Big Ideas

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Hidden Figures
The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race
Margot Lee Shetterly

Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and the civil rights movement, Hidden Figures is the never-before-told story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program—and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Freshman Common Read: University of Mary Washington, MIT, Cedar Crest College, University of Houston, SUNY Oneonta, University of West Virginia

William Morrow: 384 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-236359-6 • hc • $27.99 ($34.99/CAN)

Paperback available in December 2016:
978-0-06-236360-2 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in ebook and digital audio editions.

About the Author

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Margot Lee Shetterly
Margot Lee Shetterly is an independent scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award recipient, currently at work on The Human Computer Project, a digital archive of the stories of NASA’s female Human Computers.

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Stephen J. Dubner
The author of Confessions of a Hero Worshiper and Turbulent Souls is a former writer and editor at the New York Times Magazine

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Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat 
Why It’s So Hard to Think Straight About Animals
Hal Herzog

We admire this book because Professor Herzog is thoughtful, rational, and often funny as he shows students how illogical they are in their relationships with animals. It’s not a polemic. It’s a book that fosters debate and conversation by asking deceptively simple questions:

• Does living with a pet really make people happier and healthier? 

• What can we learn from biomedical research with mice? 

• Who enjoys a better quality of life—the chicken on a dinner plate or a rooster who dies in a Saturday night cockfight? 

• Why is it wrong to eat the family dog? 



It’s already been adopted in a variety of courses from anthropology and composition to ethics.

“Wildly readable, funny, scientifically sound, and with surprising moments of deep, challenging thoughts.”—Robert M. Sapolsky, Stanford University

Freshman Common Read: Eastern Kentucky University

Harper Perennial: 368 pp.
2011 • 978-0-06-173085-6 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.
Free teaching materials are available here.

About the Author

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Hal Herzog
Hal Herzog is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on human-animal relations. His research has been published in prestigious academic journals, including Science, the Proceedings of the Royal Society, American Psychologist, American Scholar, the Journal of Social Issues, and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. His work has also been featured in Newsweek, USA Today, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, New Scientist, Science Daily, the London Times, and on Slate, CNN, National Public Radio’sMorning Edition, and MSNBC. He is a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University and lives in the Great Smoky Mountains with his wife and their cat, Tilly. 

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inGenius
A Crash Course on Creativity
Tina Seelig

What does it mean to be creative, to use your imagination to its fullest potential, and how can one harness their personal creative muse in order to function successfully in the everyday world? The answers to these questions have been the professional mission of award-winning Stanford University educator Tina Seelig, who has taught creativity to the best and brightest students and to business leaders around the world. inGenius offers a revolutionary new model to inspire creativity—the Innovation Engine—which explains how creativity is generated on the inside and how it is influenced by the outside world. With inGenius Seelig expertly decodes creativity, revealing an approach that your students can use to enhance their own creative genius.

“Tina Seelig has written a provocative field guide to twenty-first century creativity, with her energy and enthusiasm bursting through on every page. We all could use a little extra spark of creativity, and this book helps show the way.”—Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO and author of The Art of Innovation

HarperOne: 224 pp.
2015 • 978-0-06-202071-0 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author

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Tina Seelig
Tina Seelig has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford and is the Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, which is the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University School of Engineering. In addition, Tina also teaches a course in the Department of Management Science & Engineering on Creativity and Innovation. In 2009, Seelig was awarded the highly prestigious Gordon Prize for her innovative work in technology, engineering, and education.

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Being Wrong
Adventures in the Margin of Error
Kathryn Schulz

Of all the things people are wrong about, our condemnation of error should top the list. It is our meta-mistake: we are wrong about what it means to be wrong. Far from being a sign of intellectual inferiority, the capacity to err is crucial to human cognition. Far from being a moral flaw, it is inextricable from some of our most humane and honorable qualities: empathy, optimism, imagination, conviction, and courage. And far from being a mark of indifference or intolerance, wrongness is a vital part of how students learn and change. Thanks to error, students can revise their understanding of themselves and amend their ideas about the world.

When asked by the New York Times what book she wished all Harvard freshmen would read, Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard replied, “Kathryn Schulz’s Being Wrong advocates doubt as a skill and praises error as the foundation  of wisdom. Her book would reinforce my encouragement of Harvard’s accomplished and successful freshmen to embrace risk and even failure.”

Freshman Common Read: Wellesley College, Washington State College

Ecco: 416 pp.
2011 • 978-0-06-117605-0 • pb • $14.99 ($16.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author

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Kathryn Schulz
Kathryn Schulz is an editor of Grist magazine and a freelance journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, the New York Times Magazine, and The Nation, among other publications. She is the recipient of a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism.

