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Super Cells: Building with Biology

by Nina Tandon and Mitchell Joachim

Imagine broken bridges that have the ability to self-heal, one-stop body-shops for human body parts, living looms spinning high-tech fabrics and PETA-friendly porterhouse steaks.

In Super Cells, Nina Tandon and Mitchell Joachim take us on an eye-popping tour of the tantalizing array of inventions already being created with nature’s elemental building block, the cell.

Tandon and Joachim, daring inventors in their own right, contend that we’re entering a new technological era, one in which we can create smarter technologies by making cells our partners in design. And they confront the thorny questions that come with playing with the power of life.

The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth

by Allan Savory

Our planet is rapidly turning to desert. Once-lush grasslands are growing dry and bare. Rivers that used to flow year-round now run dry after the rains. Grazing animals want for food.

What is causing this “desertification” of the earth, and how can we stop it?

In The Grazing Revolution, biologist Allan Savory presents a solution that’s as radical as it is simple: huge herds of livestock, managed to mimic the behavior of the natural herds that once roamed grasslands centuries ago.

Tracing his own story of discovery, Savory debunks common misconceptions and vividly chronicles the process by which he has seen scrubby wasteland revert to robust ecosystems. Our age-old agricultural practices are contributing greatly to the global climate change underway; Savory argues that by re-imagining these practices, we can reverse desertification and save the planet.

Would You Stay?

by Michael Forster Rothbart

The devastating nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl scattered radioactive fallout across 30 countries in Europe. Yet in the regions with worst contamination, the vast majority of people stayed, despite the potential danger. A generation later, after the 2011 tsunami triggered disaster in a power plant that’s still leaking nuclear waste, the people of Fukushima, Japan, are confronting the same impossible questions about about safety, security, and their future.

In Would You Stay?, photojournalist Michael Forster Rothbart tries to understand why people refuse to leave Chernobyl and Fukushima despite the risks. With Forster Rothbart’s personal narrative as guide, this stunning and provocative book blends photos, interviews, maps, and audio recordings to help us weigh the true value of home. In the end, Forster Rothbart and the reader both confront the ultimate question: Would you stay?

Learning from the Voices in My Head

by Eleanor Longden

Eleanor Longden was a college freshman when she started hearing voices in her head. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and checked into a psychiatric ward, Longden spent years trapped in a nightmare of hospitals and medications, pain and despair. Yet she survived. Her technique: to learn to listen to her internal narrators, not reject them. Now on the cusp of finishing her Ph.D. in psychology, Longden still hears voices — and she says she wouldn’t live without them.

Part personal memoir and part medical argument, Learning from the Voices in My Head challenges society’s definition of crazy. Longden calls for new, nuanced understanding of voice hearing and urges us to see madness not as a condition, but as a process — one through which those who struggle with mental health issues have the chance to emerge with their sanity intact.

The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness to its Source

by Rishi Manchanda

We all think we know what good medicine looks like: smart doctors, stethoscopes, imaging machines, high-tech tests, and the best prescriptions and procedures money can buy. But that picture is vastly incomplete. In this eye-opening book, physician Rishi Manchanda says that our health may depend even more on our social and environmental settings than it does on our most cutting-edge medical care. Manchanda argues that that the future of our health care depends on growing a new generation of health care practitioners. We need doctors who look upstream for the sources of our problems, rather than simply go for quick-hit symptomatic relief. These upstreamists, as he calls them, are doctors and nurses on the frontlines of medicine who see that health (like sickness) is more than a chemical equation that can be balanced with pills and procedures administered within clinic walls. They see that health begins in our everyday lives, in the places where we live, work, eat, and play. If our high-cost, sick-care system is to become a high-value, health care system, the upstreamists will show us the way.

Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed With Documenting Our Lives Online

by Damon Brown

We live in a world of infinite status updates, constant tweeting, and compulsive pinning—behavior that can put documenting our lives at odds with actually living. We blame technology, but our need to capture time didn’t start with Instagram. In Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed with Documenting Our Lives Online, long-time culture writer and Quote UnQuote app co-founder, Damon Brown calls upon personal experiences, pop culture observations, and historical evidence to answer key questions concerning the prioritization of our “virtual shadow” over our real lives. Does documenting our lives keep us from living it? Do we sacrifice our sensual experiences (touch or taste) when we use technology to capture memories? And when did this obsession with life documentation actually begin? Brown doesn’t believe we should stop technological progress, nor is he advocating that technology is necessary to the progress of humanity. Instead, he forces us to question how we have become so dependent on social media and why, like technologies before it, it taps into our basic human need to be remembered and understood. Ultimately, Brown offers lessons about using social media tools while also teaching us how to stay present in our real lives.

Le$terland: The Corruption of Congress and How to End It

By Lawrence Lessig

The American political system has been foundationally weakened by a corrupt campaign funding system, creating a dangerously unstable and inequitable design that could destroy our republic — if we let it. In Le$terland: The Corruption of Congress and How To End It, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig assesses the deep flaws in our campaign finance system and lays out a plan for fixing it. Lessig describes a place called “Lesterland,” a fictional land with a population of 311 million people of whom the 144,000 named Lester are the people really in charge. It’s the United States, of course, and Lesters are the 0.05 percent of Americans who fund the election. Lessig notes that just 132 Americans gave 60 percent of the SuperPAC money spent in the election cycle. It’s these few, he says, who are our Lesters, and our dependence on them is perverting the democracy of the country. After all, if candidates have to spend 30 to 70 percent of their time trying to raise funds to get back to Congress, which they do, might that not affect their principles, their beliefs, their ideals, and what they’re prepared to fight for on behalf of the people? It's time to change the system. Here's how.

Keystone XL: Down the Line

A Journey Along the Controversial Pipeline and Into America’s Energy Frontier
By Steven Mufson

The proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline has enflamed the bitter fight over America's energy future. Opponents say the pipeline—which is designed to bring oil extracted from Canadian tar sands down through the U.S. to ports in Texas—would further bind future generations of Americans to our outdated and dead-end oil-based energy policy. Supporters claim that it represents a step towards America’s energy independence.

But Steve Mufson, author of Keystone XL: Down the Line and a reporter at The Washington Post, suggests that the real story of the pipeline is one about American frontiers and just how far we are willing to go to feed our addiction to oil.

Recounting his journey along the length of the proposed pipeline, Mufson asks readers to consider what this policy debate looks like beyond the issues of climate change, tar sands and U.S. energy trade policy. In the book Mufson delves into the ups and downs of the North Dakota shale boom, prairie populism in Nebraska, drinking water concerns near the Ogallala aquifer, Native American communities' desire to protect their land and burials sites along the Trail of Tears, and ranchers’ objections to the use of eminent domain by Canadian companies.

In many ways, the Keystone XL pipeline serves as a larger metaphor, Mufson argues, illuminating the vast energy infrastructure it takes to sustain the American lifestyle and the debatable choices we must make in pursuit of short-term comfort. The book raises the question: Which risks, now and in the future, are we really willing to take?

Minescape: Waging War Against Land Mines

Photos by Brett Van Ort with text by Joel Whitney and Brett Van Ort

Long after the wars are over, millions of land mines continue to maim and kill civilians all over the world.

In Minescape: Waging War Against Land Mines, artist and photojournalist Brett Van Ort shares a collection of photographs documenting the tragic consequences of leftover land mines from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With unsettling photographs of deceptively innocent landscapes, and various types of land mines and clinically chilling prosthetic limbs and metal joints, Minescape reminds us of the lingering threats of war that often remain in times of peace.

Minescape is the first TED Book to be released in conjunction with a print edition, and will complement an art book to be published by Daylight Books in April 2013. This will also mark one of the first projects from the newly launched Daylight Digital. The TED Books version of Minescape pairs Van Ort’s moving photographs and personal accounts with Joel Whitney’s globe-trotting investigative essays as well as multimedia features that detail the continued impacts of land mines as well as innovative techniques for landmine detection, allowing photography lovers and academics alike to go beyond the images.

City 2.0: The Habitat of the Future and How to Get There

Edited by TED Books

The world’s cities are on pace to balloon from 3.6 billion inhabitants today to more than 6 billion by mid-century. As a result, we face both a dire emergency and a tremendous opportunity. At their best, our modern cities are hubs of human connection, fountains of creativity, and exemplars of green living. Yet at the same time, they still suffer the symptoms of industrial urbanization: pollution, crowding, crime, social fragmentation, and dehumanization. Now is the time to envision what cities can be and to transform them. This book, produced in partnership with the Atlantic Cities, celebrates 12 promising, provocative responses to this challenge, in realms ranging from transportation to food to art. It asks and begins to answer simple-seeming questions: How can we transform cities to be sustainable, efficient, beautiful, and invigorating to the human soul? And practically speaking, how do we get from here to there?

How Did You End Up Here?: The Surprising Ways Our Questions Connect Us

By Davy Rothbart

What do the questions we ask others, even complete strangers, reveal about ourselves? And can the answers we seek shape our own lives and dreams? Davy Rothbart wants to know. Rothbart — a writer, reporter, and documentary filmmaker — is known for his curiosity about other people’s lives. Whether it’s the folks he interviews as a frequent contributor to public radio’s This American Life, or the people he connects with through the deeply personal notes and letters published in his annual magazine, Found, Rothbart has honed a unique talent for compassionately probing into the lives of strangers and drawing out surprisingly revealing stories of beauty, heartbreak, and humor. In How Did You End Up Here?: The Surprising Ways Our Questions Connect Us, Rothbart collects more than 100 of his all-time favorite questions to ask someone you’ve just met, generated by people around North America whom he’d only just met himself. Rothbart opens his toolbox, sharing secrets of his trade, stories from the road, and strategies for approaching people and pushing past superficialities while also taking a close look at the questions themselves.

Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists

By Ainissa Ramirez

The 21st century requires a new kind of learner — not someone who can simply churn out answers by rote, but a student who can think expansively and solve problems resourcefully. In order to solve the complex problems of tomorrow, the traditional academic skills of reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic must be replaced with creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration skills — skills inherent in scientific research. In Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists, Yale professor Ainissa Ramirez makes an impassioned call for a recommitment to improving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in our schools and throughout our society. She describes what habits we need to change to make STEM fun again, as well as a plan for how to increase every child's participation in these disciplines. Ramirez notes: “The artist Pablo Picasso once said that all children are born artists and that the trick is to stay that way as an adult. I believe that all children have an inner scientist within them, and we need to get them in touch with their inner scientist again.” In Save Our Science, she shows us how.

Radical Openness: Four Unexpected Principles for Success

By Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

All over the world, the way people connect and collaborate is undergoing an astonishing transformation as a result of one idea: radical openness. Smart organizations are shunning their old, secretive practices and embracing transparency, widely sharing intellectual property and collaborating on an astronomical scale. And movements for freedom and justice are exploding everywhere as organizations like Wikileaks spread information faster than ever before.

In their compelling new book Radical Openness: Four Unexpected Principles for Success, Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams show how this revolutionary new philosophy is affecting every facet of our society, from the way we do business to whom we choose to govern us.

But while radical openness promises many exciting transformations, it also comes with new risks and responsibilities. Tapscott and Williams ask: How much information should we share and with whom? And what are the consequences of disclosing the intimate, unvarnished details of our professional and personal lives?

In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders?

Ivan Krastev

A recent Gallup poll listed the most—and least—trusted professions in America. At the bottom of the list: car salesmen and members of Congress. It's not hard to understand why our politicians rate so poorly — scandals, myopia, obstinance, party loyalty over common good, fiscal cliffs. All have left voters exasperated and confused. But while confidence in our elected leaders has never been lower, we cling to the belief that democracies represent the epitome of societal and political organization. Why? With his provocative book In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don’t Trust Our Leaders?, political commentator Ivan Krastev explores this incongruity between our political head and heart. Tech tools may help provide some openness to the machinations of the political machine, but they may just be putting a Band-Aid on an open wound. Ultimately, Krastev ponders whether we can enjoy the many rights of our society without enjoying real political choice or power. Simply put: can democracy survive without trust?

Things Don't Have to Be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World

Larry Smith

What would you say if you had just six words to define your life? That’s the challenge Larry Smith presented to his online community, SMITH Magazine, in 2006. His quest was inspired by the legend that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a novel in just six words. That writer's legendary result: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Giving the form a personal twist, Smith reimagined the six-word novel as the Six-Word Memoir, challenging contributors to come up with a half-dozen words of self-reflection. The constraint, it turned out, fueled rather than inhibited creativity: "Sometimes lonely in a crowded bed;” “My life made my therapist laugh;" "Wasn’t born a redhead—fixed that;” “I still make coffee for two." Inspired by Six Words’ popularity in English classes and art classes alike, Smith recently called for submissions for illustrated Six-Word Memoirs, in which he asked students, whether in grade school or grad school, to create a piece of artwork that enhanced their memoirs. The voices in Things Don’t Have to Be Complicated might be young, but they are nonetheless profound. At its core, the Six-Word Memoir offers a simple way for anyone of any age to try to answer the question that defines us all: Who am I?

Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives With Design-Based Education

Emily Pilloton

Tell Them I Built This dramatically shows how creativity, critical thinking, citizenship, and dirt-under-your-fingernails construction can radically transform both high school education and the local community where students live. This is the story of Studio H, the design/build program that author Emily Pilloton and her partner Matthew Miller launched in rural North Carolina. Through the eyes of her students, Pilloton tells the story of the group’s hopes, failures, triumphs, and the power of design-driven education. According to Pilloton, we can dramatically revamp vocational education and build the change we wish to see in the world. She should know: ultimately her students were given the key to the city by their mayor for initiating, designing, and building three public chicken coops and a 2000-square-foot public farmer’s market structure. In Tell Them I Built This, Pilloton offers tools for building change in communities, tips for turning a vision into meaningful work, and clear and inspiring directions on how to get it done.

The Science of Optimism: Why We're Hard-Wired for Hope

Tali Sharot

We all like to think of ourselves as rational creatures who smartly prepare for the worst. We watch our backs, weigh the odds, and pack an umbrella when the skies look threatening. But although we take such sensible precautions, we still generally expect things to turn out pretty well — often better than they usually do. This belief that the future will probably be much better than yesterday or today is known as the optimism bias, and most of us have it. Why? Tali Sharot's The Science of Optimism delves into the biological reasons as to why we're hard-wired for hope, exploring the advantages (and disadvantages) of our optimistic nature, as well as what makes people content and why. She examines fresh research that explores the part of the brain where optimism lives, providing fresh and surprising biological and cultural reasons as to why we all seem to presume sunny skies ahead.

Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks

Tiffany Shlain

While many wonder what the pervasive use of technology is doing to our brains, Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks asks a bigger, more profound question: can cutting-edge neurological research into the way a child’s brain develops teach us anything about how we shape the global “brain” of the Internet? Can we share lessons between neurons and networks in the way we nurture and develop both? This ebook was created in conjunction with a 10-minute film by author Tiffany Shlain which uses an innovative, participatory filmmaking process that she and her team pioneered call “Cloud Filmmaking.” The TED Book expands on the ideas in the film by following the lines of the script and sharing deeper research, videos, graphics, and links that explore this leading research more deeply. This release marks the first time a film and TED Book have been released together.

