Most people don’t know what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.

Best known for creating CD Baby, the most popular music site for independent artists, founder Derek Sivers chronicles his “accidental” success and failures into this concise and inspiring book on how to create a multimillion-dollar company by following your passion.

Sivers details his journey and the lessons learned along the way of creating CD Baby and building a business close to his heart. In 1997 Sivers was a musician who taught himself to code a Buy Now button onto his band’s Web site. Shortly thereafter he began selling his friends’ CDs on his Web site. As CD Baby grew, Sivers faced numerous obstacles on his way to success. Within six years he had been publicly criticized by Steve Jobs and had to pay his father $3.3 million to buy back 90 percent of his company, but he had also built a company of more than 50 employees and had profited $10 million.

Anything You Want is must reading for every person who is an entrepreneur, wants to be one, wants to understand one, or cares even a little about what it means to be human.

Heart, determination, and triumph

Life Is Short & So Am I is the story of a boy who fell in love with wrestling before he was able to walk. Born with achondroplasia, a condition that causes disproportionate dwarfism, Dylan Postl had endured multiple surgeries by the age of 12. And yet, he held on to the dream that he would one day become a professional wrestler. Ignoring the naysayers and against doctors’ recommendations, Dylan began training in his teens, and he soon began appearing on local independent shows. Before he turned 20, he was signed by the world leader in sports-entertainment, WWE, to play the role of Irish grappler Finlay’s feisty sidekick, Hornswoggle, and remained a firm fixture in the company for a full decade.

While most of Dylan’s adult life has been spent in the wild world of the wrestling industry, Life Is Short is more than a story of a little person’s journey through a world of giants; it’s a memoir of elation and anguish, triumph and disappointment, and of how an endlessly positive outlook combined with the unwavering support of family and friends helped him become a success in his industry and a loving, responsible father. It’s a story about a man who still loves wrestling — but loves his family above all else.

The Official Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon. Thousands of books have been written about the unique benefits of Intermittent Fasting and its ability to help people lose weight and improve health, but Eat Stop Eat was one of the first. Far from being just another fad, Eat Stop Eat is your indispensable guide to the latest science behind using intermittent fasting for simple yet effective weight loss, without unneeded complexity or the need to deprive yourself of the foods you love to eat.

A scientist reveals the groundbreaking evidence linking many major diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, to a common root cause—insulin resistance—and shares an easy, effective plan to reverse and prevent it.

We are sick. Around the world, we struggle with diseases that were once considered rare. Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes affect millions each year; many people are also struggling with hypertension, weight gain, fatty liver, dementia, low testosterone, menstrual irregularities and infertility, and more. We treat the symptoms, not realizing that all of these diseases and disorders have something in common. 

Each of them is caused or made worse by a condition known as insulin resistance. And you might have it. Odds are you do—over half of all adults in the United States are insulin resistant, with most other countries either worse or not far behind. 

In Why We Get Sick, internationally renowned scientist and pathophysiology professor Benjamin Bikman explores why insulin resistance has become so prevalent and why it matters. Unless we recognize it and take steps to reverse the trend, major chronic diseases will be even more widespread. But reversing insulin resistance is possible, and Bikman offers an evidence-based plan to stop and prevent it, with helpful food lists, meal suggestions, easy exercise principles, and more. Full of surprising research and practical advice, Why We Get Sick will help you to take control of your health.

He’s wrestled under many names but to the fans he is and will always be Stone Cold Steve Austin™. His quick wit and colorful use of language combined with his everyman character captured the hearts of fans worldwide and rewrote the dynamics of professional wrestling forever. Steve’s ability inside the ring and his quick-witted responses lead to his becoming one of the most popular WWE© Superstars of all times. With the creation of the Stone Cold™ character, Steve’s popularity expanded exponentially. It seemed nothing could stop the Texas Rattlesnake™, except himself. The Stone Cold Truth is an unvarnished take on his life, and you know it’s the truth ” ’cause Stone Cold says so!™”

The shimmering, cloud-covered planet of Venus conceals a wondrous secret: the strikingly beautiful yet deadly world of Amtor. In Amtor, cities of immortal beings flourish in giant trees reaching thousands of feet into the sky; ferocious beasts stalk the wilderness below; rare flashes of sunlight precipitate devastating storms; and the inhabitants believe their world is saucer-shaped with a fiery center and an icy rim. Stranded on Amtor after his spaceship crashes, astronaut Carson Napier is swept into a world where revolution is ripe, the love of a princess carries a dear price, and death can come as easily from the blade of a sword as from the ray of a futuristic gun.

