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Image of The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire

Author(s): Frank Tallis

The Incurable Romantic: And Other Tales of Madness and Desire

September 17, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A delicious read about the terrifying, inexorable, and sometimes brutal power of romantic passion—always thrilling, sometimes desperate, shockingly dark.”

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Image of Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction

Author(s): Chris Bailey

Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction

August 27, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Another book by a productivity guru that aims to help us cope better with daily distractions. The verdict is mixed.”

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Image of The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity―and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

Author(s): Daniel Z. Lieberman

The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity―and Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race

August 13, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“An overblown title signals a kitchen-sink approach—too much, too repetitive, too speculative. The molecule of more has taken over judgement and discernment.”

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Image of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life

Author(s): Justin J. Lehmiller

Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life

July 9, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Sexual fantasies are highly self–absorbing. . . .

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Image of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

Author(s): Carl Zimmer

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity

May 28, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“If ever a book were to be called magisterial, this one is.

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Image of Think Tank: Forty Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience

Editor(s): David J. Linden

Think Tank: Forty Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience

April 23, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Swiping our smartphones reorganizes the brain’s sensory-motor maps for the hand.

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Image of Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

Author(s): Alan Lightman

Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine

March 26, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Do I know too much, or too little?” he asks. Very much an anti-reductionist, when he sees a flock of birds floating on air, he doesn’t think numbers or gravity.

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Image of The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures

Author(s): Antonio Damasio

The Strange Order of Things: Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures

February 4, 2018Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“He takes the reader on a journey from single cells, to nervous systems, to self-conscious, self-directed minds. One can’t fault him for lack of vision or ambition.”

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Image of The River of Consciousness

Author(s): Oliver Sacks

The River of Consciousness

October 25, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“It is startling to realize that some of our most cherished memories may never have happened.”

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Image of The Runaway Species: How human creativity remakes the world

Author(s): David Eagleman

The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World

October 9, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“No other species puts so much effort into exploring imaginary territories, nor does it seem so determined to turn the make-believe into the real.”

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Image of Who Is Rich?: A Novel

Author(s): Matthew Klam

Who Is Rich?: A Novel

July 18, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A cautionary tale of mining life for one’s art. And of giving one’s fantasies too much free rein.”

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Image of Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

Author(s): Charles Spence

Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

June 20, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Answering questions you would never have thought to ask, Charles Spence reveals how eating and taste have everything to do with the brain and almost nothing to do with the tongue.”

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Image of The Fortune Teller: A Novel

Author(s): Gwendolyn Womack

The Fortune Teller: A Novel

June 11, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Another tale by Womack that can’t be put down. Superb storytelling. Rounded characters. Stakes worth killing—or dying—for. This is summer reading for every season.”

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Image of How Music Works

Author(s): David Byrne

How Music Works

May 10, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Byrne touches on a broad array of forces that influence and shape the musical experience—from how it is created, performed, recorded, and distributed to more personally meaningful aspects

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Image of Young Leonardo: The Evolution of a Revolutionary Artist, 1472-1499

Author(s): Jean-Pierre Isbouts

Young Leonardo: The Evolution of a Revolutionary Artist, 1472–1499

May 8, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A corrective look at Leonardo’s first 27 professional years when he was snubbed, struggled, and departed Florence thwarted and penniless.”

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Image of The Shadow Doctor

Author(s): Adrian Plass

The Shadow Doctor

April 12, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“We are only charged with loving people. The rest is not our responsibility.

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Image of Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Author(s): Richard Yonck

Heart of the Machine: Our Future in a World of Artificial Emotional Intelligence

March 6, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Why are futurists so often wrong, and why do we even listen to them given their poor track record?”

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Image of The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

Author(s): Damion Searls

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

February 21, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“What might this be?” Such an innocuous question—such profound results. No psychological concept has penetrated culture as much as “the Inkblot test” has.

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Image of Behind Her Eyes: A Suspenseful Psychological Thriller

Author(s): Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes: A Novel

January 30, 2017Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“An engaging suspense thriller despite its major gaffe in the ending’s twist. Novel in its concept and construction, this is one unsettling book.”

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Image of Kill the Next One

Author(s): Federico Axat

Kill the Next One

December 23, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Move over Hitchcock, P. D. James, Ruth Rendell, and more. Here is a thriller to make others fade.

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Image of The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

Author(s): David Sax

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

November 28, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

What makes a tool superior to another . . . has nothing to do with how new it is. What matters is how it enlarges or diminishes us.“

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Image of At Danceteria and Other Stories

Author(s): Philip Dean Walker

At Danceteria and Other Stories

November 14, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Walker’s stories intersect the tipping point when big city gay life went from carefree hedonism and glitzy self–indulgence to the moment when self–satisfied habitués of the demi–monde bega

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Image of Thomas Murphy: A Novel

Author(s): Roger Rosenblatt

Thomas Murphy: A Novel

October 3, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Everyone is disabled. Love exists for our disabilities. And forgotten things, though they remain forgotten, have a life of their own.”  