The Whole Fish: How Adventurous Eating of Seafood Can Make You Healthier, Sexier, and Help Save the Ocean

Maria Finn

Seafood is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but the choices we make when we enjoy it are not just sensory — they also play a part in a large and interconnected system that involves the whole earth's well-being. In The Whole Fish, food writer Maria Finn takes us on a journey into the “whole food” cooking movement, one that advocates eating the entire fish from gill to adipose fin. It's an approach that can not only improve your heath, happiness, and sex life, but also help save the complex ecosystem that supports the ocean. The Whole Fish includes seafood recipes from some of the best chefs in the business. Get ready for fish head soup, broiled collars, brined eggs, relish from the fatty bellies, baked skins for “fish bacon,” even dried bones for grinding into “salt.” The new movement to eat and enjoy the distinct flavors of the whole animal — whether it lives on land or sea — is a satisfying and exciting way to add the spirit of adventure to life. At these intersections with nature, we cultivate passion and wonder. Preparing and eating a meal can be a form of gratitude and community, not just with our friends and families but with all life on earth. Through The Whole Fish, we come to know life intimately, and we nourish ourselves.

A Haystack Full of Needles: Cutting Through the Clutter of the Online World to Find a Place, Partner, or President

Jim Hornthal

Scouring the Internet for an answer to a complex question is not only frustrating but often futile. Asking a search engine where to take your next vacation or what film you might enjoy often results in a deluge of useless, impersonal data. Finding the ”right” answer is like hunting for the proverbial needle hidden somewhere in a thousand haystacks. In A Haystack Full of Needles, author and venture capitalist Jim Hornthal explores groundbreaking new approaches to discovering useful insights buried deep within our complex and noisy datasphere. Hornthal introduces us to innovators who are pushing the edges of data science and data visualization by applying the principles of pattern recognition to isolating relevant signals in the noise. Their efforts will have enormous implications for the way we practice medicine, discover music and movies, and even identify our romantic partners.

Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter?

Howard Rheingold

Instead of asking whether the Web is making us stupid, Howard Rheingold turns that question around and asks how designing and using digital media mindfully could make us smarter. What if humans could build tools that leverage our ability to think, communicate, and cooperate? Humans invented social learning, speech, writing, alphabets, printing, computers, and the Internet, which means we should be systematically directing the evolution of intellectual augmentation. Mind Amplifier: Can Our Digital Tools Make Us Smarter? examines the origins of digital mind-extending tools, and then lays out the foundations for their future. Rheingold proposes an applied, interdisciplinary science of mind amplification. He also unveils a new protocol for developing techno-cognitive-social technologies which embrace empathy, mindfulness, and compassion — elements lacking from existing digital mind-tools.

Why School?: How Education Must Change When Information and Learning Are Everywhere

Will Richardson

The Internet has delivered an explosion of learning opportunities for today’s students, creating an abundance of information, knowledge, and teachers as well as a starkly different landscape from the one in which our ideas about school were born. Traditional educators, classrooms, and brick-and-mortar schools are no longer necessary to access information. Instead, things like blogs and wikis, as well as remote collaborations and an emphasis on ”critical thinking” skills are the coins of the realm in this new kingdom. Yet the national dialogue on education reform focuses on using technology to update the traditional education model, failing to reassess the fundamental model on which it is built.

In Why School?, educator, author, parent, and blogger Will Richardson challenges traditional thinking about education—questioning whether it still holds value in its current form. With an in-depth look at how connected educators are beginning to change their classroom practice. Richardson's book serves as a starting point for the important conversations around real school reforms that must ensue. Ultimately, Why School? offers a bold plan for rethinking how we teach our kids, and warns of the consequences if we don't.

Citizen Advocate: Get Government to Move Mountains and Change the World

Omar Ahmad

Has the red tape of the political process gotten you down? In this step-by-step practical handbook, former mayor Omar Ahmad explains in clear detail what it takes to move a great idea down the sometimes confusing path of persuasive lobbying into effective legislation. He focuses on the community level, believing that when small local changes occur, big things can result. To effectively advocate your point of view, you must embark on a multi-step effort that requires time, effort and creativity. Citizen Advocate shows you how.

