Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It

Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It

Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It by Louis D Brandeis
Barnes & Noble | 2009 | ISBN: 1435118472 | EPUB | 772.4KB

There are few indictments of the American banking system as searing as Other People’s Money and How the Bankers Use It, written by Louis D. Brandeis in 1913. Long considered one of the major muckraking exposés of the Progressive period, it still speaks powerfully to our own times. The book led to the establishment of stringent regulations on the banking system, rules that undergirded decades of prosperity and stability for both banks and the American economy after World War II. Weakening those rules led to the great banking meltdown of 2008, when once again the greed and recklessness that Brandeis had warned about triggered a major depression and cost hundreds of thousands of people their jobs and homes.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis is known to most people as one of the giants of American constitutional law. Among Progres­sives he led the attack against monopolies and what he termed the “curse of bigness,” charging that the large banks, headed by J. P. Morgan, had created a money trust. In 1912 a congressional committee held extensive hearings that uncovered how those banks used their financial power to dominate American industry. Brandeis took these revelations and interpreted them into popular language in this book.

Army Life in a Black Regiment

Army Life in a Black Regiment

Army Life in a Black Regiment by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
Barnes & Noble | 2009 | ISBN: 1435120779 | EPUB | 1.85MB

Army Life in a Black Regiment is a riveting and empathetic account of the lessons learned from an encounter between a New England intellectual and nearly a thousand newly freed slaves. In the fall of 1862, Thomas Wentworth Higginson was asked to take command of the 1st Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers, and he immediately understood the significance of the experiment and enthusiastically accepted the position. Drawing extensively from the diary he kept during the seventeen months he commanded the regiment, Higginson details the nature of camp life, the drills and discipline of the men, the expeditions up rivers and into the southern interior, and the invasion and occupation of Jacksonville, Florida. This literary classic is stitched together with dramatic events, factual reporting, humor, and insightful reflection on human nature.

The Rise of the Confederate Government

The Rise of the Confederate Government

The Rise of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis
Barnes & Noble | 2010 | ISBN: 1435120663 | EPUB | 2.44MB

In this account of the life and death of an idea and social system, Jefferson Davis addresses the underlying principles of the Confederate experiment and the resultant calamity of the Civil War. He discusses the background issues of the conflict—the political ideas and events leading to the secession of the eleven Southern states. He defends the South’s right to secede, calling the act “Constitutional” and the actions of the Federal Government “Unconstitutional.” Davis further claims the war had nothing to do with America’s “tame” version of slavery. Though historians have discredited most of Davis’ arguments, his book has become key to understanding the enduring notion of “The Lost Cause,” the view that a noble Southern way of life was sacrificed, that the South was overmatched by a wealthier and more powerful—but not morally superior—North.

The American Crisis

The American Crisis

The American Crisis by Thomas Paine
Barnes & Noble | 2010 | ISBN: 143512703X | EPUB | 1.71MB
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands for it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” — The American Crisis December 23, 1776

The pen of Thomas Paine was one of the most powerful weapons Americans possessed in their struggle for independence. The American Crisis played a key role in persuading ordinary people to embrace the American Revolution and to remain true to that cause. The pamphlets comprising this volume bluntly denounced Great Britain’s constitution, its monarchy, and its empire and reminded citizens why they were undertaking such an arduous struggle. Our political rhetoric and indeed our political culture still show the imprint of Paine’s galvanizing words.

Arms and Equipment of the Civil War

Arms and Equipment of the Civil War

Arms and Equipment of the Civil War by Jack Coggins
Dover Publications | 2004 | ISBN: 0486433951 | EPUB | 16.53MB

Enhanced with marvelous illustrations, the text describes what materiel was available to the armies and navies of both sides — from iron-clad gunboats, submarine torpedoes, and military balloons to pontoon bridges, percussion grenades, and siege artillery — with on-the-scene comments by Union and Confederate soldiers about equipment and camp life. Over 500 black-and-white illustrations.

