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Nice reviews keep coming in for this fall lead title on the Basic Books list
The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis
A Biography of an Ingenious Species
“An admirable history of human ingenuity that does not claim it will overcome such looming crises as overpopulation and global warming.” —Kirkus Reviews
“DeFries places her faith in human creativity as a primary means to our survival, an appealing point of view for the hopeful but concerned reader.” —Publishers Weekly
“Is there a tale more astonishing and improbable than the human story? Lurching between triumph and catastrophe, humankind has transformed itself from a run-of-the-mill forager on the African savanna into a species that dominates every corner of the planet. Now, as our numbers surpass 7 billion, Ruth DeFries shows how our remarkable past can serve as a guide to thinking about our uncertain future. Neither a hymn to optimism nor an invocation of catastrophe, The Big Ratchet is an essential account of how we got to be where we are.” —Charles C. Mann, author of 1491
Ruth DeFries has received many honors, including election into the US National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” award in 2007; she was also selected as a Fulbright scholar for research in India in 2006. DeFries received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University. She has taught undergraduate and graduate classes about the global environment and sustainable development for over 15 years.
September 2014 • Science/History • 300 pages
World Rights: Basic Books; Japanese: Nikkei Publishing Co.
A fresh look at the history of video games—is Minecraft a new art form? Ervin says yes and here’s why.
Pwning the Boss: A Noob’s Journey Through Videogame History
Pwning the Boss is a first-person history of videogames as told by a new gamer—also known as a “noob”—Andrew Ervin. Learning the seminal games of the last half century on their original machines, Ervin brought a fresh pair of thumbs to experience them as their first players did, interviewing game journalists and creators along the way. Pwning the Boss is packed with original research and never-before-told stories, including how Adam Saltsman and Jason Rohrer managed to install their games in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Ervin explores the way that video games are being recognized as an art form today and the important role these games now play in our culture. Wired together by Ervin’s engaging narrative of searching for an Atari 2600 or a supercomputer, this videogame history pulls readers from the earliest games, like Pac Man and Pong, to today’s massively multiplayer online roleplaying game frenzy, as it describes Ervin’s own journey from beginner “noob” to eventually “pwning” (owning) these games and their evolution. • Andrew Ervin is author of Extraordinary Renditions, a collection of novellas that PW named one of its best books of 2010. Ervin has written hundreds of essays and reviews for the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Salon, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Goucher College, an MA in English from Illinois State University, and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied with Richard Powers. He teaches part time at Temple University. In the early years of the internet, he worked as a video game developer in the Budapest, London, and New York offices of one of the first online gaming sites.
Fall 2016 • Computers and Technology/Games • 272 pages
World Rights: Basic Books
A fascinating biography of the man who co-founded intel and had an influence as great or greater on the world than Bill Gates, Henry Ford or Thomas Edison. He’s a media shy person, which is why we don’t know him well, but he’s given 50 hours of interviews. Highly qualified team of authors who have the knowledge, connections and writing skills to make it a stellar book.
Arnold Thackray with David Brock and Rachel Jones
Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary
This expansive biography shares the never-before-told story of Gordon Moore, the scientist who cofounded Intel, discovered Moore’s law (the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years), and drove socioeconomic and technological change over the last 60 years. As a scientist in the 1950s, Moore made his law a self-fulfilling prophecy; the power of computers has increased exponentially into the technology we use today. With the fiftieth anniversary of this law around the corner, Dr. Arnold Thackray explores the life of this inventor and businessman whose influence on the world is at least as great as that of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, or Bill Gates. Based on over 50 hours of interviews with Moore himself, this biography outlines his personal story, reveals how he shaped Silicon Valley and the larger world, and brings Moore’s advanced technology to life. • Arnold Thackray is president of the Chemical Heritage Foundation with a PhD from Cambridge. He has authored many books about the history of science and technology. He served as editor of the History of Science Society journals, Isis and Osiris, for 17 years. • David Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy. As a historian of both science and technology, Brock studied at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton. • Rachel Jones is a London journalist and business writer who specializes in writing about technology and entrepreneurship.
May 2015 • Biography/Science and Technology • 480 pages
World Rights: Basic Books
Almost final manuscript is just in and I’m excited about this one. Ford calls his book “Picketty on steroids” because while Picketty discusses the fact that the concentration of wealth, Ford is showing us how the growth of robotics and the way jobs will be lost will lead to this concentration of wealth. An important look at the future of economies.
