New & Eye Opening Nonfiction Reads

There is nothing like reading nonfiction books for a deeper understanding of things that are of interest to you. Reading nonfiction  is not necessarily boring or does not have to feel like homework.  There are many engagingly written works of nonfiction that you can find informative, eye-opening or entertaining.

Here are some new and noteworthy nonfiction books available with your Livingston Library card, that span a wide range of topics and are guaranteed to open your world.

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos And The Invention Of A Global Empire by Brad Stone

An unvarnished picture of Amazon’s unprecedented growth and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, revealing the most important business story of our time.

Brainscapes: The Warped, Wondrous Maps Written In Your Brain-And How They Guide You by Rebecca Schwarzlose

A path-breaking journey into the brain, showing how perception, thought, and action are products of “maps” etched into your gray matter-and how technology can use them to read your mind.

A Brief History Of Earth: Four Billion Years In Eight Chapters by Andrew H. Knoll

Drawing on his decades of field research and up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest science, renowned geologist Knoll delivers a rigorous yet accessible biography of Earth, charting our home planet’s epic 4.6 billion-year story. Placing twenty first-century climate change in deep context, this is an indispensable look at where we’ve been and where we’re going.

The Brilliant Abyss: Exploring The Majestic Hidden Life Of The Deep Ocean And The Looming Threat That Imperils It by Helen Scales

Revolutionary studies in the deep are rewriting the very notion of life on Earth and the rules of what is possible. In the process, the abyss is being revealed as perhaps the most amazing part of our planet, with a topography even more varied and extreme than its Earthbound counterpart.  Marine biologist Scales brings to life the majesty and mystery of an alien realm that nonetheless sustains us, while urgently making clear the price we could pay if it is further disrupted.

Dedicated: The Case For Commitment In An Age Of Infinite Browsing by Pete Davis

In a culture of restlessness and indecision, which causes tension in people’s lives, a civic advocate, using examples from history, personal stories, and applied psychology, shows how purposeful commitment can be a powerful force.

The Extended Mind: The Power Of Thinking Outside The Brain by Annie Murphy Paul

A bold new book that proves our bodies and surroundings know more than our brains do.  Science journalist Paul posits that bodies, physical spaces, and the minds of other people expand one’s ability to decide, analyze, focus, and solve problems. As such, being aware of one’s bodily signals (such as an increased heart rate) allows people to make better decisions beyond using solely intelligence, and she offers as an example successful Wall Street traders who hit it big by trusting their gut. As for physical spaces, Paul makes a case that nature allows for better focus, and tells of a medical researcher who found architecture so inspiring that it led to intellectual breakthroughs.  And people tend to think better alongside others, Paul explains: physics students, for example, become more nimble problem solvers when they socialize with other physics students.

Extra Life: A Short History Of Living Longer by Steven Johnson

As a species, humans have doubled their life expectancy in one hundred years. Medical breakthroughs, public health institutions, rising standards of living, and the other advances of modern life have given each person about 20,000 extra days on average. This book attempts to help the reader understand where that progress came from and what forces keep people alive longer. The author also considers how to avoid decreases in life expectancy as public health systems face unprecedented challenges, and what current technologies or interventions could reduce the impact of future crises. 

How To Change: The Science Of Getting From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be by Katy Milkman

Change comes most readily when you understand what’s standing between you and success and tailor your solution to that roadblock. If you want to work out more but find exercise difficult and boring, downloading a goal-setting app probably won’t help. But what if, instead, you transformed your workouts so they became a source of pleasure instead of a chore? Turning an uphill battle into a downhill one is the key to success. Drawing on Milkman’s original research and the work of her world-renowned scientific collaborators, the book  shares strategic methods for identifying and overcoming common barriers to change, such as impulsivity, procrastination, and forgetfulness.

Jackpot: How The Super-Rich Really Live–And How Their Wealth Harms Us All by Michael Mechanic

A senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, showing the fascinating, otherworldly realm they inhabit-and the insidious ways this realm harms us all.  The result of deep reporting and dozens of interviews with fortunate citizens–company founders and executives, superstar coders, investors, inheritors, lottery winners, lobbyists, lawmakers, academics, sports agents, wealth and philanthropy professionals, concierges, luxury realtors, Bentley dealers, and even a woman who trains billionaires’ nannies in physical combat, this is a compassionate, character-rich, perversely humorous, and ultimately troubling journey into the American wealth fantasy and where it has taken us.

The Joy Of Sweat: The Strange Science Of Perspiration by Sarah Everts

A taboo-busting romp through the shame, stink, and strange science of sweating.  Everts goes behind the taboo and delves into its role in the body-and in human history. She reveals the wondrous mechanics of the sweat glands and the millions of sweat pores in human skin. She explores why sweat is salty, why what you eat can affect the color of your sweat, and why we sweat when stressed (and whether it can be controlled). She takes part in a sweat dating event, traces the controversial history of antiperspirants and deodorants, considers the purported health benefits of saunas, sweat lodges, and hammams, and investigates whether “eyewitnesses” to a crime may someday be replaced by “nose-witnesses” who can pick a suspect’s body odor out of a police lineup.”

Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale

Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you’ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that youve thought they’ll never understand or do I really want to bring that up? or it’s not going to go well, so why even try? Sale is the founder and host of WNYCs popular, award-winning podcast ‘Death, Sex, & Money’, and in ‘Lets Talk About Hard Things’, she uses the best of what shes learned from her podcast to discuss the tough topics that all of us encounter.

The Life-Changing Science Of Detecting Bullshit by John V. Petrocelli

Expanding upon his viral TEDx Talk, psychology professor and social scientist Petrocelli reveals the critical thinking habits you can develop to recognize and combat pervasive false information that harms society.  With real world examples from people versed in bullshit who work in the used car, real estate, wine, and diamond industries, Petrocelli exposes the red-flag warning signs found in the anecdotal stories, emotional language, and buzzwords used by bullshitters that persuade our decisions.

Numbers Don’t Lie: 71 Stories To Help Us Understand The Modern World by Vaclav Smil

An essential guide to understanding how numbers reveal the true state of our world—exploring a wide range of topics including energy, the environment, technology, transportation, and food production.

Shape: The Hidden Geometry Of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, And Everything Else by Jordan Ellenberg

Shape reveals the geometry underneath some of the most important scientific, political, and philosophical problems we face. Geometry asks: Where are things? Which things are near each other? How can you get from one thing to another thing? Those are important questions. Geometry doesn’t just measure the world-it explains it. Shape shows us how.

The Truth About Lies: The Illusion Of Honesty And The Evolution Of Deceit by Aja Raden

Buttressed by history, psychology, and science, this is both an eye-opening primer on con-artistry―from pyramid schemes to shell games, forgery to hoaxes―and also a telescopic view of society through the mechanics of belief. 

Under a White Sky: The Nature Of The Future by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction returns to humanity’s transformative impact on the environment, now asking: After doing so much damage, can we change nature, this time to save it?  She examines how the very sorts of interventions that have imperiled our planet are increasingly seen as the only hope for its salvation. By turns inspiring, terrifying, and darkly comic, this is an utterly original examination of the challenges we face

Until Proven Safe: The History And Future Of Quarantine by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley

Tracks the history and future of quarantine around the globe, chasing the story of emergency isolation through time and space–from the crumbling lazarettos of the Mediterranean, built to contain the Black Death, to an experimental Ebola unit in London, and from the hallways of the CDC to closed-door simulations where pharmaceutical execs and epidemiologists prepare for the outbreak of a novel coronavirus.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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