By Matthew Syed
What can Roger Federer teach us about the secret of longevity? What do the All Blacks have in common with improvised jazz musicians? What can cognitive neuroscientists tell us about what happens to the brains of sportspeople when they perform?And why did Johan Cruyff believe that beauty was more important than winning? Matthew Syed, the 'Sports Journalist of the Year 2016', answers these questions and more in a fascinating, wide-ranging and provocative book about the mental game of sport. How do we become the best that we can be, as individuals, teams and as organisations? Sport, with its innate sense of drama, its competitive edge, its psychological pressures, its sense of morality and its illusive quest for perfection, provides the answers.
How to Be Human
If you thought you knew who you were, THINK AGAIN.Did you know that half your DNA isn't human? That somebody, somewhere has exactly the same face? Or that most of your memories are fiction?What about the fact that you are as hairy as a chimpanzee, various parts of your body don't belong to you, or that you can read other people's minds? Do you really know why you blush, yawn and cry? Why 90 per cent of laughter has nothing to do with humour? Or what will happen to your mind after you die? You belong to a unique, fascinating and often misunderstood species. How to be Human is your guide to making the most of it.
By Mick Herron
WINNER OF THE CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER'Mick Herron is an incredible writer and if you haven't read him yet, you NEED to' Mark BillinghamNever outlive your ability to survive a fight.Twenty years retired, David Cartwright can still spot when the stoats are on his trail. Jackson Lamb worked with Cartwright back in the day. He knows better than most that this is no vulnerable old man. 'Nasty old spook with blood on his hands' would be a more accurate description.'The old bastard' has raised his grandson with a head full of guts and glory. But far from joining the myths and legends of Spook Street, River Cartwright is consigned to Lamb's team of pen-pushing no-hopers at Slough House.So it's Lamb they call to identify the body when Cartwright's panic button raises the alarm at Service HQ.And Lamb who will do whatever he thinks necessary, to protect an agent in peril . . .Preorder London Rules, the next Jackson Lamb novel, now.
By A N Wilson
'Hugely enjoyable' - Spectator'A lucid, elegantly written and thought-provoking social and intellectual history' - Evening Standard'As a historian trying to put Darwin in the context of his time, there is surely no better biographer than Wilson' - The Times'A work of scholarship that is hard to put down' - Deborah CadburyCharles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers?In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in twenty-five years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin.Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'. But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything.But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of nature's grand plan? Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.
The Empathy Instinct
By Peter Bazalgette
'If we hope to meet the moral test of our times, then I think we're going to have to talk more about the "empathy deficit". The ability to put ourselves in somebody else's shoes, to see the world through somebody else's eyes . . .' Barack ObamaEmpathy is the power of understanding others, imaginatively entering into their feelings. It is a fundamental human attribute, without which mutually co-operative societies cannot function. In a revolutionary development, we now know who has it, who lacks it and why. Via the MRI scanner we are mapping the human brain. This is a new frontier that reveals a host of beneficial ideas for childcare, teens challenged by the internet, the justice system, decent healthcare, tackling racism and resolving conflicts. In this wide-ranging and accessible book full of entertaining stories that are underlined by the latest scientific research, Peter Bazalgette also mounts a passionate defence of arts and popular culture as a means of bridging the empathy gap. As the world's population expands, consuming the planet's finite resources, as people haunted by poverty and war are on the move and as digital communications infinitely complicate our social interactions, we find our patience and our sympathy constantly challenged. Here is the antidote.Culminating in a passionate manifesto on empathy, The Empathy Instinct is what makes us human and what can make us better humans.
By Mick Herron
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLDSBORO GOLD DAGGER AND THE IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER SHORTLISTED FOR THE THEAKSTON OLD PECULIAR CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR'If you read one spy novel this year, read Real Tigers' The Spectator'The finest new crime series this millennium' Mail on SundayCatherine Standish knows that chance encounters never happen to spooks.She's worked in the Intelligence Service long enough to understand treachery, double-dealing and stabbing in the back.What she doesn't know is why anyone would target her: a recovering drunk pushing paper with the other lost causes in Jackson Lamb's kingdom of exiles at Slough House.Whoever it is holding her hostage, it can't be personal. It must be about Slough House. Most likely, it is about Jackson Lamb.And say what you like about Lamb, he'll never leave a joe in the lurch.He might even be someone you could trust with your life . . .
By Mick Herron
Shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award'The UK's new spy master' Sunday TimesYou don't stop being a spook just because you're no longer in the game.Banished to Slough House from the ranks of achievers at Regent's Park for various crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal, Jackson Lamb's misfit crew of highly trained joes don't run ops, they push paper.But not one of them joined the Intelligence Service to be a 'slow horse'.A boy is kidnapped and held hostage. His beheading is scheduled for live broadcast on the net.And whatever the instructions of the Service, the slow horses aren't going to just sit quiet and watch . . .
By Mick Herron
Winner of the 2013 CWA Gold Dagger AwardA BBC Front Row best crime novel of the yearA Times crime and thriller book of the year'The finest new crime series this millennium' Mail on SundayDickie Bow is not an obvious target for assassination.But once a spook, always a spook. And Dickie was a talented streetwalker back in the day, before he turned up dead on a bus. A shadow. Good at following people, bringing home their secrets.Dickie was in Berlin with Jackson Lamb. Now Lamb's got his phone, and on it the last secret Dickie ever told, and reason to believe an old-time Moscow-style op is being run in the Service's back-yard.In the Intelligence Service purgatory that is Slough House, Jackson Lamb's crew of back-office no-hopers is about to go live . . .