The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one “The Third Space War” (or the fourth), or whether “The First Interstellar War” fits it better. We just call it “The Bug War.” Everything up to then and still later were “incidents,” “patrols,” or “police actions.” However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an “incident” as you are if you buy it in a declared war…

In one of Robert A. Heinlein’s most controversial bestsellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe—and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enemy.

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

At once a relentless pageturner and an intricate science-fiction puzzlebox about time, identity, and memory, Recursion is a thriller as only Blake Crouch could imagine it—and his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.

Who wore the first pants? Who painted the first masterpiece? Who first rode the horse? This madcap adventure across ancient history uses everything from modern genetics to archaeology to uncover the geniuses behind these and other world-changing innovations.

Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder mystery, who was the first surgeon, who sparked the first fire–and most critically, who was the first to brave the slimy, pale oyster?

In this book, writer Cody Cassidy digs deep into the latest research to uncover the untold stories of some of these incredible innovators (or participants in lucky accidents). With a sharp sense of humor and boundless enthusiasm for the wonders of our ancient ancestors, Who Ate the First Oyster? profiles the perpetrators of the greatest firsts and catastrophes of prehistory, using the lives of individuals to provide a glimpse into ancient cultures, show how and why these critical developments occurred, and educate us on a period of time that until recently we’ve known almost nothing about.

Help to transform the planet in crisis with this indispensable guide to healthy, ethical, and economically sustainable food from #1 New York Times bestselling author Mark Hyman, MD — “Read this book if you’re ready to change the world” (Tim Ryan, US Representative).

Food is our most powerful tool to reverse the global epidemic of chronic disease, heal the environment, reform politics, and revive economies. What we eat has tremendous implications not just for our waistlines, but also for the planet, society, and the global economy. What we do to our bodies, we do to the planet; and what we do to the planet, we do to our bodies.

In Food Fix, #1 bestselling author Mark Hyman explains how our food and agriculture policies are corrupted by money and lobbies that drive our biggest global crises: the spread of obesity and food-related chronic disease, climate change, poverty, violence, educational achievement gaps, and more.

Pairing the latest developments in nutritional and environmental science with an unflinching look at the dark realities of the global food system and the policies that make it possible, Food Fix is a hard-hitting manifesto that will change the way you think about — and eat — food forever, and will provide solutions for citizens, businesses, and policy makers to create a healthier world, society, and planet.

From the best-selling author of Why We Get Fat, a groundbreaking, eye-opening expos that makes the convincing case that sugar is the tobacco of the new millennium: backed by powerful lobbies, entrenched in our lives, and making us very sick.

Among Americans, diabetes is more prevalent today than ever; obesity is at epidemic proportions; nearly 10% of children are thought to have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. And sugar is at the root of these, and other, critical society-wide, health-related problems. With his signature command of both science and straight talk, Gary Taubes delves into Americans’ history with sugar: its uses as a preservative, as an additive in cigarettes, the contemporary overuse of high-fructose corn syrup. He explains what research has shown about our addiction to sweets. He clarifies the arguments against sugar, corrects misconceptions about the relationship between sugar and weight loss; and provides the perspective necessary to make informed decisions about sugar as individuals and as a society.

“Explores how industry has manipulated our most deep-seated survival instincts.”–David Perlmutter, MD, Author, #1 New York Times bestseller, Grain Brain and Brain Maker

The New York Times-bestselling author of Fat Chance reveals the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression, and chronic disease.

While researching the toxic and addictive properties of sugar for his New York Times bestseller Fat Chance, Robert Lustig made an alarming discovery–our pursuit of happiness is being subverted by a culture of addiction and depression from which we may never recover.

