Popular Non-Fiction books in March

Featured this month is From Bacteria to Bach and Back, a controversial, thought-provoking book about a new theory of the evolution of minds.

Syndetics book coverFrom bacteria to Bach and back : the evolution of minds / Daniel C. Dennett.
“A leading philosopher offers a major new account of the origins of the conscious mind that explores the deep interactions of evolution, brains, and human culture, demonstrating the role of culture in installing memes, including language, in the mind.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Brexit club : the inside story of the Leave campaign’s shock victory / Owen Bennett.
“From Boris Johnson to Nigel Farage; George Galloway to Michael Gove, the campaign to get the UK out of the EU brought together some of the most colourful characters in British politics. This once-in-a-generation opportunity to free the UK from the grip of Brussels saw egos put to one side and rivalries put on hold to push for a Leave vote in the EU referendum… Or did it?”

Syndetics book coverWhy I am not a feminist : a feminist manifesto. / Jessa Crispin.
“Are you a feminist? Do you believe women are human beings and that they deserve all the same rights as men? If so, then you are a feminist… Or are you? Is it really that simple? Outspoken cultural critic Jessa Crispin says somewhere along the way, the movement for female liberation sacrificed meaning for acceptance, and left us with a banal, polite, ineffectual pose that barely challenges the status quo. In this bracing, fiercely intelligent manifesto, she demands more- nothing less than the total dismantling of the system of oppression-and of what people currently think of as feminism.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEconomism : bad economics and the rise of inequality / James Kwak ; foreword by Simon Johnson.
“Outlines a deconstruction of the framework for understanding the world of classroom economics, clarifying assumptions and misleading teachings while sharing historical insights into how economism became a prevalent influence in the U.S.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Trump survival guide : everything you need to know about what you hoped would never happen / Gene Stone, with Nicholas Bromley, Tetsuhiko Endo, Mark Langley, Michael Otterman, Kendra Pierre-Louise, Carl Pritzkat, Miranda Spencer.
“The stunning election of Donald J. Trump rocked an already divided America and left scores of citizens feeling bereft and powerless. Now, Gene Stone …offers invaluable guidance and concrete solutions they can use to make a difference in this serious call-to-arms–showing them how to move from anger and despair to activism as the Trump presidency is in full swing and he signs one executive order after another. Before we can successfully engage, we need to be clear about the battles ahead. Stone outlines political and social concepts …providing a brief history of each, a refresher on Obama’s policies, and an analysis of what Trump’s administration might do. Stone then provides an invaluable guide for fighting back…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFive ideas to fight for : how our freedom is under threat and why it matters / Anthony Lester.
“Human Rights – Equality – Free Speech – Privacy – The Rule of Law. These five ideas are vitally important to the way of life we enjoy today. The battle to establish them in law was long and difficult, and Anthony Lester was at the heart of the thirty-year campaign that resulted in the Human Rights Act, as well as the struggle for race and gender equality that culminated in the Equality Act of 2010. A fierce argument for why we must act now to ensure the survival of the ideals which enable us to live freely, Five Ideas to Fight For is a revealing account of what we need to protect our hard-won rights and freedoms.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpymaster : the life of Britain’s most decorated cold war spy and head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield / Martin Pearce.
“The extraordinary story of the most highly decorated British spymaster of the Cold War, Sir Maurice Oldfield. Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (commonly known as the SIS or MI6), he was the first Chief to be named and pictured in the press. He was the first Chief of MI6 that hadn’t come from an upper-class background or studied at Eton or Oxbridge. Rather, he was a farmer’s son from a provincial grammar school who found himself accidentally plunged into the world of espionage by the outbreak of the Second World War. This is the fascinating life story of Maurice Oldfield, written by his nephew Martin Pearce, who remembers asking his uncle what he did for a job. ‘Oh it’s quite boring really, dear boy. I’m a kind of security guard at embassies,’ was the reply…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great leveler : violence and the history of inequality from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century / Walter Scheidel.
“Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInsane clown president : dispatches from the 2016 circus / Matt Taibbi.
“…In twenty-four pieces from Rolling Stone–plus two original essays–Taibbi tells the full story the campaign, from its tragi-comic beginnings to its apocalyptic conclusion, through sharp, on-the-ground reporting, incisive analysis, and gallows humor. This isn’t simply a blow-by-blow recounting of this uniquely bizarre and disturbing election season, but the wider story of the seeming collapse of American democracy.”– Provided by publisher.

Syndetics book coverWhen we are no more : how digital memory is shaping our future / Abby Smith Rumsey.
“In When We Are No More Abby Smith Rumsey explores human memory from pre-history to the present to shed light on the grand challenge facing our world–the abundance of information and scarcity of human attention. Tracing the story from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls, to movable type, books, and the birth of the Library of Congress, Rumsey weaves a compelling narrative that explores how humans have dealt with the problem of too much information throughout our history, and indeed how we might begin solve the same problem for our digital future.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Popular non-fiction books

The highlight of this months’ books is The Machine Stops, in which 12 artists write to E.M. Forster’s imaginary Machine. The story “The Machine Stops” is included, and the book makes for fascinating reading. Also important at the moment is What is a Refugee?, a very timely book, a touch of comedy in The Revenge of Anguished English, and a new edition of the well praised Prosperity without Growth rounds up our selection.

