What We Are Reading Today: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

What We Are Reading Today: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
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Updated 18 May 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

What We Are Reading Today: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people — one in twenty-five — has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know — someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for — is a sociopath. 

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.


What We Are Reading Today: Ant Architecture; The Wonder, Beauty, and Science of Underground Nests

What We Are Reading Today: Ant Architecture; The Wonder, Beauty, and Science of Underground Nests
Updated 25 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Ant Architecture; The Wonder, Beauty, and Science of Underground Nests

What We Are Reading Today: Ant Architecture; The Wonder, Beauty, and Science of Underground Nests

Edited by Walter R. Tschinkel

Walter Tschinkel has spent much of his career investigating the hidden subterranean realm of ant nests. This wonderfully illustrated book takes you inside an unseen world where thousands of ants build intricate homes in the soil beneath our feet.

Tschinkel describes the ingenious methods he has devised to study ant nests, showing how he fills a nest with plaster, molten metal, or wax and painstakingly excavates the cast. He guides you through living ant nests chamber by chamber, revealing how nests are created and how colonies function. How does nest architecture vary across species? Do ants have “architectural plans”? How do nests affect our environment? As he delves into these and other questions, Tschinkel provides a one-of-a-kind natural history of the planet’s most successful creatures and a compelling firsthand account of a life of scientific discovery.

Offering a unique look at how simple methods can lead to pioneering science, Ant Architecture addresses the unsolved mysteries of underground ant nests while charting new directions for tomorrow’s research, and reflects on the role of beauty in nature and the joys of shoestring science.


What We’re Reading: Thriving At Work

What We’re Reading: Thriving At Work
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Updated 24 June 2021

What We’re Reading: Thriving At Work

What We’re Reading: Thriving At Work

Author: Michael Dam

If you are new to the workforce or want to jump-start your career, Thriving At Work delivers a proven and practical roadmap to achieve success from day one and throughout your career, according to a review published on goodreads.com.
Designed and written for easy reading, you can read about the topics you are interested in at the moment as well as being able to refer back to the book throughout your career. The author discusses topics such as getting the right job, standing out at work, and successfully navigating the many challenges you will face throughout your career.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards

What We Are Reading Today: Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards
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Updated 24 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards

What We Are Reading Today: Do Not Erase: Mathematicians and Their Chalkboards

Author: Jessica Wynne

“A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns,” wrote the British mathematician G. H. Hardy. In Do Not Erase, photographer Jessica Wynne presents remarkable examples of this idea through images of mathematicians’ chalkboards. While other fields have replaced chalkboards with whiteboards and digital presentations, mathematicians remain loyal to chalk for puzzling out their ideas and communicating their research. Wynne offers more than 100 stunning photographs of these chalkboards, gathered from a diverse group of mathematicians around the world. The photographs are accompanied by essays from each mathematician, reflecting on their work and processes. Together, pictures and words provide an illuminating meditation on the unique relationships among mathematics, art, and creativity.
The mathematicians featured in this collection comprise exciting new voices alongside established figures, including Sun-Yung Alice Chang, Alain Connes, Misha Gromov, Andre Neves, Kasso Okoudjou, Peter Shor, Christina Sormani, Terence Tao, Claire Voisin, and many others.
The companion essays give insights into how the chalkboard serves as a special medium for mathematical expression. The volume also includes an introduction by the author, an afterword by New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson, and biographical information for each contributor.

Do Not Erase is a testament to the myriad ways that mathematicians use their chalkboards to reveal the conceptual and visual beauty of their discipline—shapes, figures, formulas, and conjectures created through imagination, argument, and speculation.


What We Are Reading Today: Rocks and Rock Formations

What We Are Reading Today: Rocks and Rock Formations
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Updated 23 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Rocks and Rock Formations

What We Are Reading Today: Rocks and Rock Formations

Author: Jurg Meyer

Many of us are fascinated by rocks—but identifying them can seem daunting. It’s often tricky even for geologists, who rely on experience, intuition, and in-depth familiarity with rock-forming components. Rocks and Rock Formations allows everyone, amateur or professional, to successfully distinguish these amazing masses of minerals, using only careful observation, a magnifying glass, a pocket knife—and a bit of patience.
Jürg Meyer provides a structured approach to the identification of all rocks within the three groups: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. Bringing together more than 530 diagrams and photographs to illustrate essential characteristics, Meyer highlights some basics on rocks—their mineral constituents, structures, textures, fossils, weathering patterns, and more—which are important for a determination. The main part of the book is a handy and thorough identification key, which takes into account all possible rock variations, mixtures, and structural differences. The concluding section of the guide delves into rock systematics.


What We Are Reading Today: Streetwalking on a Ruined Map by Giuliana Bruno

What We Are Reading Today: Streetwalking on a Ruined Map by Giuliana Bruno
Updated 21 June 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Streetwalking on a Ruined Map by Giuliana Bruno

What We Are Reading Today: Streetwalking on a Ruined Map by Giuliana Bruno

Emphasizing the importance of cultural theory for film history, Giuliana Bruno enriches our understanding of early Italian film as she guides us on a series of “inferential walks” through Italian culture in the first decades of the 20th century. This innovative approach — the interweaving of examples of cinema with architecture, art history, medical discourse, photography, and literature — addresses the challenge posed by feminism to film study while calling attention to marginalized artists. 

An object of this critical remapping is Elvira Notari (1875-1946), Italy’s first and most prolific woman filmmaker, whose documentary-style work on street life in Naples, a forerunner of neorealism, was popularly acclaimed in Italy and the United States until its suppression during the Fascist regime. 

Since only fragments of Notari’s films exist today, Bruno illuminates the filmmaker’s contributions to early Italian cinematography by evoking the cultural terrain in which she operated. 

What emerges is an intertextual montage of urban film culture highlighting a woman’s view on love, violence, poverty, desire, and death. This panorama ranges from the city’s exteriors to the body’s interiors. Reclaiming an alternative history of women’s filmmaking and reception, Bruno draws a cultural history that persuasively argues for a spatial, corporal interpretation of film language.