Dopamine is the “reward” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we want more; yet every substance or behavior that releases dopamine in the extreme leads to addiction. Serotonin is the “contentment” neurotransmitter that tells our brains we don’t need any more; yet its deficiency leads to depression. Ideally, both are in optimal supply. Yet dopamine evolved to overwhelm serotonin–because our ancestors were more likely to survive if they were constantly motivated–with the result that constant desire can chemically destroy our ability to feel happiness, while sending us down the slippery slope to addiction. In the last forty years, government legislation and subsidies have promoted ever-available temptation (sugar, drugs, social media, porn) combined with constant stress (work, home, money, Internet), with the end result of an unprecedented epidemic of addiction, anxiety, depression, and chronic disease. And with the advent of neuromarketing, corporate America has successfully imprisoned us in an endless loop of desire and consumption from which there is no obvious escape.

With his customary wit and incisiveness, Lustig not only reveals the science that drives these states of mind, he points his finger directly at the corporations that helped create this mess, and the government actors who facilitated it, and he offers solutions we can all use in the pursuit of happiness, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. Always fearless and provocative, Lustig marshals a call to action, with seminal implications for our health, our well-being, and our culture.

An upcoming book A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.

It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be further from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.

But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, codenamed MKUltra. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tightlipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.

But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than she could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable, superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.

Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield.

An incendiary examination of burnout in millennials—the cultural shifts that got us here, the pressures that sustain it, and the need for drastic change

Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram because you’re too exhausted to pick up a book? Are you mired in debt, or feel like you work all the time, or feel pressure to take whatever gives you joy and turn it into a monetizable hustle? Welcome to burnout culture.

While burnout may seem like the default setting for the modern era, in Can’t Even, BuzzFeed culture writer and former academic Anne Helen Petersen argues that burnout is a definitional condition for the millennial generation, born out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace, and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to “perform” our lives online. The genesis for the book is Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed article on the topic, which has amassed over eight million reads since its publication in January 2019.

Can’t Even goes beyond the original article, as Petersen examines how millennials have arrived at this point of burnout (think: unchecked capitalism and changing labor laws) and examines the phenomenon through a variety of lenses—including how burnout affects the way we work, parent, and socialize—describing its resonance in alarming familiarity. Utilizing a combination of sociohistorical framework, original interviews, and detailed analysis, Can’t Even offers a galvanizing, intimate, and ultimately redemptive look at the lives of this much-maligned generation, and will be required reading for both millennials and the parents and employers trying to understand them.

“The first generation of “Digital Natives” – children who were born into and raised in the digital world – are coming of age, and soon our world will be reshaped in their image. Our economy, our politics, our culture, and even the structure of our family life will be forever transformed.” “Based on extensive original research, including interviews with Digital Natives around the world, Born Digital explores a broad range of issues, from the highly philosophical to the purely practical: What does identity mean for young people who have dozens of online profiles and avatars? Should we worry about privacy issues – or is privacy even a relevant concern for Digital Natives? How does the concept of safety translate into an increasingly virtual world? Are online games addictive, and how do we need to worry about violent video games? What is the Internet’s impact on creativity and learning? What lies ahead – socially, professionally, and psychologically – for this generation?” A smart, practical guide to a brave new world and its complex inhabitants, Born Digital will be essential reading for parents, teachers, and the myriad of confused adults who want to understand the digital present – and shape the digital future.

Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society priced beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fall-out of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation – Generation X.
Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser’s target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working at no-future McJobs in the service industry.
Underemployed, overeducated, intensely private and unpredictable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories; disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, ‘Elvis moments’ and semi-disposable Swedish furniture…