Syndetics book coverHow change happens / Duncan Green.
“Human society is full of would-be “change agents”, a restless mix of campaigners, lobbyists, and officials, both individuals and organizations, set on transforming the world. Striking then, that not many universities have a Department of Change Studies, to which social activists can turn for advice and inspiration. Instead, scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, rarely making it onto the radars of those actively seeking change. This book bridges the gap between academia and practice, bringing together the best research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists to explore the topic of social and political change…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTerrorism : a history / Randall D. Law.
“We live in an era dominated by terrorism but struggle to understand its meaning and the real nature of the threat. In this new edition of his widely acclaimed survey of the topic, Randall Law makes sense of the history of terrorism by examining it within its broad political, religious and social contexts and tracing its development from the ancient world to the 21st century. In Terrorism: A History, Law reveals how the very definition of the word has changed, how the tactics and strategies of terrorism have evolved, and how those who have used it adapted to revolutions in technology, communications, and political ideologies.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe machine stops / E.M. Forster; with contributions by Julieta Aranda, Fia Backström and R. Lyon … [et. al.] ; edited by Erik Wysocan.
“In 1909 E.M. Forster (1879-1970) wrote his one work of dystopian science fiction, The Machine Stops, which imagines the world in the aftermath of an ecological crisis, where humans live in underground chambers without physical contact. Here, 12 artists–Julieta Aranda, Fia Backstrom and R. Lyon, Ed Atkins, Ian Cheng, Melanie Gilligan, Pedro Neves Marques, Tobias Madison, Jeff Nagy, Rachel Rose, Bea Schlingelhoff and Mariana Silva–contribute texts addressing culture in the networked age.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCreating freedom : power, control and the fight for our future / Raoul Martinez.
“The ideal of freedom is at the heart of our political and economic system. It is foundational to our sense of justice, our way of life, our conception of what it is to be human. But are we free in the way that we think we are? In Creating Freedom, Raoul Martinez brings together a torrent of mind-expanding ideas, facts and arguments to dismantle sacred myths central to our society – myths about free will, free markets, free media and free elections. From the lottery of our birth to the consent-manufacturing influence of concentrated wealth and power, this far-reaching manifesto lifts the veil on the mechanisms of control that pervade our lives.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack and British : a forgotten history / David Olusoga.
“In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. …Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe singular universe and the reality of time : a proposal in natural philosophy / Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin.
“Cosmology is in crisis. The more we discover, the more puzzling the universe appears to be. To keep cosmology scientific, we must replace the old view in which the universe is governed by immutable laws by a new one in which laws evolve. Then we can hope to explain them. The revolution that Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin propose relies on three central ideas. The argument is readily accessible to non-scientists as well as to the physicists and cosmologists whom it challenges.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat is a refugee? / William Maley.
“Arguing that Western states are now reaping the consequences of policies aimed at blocking safe and ‘legal’ access to asylum, What is a Refugee? shows why many proposed solutions to the refugee ‘problem’ will exacerbate tension and risk fuelling the growth of extremism among people who have been denied all hope. This lucid book also tells of the families and individuals who have sought refuge, highlighting the suffering, separation and dislocation on their perilous journeys to safety.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe revenge of anguished English : super duper bloopers, botches, and blunders / Richard Lederer ; illustrated by Jim McLean.
“Fourth in the Anguished English series, this updated collection of verbal bloopers will have word nerds in stitches. From the gas station sign stating “Eat Here and Get Gas” to the church bulletin that reads “Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a health lunch,” hundreds of linguistic blunders are gathered from every layer of society and presented in this jocular assemblage, extracted exactly as they were originally presented.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuyer beware : a New Zealand home buyer’s guide / Maria Slade.
“How to negotiate the minefield of buying a home in New Zealand today. Property prices going through the stratosphere, leaky buildings, P contamination, bullying body corporates – purchasing a house today can feel akin to entering a minefield. Written by a news journalist who has covered many of the horror stories, this book takes a no-holds-barred look at the challenges facing home buyers and offers savvy advice on how to navigate that minefield. It will appeal to all home buyers, from first-timers hoping for a small apartment to older people looking to downsize and everyone in between.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProsperity without growth : foundations for the economy of tomorrow / Tim Jackson.
“The publication of Prosperity without Growth was a landmark in the sustainability debate. Tim Jackson’s piercing challenge to conventional economics openly questioned the most highly-prized goal of politicians and economists alike: the continued pursuit of exponential economic growth. Its findings provoked controversy, inspired debate and led to a new wave of research building on its arguments and conclusions. This substantially revised and re-written edition updates those arguments and considerably expands upon them. Seven years after it was first published, Prosperity without Growth is an essential vision of social progress in a post-crisis world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Popular non-fiction books in January

From books about making money to books about making war: economics, the human condition and rearing teenagers, there’s something for everyone in this month’s collection of new non-fiction books!

