Nature and Science
Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear by Bryce AndrewsWho is she? Millie, a 500-pound grizzly sow (and mother of two cubs) from Montana's Mission Valley.
What does she want? Corn! Montana's grizzly bear population is addicted to the crop, which lures them from their isolated habitats into more populous areas, resulting in conflicts with local farmers.
You might also like: Nate Blakeslee's American Wolf, which similarly explores tensions between humans and wildlife by recounting the life and death of a charismatic animal.
Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste by Nolan GasserWhat it's about: the science of music (what it is) and the sociology of musical taste (why we like what we like and what it says about us).
About the author: Musicologist Nolan Gasser is the architect of Pandora’s Music Genome Project.
Is it for you? Readers with some background in music theory or practice will get the most out of this eclectic and comprehensive book.
Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World by M.R. O'ConnorWhat it is: a multidisciplinary examination of wayfinding, which includes spatial orientation, navigation, perception, and culturally specific practices of interacting with one's environment.
What else it is: a thought-provoking book that frames maps, compasses, and other navigation technologies as tools of European imperialism.
Read it for: the author's interactions with experts in traditional navigation from the Arctic, Australia, and the South Pacific.
Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe by Steven StrogatzWhat it is: an applied mathematician's surprisingly accessible guide to calculus, which outlines its basic concepts while recounting its history.
Food for thought: "If anything deserves to be called the secret of the universe, calculus is it."
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah HarariThe big question: So now that we've mitigated the effects of famine, plague, and war, what's next for human beings?
About the author: Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Is it for you? Believers in the march of human progress should be aware that Home Deus forecasts several possible futures for our species, most of them downright dystopian.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. SapolskyWhat it is: an interdisciplinary study of human behavior by neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky.
What it does: Behave explores human behavior by taking a single (re)action and examining what's going on in the brain and body in the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and even years before it occurs.
Don't miss: the author's top ten strategies for reducing violence in our species.
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