BOOK CLUB Compass reviews four new titles

LIFE ON THE EDGE: THE COMING OF AGE OF QUANTUM BIOLOGY - JOHNJOE MCFADDEN AND JIM AL-KHALILI

What distinguishes the animate from the inanimate? Life on the Edge addresses this central mystery of biology, exploring new research that shows many of life’s most remarkable capabilities, including photosynthesis and bird navigation, may arise from the quantum underbelly of reality. While some of the ideas are tentative, the authors remain grounded throughout in careful, empirical science.

464 pages, Crown, September 2015, US$28.00

RECLAIMING CONVERSATION: THE POWER OF TALK IN A DIGITAL AGE - SHERRY TURKLE

In the online age, we often find ways to avoid conversation, tempted by the safety net of a text or email in which we don’t have to reveal ourselves. Based on research and extensive interviews in homes, schools and the workplace, Turkle argues that technology endangers our capacity for empathy, that the virtues of person-to-person conversation are timeless, and that the time is right to reclaim conversation.

448 pages, Penguin Press, October 2015, US$27.95 (hardcover)

ABUSING THE INTERNET OF THINGS: BLACKOUTS, FREAKOUTS, AND STAKEOUTS - NITESH DHANJANI

A future with billions of connected “things” raises major security concerns for people the world over. Author Nitesh Dhanjani, an expert on how to establish and execute cybersecurity programs, explores how attackers can abuse popular Internet of Things devices, including electronic door locks, baby monitors and connected automobiles. Readers will learn how to recognize vulnerabilities by better understanding attackers’ tactics.

296 pages, O’Reilly Media, August 2015, US$49.99

GETTING BEYOND BETTER: HOW SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORKS - ROGER L. MARTIN AND SALLY R. OSBERG

From food shortages to poverty, today’s biggest social problems have persisted despite massive amounts of aid and advocacy. To permanently solve these challenges, the authors propose, requires social entrepreneurs who analyze an existing system, understand the perspectives of all its players and adapt the best elements from business and government to create a fundamentally new and better system.

256 pages, Harvard Business Review Press, October 2015, US$30.00 (hardcover)

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