Syndetics book coverThe spies of winter : the GCHQ codebreakers who fought the Cold War / by Sinclair McKay.
“…Fascinating and insightful revelations from deep within the archives of this secret organisation reveal the story of the tumultuous early years of GCHQ as it navigated its way through an era of double agents, deception and betrayals. From the defection of the Cambridge Five and the treachery of the atomic scientist Klaus Fuchs, to the collapse of the British Empire, the ascension of Chairman Mao and the emergence of the US as a superpower, McKay deftly explores the impact these events had on the fledgling organisation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDefeating Jihad : the winnable war / Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
“Since September 11, 2001, America has been at war. And that’s about all anyone can say with certainty about a conflict that has cost 7,000 American lives and almost $2 trillion. As long as the most basic strategic questions–Who is the enemy? Why are we fighting?–remain unanswered, victory is impossible. Yet this war is eminently winnable if we remove our ideological blinders, accurately name our enemy, and draw up a strategy to defeat him. So says Dr. Sebastian Gorka, one of the most experienced and sought-after authorities on counterterrorism…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo humankind’s best days lie ahead? / Steven Pinker, Matt Ridley, Alain de Botton, Malcolm Gladwell ; edited by Rudyard Griffiths.
“From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations, and ideas, the human condition is improving… But is progress inevitable? What is seen as a breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality. So is the cup half full or half empty? As part of the Munk Debates series, held in Toronto biannually, pioneering cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and bestselling author Matt Ridley squared off against noted philosopher Alain de Botton and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, giving us an entertaining and thought-provoking face-off between four of the world’s most renowned thinkers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe econocracy : the perils of leaving economics to the experts / Joe Earle, Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins.
“One hundred years ago the idea of ‘the economy’ didn’t exist. Now, improving the economy has come to be seen as perhaps the most important task facing modern societies. Politics and policymaking are conducted in the language of economics and economic logic shapes how political issues are thought about and addressed. The result is that the majority of citizens, who cannot speak this language, are locked out of politics while political decisions are increasingly devolved to experts. The econocracy explains how economics came to be seen this way – and the damaging consequences. It opens up the discipline and demonstrates its inner workings to the wider public so that the task of reclaiming democracy can begin.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSex, likes and social media : talking to our teens in the digital age / Allison Harvey and Deana Puccio.
“Welcome to the world of the Digital Native, where self-esteem is measured in Likes, everyone is sexting and ‘Pimps and Hoes’ is an acceptable party theme. Dates have been replaced with swipes, rape jokes are hilarious and ‘No’ means ‘Yes’. For most parents, the digital landscape that our kids and teens are growing up in is uncharted territory. How do we know if they’re happy? How do we talk to them about sex and relationships? How do we give them the new tools they need when we don’t have them ourselves? This book is here to help. Based on their professional work with young people, parents and teachers – and their experiences with their own children – Deana Puccio and Allison Havey give you the tools.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProperty entrepreneur : the wealth dragon way to build a successful property business / Vincent Wong.
“…Author Vincent Wong is one of the UK’s most dynamic and respected property entrepreneurs, and this book outlines his approach to creating wealth through property investing for both seasoned and aspiring investors. Emphasising the importance of treating property investing as a business, the author shares the wisdom of his first-hand experience and his investment techniques to help you navigate the ever-shifting property market and become a true property entrepreneur…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMolecular red : theory for the Anthropocene / McKenzie Wark.
“In Molecular Red, McKenzie Wark creates philosophical tools for the Anthropocene, our new planetary epoch, in which human and natural forces are so entwined that the future of one determines that of the other. …From the scientific pioneers who were trying to transform science during the Russia Revolution, to visionaries contemplating cyborg possibilities and science fiction dreams in late twentieth-century California, Molecular Red not only looks at the crisis of climate change that we face but also how we might be able to understand it, and how we might salvage some hope out of the wreckage.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUtopia is creepy : and other provocations / Nicholas Carr.
“With a razor wit, Nicholas Carr cuts through Silicon Valley’s unsettlingly cheery vision of the technological future to ask a hard question: Have we been seduced by a lie? Gathering a decade’s worth of posts from his blog, Rough Type, as well as his seminal essays, Utopia Is Creepy offers an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes, its blind triumphs, and its unintended consequences. …In famous essays including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy,” Carr dissects the logic behind Silicon Valley’s “liberation mythology,” showing how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us–often at the same time…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unnatural world : the race to remake civilization in Earth’s newest age / David Biello.
“A Science Friday and Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of the Year. With the historical perspective of ‘The Song of the Dodo’ and the urgency of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a brilliant young environmental journalist argues that we must innovate and adapt to save planet Earth. Civilization is in crisis, facing disasters of our own making on the only planet known to bear life in the vast void of the universe. We have become unwitting gardeners of the Earth, not in control, but setting the conditions under which all of life flourishes–or not. Truly, it’s survival of the innovators.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRe-imagining capitalism / edited by Dominic Barton, Dezsö Horváth, and Matthias Kipping.
“Capitalism has been an unprecedented engine of wealth creation for many centuries, leading to sustained productivity gains and long-term growth and lifting an increasing part of humanity out of poverty and subsistence. But its effects, and hence its future, have come increasingly under question: Is capitalism still improving the wealth and well-being for the many? Or, has it become destructive for the economy, where long-term value creation is being sacrificed to the pressures of short-termism; for society, where the gap between rich and poor has increased and opportunities to lift oneself out of poverty have dwindled; and for the natural environment, which seems increasingly under threat with unforeseen consequences for prosperity and global order? This volume reflects both the urgency of the needed action and the opportunity to achieve a wide-ranging agreement and lasting movement towards a more responsible, equitable, and sustainable model of capitalism in order to ensure its very survival. ” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Popular Non-fiction books for holiday reading

Some more substantial reading just in time for your holidays.

Syndetics book coverRebel crossings : new women, free lovers, and radicals in Britain and America / Sheila Rowbotham.
Rebel Crossings relates the interweaving lives of four women and two men as they journey from the nineteenth to the twentieth century, from Britain to America, and from Old World conventions toward New World utopias. Radicalised by the rise of socialism, Helena Born, Miriam Daniell, Gertrude Dix, Robert Nicol and William Bailie cross the Atlantic dreaming of liberty and equality. …offers fascinating perspectives on the historical interaction of feminism, socialism, and anarchism and on the incipient consciousness of a new sense of self, so vital for women seeking emancipation.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFour futures : visions of the world after capitalism / Peter Frase.
“Capitalism is going to end: Peter Frase argues that increasing automation and a growing scarcity of resources, thanks to climate change, will bring it all tumbling down. In Four Futures, Frase imagines how this post-capitalist world might look, deploying the tools of both social science and speculative fiction to explore what communism, rentism, socialism and exterminism might actually entail. A whirlwind tour through science fiction, social theory and the new technologies already shaping our lives, Four Futures is a balance sheet of the socialisms we may reach if a resurgent Left is successful, and the barbarisms we may be consigned to if those movements fail.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe optician of Lampedusa / Emma Jane Kirby.
“From an award-winning BBC journalist, this moving book turns the testimony of an accidental hero into a timeless story about the awakening of human courage and conscience. Emma-Jane Kirby has reported extensively on the reality of mass migration today. In The Optician of Lampedusa she brings to life the moving testimony of an ordinary man whose late summer boat trip off a Sicilian island unexpectedly turns into a tragic rescue mission.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNorth Korea’s hidden revolution : how the information underground is transforming a closed society / Jieun Baek.
“One of the least understood countries in the world, North Korea has long been known for its repressive regime. Yet it is far from being an impenetrable black box. Media flows covertly into the country, and fault lines are appearing in the government’s sealed informational borders. Drawing on deeply personal interviews with North Korean defectors from all walks of life, ranging from propaganda artists to diplomats, Jieun Baek tells the story of North Korea’s information underground–the network of citizens who take extraordinary risks by circulating illicit content…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo place to hide : climate change : a short introduction for New Zealanders / Jim Flynn.
“Millions of educated people all over the world feel powerless in the face of climate change and its consequences, partially because the literature on the environment is so vast it is difficult to know where to begin. This short book is intended to make their search for truth manageable. …Its strongest claim is that there are really two kinds of sceptics we must rebut: not just climate change deniers but also climate engineering deniers. …we must face the fact that climate engineering is necessary to buy the time to achieve carbon-free energy, and unless this is implemented soon, we will pass the point of no return.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe master plan : ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Jihadi strategy for final victory / Brian H. Fishman.
“An incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020. Given how quickly its operations have achieved global impact, it may seem that the Islamic State materialized suddenly. In fact, al-Qaeda’s operations chief, Sayf al-Adl, devised a seven-stage plan for jihadis to conquer the world by 2020 that included reestablishing the Caliphate in Syria between 2013 and 2016. Despite a massive schism between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, al-Adl’s plan has proved remarkably prescient. In summer 2014, ISIS declared itself the Caliphate after capturing Mosul, Iraq–part of stage five in al-Adl’s plan… Only by understanding the Islamic State’s full history–and the strategy that drove it–can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhiplash : how to survive our faster future / Joi Ito and Jeff Howe.
“The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, just as billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click or tweet or post away from each other… The logic of a faster future oversets the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently. In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distill that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe social organism : a radical understanding of social media to transform your business and life / Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey.
“In barely a decade, social media has positioned itself at the centre of twenty-first-century life. The combined power of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine have helped topple dictators and turned anonymous teenagers into celebrities overnight. How did this happen? The scope and pace of these changes have left traditional businesses — and their old-guard marketing gatekeepers — bewildered. We simply do not comprehend social media’s form, function, and possibilities. It’s time we did.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThank you for being late : an optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations / Thomas L. Friedman.
“We all sense it – something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your children. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are speeding up – and it is dizzying. Friedman’s thesis is that to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces – Moore’s law (technology), the market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) – are all accelerating at once, transforming the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics and community.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent Home, Garden & DIY picks.

