Longlisted for the National Book Award New York Times Bestseller A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life -- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives--where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance--are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O'Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they're wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can't get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his zip code), he's then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a "toxic cocktail for democracy." Welcome to the dark side of Big Data. Tracing the arc of a person's life, O'Neil exposes the black box models that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These "weapons of math destruction" score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and monitor our health. O'Neil calls on modelers to take more responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate their use. But in the end, it's up to us to become more savvy about the models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change. -- Longlist for National Book Award (Non-Fiction) -- Goodreads, semi-finalist for the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards (Science and Technology) -- Kirkus, Best Books of 2016 -- New York Times, 100 Notable Books of 2016 (Non-Fiction) -- The Guardian, Best Books of 2016 -- WBUR's "On Point," Best Books of 2016: Staff Picks -- Boston Globe, Best Books of 2016, Non-Fiction
A New York Times Notable Book The New York Times bestseller! Something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Students and professors say they are walking on eggshells and are afraid to speak honestly. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising--on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen? First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt show how the new problems on campus have their origins in three terrible ideas that have become increasingly woven into American childhood and education: What doesn't kill you makes you weaker; always trust your feelings; and life is a battle between good people and evil people. These three Great Untruths contradict basic psychological principles about well-being and ancient wisdom from many cultures. Embracing these untruths--and the resulting culture of safetyism--interferes with young people's social, emotional, and intellectual development. It makes it harder for them to become autonomous adults who are able to navigate the bumpy road of life. Lukianoff and Haidt investigate the many social trends that have intersected to promote the spread of these untruths. They explore changes in childhood such as the rise of fearful parenting, the decline of unsupervised, child-directed play, and the new world of social media that has engulfed teenagers in the last decade. They examine changes on campus, including the corporatization of universities and the emergence of new ideas about identity and justice. They situate the conflicts on campus within the context of America's rapidly rising political polarization and dysfunction. This is a book for anyone who is confused by what is happening on college campuses today, or has children, or is concerned about the growing inability of Americans to live, work, and cooperate across party lines.
A leading educational thinker argues that the American university is stuck in the past--and shows how we can revolutionize it for our era of constant change Our current system of higher education dates to the period from 1865 to 1925, when the nation's new universities created grades and departments, majors and minors, in an attempt to prepare young people for a world transformed by the telegraph and the Model T. As Cathy N. Davidson argues in The New Education, this approach to education is wholly unsuited to the era of the gig economy. From the Ivy League to community colleges, she introduces us to innovators who are remaking college for our own time by emphasizing student-centered learning that values creativity in the face of change above all. The New Education ultimately shows how we can teach students not only to survive but to thrive amid the challenges to come.
The New York Times bestseller "[An] obscenely enjoyable romp." --The New York Times Book Review The untold story of a New York City legend's education in creativity and style For Bill Cunningham, New York City was the land of freedom, glamour, and, above all, style. Growing up in a lace-curtain Irish suburb of Boston, secretly trying on his sister's dresses and spending his evenings after school in the city's chicest boutiques, Bill dreamed of a life dedicated to fashion. But his desires were a source of shame for his family, and after dropping out of Harvard, he had to fight them tooth-and-nail to pursue his love. When he arrived in New York, he reveled in people-watching. He spent his nights at opera openings and gate-crashing extravagant balls, where he would take note of the styles, new and old, watching how the gowns moved, how the jewels hung, how the hair laid on each head. This was his education, and the birth of the democratic and exuberant taste that he came to be famous for as a photographer for The New York Times. After two style mavens took Bill under their wing, his creativity thrived and he made a name for himself as a designer. Taking on the alias William J.--because designing under his family's name would have been a disgrace to his parents--Bill became one of the era's most outlandish and celebrated hat designers, catering to movie stars, heiresses, and artists alike. Bill's mission was to bring happiness to the world by making women an inspiration to themselves and everyone who saw them. These were halcyon days when fashion was all he ate and drank. When he was broke and hungry he'd stroll past the store windows on Fifth Avenue and feed himself on beautiful things. Fashion Climbing is the story of a young man striving to be the person he was born to be: a true original. But although he was one of the city's most recognized and treasured figures, Bill was also one of its most guarded. Written with his infectious joy and one-of-a-kind voice, this memoir was polished, neatly typewritten, and safely stored away in his lifetime. He held off on sharing it--and himself--until his passing. Between these covers, is an education in style, an effervescent tale of a bohemian world as it once was, and a final gift to the readers of one of New York's great characters.
From ballistic missile tests to stranger-than-fiction stories of purges and assassinations, news from North Korea never fails to dominate the global headlines. But what is life there actually like? In See You Again in Pyongyang, Jeppesen culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in North Korea to create a multi-faceted portrait of the country and its idiosyncratic capital city. Not quite memoir, not quite travelogue, not quite history book, Jeppesen offers a poignant and utterly original examination of the world's strangest country. Anchored by the experience of his five trips to North Korea, Jeppesen weaves in his observations and interactions with citizens from all walks of life, constructing a narrative rich in psychological detail, revealing how the North Korean system actually functions and perpetuates itself in the day-to-day, beyond the propaganda-fueled ideology. He challenges the Western notion that Pyongyang is merely a "showcase capital" where everything is staged for the benefit of foreigners, as well as the idea that Pyongyangites are brainwashed robots. Going beyond the clichés of "taboo tourism" and the "good versus evil" tenor of politicians and media reports, See You Again in Pyongyang is an essential addition to the literature about one of the world's most fascinating and mysterious places.
INSTANTNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "One of the most important books I've ever read--an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world." - Bill Gates "Hans Rosling tells the story of 'the secret silent miracle of human progress' as only he can. ButFactfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly."--Melinda Gates Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends--what percentage of the world's population live in poverty; why the world's population is increasing; how many girls finish school--we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. InFactfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offersa radical new explanation of why this happens. They revealthe ten instincts that distort our perspective--from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version ofus andthem) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don't know what we don't know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn't mean there aren't real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories,Factfulnessis an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. --- "This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance...Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn't enough. But I hope this book will be." Hans Rosling, February 2017.
The most definitive biography to date of the poet Pablo Neruda, a moving portrait of one of the most intriguing and influential figures in Latin American history Few poets have captured the global imagination like Pablo Neruda. In his native Chile, across Latin America, and in many other parts of the world, his name and legacy have become almost synonymous with liberation movements, and with the language of erotic love. Neruda: The Poet's Calling is the product of fifteen years of research by Mark Eisner, writer, translator, and documentary filmmaker. The book vividly depicts Neruda's monumental life, potent verse, and ardent belief in the "poet's obligation" to use poetry for social good. It braids together three major strands of Neruda's life--his world-revered poetry; his political engagement; and his tumultuous, even controversial, personal life--forming a single cohesive narrative of intimacy and breadth. The fascinating events of Neruda's life are interspersed with Eisner's thoughtful examinations of the poems, both as works of art in their own right and as mirrors of Neruda's life and times. The result is a book that animates Neruda's riveting story in a new way--one that offers a compelling narrative version of Neruda's life and work, undergirded by exhaustive research, yet designed to bring this colossal literary figure to a broader audience.
"Jamison has done an exceptional job curating this volume, selecting essayists who are diverse in ideas and experiences, and essays that are challenging, passionate, sobering, and clever." --Publishers Weekly "The essay is political--and politically useful, by which I mean humanizing and provocative--because of its commitment to nuance, its explorations of contingency, its spirit of unrest, its glee at overturned assumptions; because of the double helix of awe and distrust--faith and doubt--that structures its DNA," writes guest editor Leslie Jamison in her introduction. From the Iraqi desert to an East Jerusalem refugee camp, from the beginnings of the universeto the aftermath of a suicide attempt, the genetic makeup of the eclectic and electric selections inThe Best American Essays 2017 "thrill toward complexity." The Best American Essays 2017 includes RACHEL KAADZI GHANSAH, LAWRENCE JACKSON, RACHEL KUSHNER, ALAN LIGHTMAN, BERNARD FARAI MATAMBO, WESLEY MORRIS, HEATHER SELLERS, ANDREA STUART and others
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity. Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection. Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope--which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission--Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where science meets the most thrilling adventure, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.
LongIslandReads takes place annually throughout the month of April. Many Nassau and Suffolk County libraries feature LongIslandReads programs and book discussion during National Library Week (April 8-14, 2018).
Common Book for 2018-2019
BeholdtheDreamers by Imbolo Mbue is a novel that “illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse” (The Washington Post). In conjunction with the Center for Arts and Humanities’ common theme of 2018-2019, “What is Truth,”the First Year Experience Common Reading subcommittee has selected BeholdtheDreamers as NCC’s common read for next year.
We hope that you will be interested in using BeholdtheDreamers – in whole or in part – in your Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 classes.We are arranging for the author to speak to the college in the fall, and will be working on follow-up programs throughout the academic year.
A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream--the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty--and Jende is eager to please. Clark's wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses' summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers' fa#65533;ades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende's job--even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice. Praise for Behold the Dreamers "A debut novel by a young woman from Cameroon that illuminates the immigrant experience in America with the tenderhearted wisdom so lacking in our political discourse . . . Mbue is a bright and captivating storyteller."--The Washington Post "Mbue writes with great confidence and warmth. . . . There are a lot of spinning plates and Mbue balances them skillfully, keeping everything in motion. . . . A capacious, big-hearted novel."--The New York Times Book Review "Mbue's writing is warm and captivating."--People (book of the week) "[Mbue's] book isn't the first work of fiction to grapple with the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, but it's surely one of the best. . . . It's a novel that depicts a country both blessed and doomed, on top of the world, but always at risk of losing its balance. It is, in other words, quintessentially American."--NPR "Imbolo Mbue's masterful debut about an immigrant family struggling to obtain the elusive American Dream in Harlem will have you feeling for each character from the moment you crack it open."--In Style "This story is one that needs to be told."--Bust "Behold the Dreamers challenges us all to consider what it takes to make us genuinely content, and how long is too long to live with our dreams deferred."--O: The Oprah Magazine "[A] beautiful, empathetic novel . . . Mbue's narrative energy and sympathetic eye soon render . . . commonplace ingredients vivid, complex, and essential."--The Boston Globe "A witty, compassionate, swiftly paced novel that takes on race, immigration, family and the dangers of capitalist excess."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Mbue [is] a deft, often lyrical observer. . . . [Her] meticulous storytelling announces a writer in command of her gifts, plumbing the desires and disappointments of our emerging global culture."--Minneapolis Star Tribune "A revelation . . . Mbue has written a clever morality tale that never preaches but instead teaches us the power of integrity."--Essence