With summer holidays upon us it’s a good idea to keep our minds active.
Here’s a list of the most thought provoking books of 2014. You know, to get you thinking.
by Russell Brand
Unstoppable comedian Russell Brand wants YOU to join the revolution.
Are you like him, fed-up with the status quo?
Do you ask yourself why 1% of the world owns nearly half the wealth?
Are you appalled that in a year of a double-dip recession, banker’s bonuses rose by around 64%?
Does it anger you that multi-million pound corporations pay hardly any tax?
Do you, honestly, trust your MP?
Always insightful, irreverent and funny, Russell Brand is asking the questions the nation wants answered.
This is his call to arms.
This is Russell Brand’s rEVOLution.
by Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen
On the surface of a ball of rock falling around a nuclear fireball in the blackness of a vacuum, the laws of nature somehow conspired to create a naked ape that can look up at the stars and wonder where it came from.
In this spectacular new book, Professor Brian Cox will take readers out of this world and into a whole new dimension as he gives us a new perspective on human life. Following the spark of human curiosity from its ignition in the distant past to its journey into the future, the book will span the history of the Universe, as Brian attempts to understand the greatest wonder of them all – humankind. He will reveal how time, physics and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but where it is going and if it is alone.
Combining dramatic photography and innovative CGI with the magical storytelling that has become Brian’s trademark, Brian will give us his personal take on the past, present and future of this unlikely and unfathomably precious phenomenon – the story of humanity from the birth of the Universe to the ultimate fate of our species.
The Fictional Woman
by Tara Moss
Now, in her first work of non-fiction, she blends memoir and social analysis to examine the common fictions about women. She traces key moments in her life – from small-town tomboy in Canada, to international fashion model in the 90s, to bestselling author taking a polygraph test in 2002 to prove she writes her own work – and weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media.
Deeply personal and revealing, this is more than just Tara Moss’s own story. At once insightful, challenging and entertaining, she asks how we can change the old fictions, one woman at a time.
House of Karls
by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki
Australia’s favourite popular scientist returns with a new book of scintillating science. His latest book is packed with fun facts and breakthrough science to thrill, amuse and entertain. Dazzling and daring, the inimitable Dr Karl has all the answers to the questions you never thought to ask!
Prepare to discover the truth about Green Tea; why crime pays (but not very well); how you can out-run a deer; the world of Big Data; why Space is the Hostile Frontier; and just what takes the title of the world’s most expensive book.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki’s media career began in 1981, when he started presenting ‘Great Moments In Science ‘ on Double J to pay his way through medical school. Since then, his media career has exploded from radio to include TV, books, newspapers, magazines, scripting, professional speaking, and of course, the Net. Karl made his TV debut in 1985 as the presenter of the first series of Quantum. Since 1986 he has reported science on the Midday Show, Good Morning Australia (including a full-time stint in 1991-2 as the TV Weatherman and science reporter), the Today Show and Channel 7′s breakfast program Sunrise. Along side his fellow geek Adam Spencer, he has written and co-produced two series of Sleek Geeks for ABC TV. Karl also popularises science on ABC radio stations across Australia and, on the BBC, for several hours each week.
In 2012, Asteroid 18412 was named in honour of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki – it was discovered by Robert H. McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, on June 13, 1993. Karl has degrees in Physics and Maths, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery and has worked as a physicist, tutor, film-maker, car mechanic, labourer, and as a medical doctor. He is the author of 34 popular science books, with No. 35 & 36 on the way. Dr Karl is currently the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney.
Big Book of Numbers
by Adam Spencer
Everything You Wanted To Know About The Numbers 1 to 100
A hilarious, enlightening romp through the world of numbers with one of Australia’s best-loved broadcasters.
Why do people get freaked out by Friday the 13th? Where does a ‘dozen’ come from? Who was Erno Rubik? And how do you become a master at Sudoku?
In 100 bite-sized chapters, mathematician, broadcaster and comedian Adam Spencer unlocks more of the secrets of the world of numbers.
If you’ve ever wondered about the ‘fourth dimension’, why spider monkeys have so many bones in their hands, which numbers are truly narcissistic, or how on earth you play ‘Buckyball’, Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers will set you straight.
The Wife Drought
by Annabel Crabb
It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.
Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.
But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?
The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.
Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.
The Sense of Style
by Steven Pinker
The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
Bad writing can’t be blamed on the Internet, or on ‘the kids today’. Good writing has always been hard: a performance requiring pretense, empathy, and a drive for coherence.
In The Sense of Style, cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker uses the latest scientific insights to bring us a style and usage guide for the 21st century. What do skilful writers know about the link between syntax and ideas? How can we overcome the Curse of Knowledge, the difficulty in imagining what it’s like not to know something we do? And can we distinguish the myths and superstitions from rules that enhance clarity and grace? As Pinker shows, everyone can improve their mastery of writing and their appreciation of the art (yes, ‘their’).
Steven Pinker is one of the world’s leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic, and other magazines.