It’s all about creativity and style. This month’s pick features vertical garden, best soil, and personalised design for your garden, as well as decoration and desserts for your party!

Syndetics book coverDomino : your guide to a stylish home : discovering your personal style and creating a space you love / by Domino editors, Jessica Romm Perez, Shani Silver.
“From the editors of domino magazine comes the essential guide to discovering your personal style at home. Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home will help readers to: Identify your personal decorating style. Find inspiration from hundreds of beautiful, inspiring photos of real homes. Style the major and minor components of your home, from textiles to table settings to art. Shop for quality pieces that will stand the test of time. Learn from domino editors and tastemakers about how to style magazine-quality looks at home…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe good dirt / Xanthe White.
“As the title suggests, this book is all about the soil we find in our garden and more particularly how we can maximize its growing potential. If you’ve ever wondered why some plants thrive in one location but struggle in your own backyard you’ll be likely to find explanations in the soil below. Xanthe White examines the five main soil types found in New Zealand and offers advice on how to get the best from each one by working in harmony with nature. Complete with ingredients guides for each soil type and ideas and design features to enhance its fertility, this is an essential companion for anyone looking to establish a new garden or improve their existing one.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood Housekeeping simple household wisdom : 425 easy ways to clean & organize your home / edited by Sara Lyle Bow.
“Your home is the place where you’re free to relax, entertain, and express your personality. Filled with fabulous photographs of every room, plus genius tips, savvy shortcuts, and quick fixes for tidying, decluttering, organizing, adding style, and more, Good Housekeeping Simple Household Wisdom is your go-to guide for turning a house into the home you’ll love even more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverModern potluck : beautiful food to share / Kristin Donnelly.
Modern Potluck is a cookbook and guide for today’s potluckers that delivers Instagram-worthy dishes packed with exciting, bold flavors. These 100 make-ahead recipes are perfect for a crowd and navigate carnivore, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan preferences gracefully. With beautiful color photographs and lots of practical information such as how to pack foods to travel, Modern Potluck is the ultimate book for gathering friends and family around an abundant, delicious meal.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVertical gardens / Leigh Clapp & Hattie Klotz.
“Vertical gardening is a fun, creative way to grow plants in urban spaces. As long as you’ve got a blank wall or bare fence that needs beautifying, you can tend edibles, annuals, even perennials with vertical garden products. Vertical gardens will turn your bare spaces into gorgeous living walls indoors and out.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverSimple tailoring & alterations : hems, waistbands, seams, sleeves, pockets, cuffs, darts, tucks, fastenings, necklines, linings / J. François-Campbell.
“Revamp your wardrobe with advice from acclaimed costumer and expert tailor J. Francois-Campbell in this comprehensive guide to maintaining and altering men’s and women’s clothing. Simple Tailoring & Alterations offers concise instructions covering all tailoring and alteration techniques from replacing buttons to changing a garment’s shape for a better fit. Guided by easy to follow instructions, you will enjoy projects on skirts, dresses, pants, jackets, shirts, coats, sweaters, vests, ties, and more.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWell played : the ultimate guide to awakening your family’s playful spirit / Meredith Sinclair.
“From Today Show contributor, Meredith Sinclair, comes this ultimate resource for awakening your playful spirit, jumpstarting your relationships, and upping your happiness quotient. In our age of digital addiction, many of us have lost our ability to be spontaneous. More parents are complaining that they no longer even remember how to play…with their children, their spouse, and even with their own friends. Don’t fret! In Well Played, expert Meredith Sinclair helps families relearn what used to come naturally and shows how to find happiness through play. (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverElbows off the table, please : recipes to make any occasion special / Jo Seagar ; photography by Jae Frew.
“Delicious, effortless recipes along with wise advice on how to navigate any social occasion. A home-cooked meal or gift of baking is still one of the best ways to show your appreciation. …Jo Seagar shares her favourite dishes for simple gatherings, special celebrations and those times when a home-made offering saves the day. Accompanied by useful tips to help you be a generous host and gracious guest, this is an indispensable kitchen-to-table companion.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe finer things : timeless furniture, textiles, and details / Christiane Lemieux ; foreword by Miles Redd.
“Quality matters. Just as a home’s foundation should be built to stand the test of time, so, too, should the furniture, objects, and elements of our rooms speak to an enduring sense of beauty and comfort. They should outlast trends and our loving day-to-day use. …Weaving together the insights and guidance of dozens of wallpaper and paint specialists, textile fabricators, accessories artisans, and interior designers, Lemieux has curated an unparalleled education in recognizing the hallmarks of timeless, heirloom-quality pieces.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDecorate for a party : stylish and simple ideas for meaningful gatherings / Holly Becker + Leslie Shewring.
Decorate for a Party is a stunning sourcebook packed with decorating tips and techniques that will ignite your creativity. Whether you are planning a significant celebration or a simple dinner with friends, this book delivers creative ideas for every occasion.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Popular non fiction books celebrating Christmas and holidays