Triumvirate: The Story of the Unlikely Alliance

Triumvirate: The Story of the Unlikely Alliance

Triumvirate: The Story of the Unlikely Alliance That Saved the Constitution and United the Nation by Bruce Chadwick
Sourcebooks | 2010 | ISBN: 1402239327 | EPUB | 2.25MB

Facing a crumbling union and inevitable anarchy, three men form an unlikely alliance...

When the smoke cleared from Revolutionary War battlefields, independent minded Americans turned against each other. Faced with a sagging economy, a weak central government, and citizens still reeling from British rule, three bold young men could shape a great nation of the chaos-but first they'd have to learn to work together.

Pictures of the Mind

Pictures of the Mind

Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are by Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald
FT Press | 2010 | ISBN: 0137155166 | EPUB | 2.03MB

Neuroscientists once believed your brain was essentially "locked down" by adulthood. No new cells. No major changes. If you grew up depressed, angry, sad, aggressive, or nasty, you'd be that way for life. And, as you grew older, there'd be nowhere to go but down, as disease, age, or injury wiped out precious, irreplaceable brain cells. But over the past five, ten, twenty years, all that's changed. Using fMRI and PET scanning technology, neuroscientists can now look deep inside the human brain and they've discovered that it's amazingly flexible, resilient, and plastic.

Pictures of the Mind: What the New Neuroscience Tells Us About Who We Are shows you what they've discovered and what it means to all of us. Through author Miriam Boleyn-Fitzgerald’s masterfully written narrative and use stunning imagery, you'll watch human brains healing, growing, and adapting to challenges. You'll gain powerful new insights into the interplay between environment and genetics, begin understanding how people can influence their own intellectual abilities and emotional makeup, and understand the latest stunning discoveries about coma and "locked-in" syndrome. You'll learn about the tantalizing discoveries that may lead to cures for traumatic brain injury, stroke, emotional disorders, PTSD, drug addiction, chronic pain, maybe even Alzheimer's. Boleyn-Fitzgerald shows how these discoveries are transforming our very understanding of the "self", from an essentially static entity to one that can learn and change throughout life and even master the art of happiness.

July 1914: Countdown to War

July 1914: Countdown to War

July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin
Basic Books | 2013 | ISBN: 0465031455 | EPUB | 3.57MB

When a Serbian-backed assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914, the world seemed unmoved. Even Ferdinand’s own uncle, Franz Josef I, was notably ambivalent about the death of the Hapsburg heir, saying simply, “It is God’s will.” Certainly, there was nothing to suggest that the episode would lead to conflict—much less a world war of such massive and horrific proportions that it would fundamentally reshape the course of human events.

As acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin reveals in July 1914, World War I might have been avoided entirely had it not been for a small group of statesmen who, in the month after the assassination, plotted to use Ferdinand’s murder as the trigger for a long-awaited showdown in Europe. The primary culprits, moreover, have long escaped blame. While most accounts of the war’s outbreak place the bulk of responsibility on German and Austro-Hungarian militarism, McMeekin draws on surprising new evidence from archives across Europe to show that the worst offenders were actually to be found in Russia and France, whose belligerence and duplicity ensured that war was inevitable.

Whether they plotted for war or rode the whirlwind nearly blind, each of the men involved—from Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold von Berchtold and German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov and French president Raymond Poincaré—sought to capitalize on the fallout from Ferdinand’s murder, unwittingly leading Europe toward the greatest cataclysm it had ever seen.

A revolutionary account of the genesis of World War I, July 1914 tells the gripping story of Europe’s countdown to war from the bloody opening act on June 28th to Britain’s final plunge on August 4th, showing how a single month—and a handful of men—changed the course of the twentieth century.

Comandante: Inside Hugo Chavez's Venezuela

Comandante: Inside Hugo Chavez's Venezuela

Comandante: Inside Hugo Chavez's Venezuela by Rory Carroll
Canongate Books | 2013 | ISBN: 0857861514 | EPUB | 9.25MB

Hugo Chávez was a true phenomenon. On his death in March 2013 tens of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets and honoured a seven-day period of national mourning. Chávez has been compared to Napoleon, Nasser, Perón and Castro but the truth is there has never been a leader like him. He was democratically elected, reigned like a monarch from a mobile television throne, and provoked adoration and revulsion in equal measure.

