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The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age
Venkataraman, Bina
(Hardcover)

List Price: $37.99 Sale: $10.78

“How might we mitigate losses caused by shortsightedness? Bina Venkataraman, a former climate adviser to the Obama administration, brings a storyteller’s eye to this question. . . .  She is also deeply informed about the relevant science.” —The New York Times Book Review A trailblazing exploration of how we can plan better for the future: our own, our families’, and our society’s.  Instant gratification is the norm today—in our lives, our culture, our economy, and our politics. Many of us have forgotten (if we ever learned) how to make smart decisions for the long run. Whether it comes to our finances, our health, our communities, or our planet, it’s easy to avoid thinking ahead. The consequences of this immediacy are stark: Superbugs spawned by the overuse of antibiotics endanger our health. Companies that fail to invest stagnate and fall behind. Hurricanes and wildfires turn deadly for communities that could have taken more precaution. Today more than ever, all of us need to know how we can make better long-term decisions in our lives, businesses, and society. Bina Venkataraman sees the way forward. A former journalist and adviser in the Obama administration, she helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change, and she learned firsthand why people don’t think ahead—and what can be done to change that. In The Optimist’s Telescope, she draws from stories she has reported around the world and new research in biology, psychology, and economics to explain how we can make decisions that benefit us over time. With examples from ancient Pompeii to modern-day Fukushima, she dispels the myth that human nature is impossibly reckless and highlights the surprising practices each of us can adopt in our own lives—and the ones we must fight for as a society. The result is a book brimming with the ideas and insights all of us need in order to forge a better future.


Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything
Weinersmith, Kelly
(Softcover)

List Price: $24.99 Sale: $6.96

The instant New York Times bestseller!A Wall Street Journal Best Science Book of the Year!A Popular Science Best Science Book of the Year! From a top scientist and the creator of the hugely popular web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a hilariously illustrated investigation into future technologies -- from how to fling a ship into deep space on the cheap to 3D organ printing   What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why do we not have a lunar colony already? What is the hold-up? In this smart and funny book, celebrated cartoonist Zach Weinersmith and noted researcher Dr. Kelly Weinersmith give us a snapshot of what's coming next -- from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters. By weaving their own research, interviews with the scientists who are making these advances happen, and Zach's trademark comics, the Weinersmiths investigate why these technologies are needed, how they would work, and what is standing in their way. New technologies are almost never the work of isolated geniuses with a neat idea. A given future technology may need any number of intermediate technologies to develop first, and many of these critical advances may appear to be irrelevant when they are first discovered. The journey to progress is full of strange detours and blind alleys that tell us so much about the human mind and the march of civilization. To this end, Soonish investigates ten different emerging fields, from programmable matter to augmented reality, from space elevators to robotic construction, to show us the amazing world we will have, you know, soonish.Soonish is the perfect gift for science lovers for the holidays!


Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy
Harford, Tim
(Hardcover)

List Price: $37.99 Sale: $13.08

Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy paints an epic picture of change in an intimate way by telling the stories of the tools, people, and ideas that had far-reaching consequences for all of us. From the plough to artificial intelligence, from Gillette’s disposable razor to IKEA’s Billy bookcase, bestselling author and Financial Times columnist Tim Harford recounts each invention’s own curious, surprising, and memorable story. Invention by invention, Harford reflects on how we got here and where we might go next. He lays bare often unexpected connections: how the bar code undermined family corner stores, and why the gramophone widened inequality. In the process, he introduces characters who developed some of these inventions, profited from them, and were ruined by them, as he traces the principles that helped explain their transformative effects. The result is a wise and witty book of history, economics, and biography.


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The Powerhouse: America, China, and the Great Battery War
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The Powerhouse: America, China, and the Great Battery War
Levine, Steve
(Paperback)

List Price: $22.99 Sale: $5.73

The United States, China and virtually every other nation with an industrial base have concluded that powerful advanced batteries and the product that will chiefly use them - affordable, long-distance electric cars - will be the world's next great engine of economic growth. The Powerhouse tells the story of a group of U.S. scientists working towards this great technological breakthrough, following them over a two year period of emotional highs, setbacks and innovation. This is the story of cutting-edge science, and the people working towards a world-changing battery.


WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
O'Reilly, Tim
(Hardcover)

List Price: $44.99 Clearance: $3.18

WTF? can be an expression of amazement or an expression of dismay. In today’s economy, we have far too much dismay along with our amazement, and technology bears some of the blame. In this combination of memoir, business strategy guide, and call to action, Tim O'Reilly, Silicon Valley’s leading intellectual and the founder of O’Reilly Media, explores the upside and the potential downsides of today's WTF? technologies.


How We Got to Now
Johnson, Steven
(Hardcover)

List Price: $40.99 Sale: $8.66

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Where Good Ideas Come From and Everything Bad Is Good for You, a new look at the power and legacy of great ideas. In this illustrated history, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes - from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life.   In his trademark style, Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings in the history of the species - to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips. Accompanied by a major six-part television series on PBS, How We Got to Now is the story of collaborative networks building the modern world, written in the provocative, informative, and engaging style that has earned Johnson fans around the globe.


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How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
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How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery
Ashton, Kevin
(Paperback)

List Price: $21.99 Sale: $8.66

To create is human. Technology pioneer Kevin Ashton has experienced firsthand the all-consuming challenge of creating something new. Now, in a tour-de-force narrative twenty years in the making, Ashton demystifies the sacred act, leading us on a journey through humanity's greatest creations to uncover the surprising truth behind who creates and how they do it. From the crystallographer's laboratory where the secrets of DNA were first revealed by a long forgotten woman, to the Ohio bicycle shop where the Wright brothers set out to "fly a horse," Ashton showcases the seemingly unremarkable individuals, gradual steps, multiple failures, and countless ordinary and usually uncredited acts that lead to our most astounding breakthroughs. Drawing on examples from Mozart to the Muppets, Archimedes to Apple, Kandinsky to a can of Coke, How to Fly a Horse is essential reading for would-be creators and innovators, and also a passionate and immensely rewarding exploration of how "new" comes to be.


America the Ingenious: How a Nation of Dreamers, Immigrants, and Tinkerers Changed the World
Baker, Kevin
(Hardcover)

List Price: $40.99 Sale: $7.64

All made in America: The skyscraper and subway car. The telephone and telegraph. The safety elevator and safety pin. Plus the microprocessor, amusement park, MRI, supermarket, Pennsylvania rifle, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Not to mention the city of Chicago or jazz or that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.What is it about America that makes it a nation of inventors, tinkerers, researchers, and adventurers - obsessive pursuers of the never-before-created? And, equally, what is it that makes America such a fertile place to explore, discover, and launch the next big thing?In America the Ingenious, bestselling author Kevin Baker brings his gift of storytelling and eye for historical detail to the grand, and grandly entertaining, tale of American innovation. Here are the Edisons and Bells and Carnegies, and the stories of how they followed their passions and changed our world. And also the less celebrated, like Jacob Youphes and Loeb Strauss, two Jewish immigrants from Germany who transformed the way at least half the world now dresses (hint: Levi Strauss). And Leo Fender, who couldn’t play a note of music, midwifing rock ’n’ roll through his solid-body electric guitar and amplifier. And the many women who weren’t legally recognized as inventors, but who created things to make their lives easier that we use every day - like Josephine Cochran, inventor of the dishwasher, or Marion O’Brien Donovan, who invented a waterproof diaper cover. Or a guy with the improbable name of Philo Farnsworth, who, with his invention of television, upended communication as significantly as Gutenberg did.At a time when America struggles with different visions of what it wants to be, America the Ingenious shows the extraordinary power of what works: how immigration leads to innovation, what a strong government and strong public education mean to a climate of positive practical change, and why taking the long view instead of looking for short-term gain pays off many times over, not only for investors and inventors, but for the rest of us whose lives are made better by the new.America and its nation of immigrants have excelled at taking ideas from anywhere and transforming them into the startling, often unexpectedly beautiful creations that have shaped our world. This is that story.


Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World
Johnson, Steven
(Paperback)

List Price: $27.99 Sale: $4.49

This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson's storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. In Wonderland, Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You'll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.


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SAM: One Robot, a Dozen Engineers, and the Race to Revolutionize the Way We Build
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SAM: One Robot, a Dozen Engineers, and the Race to Revolutionize the Way We Build
Waldman, Jonathan
(Hardcover)

List Price: $37.99 Sale: $11.46

A true story of innovation, centered on a scrappy team of engineers—far from the Silicon Valley limelight—and their quest to achieve a surprisingly difficult technological feat: building a robot that can lay bricks.Humans have landed men on the moon, programmed cars to drive themselves, and put the knowledge of our entire civilization in your back pocket. But no one—from MIT nerds to Army Corps engineers—has ever built a robot that can lay bricks as well as a mason. Unlike the controlled conditions of a factory line, where robots are now ubiquitous, no two construction sites are alike, and a day’s work involves countless variables—bricks that range in size and quality, temperamental mortar mixes, uneven terrain, fickle weather, and moody foremen.Twenty-five years ago, on a challenging construction job in Syracuse, architect Nate Podkaminer had a vision of a future full of efficient, automated machines that freed men from the repetitive, toilsome burden of laying bricks. (Bricklayers lift the equivalent of a Ford truck every few days.) Offhandedly, he mentioned the idea to his daughter’s boyfriend, and after some inspired scheming, the architect and engineer—soon to be in-laws—cofounded a humble start-up called Construction Robotics. Working out of a small trailer, they recruited a boldly unconventional team of engineers to build the Semi-Automated Mason: SAM. In classic American tradition, a small, unlikely, and eccentric family-run start-up sought to reimagine the behemoth $1 trillion construction industry—the second biggest industry in America—in bootstrap fashion.In the tradition of Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine, SAM unfolds as an engineering drama, full of trials and setbacks, heated showdowns between meticulous scientists and brash bricklayers (and their even more opinionated union), and hard-earned milestone achievements. Jonathan Waldman, acclaimed author of Rust, brings readers inside the world of the renegade company revolutionizing the most traditional trade.


Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World
Schilling, Melissa A
(Hardcover)

List Price: $37.99 Sale: $7.38

The science behind the traits and quirks that drive creative geniuses to make spectacular breakthroughs.What really distinguishes the people who literally change the world--those creative geniuses who give us one breakthrough after another? What differentiates Marie Curie or Elon Musk from the merely creative, the many one-hit wonders among us?Melissa Schilling, one of the world's leading experts on innovation, invites us into the lives of eight people--Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Elon Musk, Dean Kamen, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs--to identify the traits and experiences that drove them to make spectacular breakthroughs, over and over again. While all innovators possess incredible intellect, intellect alone, she shows, does not create a breakthrough innovator. It was their personal, social, and emotional quirkiness that enabled true genius to break through--not just once but again and again.Nearly all of the innovators, for example, exhibited high levels of social detachment that enabled them to break with norms, an almost maniacal faith in their ability to overcome obstacles, and a passionate idealism that pushed them to work with intensity even in the face of criticism or failure. While these individual traits would be unlikely to work in isolation--being unconventional without having high levels of confidence, effort, and goal directedness might, for example, result in rebellious behavior that does not lead to meaningful outcomes--together they can fuel both the ability and drive to pursue what others deem impossible.Schilling shares the science behind the convergence of traits that increases the likelihood of success. And, as Schilling also reveals, there is much to learn about nurturing breakthrough innovation in our own lives--in, for example, the way we run organizations, manage people, and even how we raise our children.