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Image of Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

Author(s): Nicholas Carr

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations

September 20, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“. . . Carr’s best hits for those who missed the last decade of his stream of thoughtful commentary about our love affair with technology and its effect on our relationships . . .”

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Image of A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

Author(s): Daniel J. Levitin

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age

September 6, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Daniel Levitin wants us to eat our spinach, an unsavory chore for an increasingly innumerate society.”

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Image of Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel

Author(s): Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel

August 26, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A debut novel with an intriguing premise. . . . What is left when everything is gone? What does it mean to be alive in the universe and the grandeur of vast emptiness?”

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Image of Paradime: A Novel

Author(s): Alan Glynn

Paradime: A Novel

August 1, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“What a fun book this is. The plot moves. It twists. What we fear will happen does happen. Then unexpected complications set in.

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Image of The Prisoner of Hell Gate: A Novel

Author(s): Dana I. Wolff

The Prisoner of Hell Gate: A Novel [Review II]

July 4, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Don’t read this book if you live alone in a remote cabin. Don’t read it if you whistle in the dark to settle your nerves. Its creepiness will unsettle you but good.”

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Image of The World According to Star Wars

Author(s): Cass R. Sunstein

The World According to Star Wars

May 27, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

Why does Star Wars speak to billions? Studio heads hated it. The actors thought it ridiculous. George Lucas feared catastrophe.

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Image of The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups

Author(s): Erika Christakis

The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups

February 8, 2016Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“What she describes is the end of childhood as we once knew it.”

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Image of Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days

Author(s): Marcos Lutyens

Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days

December 1, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“An art installation that challenges [and shows] that preconceptions are the enemy of new ideas.“

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Image of How About Never--Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons

Author(s): Bob Mankoff

How About Never—Is Never Good for You?: My Life in Cartoons

October 5, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“If you want to win The New Yorker cartoon caption contest, read this book. Read it, too, for a behind-the-scenes peek at the enterprise that makes us smile.”

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Image of Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks

Author(s): Guy Claxton

Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks

September 21, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“We neglect our bodies because we underestimate their intelligence . . .”

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Image of The Art of Memoir

Author(s): Mary Karr

The Art of Memoir

September 14, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A beautiful and unstinting look at the inner thoughts and difficult choices made by writers who dig past the false self to confront a truer, more honest version of themselves.”

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Image of On Writing

Author(s): Abel Debritto

Charles Bukowski on Writing

August 26, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“It helps for readers to have a taste for the quirky, the offbeat, and the unusual.”

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Image of Black Chalk

Author(s): Christopher J. Yates

Black Chalk

August 3, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“So many years suppressing a secret . . . In the end, the mechanism of the Game proved irrelevant.” Which also goes for this disappointing book.

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Image of The Red Collar: A Novel

Author(s): Jean-Christophe Rufin

The Red Collar

August 2, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A modern parable about loyalty to others, fidelity to one’s convictions, and the self-effacement needed to bear the consequences of living by one’s beliefs.”

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Image of The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation

Author(s): Gwendolyn Womack

The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation

May 9, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

The first pages grab the reader with images of half-remembered lives that struggle to hold on to what they imagine is their identity.”

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Image of The Loneliness Cure: Six Strategies for Finding Real Connections in Your Life

Author(s): Kory Floyd

The Loneliness Cure: Six Strategies for Finding Real Connections in Your Life

May 5, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Solitude has; loneliness wants. It isn’t about being alone, but about missing significant connections that feed our need to belong.”

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Image of The Private Life: Our Everyday Self in an Age of Intrusion

Author(s): Josh Cohen

The Private Life: Our Everyday Self in an Age of Intrusion

April 13, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“What you say and what the other hears won’t coincide. There are gaps between . . . what we say and what we mean.”

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Image of All Fall Down: A Novel Author(s): Jennifer Weiner

All Fall Down: A Novel

April 6, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“How glibly addicts deceive themselves.”

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Image of The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

Author(s): Matthew B. Crawford

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction

March 30, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“The lack of direct immersion and the increasing rarity of actual face-to-face interactions are the true cause of our anomie . . .

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Image of Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits--to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life

Author(s): Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

March 28, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“will her recipe that combines research, personal anecdotes, and social media feedback prove superior to existing advice, or will it fall like a failed soufflé?”  

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Image of The Doomsday Equation: A Novel

Author(s): Matt Richtel

The Doomsday Equation: A Novel

February 25, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“The algorithm was the equivalent of giving the world a blood test, taking its temperature, assessing its mood.”

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Image of Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains

Author(s): Susan Greenfield

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains

February 15, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Anything we practice repeatedly changes the brain; fixate on iPhones and similar screens, and we become better at staying helplessly glued to them.”

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Image of Radiomen

Author(s): Eleanor Lerman

Radiomen

January 30, 2015Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“There was something really interesting going on somewhere just beyond the edges of what our eyes could see.”

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Image of The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners: Discover the Taste, Use, Nutrition, Science, and Lore of Everything from Agave Nectar to Xylitol

Author(s): Alan Barclay PhD

The Ultimate Guide to Sugars and Sweeteners

December 14, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Just in time to address those extra holiday pounds comes a practical guide to natural sugars and artificial sweeteners that explodes some long-held myths along the way.”

