A Natural History of Human Thinking
Tool-making or culture, language or religious belief: ever since Darwin, thinkers have struggled to identify what fundamentally differentiates human beings from other animals. In this much-anticipated book, Michael Tomasello weaves his twenty years of comparative studies of humans and great apes into a compelling argument that cooperative social interaction is the key to our cognitive uniqueness. Once our ancestors learned to put their heads together with others to pursue shared goals, humankind was on an evolutionary path all its own. A Natural History of Human Thinking is the most detailed scientific analysis to date of the connection between human sociality and cognition.
Jane Austen, Game Theorist
Game theory--the study of how people make choices while interacting with others--is one of the most popular technical approaches in social science today. But as Michael Chwe reveals in his insightful new book, Jane Austen explored game theory's core ideas in her six novels roughly two hundred years ago. Jane Austen, Game Theorist shows how this beloved writer theorized choice and preferences, prized strategic thinking, argued that jointly strategizing with a partner is the surest foundation for intimacy, and analyzed why superiors are often strategically clueless about inferiors. With a diverse range of literature and folktales, this book illustrates the wide relevance of game theory and how, fundamentally, we are all strategic thinkers.
Love & Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality
Love & Math tells the two intertwined stories of mathematics and the adventure of one young man in learning it. Despite the Russian educational system's best efforts to oppose him, Frenkel has become one of the twenty-first century's leading mathematicians, working on one of the biggest ideas to come out of mathematics in the last 50 years: the Langlands Program, Considered by many as a Grand Unified Theory of mathematics, the Langlands Program enables researchers to translate findings from one field of mathematics to another and to solve problems that seem unsolvable. Frenkel proves that a mathematical formula can be as elegant and beautiful as a painting, a poem, or a piece of music. And the process of creating new mathematics is just that, an artistic pursuit—a deeply personal experience, which requires passion, dedication, and love. A story of extraordinary math as told through an extraordinary life, Love & Math reveals the beauty of an invisible world and argues for mathematics' rightful place in our cultural heritage, alongside art, literature, and music.
Undiluted Hocus-Pocus: The Autobiography of Martin Gardner
Gardner's illuminating autobiography is a disarmingly candid self-portrait of the man evolutionary theorist Stephen Jay Gould called our "single brightest beacon" for the defense of rationality and good science against mysticism and anti-intellectualism.Gardner takes readers from his childhood in Oklahoma to his college days at the University of Chicago, his service in the navy, and his varied and wide-ranging professional pursuits. Gardner shares colorful anecdotes about the many fascinating people he met and mentored, and voices strong opinions on the subjects that matter to him most, from his love of mathematics to his uncompromising stance against pseudoscience. For Gardner, our mathematically structured universe is undiluted hocus-pocus--a marvelous enigma, in other words.


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