How did a charismatic autocrat seduce not just a nation but a significant part of world opinion? And how did he continue to stay in power despite the crumbling of Venezuela? When he first came to power in 1999, Chávez became a symbol of hope and freedom for his people. Yet, in his fourteen years as president, Chávez seized control of the lucrative Venezuelan oil industry, allowed basic government functions to wither, jailed political opponents and courted Castro and Ahmadinejad, all while occupying much of Venezuela's airwaves with his long-running television show, Aló Presidente!.

In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll breaches the walls of Miraflores Palace to tell the inside story of Chávez's life and his political court in Caracas. Blending the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism - a powerful combination reminiscent of Ryszard Kapuscinski's The Emperor - Rory Carroll has written the definitive account of Hugo Chávez's presidency, and the legacy he has left behind.

Where Am I Eating

Where Am I Eating

Where Am I Eating: An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy by Kelsey Timmerman
John Wiley & Sons | 2013 | ISBN: 1118351150 | EPUB | 8.17MB

Bridges the gap between global farmers and fishermen and American consumers.

America now imports twice as much food as it did a decade ago. What does this increased reliance on imported food mean for the people around the globe who produce our food? Kelsey Timmerman set out on a global quest to meet the farmers and fisherman who grow and catch our food, and also worked alongside them: loading lobster boats in Nicaragua, splitting cocoa beans with a machete in Ivory Coast, and hauling tomatoes in Ohio. Where Am I Eating? tells fascinating stories of the farmers and fishermen around the world who produce the food we eat, explaining what their lives are like and how our habits affect them.

This book shows how what we eat affects the lives of the people who produce our food. Through compelling stories, explores the global food economy including workers rights, the global food crisis, fair trade, and immigration.

Where Am I Eating? does not argue for or against the globalization of food, but personalizes it by observing the hope and opportunity, and sometimes the lack thereof, which the global food economy gives to the world's poorest producers.

Where am I Wearing

Where am I Wearing

Where am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes by Kelsey Timmerman
John Wiley & Sons | 2012 | ISBN: 1118277554 | EPUB | 3.45MB

A journalist travels the world to trace the origins of our clothes.

When journalist and traveler Kelsey Timmerman wanted to know where his clothes came from and who made them, he began a journey that would take him from Honduras to Bangladesh to Cambodia to China and back again. Where Am I Wearing? intimately describes the connection between impoverished garment workers' standards of living and the all-American material lifestyle. By introducing readers to the human element of globalization—the factory workers, their names, their families, and their way of life—Where Am I Wearing bridges the gap between global producers and consumers.

New content includes: a visit to a fair trade Ethiopian shoe factory that is changing lives one job at time; updates on how workers worldwide have been squeezed by rising food costs and declining orders in the wake of the global financial crisis; and the author's search for the garment worker in Honduras who inspired the first edition of the book.

Enlightening and thought-provoking at once, Where Am I Wearing? puts a human face on globalization.

Imagine: How Creativity Works

Imagine: How Creativity Works

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2012 | ISBN: 0547725833 | EPUB | 744.69KB

Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?

From the New York Times best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.

Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration, and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective.

You’ll learn about Bob Dylan’s writing habits and the drug addictions of poets. You’ll meet a Manhattan bartender who thinks like a chemist, and an autistic surfer who invented an entirely new surfing move. You’ll see why Elizabethan England experienced a creative explosion, and how Pixar’s office space is designed to spark the next big leap in animation.

Collapsing the layers separating the neuron from the finished symphony, Imagine reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind, and its essential role in our increasingly complex world.

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2007 | ISBN: 0618620109 | EPUB | 1.86MB

In this technology-driven age, it’s tempting to believe that science can solve every mystery. After all, science has cured countless diseases and even sent humans into space. But as Jonah Lehrer argues in this sparkling debut, science is not the only path to knowledge. In fact, when it comes to understanding the brain, art got there first.

Taking a group of artists — a painter, a poet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists — Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth about the mind that science is only now rediscovering. We learn, for example, how Proust first revealed the fallibility of memory; how George Eliot discovered the brain’s malleability; how the French chef Escoffier discovered umami (the fifth taste); how Cézanne worked out the subtleties of vision; and how Gertrude Stein exposed the deep structure of language — a full half-century before the work of Noam Chomsky and other linguists. It’s the ultimate tale of art trumping science.