When I'm 164: The New Science of Radical Life Extension, and What Happens if it Succeeds

David Ewing Duncan

How long do you want to live, and why? That's a question that has intrigued humans for eons, and now advanced science and new levels of tech have allowed us to live longer and longer and longer — but at what cost? In When I'm 164: The New Science of Radical Life Extension, and What Happens If It Succeeds, bestselling author (as “Experimental Man”) and science writer David Ewing Duncan surveys the increasingly legitimate science of radical life extension — from genetics and regeneration to machine solutions — and considers the pluses and minuses of living to age 164, or beyond. Duncan looks at everything from the impact of extended life on cities, services and cost of living, as well as what happens to love, curiosity and general health. Concluding that anti-aging technologies will probably succeed in the next 30 to 50 years, Duncan brings us back to the age-old question posed by the Beatles in their classic song: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m … .”

Deep Water: As Polar Ice Melts, Scientists Debate How High Our Oceans Will Rise

Daniel Grossman

As global warming continues, the massive ice caps at Earth’s poles are melting at an increasingly alarming rate. Water once safely anchored in glacial ice is surging into the sea. The flow could become a deluge, and millions of people living near coastlines are in danger. Inundation could impact every nation on Earth. But scientists don’t yet know how fast this polar ice will melt, or how high our seas could rise. In an effort to find out, a team of renowned and quirky geologists takes a 4,000-mile road trip across Western Australia. They collect fossils and rocks from ancient shorelines and accumulate new evidence that ancient sea levels were frighteningly high during epochs when average global temperatures were barely higher than today. In Deep Water, veteran environmental journalist, radio producer and documentary filmmaker Daniel Grossman explores the new and fascinating science — and scientists — of sea-level rise. His investigation turns up both startling and worrisome evidence that humans are upsetting a delicate natural equilibrium. If knocked off balance, it could hastily melt the planet’s ice and send sea levels soaring.

Cheating the Impossible: Ideas and Recipes from a Rebellious High-Wire Artist

Philippe Petit

High-wire artist Philippe Petit startled the world when he walked on a taut cable between the soaring twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974. But even a death-defying acrobat has to start somewhere. In Cheating the Impossible: Ideas and Recipes from a Rebellious High-Wire Artist, Petit takes you on a highly personal, entertaining and exciting journey from his first card trick at age 6 to his now legendary performance in the skies of lower Manhattan, offering inspiring advice guaranteed to make your own life's balancing act go a little smoother.

Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization

Ayesha and Parag Khanna

Political scientists Ayesha and Parag Khanna (whom Esquire magazine calls one of the 75 people who will influence the 21st century) declare that we are rapidly moving from a point of co-existence with technology to a phase of co-evolution with it. In the Hybrid Age, technology is ubiquitous (with trillions of sensors coating our environment), intelligent (devices communicating with each other as well as with us) and social (encouraging us to develop emotional relationships with it). Technology no longer just processes our instruction; it has its own agency, and we respond to it as much as it responds to us. What this means for societies and individuals, as well as communities and nations, is truly world-changing. How will we respond and adapt?

The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It

Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan

Why are young men failing socially and sexually, and in school? Is the rampant overuse of video games and online porn causing the demise of guys? Celebrated psychologist Philip Zimbardo and co-author Nikita Duncan, authors of The Demise of Guys, suggest this might be the case in this provocative TED Book. Based on survey responses from 20,000 men, numerous individual interviews and dozens of studies, Zimbardo and Duncan propose that the excessive use of video games and online porn is creating a generation of shy and risk-adverse guys who are unable (and unwilling) to navigate the complexities and risks inherent to real-life relationships, school and employment. Taking a critical look at a problem which is tearing at families and societies everywhere, The Demise of Guys posits that our young men are suffering from a new form of “arousal addiction,” and introduces a bold new plan for getting them back on track.