For several years, Andrew Marantz, a New Yorker staff writer, has been embedded in two worlds. The first is the world of social-media entrepreneurs, who, acting out of naïvete and reckless ambition, upended all traditional means of receiving and transmitting information. The second is the world of the people he calls “the gate crashers”—the conspiracists, white supremacists, and nihilist trolls who have become experts at using social media to advance their corrosive agenda. Antisocial ranges broadly—from the first mass-printed books to the trending hashtags of the present; from secret gatherings of neo-Fascists to the White House press briefing room—and traces how the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then how it becomes reality. Combining the keen narrative detail of Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs and the sweep of George Packer’s The Unwinding, Antisocial reveals how the boundaries between technology, media, and politics have been erased, resulting in a deeply broken informational landscape—the landscape in which we all now live. Marantz shows how alienated young people are led down the rabbit hole of online radicalization, and how fringe ideas spread—from anonymous corners of social media to cable TV to the President’s Twitter feed. Marantz also sits with the creators of social media as they start to reckon with the forces they’ve unleashed. Will they be able to solve the communication crisis they helped bring about, or are their interventions too little too late?

It’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

Here is a survivor’s vivid account of the greatest maritime disaster in history. The information contained in Gracie’s account is available from no other source. He provides details of those final moments, including names of passengers pulled from the ocean and of those men who, in a panic, jumped into lifeboats as they were being lowered, causing injury and further danger to life. Walter Lord, author of ‘A Night to Remember’, comments that Gracie’s book – written shortly before he died from the exposure he suffered on the night – is “invaluable for chasing down who went in what boat”, and calls Gracie “an indefatigable detective”.

Johnny is a courier. He carries other people’s memories, millions of them, downloaded into his brain… Working out of Beijing, he is hired to carry a package to the States. The hundreds of gigabytes stashed in his head are far beyond his capacity, but as long as he gets downloaded quickly they won’t do him any permanent harm…

But headaches are the least of Johnny’s problems. The Americans aren’t the only ones who want the data. The Yakuza are after Johnny too. Not all of him, though. All they need is his cryogenically frozen head…

In Johnny Mnemonic, the science-fiction guru of our age brings his acid-drenched tale of the near future to the screen for the first time. Containing William Gibson’s original short story, his full script and exclusive stills from the film, this classic of the cyberpunk era expresses the unique vision of the author who was the first to see his way into tomorrow…

A funny and practical guide to help you find, build, and keep the relationship of your dreams.

Have you ever looked around and wondered, “Why has everyone found love except me?” You’re not the only one. Great relationships don’t just appear in our lives—they’re the culmination of a series of decisions, including whom to date, how to end it with the wrong person, and when to commit to the right one. But our brains often get in the way. We make poor decisions, which thwart us on our quest to find lasting love.

Drawing from years of research, behavioral scientist turned dating coach Logan Ury reveals the hidden forces that cause those mistakes. But awareness on its own doesn’t lead to results. You have to actually change your behavior. Ury shows you how.

This book focuses on a different decision in each chapter, incorporating insights from behavioral science, original research, and real-life stories. You’ll learn:

  • What’s holding you back in dating (and how to break the pattern)
  • What really matters in a long-term partner (and what really doesn’t)
  • How to overcome the perils of online dating (and make the apps work for you)
  • How to meet more people in real life (while doing activities you love)
  • How to make dates fun again (so they stop feeling like job interviews)
  • Why “the spark” is a myth (but you’ll find love anyway)

This data-driven, step-by-step guide to relationships, complete with hands-on exercises, is designed to transform your life. How to Not Die Alone will help you find, build, and keep the relationship of your dreams.

Sarah Jeong, a journalist trained as a lawyer at Harvard Law School, discusses the problem of “online harassment,” with various accounts of harassment that have made their way into mainstream media, as well as lesser-known ones. The Internet of Garbage considers why and how to recalibrate this ongoing project of garbage-removal from content platforms and social media networks. It’s not as simple as policing offensive material and hitting the delete button online: Jeong tackles precarious issues like free speech, behavior vs. content, doxing and SPAM.
She writes, “Content platforms and social media networks do not have the power to restrain stalkers, end intimate partner violence, eliminate child abuse, or stop street harassment. But they can cultivate better interactions and better discourse, through thoughtful architecture, active moderation and community management.”
So how do we filter content from garbage? Read on.

In his own words, Bret Hart’s honest, perceptive, startling account of his life in and out of the pro wrestling ring.