A collection of Christmas and celebration themed books from our shelves for you to enjoy and relax with.

Syndetics book cover100 little christmas gifts to make.
“The book is excellent value, containing 100 projects from some of Search Press’s best-selling authors. The projects cover a wide variety of crafts from including papercraft, sewing, knitting, crochet, sugarcraft, felt decorations, jewelry making, cross stitch, mosaic making, decoupage, polymer clay decorations and needlepoint. All projects are simple enough for experienced beginners and will also appeal to seasoned crafters.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJamie Oliver’s Christmas cookbook.
“I’ve got all the bases covered with everything you need for the big day and any feasting meals over the festive period, as well as party fare, edible gifts, teatime treats, cocktails and of course, exciting ways to embrace and celebrate those leftovers. You’ll also find all the deeply important technical info you need, such as cooking charts, and wherever possible, I’ve designed the recipes to be cooked at the same oven temperature, so you can be efficient with time and oven space, and it’ll be super-easy for you to mix and match the different elements and build your own perfect Christmas meal. I haven’t held back. This book is the greatest hits, all wrapped up in one Christmas parcel.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThis change in the light : a collection of poems / Fiona Kidman.
“A superb collection of poetry from one of New Zealand’s top writers. Fiona Kidman’s exquisite and adroit poetry invites the reader into her life, introducing us to her family, friends and places she has loved. In turn it touches our own experiences, offering universal relevance and insight.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMidcentury Christmas : holiday fads, fancies, and fun from 1945 to 1970 / Sarah Archer.
“Midcentury America was a wonderland of department stores, suburban cul-de-sacs, and Tupperware parties. Now design maven Sarah Archer tells the story of how Christmastime in America rocketed from the Victorian period into Space Age, thanks to the new technologies and unprecedented prosperity that shaped the era. The book features a visual feast of Christmastime eats and recipes, Christmas cards from artists and designers of the era, vintage how-to templates and instructions for holiday decor from Good Housekeeping and the 1960’s craft craze, and much more. Midcentury Christmas is sure to be on everyone’s most-wanted lists.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA very merry paper Christmas : 25 creative ornaments & decorations / contributors, Anastasia Bosakowski, Ellen Deakin, Silvina De Vita, Alexandra Harrison.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year–so celebrate in style with your own festive, homemade paper crafts. From wreaths and buntings to table settings, tree toppers, and ornaments, this collection of 25 projects offers a bounty of decorative items for a beautiful holiday. Created by some of the best crafters on Etsy, they all use straightforward techniques like cutting, folding, stapling, and taping, and include templates to guide you and plenty of helpful how-to illustrations.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to celebrate everything : recipes and rituals for birthdays, holidays, family dinners, and every day in between / Jenny Rosenstrach ; photography by Chelsea Cavanaugh ; food styling by Victoria Granof.
“A warm and inviting guide to turning birthdays, holidays, and everyday occasions into cherished traditions, with more than 100 time-tested recipes… “Families crave rituals,” says Jenny Rosenstrach, and by rituals she means not just the big celebrations–Valentine’s Day dinners, Mother’s Day brunches, Halloween send-offs, Thanksgiving feasts, holiday cocktail parties–but the little ones we may not even realize are rituals…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUgly Christmas sweater party : Christmas crafts, recipes, activities / Brandy & Matt Shay.
“Put on your ugly holiday sweater and get ready to PARTY! Whether you’re planning your own wacky celebration or contributing to someone else’s festive affair, here are the most deliciously ugly (in a good way!) ideas for making Christmas merry. Dress up in a crazy Poinsettia Poncho. Serve easy-to-prepare eats and drinks like Strawberry Santa Hats and Jingle Bells Sangria. Play a game of Candy Cane Pickup. You’re ready to go: just set the date!” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChristmas at designer’s homes across America / Katharine Kaye McMillan ; Patricia Hart McMillan ; foreword by Rose Bennett Gilbert.
“Almost 400 colour images treat readers to dazzling holiday visions that leading designers have realised in their own homes — scenes usually reserved for family and friends. Be inspired by their decorating strategies and hands-on ingenuity while gleaning insider tips for preserving trees — both fresh and artificial — and caring for ornaments. Get the scoop on unusual colour schemes and centrepieces. This treasure trove showcases one-of-a-kind holiday ideas from some of the nation’s most talented interior designers, who share not only their aesthetic tastes but also family holiday rituals and favourite Christmas traditions.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChristmas Carols [paperback]
“Everyone loves a Christmas carol – in the end, even Scrooge. They have the power to summon up a special kind of midwinter mood, like the aroma of mince pies and mulled wine and the twinkle of lights on a tree. It’s a kind of magic. But how did they get that magic? In Christmas Carols Andrew Gant tells the story of some twenty carols, each accompanied by lyrics and music, unravelling a captivating – and often surprising – tale of great musicians and thinkers, saints and pagans, shepherd boys, choirboys, monks and drunks.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMake your own Christmas jumper : 20 fun and easy projects to make in a day (even if you can’t knit!) / Nicolette Lafonseca.
“Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a kitsch novelty knit – now you can make your own with these, fast, easy, no-knit ideas for one-of-a-kind Christmas jumpers. Once the sort of embarrassing gift you’d only get from your granny, these days seasonal patterned knitwear has gone well and truly mainstream. Whether it’s for charity, the office party, the kids’ nativity or the big day itself, an ironic Christmas jumper is the only thing to be seen in. With the trend growing each year, it’s increasingly difficult to be original. Unless, of course, you make your own….” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Recent new non-fiction books

Our first pick this time is an interesting book about Queen Elizabeth I who, after being excommunicated, turned to the Islam world for allies. Our last book is a celebration of popular British culture.
In-between, the always popular Sociology for Beginners in a new edition.

