Bestsellers – April 2018

Monthly Bestsellers, April 2018

The Largest Art (MIT Press)
Brent Ryan

Brent Ryan argues that urban design encompasses more than architecture, and he provides a foundational theory of urban design beyond the architectural scale. In a “declaration of independence” for urban design, Ryan describes urban design as the largest of the building arts, with qualities of its own.


Designing Reality (Little, Brown)
Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

Over the past fifty years, two digital revolutions—in computing and communication—have transformed our world. They have led to unprecedented productivity, generated enormous wealth, and fundamentally altered everyday life. But these revolutions left a great many people behind: today, half of the planet is not connected to the Internet, inequality is on the rise, and issues around privacy, security and civility emerge daily. With more foresight, we could have avoided many of these pitfalls.

We now have another chance. Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld foresee a third and even greater digital revolution in fabrication.

Portraits of Resilience (MIT Press)
Daniel Jackson

Photographs and stories of people who have coped with and overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, and other challenges.




Machine, Platform, Crowd (Norton)
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolffson

From the authors of the best-selling The Second Machine Age, a leader’s guide to success in a rapidly changing economy.

We live in strange times. A machine plays the strategy game Go better than any human; upstarts like Apple and Google destroy industry stalwarts such as Nokia; ideas from the crowd are repeatedly more innovative than corporate research labs.

In the tradition of agenda-setting classics like Clay Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, McAfee and Brynjolfsson deliver both a penetrating analysis of a new world and a toolkit for thriving in it. For startups and established businesses, or for anyone interested in what the future holds, Machine, Platform, Crowd is essential reading.

Taming the Sun (MIT Press)
Varun Sivaram

How solar could spark a clean-energy transition through transformative innovation — creative financing, revolutionary technologies, and flexible energy systems.




Post-Truth (MIT Press)
Lee McIntyre

How we arrived in a post-truth era, when “alternative facts” replace actual facts, and feelings have more weight than evidence.

Are we living in a post-truth world, where “alternative facts” replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? How did we get here? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of “fake news,” from our psychological blind spots to the public’s retreat into “information silos.”


The Power of Little Ideas (Harvard University Press)
David Roberston  and Kent Lineback

Conventional wisdom today says that to survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. “Disrupt yourself or be disrupted!” is the relentless message company leaders hear. “The Power of Little Ideas” argues there’s a “third way” that is neither sustaining nor disruptive. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.

Balancing Green (MIT Press)
Yossi Sheffi, with Edgar Blanco

An expert on business strategy offers a pragmatic take on how businesses of all sizes balance the competing demands of profitability and employment with sustainability.




Enlightenment Now (Penguin Random House)
Steven Pinker

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases.

The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown)
J.K. Rowling

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

*An MIT Reads Spring 2018 Book Selection! Join the MIT Libraries for a community discussion on April 23: