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‘Fascinating. It blew my mind!’ Malcolm Gladwell

Wonderworks reveals that literature is among the mightiest technologies that humans have ever invented, precision-honed to give us what our brains most want and need.

Literature is a technology like any other. And the writers we revere – from Homer to Shakespeare, Austen to Ferrante – each made a unique technical breakthrough that can be viewed as both a narrative and neuroscientific advancement. But literature’s great invention was to address problems we could not solve: not how to start a fire or build a boat, but how to live and love; how to maintain courage in the face of death; how to account for the fact that we exist at all.

Based on Angus Fletcher’s own research, Wonderworks tells the story of the greatest literary inventions through the ages, from ancient Mesopotamia to modern-day America. It draws on cutting-edge neuroscience to demonstrate that the inventions really work: they enrich our lives with joy, hope, courage and energy, and they help our brains heal from grief, loneliness and even trauma.

From ancient Chinese lyrics to nursery rhymes and fairy tales, from slave narratives to contemporary TV shows, Wonderworks walks us through the evolution of literature’s crucial blueprints, and offers us a new understanding of its power.

Yang Jisheng’s The World Turned Upside Down is the definitive history of the Cultural Revolution, in withering and heartbreaking detail.

As a major political event and a crucial turning point in the history of the People’s Republic of China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) marked the zenith as well as the nadir of Mao Zedong’s ultra-leftist politics. Reacting in part to the Soviet Union’s “revisionism” that he regarded as a threat to the future of socialism, Mao mobilized the masses in a battle against what he called “bourgeois” forces within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This ten-year-long class struggle on a massive scale devastated traditional Chinese culture as well as the nation’s economy.

Following his groundbreaking and award-winning history of the Great Famine, Tombstone, Yang Jisheng here presents the only history of the Cultural Revolution by an independent scholar based in mainland China, and makes a crucial contribution to understanding those years’ lasting influence today.

The World Turned Upside Down puts every political incident, major and minor, of those ten years under extraordinary and withering scrutiny, and arrives in English at a moment when contemporary Chinese governance is leaning once more toward a highly centralized power structure and Mao-style cult of personality.

A practical, lively, and research-based tour of nine common business decision-making traps – and tools for avoiding them – from a professor of strategic thinking.

Could this be our 1948 moment?

Mistakes happen. In most fields the consequences are limited, but in healthcare they can be fatal. Every week in England, there are 150 avoidable deaths. Most tragedies are treated as ‘inevitable’ when in fact they could be prevented simply and cheaply if we were better at learning from mistakes.

By committing to a profession where the consequences of a mistake can be life or death, people in healthcare are braver than most of us. The problem is that the system that ‘goes after’ someone when something goes wrong, and the result is a blame game that stops learning and allows the same mistake to be repeated, often countless times.

Zero is a book about how the NHS can reduce the number of avoidable deaths to zero, and in the process save money, reduce backlogs and improve working conditions. Delivering the safest, highest quality care in the NHS post-pandemic is our very own 1948 moment.

A groundbreaking exploration of why we want what we want, and a toolkit for freeing ourselves from chasing unfulfilling desires.

Humans don’t desire anything independently. Human desire is mimetic – we imitate what other people want. This affects the way we choose partners, friends, careers, clothes and travel destinations. Mimetic desire is responsible for the formation of our very identities. It explains the enduring relevancy of Shakespeare’s plays, why Peter Thiel decided to be the first investor in Facebook, and why our world is growing more divided as it becomes more connected.

Drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur, teacher and student of classical philosophy, Luke Burgis shares tactics that help turn blind wanting into intentional wanting – to be more in control of the things we want, and to find more meaning in our work and lives.

A young entrepreneur makes the case that politics has no place in business, and sets out a new vision for the future of capitalism.

The modern woke-industrial complex divides us as a people. By mixing morality with consumerism, corporate elites prey on our innermost insecurities about who we really are. They sell us cheap social causes and skin-deep identities to satisfy our hunger for a cause and our search for meaning, at a moment when we lack both.

Vivek Ramaswamy is a traitor to his class. He’s founded multibillion-dollar enterprises, led a biotech company as CEO, trained as a scientist at Harvard and a lawyer at Yale, and grew up the child of immigrants in a small town in Ohio. Now he takes us behind the scenes into corporate boardrooms and five-star conferences, into Ivy League classrooms and secretive nonprofits, to reveal the defining scam of our century.

But this book not only rips back the curtain on the new corporatist agenda, it offers a better way forward. Corporate elites may want to sort us into demographic boxes, but we don’t have to stay there. Woke, Inc. begins as a critique of stakeholder capitalism and ends with an exploration of what it means to be a member of society in 2021 – a journey that begins with cynicism and ends with hope.

‘The most important book in social science for many years’ Paul Collier, TLS Books of the Year

The Upswing is Robert D. Putnam’s brilliant analysis of economic, social, cultural and political trends from the Gilded Age to the present, showing how America went from an individualistic ‘I’ society to a more communitarian ‘We’ society and then back again, and how we can all learn from that experience.

In the late nineteenth century, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarised and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However, as the twentieth century dawned, America became – slowly, unevenly, but steadily – more egalitarian, more cooperative, more generous; a society ‘on the upswing,’ more focused on responsibilities to each other and less focused on narrow self-interest. Over the course of the 1960s, however, these trends reversed once again, leading to today’s disarray.

In a sweeping overview of more than a century of history, Putnam and Romney Garrett draw on inspiring lessons for our time from an earlier era, when a dedicated group of reformers righted the ship, creating once again a society based on community. Engaging, revelatory and timely, this is Putnam’s most ambitious work yet, with a relevance right across the anglophone world. It is an unmissable contribution to the debate about where we want society to go.

‘A small masterpiece’ The Spectator

My Own Worst Enemy is a wry and moving memoir of a working-class childhood in 1960s Sheffield, and the relationship between a touchy, tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

With a novelist’s eye, Robert Edric vividly depicts a now-vanished era: of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was in the home. And he brings to colourful life his family, both close and extended – though over all of it hovers the vanity and barely-suppressed anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait both of particular time and place – the Sheffield of half a century ago – and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.

A number one Irish bestseller, and winner of the Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards

In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, Professor Luke O’Neill grapples with life’s biggest questions and tells us what science has to say about them.

Covering topics from global pandemics to gender, addiction to euthanasia, Luke O’Neill’s easy wit and clever pop-culture references deconstruct the science to make complex questions accessible. Arriving at science’s definitive answers to some of the most controversial topics human beings have to grapple with, Never Mind the B#ll*ocks, Here’s the Science is a celebration of science and hard facts in a time of fake news and sometimes unhelpful groupthink.

‘A celebration of scientific fact in an era characterised by nebulous subjectivity’ Irish Times

ACADEMY AWARD WINNER: Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actress

Starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand & directed by Chloé Zhao

‘Sublimely written’ Sunday Times

‘Scorching, beautifully written, vivid, disturbing (and occasionally wryly funny)’ Rebecca Solnit

Nomadland tells a revelatory tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy – one which foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, it celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of people who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive, but have not given up hope.

From the beetroot fields of North Dakota to the campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labour pool, made up largely of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in RVs and modified vans, forming a growing community of nomads.

Golden Globes Winner: Best Film, Best Director

Bafta Winner: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress