What We Are Reading Today: The Cheating Cell

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Updated 25 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Cheating Cell

Author: Athena Aktipis

When we think of the forces driving cancer, we don’t necessarily think of evolution. But evolution and cancer are closely linked, for the historical processes that created life also created cancer.
The Cheating Cell delves into this extraordinary relationship, and shows that by understanding cancer’s evolutionary origins, researchers can come up with more effective, revolutionary treatments.
Athena Aktipis goes back billions of years to explore when unicellular forms became multicellular organisms. Within these bodies of cooperating cells, cheating ones arose, overusing resources and replicating out of control, giving rise to cancer.
Aktipis illustrates how evolution has paved the way for cancer’s ubiquity, and why it will exist as long as multicellular life does. Even so, she argues, this doesn’t mean we should give up on treating cancer—in fact, evolutionary approaches offer new and promising options for the disease’s prevention and treatments that aim at long-term management rather than simple eradication. Looking across species—from sponges and cacti to dogs and elephants—we are discovering new mechanisms of tumor suppression.


What We Are Reading Today: Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology

Updated 30 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology

Author: Keith Oatley

In Our Minds, Our Selves, distinguished psychologist and writer Keith Oatley provides an engaging, original, and authoritative history of modern psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the men and women who made them.
The book traverses a fascinating terrain: conscious and unconscious knowledge, brain physiology, emotion, mental development, language, memory, mental illness, creativity, human cooperation, and much more.
Biographical sketches illuminate the thinkers behind key insights: Historical figures such as Darwin, Piaget, Skinner, and Turing; leading contemporaries such as Michael Tomasello and Tania Singer; and influential people from other fields, including Margaret Mead, Noam Chomsky, and Jane Goodall. Enhancing our understanding of ourselves and others, psychology holds the potential to create a better world. Our Minds, Our Selves tells the story of this most important of sciences in a new and appealing way.