Rise of the Robots: How Technology Will Transform the Future Job Market
Martin Ford has worked in Silicon Valley for over 25 years, observing firsthand the extraordinary acceleration of technology. Now, he tells us about the risks of allowing technology to transform our economy and culture. In the spirit of Evgeny Morozov’s To Save Everything, Click Here and Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together, Ford argues that all these nifty artificially intelligent devices are not just on the cusp of making “good” jobs obsolete—they are already doing it. A computer wins the game show Jeopardy—big deal, right? Well, the same technology is making paralegals obsolete as it undertakes electronic discovery and will soon make radiologists obsolete too. And that, no doubt, will only be the beginning. Rise of the Robots focuses on structural unemployment and inequality resulting from accelerating progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, and other forms of job automation. In no way anti-technology or anti-progress, Ford calls on us to consider adapting our economic system to the new realities brought on by advancing technology and proposes pragmatic solutions along those lines. Sure to cause a stir, this is a must read for those in the economic, political, and technological circles. • Martin Ford has worked in Silicon Valley in finance at a high-tech company and founded several successful small software-design firms. He is recognized as one of a very small number of experts who have invested significant thought in, and produced a substantial body of writing on, the subject of technological unemployment, its implications, and possible solutions
Spring 2015 • Technology/Business • 256 pages • World Rights: Basic Books; United Kingdom: Oneworld; Chinese (simp.): CITIC
A new title for the manuscript that has just delivered and which makes a very pertinent and pressing argument for society to take back control of technology by a highly distinguished thinker, scholar and ethicist.
Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond our Control
We generally associate scientific research and technological development with the promise of innovation and productivity—the goal is to create tools that will make our lives better, easier, and happier. Yet recently there has arisen widespread concern that technological development has become a juggernaut beyond human control. New tools such as 3-D printing, autonomous robots, cyberwar, synthetic organisms, toxic nanoparticles, Big Data and surveillance, designer babies, geoengineering, and complex financial computers threaten not only to outpace our understanding but also to disrupt the structure of society—and even threaten humanity at large. In Dangerous Master, ethicist Wendell Wallach offers a nuanced consideration of these fears and answers the question, What responsibility do we have for the technologies we build? He tells the story of the risks, harms, and social impact of new technologies, discusses the drivers of a scientific revolution that appears to be beyond control, and reflects on how we might give form to the future we are creating. The dangers of unbridled technological development are real. But, as Wallach argues, many of those dangers can be significantly reduced, freeing us to reap the rewards of scientific progress. What we need is a little foresight and the willingness to make hard choices. A major reconsideration of the dangers and benefits of our technological future, Tech Storm forces us to confront the purpose, human and moral, of ourselves and the things we build. • Wendell Wallach is a scholar at Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. He is also a scholar with the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, a fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology, and a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center. Wallach has been interviewed and quoted by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BBC News. Formerly, he was a founder and president of two computer-consulting companies, Farpoint Solutions and Omnia Consulting, Inc. Among his clients were PepsiCo International, United Aircraft, and Connecticut State.
October 2014 • Science/Technology • 304 pages • World Rights: Basic Books
Just delivered manuscript for this wonderful book on negotiations that uses the new economic and psychological insights to help us better negotiate in every aspect of our lives. A paradigm shift from the classic “Getting to Yes.”
Margaret Neale and Thomas Z. Lys
Getting (More of) What You Want: Mastering the Secrets of Psychology and Economics for Negotiation Performance, Profit, and Prosperity
Eminent business professors Margaret Neale and Thomas Z. Lys rely on cutting-edge research to move beyond classical understandings of negotiations, presenting a brand-new approach to deal making that combines the insights of modern economic and psychological perspectives. Leaving behind outdated frameworks, Neale and Lys draw on recent breakthroughs in behavioral and classical economics, including “limits to rationality,” to help negotiators understand their opponents’ perspectives, interests, and likely choices. What emerges is a more sophisticated approach, shifting from unrealistic “win-win” scenarios to a widely applicable, integrated strategy. Incorporating feedback from thousands of students and executives, Getting (More of) What You Want is an engaging and effective guide for readers seeking to prosper in all facets of life, from work to relationships and social interactions. • Margaret Neale is an Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where her research focuses primarily on negotiation and team performance. She has authored over 70 articles on the topics of bargaining and negotiation and coauthored three books. • Thomas Z. Lys is Eric L. Kohler Chair in Accounting at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His work has been published in prominent academic journals, and he is editor of the Journal of Accounting and Economics. He has served as a consultant for General Electric and IBM.