What's Killing Us: A Practical Guide to Understanding Our Biggest Global Health Problems

Alanna Shaikh

In the past half-century, we’ve changed the way we collectively view the health of the 7 billion people who occupy this planet. Health issues were once seen as an isolated national or regional problem; now they are a global concern. In What's Killing Us, 2011 TED Senior Fellow and healthcare expert Alanna Shaikh lays out the most important challenges and issues in global wellness -- from tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and flu to maternal mortality and the diminishing effectiveness of antibiotics -- while untangling the web of jargon that so often permeate those discussions. Shaikh, who runs the international-development-focused blog Blood and Milk, also provides clear ideas about how these worldwide problems can be managed.

Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives

Rachel Armstrong

What will the city of the future look like? More like an ever-changing and vibrant garden than a static set of buildings and blocks. In Living Architecture: How Synthetic Biology Can Remake Our Cities and Reshape Our Lives, British designer and architect Rachel Armstrong re-imagines the world’s extensive urban areas and argues that in order to achieve sustainable development of the built environment -- and help countries like Japan recover from natural disasters -- we need to begin rethinking how we approach architecture. Armstrong sets the scene for fundamentally different ways of making structures and materials, suggesting that we can “grow” more ecologically compatible buildings by using life-like technologies, such as protocells. The result is a new kind of architectural practice where cities behave more like evolving ecosystems than lifeless machines.

Beyond the Hole in the Wall: Discover the Power of Self-Organized Learning

Sugata Mitra

Ten years ago, educator Sugata Mitra and his colleagues cracked open a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed a networked PC, and left it there for the local children to freely explore. What they quickly saw in their “Hole in the Wall” experiment was that kids from one of the most desperately poor and unwired areas of the world could, without instruction, quickly learn how the PC operated and how to go online. They also taught each other the nuances of high-tech connectivity. It was the dawning of Mitra’s introduction to self-organized learning, and it would shape the next decade of his groundbreaking research into how children learn. This important update on Mitra’s original work (which provided the inspiration for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire) offers new research and ideas that show how self-directed learning can make kids smarter and more creative. He also offers step-by-step instruction on how to integrate it into any classroom. It’s an important lesson that could reshape our schools and reinvigorate our educational system.

Controlling Cancer: A Powerful Plan for Taking On the World's Most Daunting Disease

Paul Ewald and Holly Swain Ewald

The scourge of cancer has ripped through bodies, families and generations for so long and with such power that it feels almost invincible. But biologist Paul Ewald -- widely regarded as the leading expert in the emerging field of evolutionary medicine -- and co-author Holly Swain Ewald may have found a way of attacking the intractable killer, which they detail here. The Ewalds believe that viruses are at the heart of the onset of cancer and that we can attack the disease through an early attack on the virus. In this important study, they form an innovative plan for rethinking and eradicating one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act

Ron Gutman

How can something as simple as a smile be so deceptively complex? That's the mystery and magic explored in Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act, which explores the sensation and science of the smile. From the broad beaming grin of a toddler to the oily smirk of a used car salesman, smiles convey an enormous range of emotions. Grins also have radically varied meanings in different cultures, as the author learned during his many worldwide trips to explore the complicated -- but ubiquitous -- act of smiling.

Launching The Innovation Renaissance: A New Way to Bring Smart Ideas to Market Fast

Alex Tabarrok

Unemployment, fear and fitful growth tell us the economy is stagnating. The recession, however, is just the tip of iceberg. We have deeper problems. Most importantly, the rate of innovation is down. Patents, which were designed to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, have instead become weapons in a war for competitive advantage with innovation as collateral damage. College, once a foundation for innovation, has been oversold. We have more students in college than ever before, but fewer science majors. Regulations, passed with the best of intentions, have spread like kudzu and now impede progress to everyone's detriment. Launching the Innovation Renaissance is a fast-paced look at how we can accelerate innovation and build a solid 21st-century economy.

Aftercrimes, Geoslavery, and Thermogeddon: Plus 157 More Words From a Lexicographer's Notebook

Erin McKean

Ever been brainjacked? Or Breitbarted? Perhaps you’re a kangatarian or a newpreneur. If not, you can still be a wordnik. Come with us as we peek into the notebook of lexicographer Erin McKean in Aftercrimes, Geoslavery, and Thermogeddon: Thought-Provoking Words from a Lexicographer’s Notebook, her revealing look at a torrent of new words and phrases — in science, politics, social life — that reveal our changing societies. It’s a surprising window into our world.