More broadly, Lehrer shows that there is a cost to reducing everything to atoms and acronyms and genes. Measurement is not the same as understanding, and art knows this better than science does. An ingenious blend of biography, criticism, and first-rate science writing, Proust Was a Neuroscientist urges science and art to listen more closely to each other, for willing minds can combine the best of both, to brilliant effect.

How We Decide

How We Decide

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | 2009 | ISBN: 0618620117 | EPUB | 989.79KB

Since Plato, philosophers have described the decision aking process as either rational or emotional: we carefully deliberate or we "blink" and go with our gut. But as scientists break open the mind's black box with the latest tools of neuroscience, they're discovering that this is not how the mind works. Our best decisions are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason--and the precise mix depends on the situation. When buying a house, for example, it's best to let our unconscious mull over the many variables. But when we're picking a stock, intuition often leads us astray. The trick is to determine when to lean on which part of the brain, and to do this, we need to think harder (and smarter) about how we think.

Jonah Lehrer arms us with the tools we need, drawing on cutting-edge research as well as the real-world experiences of a wide range of "deciders"--from airplane pilots and hedge fund investors to serial killers and poker players. Lehrer show how people are taking advantage of the new science to make better television shows, win more football games, and improve military intelligence. His goal is to answer two questions that are of interest to just about anyone, from CEOs to firefighters: How does the human mind make decisions? And how can we make those decisions better?

The Intelligence Paradox

The Intelligence Paradox

The Intelligence Paradox: Why the Intelligent Choice Isn't Always the Smart One by Satoshi Kanazawa
John Wiley & Sons | 2012 | ISBN: 1118137655 | MOBI | 1.74MB

A book that challenges common misconceptions about the nature of intelligence.

Satoshi Kanazawa's Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters (written with Alan S. Miller) was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "a rollicking bit of pop science that turns the lens of evolutionary psychology on issues of the day." That book answered such burning questions as why women tend to lust after males who already have mates and why newborns look more like Dad than Mom. Now Kanazawa tackles the nature of intelligence: what it is, what it does, what it is good for (if anything). Highly entertaining, smart (dare we say intelligent?), and daringly contrarian, The Intelligence Paradox will provide a deeper understanding of what intelligence is, and what it means for us in our lives.

  • Asks why more intelligent individuals are not better (and are, in fact, often worse) than less intelligent individuals in solving some of the most important problems in life—such as finding a mate, raising children, and making friends
  • Discusses why liberals are more intelligent than conservatives, why atheists are more intelligent than the religious, why more intelligent men value monogamy, why night owls are more intelligent than morning larks, and why homosexuals are more intelligent than heterosexuals
  • Explores how the purpose for which general intelligence evolved—solving evolutionarily novel problems—allows us to explain why intelligent people have the particular values and preferences they have

Challenging common misconceptions about the nature of intelligence, this book offers surprising insights into the cutting-edge of science at the intersection of evolutionary psychology and intelligence research.

A Brief History of Bad Medicine

A Brief History of Bad Medicine

A Brief History of Bad Medicine by Ian Schott, Robert Youngson
Robinson | 2012 | ISBN: 178033527X | EPUB | 493.11KB

A doctor removes the normal, healthy side of a patient's brain instead of the malignant tumor. A man whose leg is scheduled for amputation wakes up to find his healthy leg removed. These recent examples are part of a history of medical disasters and embarrassments as old as the profession itself.

In Brief History of Bad Medicine, Robert M. Youngson and Ian Schott have written the definitive account of medical mishap in modern and not-so- modern times. From famous quacks to curious forms of sexual healing, from blunders with the brain to drugs worse than the diseases they are intended to treat, the book reveals shamefully dangerous doctors, human guinea pigs, and the legendary surgeon who was himself a craven morphine addict.

Exploring the line between the comical and the tragic, the honest mistake and the intentional crime, Brief History of Bad Medicine illustrates once and for all that you can't always trust the people in white coats.