May 2015 • Business • 272 pages
World Rights: Basic Books; United Kingdom: Profile Books; Dutch: Maven
Manuscript will be available in late October for this highly anticipated book on how happiness and success rarely go hand in hand, but how we might remedy that disconnect.
Raj Raghunathan, PhD
If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? The Surprising Path from Career Success to Life Success
Most scientists and thinkers agree that happiness is among the most important goals in a person’s life. So why, then, aren’t smart, successful people happy? In If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? Raj Raghunathan, who studies theories from psychology, the behavioral sciences, decision theory, and marketing to explain interrelationships between affect and consumption behavior, argues that smarts and success can actually obstruct the path to feeling truly happy. Using his own original research and a series of stories, he explores why intelligent people aren’t as happy as they could be. Raghunathan discusses the three needs that routinely distract people from happiness: the need for importance, the need to be loved, and the need for control. He also explains how beliefs about various issues—such as how to make the best decisions, how much to trust others, and the relationship between goals and emotions—have a negative influence on happiness and what can be done about this. Raghunathan examines the various definitions of happiness and which definition is “best” for maximizing it. Finally, he explores the common misconceptions that happiness is fleeting and the search for it shallow. • Raj Raghunathan, PhD, is associate professor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and one of the most popular bloggers for Psychology Today. He serves on the editorial board of Journal of Marketing and Journal of
May 2015 • Business/Psychology • 288 pages
World Rights: Basic Books; United Kingdom: Random House UK; Dutch: Business Contact; Korean: Gilbut Publications
Contrary to current popular opinion the author lays out the many positive contributions and possible societal gains from Financial Innovation including some of the most pressing social problems that governments and institutions are unable to solve. Written by the finance editor of The Economist. The full manuscript is available.
Smart Money: How High-Stakes Financial Innovation Is Reshaping Our World—for the Better
Six years after the financial crisis, bankers and other Wall Street types remain villains in the public mind. The standard critique goes that they wrecked the economy, destroyed people’s savings, and never adequately paid for their crimes. But as Economist editor Andrew Palmer reveals in Smart Money, this detested industry is not only capable of doing great good for society but offers the most powerful means we have for solving some of our most intractable social problems. Drawing on interviews with leading financiers and a new breed of financial entrepreneurs, Palmer provides a sweeping account of the history, present, and future of financial innovation, arguing that we need it more today than ever before. Our current age of ingenious finance is only the latest era in the long history of finance that began with the ancient Babylonians and reached its nadir with the Great Recession of 2008. Going forward, he explains, the financial industry will be defined by entrepreneurs whose ethos is more Silicon Valley than Wall Street. With the opportunities provided by Big Data, these individuals are producing more socially conscious products. Peer-to-peer lenders are funneling money to entrepreneurs that big banks won’t bet on, creating opportunities where none existed. Social-impact bonds that fund programs for the impoverished and homeless are helping ease the burden on national governments and simultaneously producing better results. Human-capital contracts are matching investors with lower-class young people, allowing the former to fund the educations of the latter in return for a percentage of the their future earnings. Other financial products are intended to fund cancer research, to encourage people to save more money for retirement, and to enable older people to turn their illiquid assets—from housing to their own life insurance policies—into cash. Overturning our biases and assumptions, Smart Money offers a balanced, clear-eyed view of the peril inherent in finance and a riveting and inspiring brief on a new era of financial innovation that promises to benefit us all. • Andrew Palmer, finance editor of The Economist, was previously the banking correspondent at the magazine, covering the industry from the first signs of distress in credit markets, through the collapse of Lehman Brothers, to the efforts of governments to stabilize the financial sector. Prior to joining The Economist, he spent several years working for other parts of The Economist Group, including a spell in Vienna covering business in eastern Europe. He has an undergraduate degree in classics from Oxford University and a master’s in international relations from the London School of Economics.
April 2015 • Finance/Economics • 320 pages • World Rights: Basic Books