Media Makeover: Improving the News One Click At A Time

Alisa Miller

Media Makeover: Improving the News One Click at a Time is a bird’s-eye view on how “news” is made -- and how readers and viewers can re-make it. Alisa Miller, CEO of Public Radio International, lays out what's missing from our news diets and explains why certain kinds of news are harder to come by -- and shows how we can take control of the news to get a more accurate picture of the world. Media Makeover: Improving the News One Click at a Time is a must-read for anyone who wants to be better informed: consumers, innovators, technologists, journalists and media leaders alike.

Weekday Vegetarian: Finally, a Palatable Solution

Graham Hill

A vegetarian diet can markedly improve your health and fitness, but what if you still love munching into a juicy burger every now and again? Graham Hill has a powerful and simple solution: Become a weekday vegetarian. Don't eat meat Monday through Friday. During the weekends, you're back to being a carnivore.

Hill, who founded the eco-blog treehugger.com, has expanded the popular short talk he gave at TED2010 into a potentially life-changing digital book that explores the personal, economic and societal benefits of moving meat out of your diet. Don't fear that vegetarian dishes all taste like sawdust. Hill includes 20 great-tasting veggie recipes to get you started.

Make Love Not Porn: Technology's Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior

Cindy Gallop

In Make Love Not Porn: Technology's Hardcore Impact on Human Behavior, Cindy Gallop talks about the personal experiences and research that inspired her to give her legendary TED Talk “Make Love Not Porn” -- and the explosive growth of the website MakeLoveNotPorn.com since the talk went viral. She shares stories of people who've learned from her talk and from the site, from people who've supported it and challenged it. It's an important read about the new realities of intimacy in the digital age.

Cindy Gallop's 2009 TED Talk was a powerful look at the effects of online porn on a generation of young people.

Beware Dangerism! Why We Worry About the Wrong Things and What It's Doing To Our Kids

Gever Tulley

If you're over 30, you probably walked to school, played on the monkeybars, learned to high-dive at the public pool. If you're younger, it's unlikely you did any of these things. Has the world become that much more dangerous? Statistically, not at all. But our society has created pervasive fears around letting kids be independent and take risks -- and the consequences for our kids are serious. Gever Tulley takes on these media-inflated fears -- which he calls “dangerism” -- with surprising statistics and insights into the nature of fear and risk.

Gever Tulley is the co-founder of the Tinkering School, a weeklong camp where lucky kids get to play with their very own power tools.

The Happiness Manifesto: How Nature and People Can Nurture Well-Being

Nic Marks

Much of modern life is based on the assumption that happiness comes from economic prosperity. Politicians, media and citizens alike seem to assume the goal of government is to keep the economy moving. Here, Nic Marks argues that the blind pursuit of economic growth has created an environment that actually undermines our happiness. He offers some bold suggestions on how nations and people can return to a shared common purpose: nurturing well-being.

Nic Marks is the founder of the Centre for Well-Being, an independent think tank at the New Economics Foundation in London

Homo Evolutis: Please Meet the Next Human Species

Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans

There have been at least 25 prototype humans. We are but one more model, and there is no evidence evolution has stopped. Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans, two of the world's most eminent science authors, researchers and entrepreneurs, take you into a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, their own selves and other species. By the end you will see a broad, and sometimes scary, map of life-science-driven change. Not only will our bodies be altered but so too will our core religious, governmental and social structures as humankind makes the transition to a new species, a Homo evolutis, which directly and deliberately controls its own evolution and that of many other species.

Juan Enriquez thinks and writes about the profound changes that genomics and other life sciences will cause in business, technology, politics and society.

Steve Gullans is an experienced investor, entrepreneur and scientist. He co-founded RxGen, a pharmaceutical services company.