Radioactive
Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout
Lauren Redniss

Lauren Redniss has created a fascinating and deeply moving visual biography that walks students through the story of Marie Curie's life, which was marked by both extraordinary scientific discover and dramatic personal trauma. From her romantic partnership with Pierre, through his tragic decline from radium poisoning and death in a traffic accident, to the scandalous affair with another fellow scientist that almost jeopardized her second Nobel Prize, it also casts an eye forward to survey the changes wrought by Curie's discovery of radioactivity—illuminating the path from the Curie laboratory past the bright red mushroom clouds in the Nevada desert through Three Mile Island and the advance in radiation therapy and nuclear technology today. 

Radioactive is quite unlike any book I have ever read—part history, part love story, part art work and all parts sheer imaginative genius.”—Malcolm Gladwell

Dey Street: 208 pp.
2015 • 978-0-06-241616-2• pb • $21.99 ($26.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author

Lauren Redniss
Lauren Redniss is the author of Century Girl: 100 years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis and Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies. Her writing and drawing has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library in 2008-2009 and became a New York Institute for the Humanities fellow in 2010. Beginning in 2012, she will be artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History. She teaches at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.




Freakonomics
A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Here’s a first-year book that encourages critical thinking and sparks discussion. Freakonomics addresses current social questions that students will enjoy arguing about both in the classroom and over coffee in the student union:

• Which is more dangerous—a gun or a swimming? 
• Why do drug dealers still live with their mothers?
• What makes a perfect parent?

These may not sound like typical questions an economist asks, but Levitt is not your typical economist. He studies the mysteries of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child rearing—and his conclusions regularly turn conventional wisdom on its head, helping students develop a critical eye to many things that are presented as fact.

“Genius . . . has you gasping in amazement.”—
The Wall Street Journal

Freshman Common Read: Appalachian State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Louisville

William Morrow Paperbacks: 352 pp.
2009 • 978-0-06-073133-5 • pb • $16.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.
Free teaching materials are available here.


About the Authors

Steven D. Levitt 
Steven D. Levitt is a Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago and an editor of The Journal of Political Economy. In January 2004 he was awarded the John Bates Clark medal—for the economist under 40 who has made the greatest contribution to the discipline—by the American Economic Association.

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Think Like A Freak
The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner single-handedly showed the world that applying economic theory and big data to everyday problems can bear surprising results. Think Like A Freak will take students further inside their special thought process, revealing a new way of approaching the decisions we make, the plans we create, and the morals we choose. It answers the question on the lips of everyone who's read the previous books: How can I apply these ideas to my life? How do I make smarter, better decisions? How can I truly think like a freak? With short, highly entertaining insights running the gamut from "The Upside of Quitting" to "How to Succeed--With No Talent," Think Like A Freak will radically alter the way your students think about all aspects of life on this planet.

William Morrow Paperbacks: 288 pp.
2015 • 978-0-06-221834-6 • pb • $16.99 ($21.00/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.

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A Deadly Wandering
A Mystery, A Landmark Investigation, and the Astonishing Science of Attention in the Digital Age
Matt Richtel

Digging deeper into his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on the issue of distracted driving, Matt Richtel examines the impact of technology on our lives through the lens of Reggie Shaw, a college student, who, while texting and driving, killed two rocket scientists in 2006. Students will follow Reggie through the tragedy of the crash, the police investigation, his prosecution, and the role he plays today as an important advocate against distracted driving. Along the way, Richtel gives students cutting-edge scientific findings about human attention and technology that will help them envision how to manage this crisis both individually and on a societal level.

“Matt Richtel’s riveting book is narrative nonfiction at its finest. A well-written true life account of tragedy, redemption and the public policy challenges of keeping pace with the march of technology. This book should be placed in every school and legislative chamber in the country.”—Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah

Freshman Common Read: Boise State University, University of Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina University

William Morrow: 416 pp.
2015: 978-0-06-228407-5 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)
Available in an ebook edition.

Teaching materials available here

About the Author
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Matt Richtel
Matt Richtel reports for the New York Times, covering a range of issues, including the impact of 
technology on our lives. In 2010 he won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for a series of articles that exposed the pervasive risks of distracted driving and its root causes, prompting widespread reform. He is the author of three novels, including, mostly recently, The Cloud. He is based in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife, Meredith Barad, a neurologist, and their two children.
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The Wild Life of Our Bodies
Predators, Parasites, and the Partners That Shape Who We Are Today
Rob Dunn
 

In the name of progress, we scrub much of nature off our bodies and homes, removing whole kinds of life—parasites, bacteria, and predators. To modern humans, nature is the landscape outside. Biologist Rob Dunn contends that while "clean living" has benefited us in some ways, it has also made us sicker in others. Here, he examines how we can create a richer nature, one in which we choose to surround ourselves with species that benefit us, not just those that, despite us, survive.