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Image of The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining

Author(s): Charles Spence, Betina Piqueras- Fiszman

The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining

December 2, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Taste happens in our head, not in our mouth, and the art of the table today is as robust as it was in the 18th century.”

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Image of The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World's Leading Neuroscientists

Editor(s): Gary Marcus, Jeremy Freeman

The Future of the Brain

November 24, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Fast computers coupled with biological knowledge can let us understand the workings of a wedge of actual brain tissue. The progress from measurement to meaning feels palpable.”

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Image of New Slow City: Living Simply in the World's Fastest City

Author(s): William Powers

New Slow City: Living Simply in the World’s Fastest City

November 16, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“If you wear clogs, recycle diapers, and think it is fun to live in a hovel then this book is for you. Otherwise, the going is iffy.”

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Image of Station Eleven: A novel

Author(s): Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

September 8, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“A deeply felt story of human survival; of friendship that endures and abides the twists of fate; and the ability to see beauty in the world as it is, no matter what degradation of the planet or the people on it.”

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Image of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Author(s):

Daniel J. Levitin

The Organized Mind

August 22, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Our minds were designed to succeed in an environment utterly unlike the information overload we now face. As for common sense, how can opposites attract but birds of a feather flock together?”

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Image of Red Joan

Author(s): Jennie Rooney

Red Joan

July 2, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“For some readers the science of Red Joan will resonate; for others, the politics will hold their interest; others still will find both story lines equally thrilling. Characters are complex and well drawn, and the author lets us in on their convictions, prejudices, and doubts.”

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Image of Invisible Love

Author(s): Eric–Emmanuel Schmitt

Invisible Love

June 30, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“What a delight when a writer hits his target as deftly and with such beauty as Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt does in Invisible Love.”

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Image of The Visitors: A Novel

Author(s): Sally Beauman

The Visitors: A Novel

June 30, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“An eyewitness to the discovery of Tutankhamun, but also to a secret hidden for decades: That Lord Carnarvon broke into the tomb before the official opening and removed articles for his personal ‘pocket’ collection.”

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Image of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

Author(s): Paul Taylor

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

March 4, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Generations are more different from each other now than at any time in living memory. The multigenerational household now sees boomers and boomerangers living under the same roof as they once did in the 1940s and 1950s.”

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Image of Wicked Gods

Author(s): Ellis Leyne

Wicked Gods

February 20, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“In this book religion is actually the MacGuffin, the object in a suspense story that sets up the plot and keeps the chain of events in motion . .

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Image of Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

Author(s): Patricia S. Churchland

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain

February 17, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“The world is a better place for Dr. Churchland’s efforts and her curiosity.”

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Image of Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want

Author(s): Nicholas Epley

Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want

February 13, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“. . . about the innate knack everyone has to reason about the minds of others. . . .

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Image of The Last Time I Died

Author(s): Joe Nelms

The Last Time I Died

January 18, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

How this book is supposed to impress intelligent readers is only something that publicity managers can imagine.

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Image of The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

Author(s): Alan Lightman

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew

January 17, 2014Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“We are not observers on the outside looking in. We are on the inside too.”

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Image of Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel

Author(s): Jason Padgett, Maureen Anne Seaberg

Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel

December 30, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Everything we can touch and all that we are is made of the most beautiful geometric patterns.”

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Image of The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts

Author(s): Nicholas Delbanco

The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts

November 18, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“To live one’s life as an artist is to dream of immortality.”

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Image of The Why Axis: Hidden Motives and the Undiscovered Economics of Everyday Life

Author(s): Uri Gneezy, John A. List

The Why Axis

October 8, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Until one understands what incentives motive people, it is impossible to predict how new policies will actually work.”

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Image of The Last Banquet

Author(s): Jonathan Grimwood

The Last Banquet

September 30, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Our lives are built almost entirely on a foundation of events colliding.”

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Image of Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture

Author(s): Dana Goodyear

Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture

September 3, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“. . . that works out to a hell of a lot of insect parts we are already eating without knowing it.”

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Image of The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood

Author(s): Roger Rosenblatt

The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood

August 30, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Everyone dwells in one past or another, and to a greater or lesser extent, is ruled by it.”

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Image of An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist

Author(s): Richard Dawkins

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist

August 9, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“. . . delivers nothing close to an understanding of how [Dawkins] came to be the popular scientist . . .”

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Image of The Goliath Stone

Author(s): Larry Niven, Matthew Joseph Harrington

The Goliath Stone

May 21, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“The Goliath Stone is brain candy, a fast read, and surely a sci-fi fan pleaser. Good for the beach or the hammock.”

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Image of The Science Writers' Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age

Author(s): Writers of SciLance

The Science Writers’ Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Pitch, Publish, and Prosper in the Digital Age

April 16, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“Writing is the second most solitary occupation.”

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Image of The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

Author(s): Temple, Panek, Richard Grandin

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

March 23, 2013Reviewed by: Richard Cytowic

“. . . of enormous service to the millions of autistic individuals . . .

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