What Makes Your Brain Happy

What Makes Your Brain Happy

What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite by David DiSalvo
Prometheus Books | 2011 | ISBN: 1616144831 | EPUB | 494.62KB

Why do we routinely choose options that don't meet our short-term needs and undermine our long-term goals? Why do we willingly expose ourselves to temptations that undercut our hard-fought progress to overcome addictions? Why are we prone to assigning meaning to statistically common coincidences? Why do we insist we're right even when evidence contradicts us?

In What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite, science writer David DiSalvo reveals a remarkable paradox: what your brain wants is frequently not what your brain needs. In fact, much of what makes our brains "happy" leads to errors, biases, and distortions, which make getting out of our own way extremely difficult. DiSalvo's search includes forays into evolutionary and social psychology, cognitive science, neurology, and even marketing and economics—as well as interviews with many of the top thinkers in psychology and neuroscience today.

From this research-based platform, DiSalvo draws out insights that we can use to identify our brains' foibles and turn our awareness into edifying action. Ultimately, DiSalvo argues, the research does not serve up ready-made answers, but provides us with actionable clues for overcoming the plight of our advanced brains and, consequently, living more fulfilled lives.

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin E Seligman
Vintage Books | 2006 | ISBN: 1400078393 | EPUB | 1.92MB

Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier.

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.

What You Can Change and What You Can't

What You Can Change and What You Can't

What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement by Martin E Seligman
Vintage Books | 2007 | ISBN: 1400078407 | EPUB | 3.15MB

In the climate of self-improvement that pervades our culture, there is an overwhelming amount of information about treatments for everything from alcohol abuse to sexual dysfunction. Much of this information is exaggerated if not wholly inaccurate. As a result, people who try to change their own troubling conditions often experience the frustration of mixed success, success followed by a relapse, or outright failure.

To address this confusion, Martin Seligman has meticulously analyzed the most authoritative scientific research on treatments for alcoholism, anxiety, weight loss, anger, depression, and a range of phobias and obsessions to discover what is the most effective way to address each condition. He frankly reports what does not work, and pinpoints the techniques and therapies that work best for each condition, discussing why they work and how you can use them to make long lasting change. Inside you’ll discover the four natural healing factors for recovering from alcoholism; the vital difference between overeating and being overweight; the four therapies that work for depression, the pros and cons of anger--and much more.

Wise, direct, and very useful, What You Can Change and What You Can’t will help anyone who seeks to change.

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True by Guy P Harrison
Prometheus Books | 2011 | ISBN: 1616144955 | EPUB | 1.75MB

Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you're trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon.

How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? Longtime skeptic Guy P. Harrison shows you how in this down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims.

A veteran journalist, Harrison has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored "the most haunted house in America," frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a "contrite Roswell alien."

Harrison is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation. For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction.

Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, Harrison invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world.

Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain

Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Michael S Gazzaniga
Ecco | 2011 | ISBN: 0061906107 | EPUB | 390.14KB

The father of cognitive neuroscience and author of Human offers a provocative argument against the common belief that our lives are wholly determined by physical processes and we are therefore not responsible for our actions.

A powerful orthodoxy in the study of the brain has taken hold in recent years: Since physical laws govern the physical world and our own brains are part of that world, physical laws therefore govern our behavior and even our conscious selves. Free will is meaningless, goes the mantra; we live in a “determined” world.

Not so, argues the renowned neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga in this thoughtful, provocative book based on his Gifford Lectures——one of the foremost lecture series in the world dealing with religion, science, and philosophy. Who’s in Charge? proposes that the mind, which is somehow generated by the physical processes of the brain, “constrains” the brain just as cars are constrained by the traffic they create. Writing with what Steven Pinker has called “his trademark wit and lack of pretension,” Gazzaniga shows how determinism immeasurably weakens our views of human responsibility; it allows a murderer to argue, in effect, “It wasn’t me who did it——it was my brain.” Gazzaniga convincingly argues that even given the latest insights into the physical mechanisms of the mind, there is an undeniable human reality: We are responsible agents who should be held accountable for our actions, because responsibility is found in how people interact, not in brains.

