst Hard Time describes the plight of farmers during the American dust bowl. Both books are tragic but incredibly informative.  
     
  11. Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott’s Antarctic Quest
Ranulph Fiennes
The real story of Captain Robert Scott’s legendary Antarctic quest, told by the man whom the Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed “the world’s greatest living explorer,” Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Almost exactly 100 years ago, two different groups of European explorers reached the South Pole. Roald Amundsen and his team were first, arriving in December of 1911. Robert Falcon Scott and his team got to the pole 33 days later, on January 17, 1912. Scott’s team did not make it back from the pole. They perished in a blizzard some time in late March of 1912. This book is about that expedition.
Fiennes questions some long-held assumptions about Scott’s leadership — many assumed he was incompetent, and there’s some evidence of disgruntled former expedition members swaying public opinion in that direction. The story is tragic, of course, but riveting. It’s remarkable what these men accomplished, in spite of staggering environmental conditions. A terrific read.

    Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott’s Antarctic Quest

    Ranulph Fiennes

    The real story of Captain Robert Scott’s legendary Antarctic quest, told by the man whom the Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed “the world’s greatest living explorer,” Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

    Almost exactly 100 years ago, two different groups of European explorers reached the South Pole. Roald Amundsen and his team were first, arriving in December of 1911. Robert Falcon Scott and his team got to the pole 33 days later, on January 17, 1912. Scott’s team did not make it back from the pole. They perished in a blizzard some time in late March of 1912. This book is about that expedition.

    Fiennes questions some long-held assumptions about Scott’s leadership — many assumed he was incompetent, and there’s some evidence of disgruntled former expedition members swaying public opinion in that direction. The story is tragic, of course, but riveting. It’s remarkable what these men accomplished, in spite of staggering environmental conditions. A terrific read.

  12. Found via brainpickings. I have a few friends that could use this. If I only knew about this book back in December…

    Found via brainpickings. I have a few friends that could use this. If I only knew about this book back in December…

    (via bookpickings)

  13. Lincoln (Modern Library)
Gore Vidal
"Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal’s fictional American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876, Washington, D.C., Empire, and Hollywood. It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards. The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee’s armies beat at the gates. In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal’s portrait of the president is at once intimate and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists.    With a new Introduction by the author.” — Amazon
Although the current Spielberg-directed “Lincoln” is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Book “Team of Rivals,” I thoroughly enjoyed reading through Vidal’s historical novel this past summer. It’s strange to read a novel where you know for sure how it’s all going to end, especially as you get closer and closer to the back cover, and closer to April 14. I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel-Day Lewis in the new movie next fall, as photos online show it seems he’s already inhabiting the character.

    Lincoln (Modern Library)

    Gore Vidal

    "Lincoln is the cornerstone of Gore Vidal’s fictional American chronicle, which includes Burr, 1876, Washington, D.C., Empire, and Hollywood. It opens early on a frozen winter morning in 1861, when President-elect Abraham Lincoln slips into Washington, flanked by two bodyguards. The future president is in disguise, for there is talk of a plot to murder him. During the next four years there will be numerous plots to murder this man who has sworn to unite a disintegrating nation. Isolated in a ramshackle White House in the center of a proslavery city, Lincoln presides over a fragmenting government as Lee’s armies beat at the gates. In this profoundly moving novel, a work of epic proportions and intense human sympathy, Lincoln is observed by his loved ones and his rivals. The cast of characters is almost Dickensian: politicians, generals, White House aides, newspapermen, Northern and Southern conspirators, amiably evil bankers, and a wife slowly going mad. Vidal’s portrait of the president is at once intimate
    and monumental, stark and complex, drawn with the wit, grace, and authority of one of the great historical novelists.
       With a new Introduction by the author.” — Amazon

    Although the current Spielberg-directed “Lincoln” is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Book “Team of Rivals,” I thoroughly enjoyed reading through Vidal’s historical novel this past summer. It’s strange to read a novel where you know for sure how it’s all going to end, especially as you get closer and closer to the back cover, and closer to April 14. I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel-Day Lewis in the new movie next fall, as photos online show it seems he’s already inhabiting the character.

  14. Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work
Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot
This is one of my favorite cookbooks from the last year (although actually published at the end of 2010). Aki and Alex bring a unique and innovative approach to cooking, working to rethink flavor combinations and technique in order to create some terrific dishes. Their book adds to the many recipes that they share from their blog, also called “Ideas in Food.”
Dishes like root beer braised short ribs, cold-smoked fried chicken, pressure cooker “micro stocks,” and brown butter ice cream are all really accessible. I’ve mostly used the section of the book for home cooks, but you can also learn a lot from the section for professionals, even if you’re not cooking with liquid nitrogen and using a vacuum sealer to cook dishes sous vide.  

    Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work

    Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot

    This is one of my favorite cookbooks from the last year (although actually published at the end of 2010). Aki and Alex bring a unique and innovative approach to cooking, working to rethink flavor combinations and technique in order to create some terrific dishes. Their book adds to the many recipes that they share from their blog, also called “Ideas in Food.”

    Dishes like root beer braised short ribs, cold-smoked fried chicken, pressure cooker “micro stocks,” and brown butter ice cream are all really accessible. I’ve mostly used the section of the book for home cooks, but you can also learn a lot from the section for professionals, even if you’re not cooking with liquid nitrogen and using a vacuum sealer to cook dishes sous vide.  

  15. Found via brainpickings:

    Found via brainpickings:

    (via bookpickings)

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