Category Archives: books

NY Times publishes readers’ selections of life-changing books (mine didn’t make it)

On January 9, the New York Times “Letters” section requested that readers write in describing, in 200 words or fewer, a book that had changed their life. Here’s what they posted: What book — new or old, fiction or nonfiction — has influenced how you think, act or look at the world? Tell us how […]

Lunch with Pinkah, and a preview of his next book

When I’m in Cambridge visiting old friends, I always try to get together with Dan Dennett and Steve Pinker—separately— for I enjoy the intellectual stimulation this provides (and, in the case of Dan, the inevitable stentorian arguing as well). Dan’s out of town this week, but yesterday I managed to dine with The Pinkah at […]

Nathan Lents on the imperfection of the human body (it’s evolution, of course)

UPDATE:  I found out that the well-known evolutionary geneticist John C. Avise published a related book in 2010, but one that concentrates on a different line of evidence for evolution. John’s book (screenshot of cover below with link to Amazon) lays out the many suboptimal features of the human genome. He thus concentrates on molecular evidence, […]

Douglas Murray’s new book on social justice warriorism and identity politics

Douglas Murray is only 40 years old, but has already established himself as a neoconservative intellectual and author.  Because of his political views—he’s anti-immigration, a critic of Islam, and a supporter of Brexit—he’s despised by many on the British and American Left, although his SJW credibility is marginally increased because he’s also gay.  I haven’t […]

Now: WEIT in Arabic

When they started translating Why Evolution is True into different languages (I think there are 18 of them now), my fondest wish was to see it in Arabic, for Muslim lands, due to the religious creationism inherent of many believers, don’t get much instruction in evolution. In fact, Turkey, once a bastion of enlightenment among […]

No science in NYT’s list of year’s ten best books

Here’s the New York Times‘s list of the ten best books of 2019. You can find the 2018 list here and the 2017 list here. I couldn’t be arsed to go back farther. There’s not a pure science book in the lot, though there’s a sort-of-science book on the Chernobyl disaster, which is more dramatic […]

Neglected at the Hyde Park Book Fair

Today’s the day when the denizens of Hyde Park congregate in the open-air plaza at the Hyde Park Shopping Center, looking for used books. Cardboard boxes of books, roughly divided by subject, sit atop folding tables, awaiting the senior citizens who will buy them (yes, the demographic at the book fair skews OLD). As I […]

The case of Malcolm Gladwell vs. Jerry Sandusky

In January of 2018 I wrote a post about whether Penn State’s assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was guilty of child abuse. In 2012 Sandusky was, as you may remember, convicted of 45 counts of sexually abusing eight young boys. His prison sentence was 30-60 years, and, since he was born in 1944, this was […]

Malcolm Gladwell and other authors who make big errors in their books

When I started writing books for the general public (“trade books”, as they call them), I was surprised to find out that I alone was responsible for the accuracy of their content. While publishers do have their legal departments vet books that may violate laws against libel, or cause other legal troubles, publishers have neither […]

What are we reading?

Well, I don’t know what you’re reading, and whether you like it, but that’s what this post is for. In fact, a lot of the books I’ve read, and a few I’m reading now, have come from readers’ comments on posts like this. I usually read only one book at a time, and have been […]