Syndetics book coverThe Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
“History watchers know that 2016’s Brexit doesn’t mark the first time England has divorced itself from Europe. With the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I’s excommunication in 1570, England looked to the south (Morocco) and east (the Ottoman Empire and its enemy, Persia) for new allies in trade and war…” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHow population change will transform our world / Sarah Harper.
“Population growth, primarily in Asia and Africa, is the focus of much concern. But, as Sarah Harper explains, it is not so much population growth as the changing age structures of populations that is set to transform the world in future decades.” (book jacket)

Syndetics book coverAs right as rain : the meaning and origins of popular expressions / Caroline Taggart.
“Let’s not beat about the bush: the English language is littered with linguistic quirks, which, out of context, seem completely peculiar. If you can’t quite cut the mustard, this book will explain how on earth ‘off the cuff’ came to express improvisation, why a ‘gut feeling’ is more intuitive than a brainwave, and who the heck is ‘happy’ Larry…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood cop, bad war : my life undercover inside Britain’s biggest drug gang / Neil Woods with JS Rafaeli.
Good Cop, Bad War is a unique story about a man with a striking ability to infiltrate and extinguish drug gangs, but who, as the success of his operations grows, becomes disillusioned with the War on Drugs, ‘as he sees how it demonises those who need help while empowering the very worst elements in society’.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirls & sex : navigating the complicated new landscape / Peggy Orenstein.
“Bestselling journalist Orenstein follows up Cinderella Ate My Daughter with a look at what happens when the little princess hits puberty. The result is an eye-opening, sometimes horrifying look at sex for today’s girls and young adults. Through frank interviews, research, and school visits, Orenstein reveals that, on average, young women are engaging in sexual contact earlier than ever, in more varied ways, and reporting more coercion and less satisfaction than their male counterparts.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond measure : rescuing an overscheduled, overtested, underestimated generation / Vicki Abeles ; with Grace Rubenstein.
“…Pulling from powerful anecdotes and convincing new research, Abeles presents inspirational, quantifiable success stories and shows how anyone–students, parents, and educators–can effect change. Teachers who cut students’ workload see scores rise; kids discover their own motivation once parents relieve the pressure to perform; schools that institute later start times have well-rested students who are able to learn more efficiently; and schools that emphasize depth over test prep find students more attentive, inventive, and ready to thrive.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaising the transgender child : a complete guide for parents, families, & caregivers / Dr. Michele Angello & Alisa Bowman.
“Written by Dr. Michele Angello, a leading therapist and go-to expert in the field of transgender parenting, and Ali Bowman, bestselling writer and parent advocate, Raising the Transgender Child helps readers champion and celebrate gender diverse children while at the same time shedding fear, anger, sadness, and embarrassment. With specific and actionable advice–including coming-out letters, identity challenges, school and caregiver communications, and more –the guide provides a wealth of science-backed information alongside friendly and practical wisdom that is sure to comfort, guide, and inspire the family and friends of transgender and gender diverse children.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA farewell to ice / Peter Wadhams ; with a foreword by Walter Munk.
“Most of the scientific establishment predict that the North Pole will be free of ice around the middle of this century. As Peter Wadhams, the world’s leading expert on sea ice, demonstrates in this book, even this assessment of the future is optimistic. Wadhams has visited the Polar Regions more often than any other living scientist – 50 times since he was on the first ship to circumnavigate the Americas in 1970 – and has a uniquely authoritative perspective on the changes they have undergone and where those changes will lead. From his observations and the latest scientific research, he describes how dramatically sea ice has diminished over the past three decades, to the point at which, by the time this book is published, the Arctic may be free of ice for the first time in 10,000 years.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSociology for beginners / Richard Osborne.
“Sociology is the study of how society functions, or in some cases does not function. There are many competing schools of sociology with different conceptual systems. This introductory book traces the origins of these systems, from Enlightenment thought and the work of Auguste Comte to Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. Also outlines are the rapid expansion of sociology in 20th-century America and Britain, the post-World War II dominance of Talcott Parsons, the Chicago School, the rise of Structuralism, postmodernism, globalisation and digital society.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Tea Party and the remaking of Republican conservatism / Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson.
“On February 19, 2009, CNBC commentator Rick Santelli delivered a dramatic rant against Obama administration programs to shore up the plunging housing market. Invoking the Founding Fathers and ridiculing “losers” who could not pay their mortgages, Santelli called for “Tea Party” protests. Over the next two years, conservative activists took to the streets and airways, built hundreds of local Tea Party groups, and weighed in with votes and money to help right-wing Republicans win electoral victories in 2010.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great British dream factory : the strange history of our national imagination / Dominic Sandbrook.
“…Britain’s empire has gone. We no longer matter as we once did. And yet there is still one area in which we can legitimately claim superpower status: our popular culture. …This is a book about the success and the meaning of Britain’s modern popular culture, from Bond and the Beatles to Catherine Cookson and Coronation Street, from Harry Potter, heavy metal and Kate Bush to Damien Hirst, Downton Abbey and Grand Theft Auto. Dominic Sandbrook’s superbly rich, entertaining and thought-provoking book makes it clear that The Great British Dream Factory is a very strange and wonderful place indeed.” (Syndetics summary)

New popular non-fiction

From politics to climate change, the refugee crisis to “Senior Moments”, there are some light hearted topics in amongst the serious issues in this months’ selection.