The sixth-born son of the pro wrestling dynasty founded by Stu Hart and his elegant wife, Helen, Bret Hart is a Canadian icon. As a teenager, he could have been an amateur wrestling Olympic contender, but instead he turned to the family business, climbing into the ring for his dad’s western circuit, Stampede Wrestling. From his early twenties until he retired at 43, Hart kept an audio diary, recording stories of the wrestling life, the relentless travel, the practical jokes, the sex and drugs, and the real rivalries (as opposed to the staged ones). The result is an intimate, no-holds-barred account that will keep readers, not just wrestling fans, riveted.

Hart achieved superstardom in pink tights, and won multiple wrestling belts in multiple territories, for both the WWF (now the WWE) and WCW. But he also paid the price in betrayals (most famously by Vince McMahon, a man he had served loyally); in tragic deaths, including the loss of his brother Owen, who died when a stunt went terribly wrong; and in his own massive stroke, most likely resulting from a concussion he received in the ring, and from which, with the spirit of a true champion, he has battled back.

Widely considered by his peers as one of the business’s best technicians and workers, Hart describes pro wrestling as part dancing, part acting, and part dangerous physical pursuit. He is proud that in all his years in the ring he never seriously hurt a single wrestler, yet did his utmost to deliver to his fans an experience as credible as it was exciting. He also records the incredible toll the business takes on its workhorses: he estimates that twenty or more of the wrestlers he was regularly matched with have died young, weakened by their own coping mechanisms, namely drugs, alcohol, and steroids. That toll included his own brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith. No one has ever written about wrestling like Bret Hart. No one has ever lived a life like Bret Hart’s.

Remember the first time you saw Michael Jackson dance with zombies in “Thriller”? Diamond Dave karate kick with Van Halen in “Jump”? Tawny Kitaen turning cartwheels on a Jaguar to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”? The Beastie Boys spray beer in “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)”? Axl Rose step off the bus in “Welcome to the Jungle”?

Remember When All You Wanted Was Your MTV?

It was a pretty radical idea-a channel for teenagers, showing nothing but music videos. It was such a radical idea that almost no one thought it would actually succeed, much less become a force in the worlds of music, television, film, fashion, sports, and even politics. But it did work. MTV became more than anyone had ever imagined.

I Want My MTV tells the story of the first decade of MTV, the golden era when MTV’s programming was all videos, all the time, and kids watched religiously to see their favorite bands, learn about new music, and have something to talk about at parties. From its start in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British new wave acts to the launch of the reality-television craze with The Real World in 1992, MTV grew into a tastemaker, a career maker, and a mammoth business.

Featuring interviews with nearly four hundred artists, directors, VJs, and television and music executives, I Want My MTV is a testament to the channel that changed popular culture forever.

The Rock says. . . “Know your damn role–and shut your mouth!” But that simple catch-phrase, embraced by the millions ñand the millions–of The Rock’s fans, can’t begin to capture the spirit and larger-than-life personality of the most electrifying man in sports-entertainment.”

In this action-packed, revealing and outrageously funny memoir, World Wrestling Federation Superstar The Rock recounts his life in and out of the ring with unapologetic honesty and inimitable style. From his boyhood days traveling around the world with his father (professional wrestler Rocky Johnson) to his years as a football player at the University of Miami to his meteoric rise through the ranks of the Federation, The Rock Says… chronicles in vivid detail the life story of one of sports-entertainment’s most innovative and best-loved personalities.

The Rock will take fans on a guided tour of big-time professional wrestling, a highly competitive business in which a handful of gifted and lucky performers dominate, and all others dream of a moment in the spotlight. He provides a breathtaking, minute-by-minute account of Wrestle Mania, the Super Bowl of pro wrestling, including an intimate backstage look at rehearsals with his opponent, Stone Cold Steve Austin. And he discusses in heartfelt detail the loss of his friend and co-worker, Owen Hart.

Filled with genuinely touching stories of love and strife, hilarious anecdotes, inside accounts of an industry whose machinations have long been shrouded in secrecy and dozens of previously unpublished photographs from The Rock’s personal collection, The Rock Says… is–as The Rock himself might put it–“the coolest thing since the other side of the pillow if you smell what The Rock is cookin’.”