“An extraordinary book about a previously little explored subject. With clarity and charm the author takes the reader into the overlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an important domain of the human condition.”—Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

Freshman Common Read: Vassar College

Harper304pp.; index.
2014 • 978-0-06-180646-9 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author
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Rob Dunn
Rob Dunn is a professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina State University. A rising star in popular-science journalism, he has written more than eighty magazine articles for National Geographic, Natural History, Scientific American, BBC Wildlife, and Seed. His most recent book is Every Living Thing. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his two children; his wife, Monica, and many thousands of species of wild life.

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The World According to Star Wars
Cass R. Sunstein

Already assigned as required reading for Cornell’s cross-disciplinary course Six Pretty Good Books: Explorations in Social Science, The World According to Star Wars by an acclaimed legal scholar and Harvard professor shares life lessons from Star Wars and what the series can teach us about being human.

“In this gem of a book, Cass Sunstein uses the Star Wars series to explore profound questions about being a parent, a child, and a human. It will change the way you think about your own journey, might even make you pick up the phone and call your dad.”—Walter Isaacson

“Delightful. . . .  informative without being boring, funny without being silly . . . a marvelous swift read. The force is strong with this one.”—The Economist

William Morrow: 240pp.; index.
2016 • 978-0-06-248422-2 • hc • $21.99($26.99/CAN)

Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author
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Cass R. Sunstein
Cass Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard, where he is founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy. A columnist for Bloomberg View, a frequent witness before Congress, and an informal adviser to many public officials in national, state, and local governments.  He has served as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, as a member of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, and as an Attorney-Adviser in the U.S. Department of Justice. His many books include the bestseller Nudge (with Richard H. Thaler), Simpler: The Future of Government, and Republic.com.
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Door to Door
The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation
Edward Humes

Thousands of miles are embedded in almost everything we do and touch and purchase, but we're scarcely aware of it.  A cup of Starbucks coffee materializes in front of us without any signs of the 30,000 miles it has travelled. Behind the scenes, there are grinding commutes, a violent death every 15 minutes on an American highway, and a crushing impact on the environment.

By delving into one week in the life of his family in suburban California—their commutes, traffic jams, grocery stops, and online shopping excursions—the author of first-year favorite Garbology reveals the truths and mounting challenges behind every trip we take and every click we make.

“Like Silent Spring and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Door to Door is a rallying point for culture-wide change. Hume’s tireless curation of figure and fact, his well-reasoned arguments and his uncluttered, well-ordered prose may turn the ship that’s just begun to budge.”—Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review

Harper: 384 pp.
2016 • 978-0-06-237207-9 • hc • $27.99 ($34.99/CAN)

Paperback available in May 2017:
978-0-06-237208-6 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author
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Edward Humes
Edward Humes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of thirteen books including acclaimed enviro-chronicle Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. He is a recipient of the PEN Award and his writing has been featured in Los Angeles Magazine, The Wall Street JournalForbes, and the New York Times. He currently resides in Southern California with his wife, two children and three rescued greyhounds.
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Epic Measures
One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients
Jeremy N. Smith

Already assigned as required reading for students at Harvard University, the University of Montana, and Hampshire College, Epic Measures is the story of a 20-year, 500-scientist attempt to track and quantify every illness, injury, and death for everyone on Earth: the biggest of Big Data ever. The book offers an intimate look at doctor and economist Christopher Murray, who began the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) studies, and whose unwavering determination to improve global health standards has already changed the way the world addresses issues of health and wellness, sets policy, and distributes funding.

“My students really learned a lot from Epic Measures. Most importantly, they acquired new tools to understand for themselves what ails the world—and they used this information to articulate arguments about how we should devote resources to improving global health.”—Kim Yi Dionne, Five College Assistant Professor of Government, Smith College

“An inspiring story of how a simple idea, conceived logically and pursued with grit, can greatly improve the human condition.”—Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

Harper Wave: 416 pp.

2015 • 978-0-06-223750-7 • hc • $26.99 ($33.50/CAN)

Paperback available in January 2017:
978-0-06-223751-4 • pb • $15.99 ($19.99/CAN)

Available in an ebook edition.

About the Author
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Jeremy N. Smith 

Jeremy N. Smith has written for Discover, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicago Tribune, among many other publications. His first book, Growing a Garden City, was one of Booklist’s top 10 books on the environment for 2011. Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, he is graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana. He lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife and young daughter.

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty.

Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.” —John Green

Balzer + Bray: 464 pp.
2017 • 978-0-06-249853-3• hc • $17.99 ($21.99/CAN)
Available in an e-book edition.

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Hate U Give
About the Author
Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was having an article about her in Right On! magazine. She holds a BFA in creative writing and can still rap if needed. The Hate U Give is her first novel. You can find her at www.angiethomas.com. 

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First Year Catalog 2016-2017