By John Julius Norwich
'Never before had the world seen four such giants co-existing. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, these four men together held Europe in the hollow of their hands.' Four great princes - Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent - were born within a single decade. Each looms large in his country's history and, in this book, John Julius Norwich broadens the scope and shows how, against the rich background of the Renaissance and destruction of the Reformation, their wary obsession with one another laid the foundations for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different - from the scandals of Henry's six wives to Charles's monasticism - but, together, they dominated the world stage. From the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a pageant of jousting, feasting and general carousing so lavish that it nearly bankrupted both France and England, to Suleiman's celebratory pyramid of 2,000 human heads (including those of seven Hungarian bishops) after the battle of Mohács; from Anne Boleyn's six-fingered hand (a potential sign of witchcraft) that had the pious nervously crossing themselves to the real story of the Maltese falcon, Four Princes is history at its vivid, entertaining best. With a cast list that extends from Leonardo da Vinci to Barbarossa, and from Joanna the Mad to le roi grand-nez, John Julius Norwich offers the perfect guide to the most colourful century the world has ever known and brings the past to unforgettable life.
Dashing for the Post
By Patrick Leigh Fermor
A revelatory collection of letters written by the author of The Broken Road.Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly gifted friend. The letters in this collection span almost seventy years, the first written ten days before Paddy's twenty-fifth birthday, the last when he was ninety-four. His correspondents include Deborah Devonshire, Ann Fleming, Nancy Mitford, Lawrence Durrell, Diana Cooper and his lifelong companion, Joan Rayner; he wrote his first letter to her in his cell at the monastery Saint Wandrille, the setting for his reflections on monastic life in A Time to Keep Silence. His letters exhibit many of his most engaging characteristics: his zest for life, his unending curiosity, his lyrical descriptive powers, his love of language, his exuberance and his tendency to get into scrapes - particularly when drinking and, quite separately, driving. Here are plenty of extraordinary stories: the hunt for Byron's slippers in one of the remotest regions of Greece; an ignominious dismissal from Somerset Maugham's Villa Mauresque; hiding behind a bush to dub Dirk Bogarde into Greek during the shooting of Ill Met by Moonlight, the film based on the story of General Kreipe's abduction; his extensive travels. Some letters contain glimpses of the great and the good, while others are included purely for the joy of the jokes.
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
By Mario Giordano
'Alive with a tang of lemons to set the senses zinging' The SpectatorFiction at its most charming - A Man Called Ove meets Andrea Camilleri, Auntie Poldi is this summer's most unlikely hero.Auntie Poldi can think of no finer place to wait for death than Sicily. All she asks is a sea view, fine wine (and plenty of it), and her family close around.When death instead takes her handsome young friend Valentino - and under mysterious circumstances at that - Poldi will not take it lying down.Perhaps it's in her blood (her father was a detective chief inspector); perhaps it's a diverting excuse to spend more time with men in uniform; or perhaps it's just the promise she makes to Valentino while holding his poor dead hand.But Auntie Poldi's hunting instincts have never felt more alive. Justice must be served - if it's the last thing she does . . . Auntie Poldi and the Fruits of the Lord, the second Auntie Poldi adventure, is out now!
Mr Darley's Arabian
By Christopher McGrath
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year AwardIn 1704 a bankrupt English merchant sent home the colt he had bought from Bedouin tribesmen near the ruins of Palmyra. Thomas Darley hoped this horse might be the ticket to a new life back in Yorkshire. But he turned out to be far more than that: and although Mr Darley's Arabian never ran a race, 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today are descended from him. In this book, for the first time, award-winning racing writer Christopher McGrath traces this extraordinary bloodline through twenty-five generations to our greatest modern racehorse, Frankel.The story of racing is about man's relationship with horses, and Mr Darley's Arabian also celebrates the men and women who owned, trained and traded the stallions that extended the dynasty. The great Eclipse, for instance, was bred by the Duke who foiled Bonnie Prince Charlie's invasion (with militia gathered from Wakefield races) and went on to lead the Jockey Club. But he only became a success once bought and raced by a card-sharp and brothel-keeper - the racecourse has always brought high and low life together. McGrath expertly guides us through three centuries of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost: our sporting life offers a fascinating view into our history. With a canvas that extends from the diamond mines of South Africa to the trenches of the Great War, and a cast ranging from Smithfield meat salesmen to the inspiration for Mr Toad, and from legendary jockeys to not one, but two disreputable Princes of Wales (and a very unamused Queen Victoria), Mr Darley's Arabian shows us the many faces of the sport of kings.
Why We Love Music
By John Powell
Did you know that . . .carrying a musical instrument makes you more attractive?music can cure insomnia?music can change the taste of wine?the Mozart effect has nothing to do with Mozart?Barry Manilow songs can be used for crowd control?Why does music affect you so profoundly? It impacts the way you think, talk, feel, behave and even spend money. With his conversational style, humour, and endless knowledge, scientist and musician John Powell showcases fascinating studies - for example that shoppers spend more money in stores that play classical music and, even more astounding, they are more likely to buy German wine in stores playing German music. With chapters on music and emotions, music as medicine, music and intelligence, and much more, Why We Love Music will entertain through to the very last page. A delightful journey through the psychology and science of music, Why We Love Music is the perfect book for anyone who loves a tune.