An extraordinary book that ranges across neuroscience, psychology, ethics, and the law with a light touch but profound implications, Who’s in Charge? is a lasting contribution from one of the leading thinkers of our time.

Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique

Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique

Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael S Gazzaniga
Ecco | 2008 | ISBN: 0060892889 | EPUB | 516.76KB

One of the world's leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives.

What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his widely accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga looks to a broad range of studies to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors.

Neuroscience has been fixated on the life of the psychological self for the past fifty years, focusing on the brain systems underlying language, memory, emotion, and perception. What it has not done is consider the stark reality that most of the time we humans are thinking about social processes, comparing ourselves to and estimating the intentions of others. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.

Long Way Home [Audiobook]

Long Way Home [Audiobook]

Long Way Home: A Young Man Lost in the System and the Two Women Who Found Him [Audiobook] by Laura Caldwell
Story Avenue | 2013 | ASIN: B00B5WYMLA | MP3 | 9 hrs 37 mins | 132.16MB

Nineteen-year-old Jovan Mosley, a good kid from one of Chicago’s very bad neighborhoods, was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. Charged with murder, he spent five years and eight months in a prison for violent criminals. Without a trial.

Jovan grew up on the rough streets of Chicago’s Southeast Side. With one brother dead of HIV complications, another in jail for arson and murder, and most kids his age in gangs, Jovan struggled to be different. Until his arrest, he was. He excelled in school, dreamed of being a lawyer, and had been accepted to Ohio State.

Then on August 6, 1999, Jovan witnessed a fight that would result in a man’s death. Six months later, he was arrested, cruelly questioned, and forced into a confession. Sent to a holding jail for violent criminals, he tried ceaselessly to get a trial so he could argue his case. He studied what casework he could, rigorously questioning his public defenders. But time after time his case was shoved aside. Amiable, bright, and peaceable, he struggled to stay alive in prison. As the years ground on, he’d begun to lose hope when, by chance, he met Catharine O’Daniel, a successful criminal defense lawyer. Although nearly all cases with a signed confession result in a conviction, she was so moved by him, and so convinced of his innocence, that Cathy accepted Jovan as her first pro bono client. Cathy asked Laura Caldwell to join her and together they battled for Jovan’s exoneration. Here is Laura’s firsthand account of their remarkable journey.

This is a harrowing true story about justice, friendship, failure, and success. A breakdown of the justice system sent a nice kid to one of the nation’s nastiest jails for nearly six years without a trial. It would take a triumph of human kindness, ingenuity, and legal jousting to give Jovan even a fighting chance.

Deeply affecting, Long Way Home is a remarkable story of how change can happen even in a flawed system and of how friendship can emanate from the most unexpected places.

Catastrophes [Audiobook]

Catastrophes [Audiobook]

Catastrophes: Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and Other Earth-Shattering Disasters [Audiobook] by Donald R Prothero
University Press Audiobooks | 2013 | ASIN: B00AZWHMY0 | MP3@96 kbps | 17 hrs 59 mins | 502.42MB

Devastating natural disasters have profoundly shaped human history, leaving us with a respect for the mighty power of the e\Earth - and a humbling view of our future. Paleontologist and geologist Donald R. Prothero tells the harrowing human stories behind these catastrophic events.

Prothero describes in gripping detail some of the most important natural disasters in history:

  • The New Madrid, Missouri, earthquakes of 1811-1812 that caused church bells to ring in Boston
  • The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people
  • The massive volcanic eruptions of Krakatau, Mount Tambora, Mount Vesuvius, Mount St. Helens, and Nevado del Ruiz

His clear and straightforward explanations of the forces that caused these disasters accompany gut-wrenching accounts of terrifying human experiences and a staggering loss of human life.

Floods that wash out whole regions, earthquakes that level a single country, hurricanes that destroy everything in their path - all are here to remind us of how little control we have over the natural world. Dramatic photographs and eyewitness accounts recall the devastation wrought by these events, and the people - both heroes and fools - that are caught up in the Earth's relentless forces.

Eerie, fascinating, and often moving, these tales of geologic history and human fortitude and folly will stay with you long after you're done listening.