The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World
Weinberger, Sharon
(Hardcover)

List Price: $43.99 Sale: $7.98

Based on exclusive interviews with senior Pentagon officials and previously unseen declassified documents, this is the definitive history of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency--the Pentagon agency that has quietly shaped war and technology for nearly sixty years.


Creating Things That Matter: The Art and Science of Innovations That Last
Edwards, David
(Hardcover)

List Price: $40.99 Sale: $7.38

Most things we create will not matter. This book is about creating things that do, from a master innovator who brings science and art together in his cutting edge labs.Art and science are famous opposites. Contemporary innovation mostly keeps them far apart. But in this book, David Edwards - world-renowned inventor; Harvard professor of the practice of idea translation; creator of breathable insulin, edible food packaging, and digital scents - reveals that the secret to creating very new things of lasting benefit, including innovations we will need to sustain human life on the planet, lies in perceiving art and science as one.Here Edwards shares how he discovered a way of creating that transcends disciplines and incorporates the principles of aesthetics. He introduces us to cutting-edge artists, musicians, architects, physicists, mathematicians, engineers, chefs, choreographers, and novelists (among others) and uncovers a three-step cycle they all share in creating things that durably matter. This creator cycle looks unlike what we associate with game-changing innovation today, and aligns the most expressive art and the most revolutionary science in a radical reimagining of how we live. David Edwards and the innovators he profiles belong to an emerging grassroots renaissance flourishing in special environments that we all can make in our schools, companies and homes.Creating Things That Matter is a book for anyone wondering what tomorrow might be, and at last half believing that what they do can make a difference.


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Free to Make: How the Maker Movement is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds
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Free to Make: How the Maker Movement is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs, and Our Minds
Dougherty, Dale
(Paperback)

List Price: $24.99 Sale: $8.88

Dale Dougherty, creator of MAKE: magazine and the Maker Faire, provides a guided tour of the international phenomenon known as the Maker Movement, a social revolution that is changing what gets made, how it's made, where it's made, and who makes it. Free to Make is a call to join what Dougherty calls the "renaissance of making," an invitation to see ourselves as creators and shapers of the world around us. As the internet thrives and world-changing technologies--like 3D printers and tiny microcontrollers--become increasingly affordable, people around the world are moving away from the passivity of one-size-fits-all consumption and command-and-control models of education and business. Free to Make explores how making revives abandoned and neglected urban areas, reinvigorates community spaces like libraries and museums, and even impacts our personal and social development--fostering a mindset that is engaged, playful, and resourceful. Free to Make asks us to imagine a world where making is an everyday occurrence in our schools, workplaces, and local communities, grounding us in the physical world and empowering us to solve the challenges we face.


Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History
Romney, J. P.
(Paperback)

List Price: $24.99 Sale: $8.66

A funny and entertaining history of printed books as told through absurd moments in the lives of authors and printers, collected by television’s favorite rare-book expert from HISTORY’s hit series Pawn Stars.Since the Gutenberg Bible first went on sale in 1455, printing has been viewed as one of the highest achievements of human innovation. But the march of progress hasn’t been smooth; downright bizarre is more like it. Printer’s Error chronicles some of the strangest and most humorous episodes in the history of Western printing, and makes clear that we’ve succeeded despite ourselves. Rare-book expert Rebecca Romney and author J. P. Romney take us from monasteries and museums to auction houses and libraries to introduce curious episodes in the history of print that have had a profound impact on our world.Take, for example, the Gutenberg Bible. While the book is regarded as the first printed work in the Western world, Gutenberg’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on it. Today, Johannes Gutenberg is recognized as the father of Western printing. But for the first few hundred years after the invention of the printing press, no one knew who printed the first book. This long-standing mystery took researchers down a labyrinth of ancient archives and libraries, and unearthed surprising details, such as the fact that Gutenberg’s financier sued him, repossessed his printing equipment, and started his own printing business afterward. Eventually the first printed book was tracked to the library of Cardinal Mazarin in France, and Gutenberg’s forty-two-line Bible was finally credited to him, thus ensuring Gutenberg’s name would be remembered by middle-school students worldwide.Like the works of Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman, and Ken Jennings, Printer’s Error is a rollicking ride through the annals of time and the printed word.


