Popular new Non-fiction books in May

An eccentric mix this month! Including the Loch Ness monster; what makes living things ‘tick’; a beginner’s guide to forensic science; and Marxist anthropology.

B00BMRTPEM_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_The fourth industrial revolution / Klaus Schwab.
“Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, has been at the center of global affairs for over four decades. He is convinced that the period of change we are living through is more significant, and the ramifications of the latest technological revolution more profound than any prior period of human history. He has dubbed this era the fourth industrial revolution. Crowdsourcing ideas, insights and wisdom from the World Economic Forum’s global network of business, government, civil society and youth leaders, this book looks deeply at the future that is unfolding today and how we might take collective responsibility to ensure it is a positive one for all of us.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe restless clock : a history of the centuries-long argument over what makes living things tick / Jessica Riskin.
“Today, a scientific explanation is not meant to ascribe agency to natural phenomena: we would not say a rock falls because it seeks the center of the earth. Even for living things, in the natural sciences and often in the social sciences, the same is true. A modern botanist would not say that plants pursue sunlight. This has not always been the case, nor, perhaps, was it inevitable. Since the seventeenth century, many thinkers have made agency, in various forms, central to science. The Restless Clock examines the history of this principle, banning agency, in the life sciences.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverWhen God isn’t green : a world-wide journey to places where religious practice and environmentalism collide / Jay Wexler.
“In this lively, round-the-world trip, law professor and humorist Jay Wexler explores the intersection of religion and the environment. Did you know that: In Hong Kong and Singapore, Taoists burn paper money to appease “hungry ghosts,” filling the air with smoke and dangerous toxins? In Mumbai, Hindus carry twenty-foot-tall plaster of Paris idols of the elephant god Ganesh into the sea and leave them on the ocean floor to symbolize the impermanence of life, further polluting the scarce water resources of western India?… Law professor and humorist Jay Wexler travels the globe in order to understand the complexity of these problems and learn how society can best address them…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForensic science : a beginner’s guide / Jay Siegel.
“Real-life examples come under the scalpel as forensic scientist Jay Siegel follows the course of evidence all the way from the crime scene to the court judgement. He explains the many types of evidence, how they occur, how they are collected and analysed, and how the results are presented in court. His guide covers all the major areas of forensic science, including drugs, trace evidence, pathology, entomology, odontology, anthropology, crime scene investigation and the law.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA monstrous commotion : the mysteries of Loch Ness / Gareth Williams.
“The Loch Ness Monster: a creature that should have died out with the dinosaurs, or a legend built on hoaxes and wishful thinking? Sir Peter Scott, internationally renowned naturalist and president of the World Wildlife Fund, was convinced that the Monster existed. So were senior scientists at London’s Natural History Museum and Chicago University; they lost their jobs because they refused to renounce their belief in the creature. For decades, the scientific establishment was determined to quash attempts to investigate Loch Ness – until Nature, the world’s greatest research journal, published an article by Peter Scott featuring underwater photographs of the monster.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ways of the world / David Harvey.
“This book shows how experiencing the riots, despair and injustice of 1970s Baltimore led David Harvey to seek an explanation of capitalist inequalities via Marx and to a sustained intellectual engagement that has made him the world’s leading exponent of Marx’s work. It takes the reader through the development of his unique synthesis of Marxist method and geographical understanding that has allowed him to develop a series of powerful insights into the ways of the world, from the new mechanics of imperialism, crises in financial markets and the effectiveness of car strikers in Oxford, to the links between nature and change, why SacrĂ© Coeur was built in Paris, and the meaning of the postmodern condition…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGlobal inequality : a new approach for the age of globalization / Branko Milanovic.
“One of the world’s leading economists of inequality, Branko Milanovic presents a bold new account of the dynamics that drive inequality on a global scale. Drawing on vast data sets and cutting-edge research, he explains the benign and malign forces that make inequality rise and fall within and among nations. He also reveals who has been helped the most by globalization, who has been held back, and what policies might tilt the balance toward economic justice. Global Inequality takes us back hundreds of years, and as far around the world as data allow, to show that inequality moves in cycles, fueled by war and disease, technological disruption, access to education, and redistribution…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe end of karma : hope and fury among India’s young / Somini Sengupta.
“Somini Sengupta emigrated from Calcutta to California as a young child in 1975. Returning thirty years later as the bureau chief for The New York Times, she found a vastly different country: one defined as much by aspiration and possibility–at least by the illusion of possibility–as it is by the structures of sex and caste. The End of Karma is an exploration of this new India through the lens of young people from different worlds: a woman who becomes a Maoist rebel; a brother charged for the murder of his sister, who had married the “wrong” man; a woman who opposes her family and hopes to become a police officer. Driven by aspiration–and thwarted at every step by state and society–they are making new demands on India’s democracy for equality of opportunity, dignity for girls, and civil liberties.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of risk : the new science of courage, caution, & chance / Kayt Sukel.
“In The art of risk, intrepid journalist Kayt Sukel combines recent neuroscience and jaw-dropping stories from real-life risk-takers, asking what makes one person dive in and another shrink away from risky situations. Along the way, she guides our understanding of what we can and can’t change about ourselves – and how to make the most of what life throws our way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnd the weak suffer what they must? : Europe’s crisis and America’s economic future / Yanis Varoufakis.
“In January 2015, Yanis Varoufakis, an economics professor teaching in Austin, Texas, was elected to the Greek parliament with more votes than any other member of parliament. He was appointed finance minister and, in the whirlwind five months that followed, everything he had warned about–the perils of the euro’s faulty design, the European Union’s shortsighted austerity policies, financialized crony capitalism, American complicity and rising authoritarianism–was confirmed as the “troika” (the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, and European Commission) stonewalled his efforts to resolve Greece’s economic crisis. Here, Varoufakis delivers a fresh look at the history of Europe’s crisis and America’s central role in it.” (Syndetics summary)