Related to: 'Geek Nation'

Coronet

Science and Spiritual Practices

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake, author of the bestselling Science Delusion and Richard Dawkins's nemesis is a prominent botanist and the most prominent scientist to argue that science supports rather than undermines religious belief.He has written this book to show that science can not only justify and authenticate religious belief, it can also help improve it. The spiritual practises he examines include prayer, mediation, ritual, communing with nature, pilgrimage, psychedelics, gratitude - and sport!He writes: There are many spiritual practices, and most of them have now been studied scientifically. There is powerful evidence for their benefits in modern secular societies. There has been a dramatic decline in traditional religious observance, but most people continue to believe in the reality of the spiritual realm, even if they are not sure what it is or what name to give it.Spiritual practices often lead to a feeling of connection with a consciousness greater than oneself. All religions involve spiritual practices, and the practices of different religions are often very similar. Even some atheists follow practices like mindfulness meditation, and some, like Alain de Botton, in his Religion For Atheists, call for a reinvention of spiritual practices for atheists. In this book I discuss a wide range of practices in which I myself have some experience, and which readers can try for themselves. In each chapter, I make several suggestions about how to follow the practice I am discussing. I am a Christian myself, an Anglican, and therefore have more experience of Christian spiritual practices than those of other traditions. But I was also an atheist for more than a decade, a practitioner of Indian traditions of yoga and meditation, and a follower of Sufi practices. I have attended Tibetan Buddhist retreats, and worked with several shamans. Many of my friends describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. Spiritual practices can give immediate experiences of being linked to, or in communion with, a greater consciousness than our own. For materialists, who believe that matter is the only reality, these experiences are all inside the brain. They may involve triggering off responses from pleasure centres, or the release of neurotransmitters like anandamide, an internally-produced cannabis-like molecule, or other physical and chemical changes. But all attempts to explain ineffable experiences exclusively in term of the activity of nerves and molecules depend on materialist assumptions, which are beliefs. Should belief take precedence over experience? Are our minds connected to a collective human consciousness? Do they go further than humanity, and connect us with the consciousness of the earth, Gaia? Or do they go further still, to the solar system, the galaxy, or the entire cosmos? Is the mind or soul of the universe the ultimate reality, or does it itself depend on an ultimate conscious reality that transcends the universe? Is God not only in nature, but nature also in God?

John Murray

The Invention of Nature

Andrea Wulf
Authors:
Andrea Wulf
John Murray

Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!

Nicholas Carlson
Authors:
Nicholas Carlson

From her controversial rise and fall from power at Google, to her dramatic reshaping of Yahoo's work culture, people are obsessed with, and polarised by, Marissa Mayer's every move. She is full of fascinating contradictions: a feminist who rejects feminism, a charmer in front of a crowd who can't hold eye contact in one-on-ones and a geek who is Oscar de la Renta's best customer. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! tells her story. Back in the 1990s, Yahoo was the internet. It was also a $120 billion company. But just as quickly as it became the world's most famous internet company, it crashed to earth during the dotcom bust. And yet, Yahoo is still here, with nearly a billion people visiting it each month. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! tells the fly-on-the-wall story of Yahoo's history for the first time, getting inside the board room as executives make genius calls and massive blunders.Dan Loeb, a tough-talking hedge fund manager, set his sights on Yahoo in 2011. He grew up idolising the corporate raiders of the 1980s, building a career being more vicious than any of them. Without Loeb's initiative, Marissa Mayer would never have been given her chance to save the company. This book tells the tale of how Dan Loeb spotted the real problem inside Yahoo - its awful board - and tore it apart, getting two CEOs fired in the process.When Marissa Mayer first started at Yahoo in 2012, the car parks would empty every week by 4.00 p.m. on Thursday. Over the next two years she made plenty of mistakes, but she learned from them. Now Yahoo's culture is vibrant and users are coming back. In Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! Nicholas Carlson also explores what may be the internet's first real turnaround.

Hodder Paperbacks

Extremes

Kevin Fong
Authors:
Kevin Fong

In anaesthetist Dr Kevin Fong's television programmes he has often demonstrated the impact of extremes on the human body by using his own body as a 'guinea pig'. So Dr Fong is well placed to share his experience of the sheer audacity of medical practice at extreme physiological limits, where human life is balanced on a knife edge. Through gripping accounts of extraordinary events and pioneering medicine, Dr Fong explores how our body responds when tested by the extremes of heat and cold, vacuum and altitude, age and disease. He shows how science, technology and medicine have taken what was once lethal in the world and made it survivable.This is not only a book about medicine, but also about exploration in its broadest sense - and about how, by probing the very limits of our biology, we may ultimately return with a better appreciation of how our bodies work, of what life is, and what it means to be human.