Creating Things That Matter: The Art and Science of Innovations That Last
Edwards, David
(Paperback)

List Price: $24.99 Sale: $7.64

Most things we create will not matter. This book is about creating things that do, from a master innovator who brings science and art together in his cutting edge labs.Art and science are famous opposites. Contemporary innovation mostly keeps them far apart. But in this book, David Edwards - world-renowned inventor; Harvard professor of the practice of idea translation; creator of breathable insulin, edible food packaging, and digital scents - reveals that the secret to creating very new things of lasting benefit, including innovations we will need to sustain human life on the planet, lies in perceiving art and science as one.Here Edwards shares how he discovered a way of creating that transcends disciplines and incorporates the principles of aesthetics. He introduces us to cutting-edge artists, musicians, architects, physicists, mathematicians, engineers, chefs, choreographers, and novelists (among others) and uncovers a three-step cycle they all share in creating things that durably matter. This creator cycle looks unlike what we associate with game-changing innovation today, and aligns the most expressive art and the most revolutionary science in a radical reimagining of how we live. David Edwards and the innovators he profiles belong to an emerging grassroots renaissance flourishing in special environments that we all can make in our schools, companies and homes.Creating Things That Matter is a book for anyone wondering what tomorrow might be, and at last half believing that what they do can make a difference.


Leonardo Da Vinci (30- Second)
Wallace, Marina (Edt)
(Paperback)

List Price: $17.99 Sale: $5.73

Artist, anatomist, architect, botanist, cartographer, engineer, mathematician, musician, scientist, sculptor – the word ‘polymath’ cannot provide the full measure of Leonardo da Vinci’s extraordinary talents. If you only know Leonardo as the painter of the famous, much copied portrait, the Mona Lisa, seize the chance to brush up your knowledge and discover what is meant by the term Renaissance Man.30 Second Leonardo Da Vinci is the quickest way to grapple with the truly diverse thoughts of the ultimate Renaissance superhero. Here, the world’s leading Leonardo scholars present an instant and expert guide to the breadth and brilliance of his greatest innovations. Each entry is summarized in just 30 seconds – using nothing more than two pages, 300 words and a single picture. Illustrated with inventive graphics and supported by studies of his key paintings, it’s the ultimate book to quench your curiosity.


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Great Discoveries and Inventions That Have Changed the World: From the End of the 19th Century to the Present
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Great Discoveries and Inventions That Have Changed the World: From the End of the 19th Century to the Present
Morelli, Gianni (Edt)
(Hardcover)

List Price: $40.99 Sale: $9.51

Take an extraordinary journey through the discoveries that have transformed our world, and our lives, forever.What would life be like without cars, refrigerators, the Internet, or the omnipresent smartphone? Learn about the discovery of the most important inventions that have influenced the contemporary world, from the end of the nineteenth century to our own time. They include innovations in technology, such as alternating current, plastic, and the robot; communications (cameras, radio, cinema); medicine, from aspirin and penicillin to x-rays and the pacemaker; and transportation. See what secrets and events led to their creation and meet the exceptional figures who conceived them.


Great Inventions (30-Second)
Boyle, David (Edt)
(Paperback)

List Price: $17.99 Sale: $6.96

Where would we be without the wheel or glass? Imagine life without cement or computers. Take a moment to consider how vaccinations and pacemakers improve our health and wellbeing. Ranging from materials to medicine, engineering to energy, transport to touchscreens, this book shows you 50 groundbreaking inventions - together with the individuals behind the ideas - that really have changed the world.30-Second Great Inventions traces the history of human progress through the products of true geniuses, from the chance discovery of how to make glass by heating sand to the series of light-bulb moments that enable us to illuminate the world at the flick of a switch. Engaging entries in a mere 300 words and one picture provide the quickest way to understand remarkable technological breakthroughs and social developments.


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