Syndetics book coverCrash, bang, wallop : the inside story of London’s Big Bang and a financial revolution that changed the world / Iain Martin.
“Big Bang was the dramatic moment in October 1986 when London became a testing ground for a new type of global finance. It embodied a wider revolution and the birth of a new age of fully electronic trading, transcontinental commerce and wealth creation on titantic scale. Published to mark the 30th anniversary of Big Bang, Crash, Bang, Wallop is the definitive, unflinching story of what really happened during one of the most daring and ambitious financial experiments in history.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe madhouse effect : how climate change denial is threatening our planet, destroying our politics, and driving us crazy / Michael E. Mann and Tom Toles.
“Through satire, The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles’s cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCast away : true stories of survival from Europe’s refugee crisis / Charlotte McDonald-Gibson.
“In 2015, more than one million migrants and refugees, most fleeing war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, attempted to make the perilous journey into Europe. Around three thousand lost their lives as they crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean in rickety boats provided by unscrupulous traffickers, including over seven hundred men, women, and children in a single day in April 2015.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe great derangement : climate change and the unthinkable / Amitav Ghosh.
“The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications. Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence–a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWorktown : the astonishing story of the birth of Mass-Observation / David Hall.
“In the late 1930s the Lancashire town of Bolton witnessed a ground-breaking social experiment. Over three years, a team of ninety observers recorded, in painstaking detail, the everyday lives of ordinary working people at work and play – in the pub, dance hall, factory and on holiday. Their aim was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’. The first of its kind, it later grew into the Mass Observation movement that proved so crucial to our understanding of public opinion in future generations.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSenior moments : looking back, looking ahead / Willard Spiegelman.
Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead. Spiegelman’s expertly crafted book considers, with wisdom and elegance, how to be alert to the joys that brim from unexpected places even as death draws near”– Provided by publisher, adapted.

Syndetics book coverFeminist fight club : an office survival manual (for a sexist workplace) / Jessica Bennett ; illustrations by Saskia Wariner, with Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell.
“In Feminist Fight Club, acclaimed journalist Jessica Bennett blends the personal stories of her real-life fight club with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t advice for how to combat today’s sexism (and come out the other side). Part manual, part manifesto, Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist archetypes women encounter every day–such as the Manterrupter, who talks over female colleagues in meetings; or the Bropropriator, who appropriates their ideas–as well as the self-sabotaging behavior women sometimes exhibit themselves…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHomo deus : a brief history of tomorrow / Yuval Noah Harari.
“…Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPolitics : between the extremes / Nick Clegg.
“Politics has changed. For decades Britain was divided between Left and Right but united in its belief in a two-party state. Now, with nationalism resurgent and mainstream parties in turmoil, stark new divisions define the country and the centre ground is deserted. As Deputy Prime Minister of Britain’s first coalition government in over fifty years, Nick Clegg witnessed this change from the inside. Here he offers a frank account of his experiences from his spectacular rise in the 2010 election to a brutal defeat in 2015, from his early years as an MEP in Brussels to the tumultuous fall-out of Britains EU referendum and puts the case for a new politics based on reason and compromise.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIs the planet full? / edited by Ian Goldin.
“While it is common to hear about the problems of overpopulation, might there be unexplored benefits of increasing numbers of people in the world? How can we both consider and harness the potential benefits brought by a healthier, wealthier and larger population? May more people mean more scientists to discover how our world works, more inventors and thinkers to help solve the world’s problems, more skilled people to put these ideas into practice?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World in Decline
“We all know the bad news… Jonathan Tepperman’s The Fix presents a very different picture. The book reveals the often-overlooked success stories, offering a provocative, unconventional take on the answers hiding in plain sight. The Fix presents practical advice for problem-solvers of all stripes, and stands as a necessary corrective to the hand-wringing and grim prognostication that dominates the news, making a data-driven case for optimism in a time of crushing pessimism.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

New non-fiction books in October

This month a book about relationships from the author of ‘The Game’ begins our chosen list, and the powerful, New York Times bestseller ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ completes it.

Syndetics book coverThe truth : an uncomfortable book about relationships / Neil Strauss.
“The New York Times journalist made a name for himself advocating freedom, sex and opportunity as author of The Game — with intimacy and long-term commitment taking a back seat. That is, until he met the woman who forced him to ask the questions that men and women are asking themselves every day: *Is it natural to be faithful to one person for life? *Do alternatives to monogamy lead to better relationships and greater happiness? *Can you keep passion and romance from fading over time?” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChina’s hidden children : abandonment, adoption, and the human costs of the one-child policy / Kay Ann Johnson.
“In the thirty-five years since China instituted its One-Child Policy, 120,000 children– mostly girls– have left China through international adoption, including 85,000 to the United States. It is generally assumed that this diaspora is the result of China’s approach to population control, but there is also the underlying belief that the majority of adoptees are daughters because the One-Child Policy often collides with the traditional preference for a son. While there is some truth to this, it does not tell the full story– a story with deep personal resonance to Kay Ann Johnson, a China scholar and mother to an adopted Chinese daughter.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe bully, the bullied, and the bystander : from preschool to high school : how parents and teachers can help break the cycle of violence / Barbara Coloroso.
“Drawing on her decades of work with troubled youth and her wide experience with conflict resolution and reconciliatory justice, bestselling parenting educator Barbara Coloroso offers a practical and compassionate book destined to become a groundbreaking guide to this escalating problem. Coloroso helps readers recognize the characteristic triad of bullying: the bully who perpetrates the harm; the bullied who is the target (and who may become a bully); and the bystander–peers, siblings, or adults who don’t act to defuse the situation…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMind over money : the psychology of money and how to use it better / Claudia Hammond.
“A day doesn’t go by without money coming into our interactions. But how much do we really understand it? We know we need money. We tend to want more of it. But why do we behave the way we do with it? And why does it have such a hold on us? Award-winning BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond delves into the surprising psychology of money to show us that our relationship with the stuff is more complex than we might think…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe war on women : and the brave ones who fight back / Sue Lloyd-Roberts.
“In 1973, Sue Lloyd Roberts joined ITN as a news trainee and went on to be the UK’s first female video-journalist to report alone from the bleak outposts of the Soviet Union, China and Iran. During her 30-year-long career she travelled the world and witnessed the worst atrocities inflicted on women. But in observing first-hand the war on the female race she also documented their incredible determination to fight back…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaising an entrepreneur : 10 rules for nurturing risk takers, problem solvers, and change makers / Margot Machol Bisnow.
“In this book, a political powerhouse and mother of two thriving entrepreneurs interviews the moms of over fifty of today’s most successful innovators and–based on her findings–provides ten rules for raising confident, fearless, self-made individuals whose ideas and drive will change the world…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cure for catastrophe : how we can stop manufacturing natural disasters / Robert Muir-Wood.
“A global risk expert defends his assertion that disasters are manufactured by people building in the wrong places and in the wrong way and recounts the ways people have fought back against natural disasters, including the development of new predictive technologies.” (NoveList)