Mulholland Books

You

Austin Grossman
Authors:
Austin Grossman

YOU determine the story! YOU choose your own destiny! When Russell gets a job at Black Arts games, he reunites with the people who were once his closest friends: the people who he spent hours designing, playing and discussing games with. He soon realises that all is not well at Black Arts. There's a software glitch threatening the next revolutionary product launch - and in order to find it and save his job Russell has to follow it back through twenty years of real and virtual worlds, boardrooms, computer camps, rivalry and loss. You is a story of facing dangers, realising that the most obvious path isn't always the best one to follow, and learning that playing a game can sometimes save your life.

Coronet

The Science Delusion

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

Freeing the Spirit of EnquiryThe Science Delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book (published in the US as Science Set Free), Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The 'scientific worldview' has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins used science to bash God, but here Rupert Sheldrake shows that Dawkins' understanding of what science can do is old-fashioned and itself a delusion. 'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.'The Independent'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.' Financial Times

Hodder & Stoughton

Thinking in Numbers

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet
John Murray

Boffinology

Justin Pollard
Authors:
Justin Pollard

The history of science is often seen as a story of advancement but nothing could be further from the truth. Science, it is true, has progressed, but rarely in the direction intended and seldom for the reasons given. This has a lot to do with the people responsible.Meet Thales, credited as 'the father of science', whose only real claim to fame is that he often fell into ditches, discover how Archimedes never said Eureka and hated baths anyway and how the most lucrative ancient Greek invention was not democracy but the slot machine.Justin Pollard also fills us in on Issac Newton who liked to disguise himself and lurk in London's less salubrious pubs, how eleven people claimed to have invented the steam engine and why the first website was twelve foot across and made of wood.

John Murray

The Hair of the Dog

Karl Sabbagh
Authors:
Karl Sabbagh

Science is full of surprises: the peculiar peepshow beginnings of baby incubators; the unexpected positive fallout from the H-bomb; the dinosaurs that caused sonic booms; the irrational nature of the number pi; the fifth taste sensation lurking in everyone's taste buds which nobody knew about (except for the Japanese). Whilst shedding light on these conundrums, Karl Sabbagh shows that seemingly trivial queries or assumptions lead to a deeper understanding of how science works. Who would have thought that scientists would turn to the hypothesis 'All swans are white' to determine the stability of the entire universe? Or that if we choose to spend our hard-earned money on other people it might make us happier than if we spend it on ourselves?

John Murray

Use Your Head

Dr Daniel Freeman, Jason Freeman
Authors:
Dr Daniel Freeman, Jason Freeman

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

Angela Saini

Born in the UK in 1980, Angela Saini is a science journalist and reports for the BBC, New Scientist, Wired and the Economist. She was named European Young Science Writer of the Year in 2009, and in 2008 won a European television news award.

Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of Thinking in Numbers, Embracing the Wide Sky, and the Sunday Times bestseller Born On A Blue Day. Tammet is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He lives in Paris.

Dr Daniel Freeman

Professor Daniel Freeman is one of the UK's leading clinical psychologists. He is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Medical Research Council (MRC) Senior Clinical Fellow at the University of Oxford. He was awarded the 2008 May Davidson prize by the British Psychological Society which marks 'an outstanding contribution to the development of clinical psychology. A key figure in the latest developments in cognitive behaviour therapy, he teaches clinicians around the world.

Jason Freeman

Jason Freeman is a writer and editor in the areas of popular psychology and self help.

Justin Pollard

Justin Pollard read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. He is a historical writer and consultant in film and TV. His credits include Elizabeth and Atonement and the BBC TV drama The Tudors, as well as more than twenty-five documentary series such as Channel 4's Time Team. He is a writer and researcher for QI, and the author of seven books including THE INTERESTING BITS, CHARGE!, SECRET BRITAIN and BOFFINOLOGY.

Karl Sabbagh

Karl Sabbagh is a writer and television producer. He has written on a wide range of non-fiction subjects and his books include The Living Body, Skyscraper, Power into Art, A Rum Affair, Dr. Riemann`s Zeroes, Palestine: A Personal History, Your Case is Hopeless and The Hair of the Dog.

Kevin Fong

Kevin Fong is a doctor of medicine with a special interest in human space exploration and the medical challenges of living and working in extreme environments. He is a lecturer in physiology at University College London and has worked with NASA at Johnson Space Center in Houston. He currently works as a consultant anaesthetist at University College London Hospital, is founder and associate director of the Centre for Altitude, Space and Extreme Environment Medicine and is a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fellow. Dr Kevin Fong's broadcast career includes the acclaimed BBC TV documentaries Space Shuttle: The Final Mission, Back from the Dead and How to Avoid Mistakes in Surgery; Channel 4's series Extremes A&E, as well as presenting science programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.

Rupert Sheldrake

Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than eighty technical papers and ten books, including A New Science of Life. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in cell biology, and was also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He is married, has two sons and lives in London. Follow Rupert on Twitter @RupertSheldrake. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

06 Nov
The Union Chapel, London

Randall Munroe at Intelligence Squared

7pm

Randall Munroe at Intelligence Squared