From acclaimed tech writer Clive Thompson, a brilliant and immersive anthropological reckoning with the most powerful tribe in the world today, computer programmers – where they come from, how they think, what makes for greatness in their world, and what should give us pause.

You use software nearly every instant you’re awake. And this may sound weirdly obvious, but every single one of those pieces of software was written by a programmer. Programmers are thus among the most quietly influential people on the planet. As we live in a world made of software, they’re the architects. The decisions they make guide our behavior. When they make something newly easy to do, we do a lot more of it. If they make it hard or impossible to do something, we do less of it.

If we want to understand how today’s world works, we ought to understand something about coders. Who exactly are the people that are building today’s world? What makes them tick? What type of personality is drawn to writing software? And perhaps most interestingly — what does it do to them?

One of the first pieces of coding a newbie learns is the program to make the computer say “Hello, world!” Like that piece of code, Clive Thompson’s book is a delightful place to begin to understand this vocation, which is both a profession and a way of life, and which essentially didn’t exist little more than a generation ago, but now is considered just about the only safe bet we can make about what the future holds. Thompson takes us close to some of the great coders of our time, and unpacks the surprising history of the field, beginning with the first great coders, who were women. Ironically, if we’re going to traffic in stereotypes, women are arguably “naturally” better at coding than men, but they were written out of the history, and shoved out of the seats, for reasons that are illuminating. Now programming is indeed, if not a pure brotopia, at least an awfully homogenous community, which attracts people from a very narrow band of backgrounds and personality types. As Thompson learns, the consequences of that are significant – not least being a fetish for disruption at scale that doesn’t leave much time for pondering larger moral issues of collateral damage. At the same time, coding is a marvelous new art form that has improved the world in innumerable ways, and Thompson reckons deeply, as no one before him has, with what great coding in fact looks like, who creates it, and where they come from. To get as close to his subject has he can, he picks up the thread of his own long-abandoned coding practice, and tries his mightiest to up his game, with some surprising results.

More and more, any serious engagement with the world demands an engagement with code and its consequences, and to understand code, we must understand coders. In that regard, Clive Thompson’s Hello, World! is a marvelous and delightful master class.

A clever, thoughtful, and funny history that reveals how the Union of states was built on a much more personal union of people.

Have you ever used a dating app or website? Then you have more in common than you know with lonely homesteaders in 18th century New England. At once heartwarming and heartbreaking, Matrimony, Inc. reveals the unifying thread that weaves its way through not just marriage and relationships over the centuries, but American social history itself: advertising for  love.

Amazingly, America’s first personal ad appeared in the Boston Evening Post as early as 1759. A “person who flatters himself that he shall not be thought disagreeable” was in search of a “young lady, between the age of eighteen and twenty-three, of a middling stature, brown hair, of good Morals…” As family-arranged marriages fell out of fashion, “Husband Wanted” or “Seeking Wife” ads were soon to be found in every state in the nation.

From the woman in a Wisconsin newspaper who wanted “no brainless dandy or foppish fool” to the man with a glass eye who placed an ad in the New York Times hoping to meet a woman with a glass eye, the many hundreds of personal ads that author Francesca Beauman has uncovered offer an extraordinary glimpse into the history of our hearts’ desires, as well as a unique insight into American life as the frontier was settled and the cities grew. Personal ads played a surprisingly vital role in the West: couple by couple, shy smile by shy smile, letter by letter from a dusty, exhausted miner in California to a bored, frustrated seamstress in Ohio. Get ready for a new perspective on the making of modern America, a hundred words of typesetter’s blurry black ink at a time.

“So anxious are our settlers for wives that they never ask a single lady her age. All they require is teeth,” declared the Dubuque Iowa News in 1838 in a state where men outnumbered women three to one. While the dating pools of 21st century New York, Chicago or San Francisco might not be quite so dentally-fixated, Matrimony Inc. will put idly swiping right on Tinder into fascinating and vividly fresh historical context. What do women look for in a man? What do men look for in a woman? And how has this changed over the past 250 years?