Syndetics book coverThe new better off : reinventing the American dream / Courtney E. Martin.
“Are we living the good life–and what defines ‘good’, anyway? Americans today are constructing a completely different framework for success than their parents’ generation, using new metrics that TED speaker and columnist Courtney Martin has termed collectively the “New Better Off”.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverDisrupted : ludicrous misadventures in the tech start-up bubble / Dan Lyons.
“Dan Lyons was Technology Editor at Newsweek Magazine for years, a magazine writer at the top of his profession. One Friday morning he received a phone call: his job no longer existed. Fifty years old and with a wife and two young kids, Dan was unemployed and facing financial oblivion. Then an idea hit. Dan had long reported on Silicon Valley and the tech explosion. Why not join it? HubSpot, a Boston start-up, was flush with $100 million in venture capital. They offered Dan a pile of stock options for the nebulous role of “marketing fellow.” What could possibly go wrong?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHillbilly elegy : a memoir of a family and culture in crisis / J.D. Vance.
“The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version… Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Keep an eye out for these new non-fiction books this month!

An interesting collection this month includes a new publication of the 25 year old classic The hidden face of Eve.

Syndetics book coverThis brave new world : India, China and the United States / Anja Manuel.
“In the next decade and a half, China and India will become two of the world’s indispensable powers–whether they rise peacefully or not. During that time, Asia will surpass the combined strength of North America and Europe in economic might, population size, and military spending. Both India and China will have vetoes over many international decisions, from climate change to global trade, human rights, and business standards…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Nordic theory of everything : in search of a better life / Anu Partanen.
“A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children. Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life–from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare–was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland… As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe hidden face of Eve : women in the Arab world / Nawal El Saadawi ; translated and edited by Sherif Hetata ; foreword by Ronak Husni.
“This powerful non-fiction account of the oppression of women in the Muslim world remains as shocking today as when it was first published, more than a quarter of a century ago. Nawal El Saadawi writes out of a powerful sense of the violence and injustice which permeated her society. Her experiences working as a doctor in villages around Egypt, witnessing prostitution, honour killings and sexual abuse, including female circumcision, drove her to give voice to this suffering. Saadawi argues that the veil, polygamy and legal inequality are incompatible with the essence of Islam or any human faith.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCode warriors : NSA’s codebreakers and the secret intelligence war against the Soviet Union / Stephen Budiansky.
“…The National Security Agency was born out of the legendary codebreaking programs of World War II that cracked the famed Enigma machine and other German and Japanese codes, thereby turning the tide of Allied victory. In the postwar years, as the United States developed a new enemy in the Soviet Union, our intelligence community found itself targeting not soldiers on the battlefield, but suspected spies, foreign leaders, and even American citizens…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMan (dis)connected : how the digital age is changing young men forever / Philip Zimbardo and Nikita D. Coulombe.
“Masculinity is in meltdown. Young men are failing as never before : academically, socially and sexually. But why? And what needs to be done? Internationally-acclaimed psychologist Philip Zimbardo, and research partner Nikita Coulombe, show how symptoms include excessive gaming and porn use, apathy and drug abuse. They argue that digital technologies create alternative worlds that many boys find less demanding and more rewarding than real life, yet which are ultimately harmful.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA million years in a day : a curious history of everyday life from the Stone Age to the phone age / Greg Jenner.
“Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? Every day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. Structured around one ordinary day, [this book] reveals the astonishing origins and development of the daily practices we take for granted… It is the story of your life, one million years in the making.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDragons : ten entrepreneurs who built Britain / Liam Byrne.
Dragons tells the story of Britain’s advance through the lives of ten titans of British commerce. Beginning with the Tudor merchants who transformed England’s economy by creating the companies and colonies of the New World… Fast paced and using fresh research, Dragons explains how history’s great change-makers helped build not only Britain but the modern commercial world – before asking some of today’s entrepreneurs: what are the lessons of history for the world-beaters of the future?” (adapted from book jacket)

Syndetics book coverBrazillionaires : the godfathers of modern Brazil / Alex Cuadros.
“In 2012, Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista was the eighth richest man in the world, his $30bn fortune built on Brazil’s incredible natural resources. By the middle of 2013 he had lost it all, engulfed in scandal… Along the way, it tells the parallel story of Brazil itself, a country caught in the cycle of boom and bust, renewed hope and dashed promise; a country where the hyper-rich are at the heart of the economy – and where their wealth can buy immense political power. Stefan Zweig said in 1941 that Brazil was the country of the future; Brazilians joke that it always will be…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe life project : the extraordinary story of 70,000 ordinary lives / Helen Pearson.
“In March 1946, scientists began to track thousands of children born in one cold week. No one imagined that this would become the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass five generations of children. Today, they are some of the best-studied people on the planet, and the simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. Touching people across the globe, they are one of the world’s best-kept secrets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRope : a history of the Hanged / Amanda Howard.
“This is a short history of the hanged … criminal and political cases, the guilty and the wrongly accused. There are some incredible stories herein, badly conducted hangings, innocent men and women, miraculous survivals and horrific deaths. Writer Amanda Howard has uncovered and relatively unknown history, delving into case studies of individuals and entire communities, even, obsessed with hanging throughout the ages.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)