Emily Anthes is an award-winning science journalist and author. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Businessweek, Scientific American, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Her previous book, Frankenstein's Cat, was long-listed for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships?
In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what—and how much—we eat.
Jessica Wapner is a journalist and former science editor at Newsweek whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Scientific American, New York Magazine, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Her first book, The Philadelphia Chromosome, was named a top ten nonfiction book by The Wall Street Journal.
We build border walls to keep danger out. But do we understand the danger posed by walls themselves? East Germans were the first to give the crisis a name: Mauerkrankheit, or "wall disease." The afflicted--everyday citizens living on both sides of the Berlin wall--displayed some combination of depression, anxiety, excitability, suicidal ideation, and paranoia. The Berlin Wall is no more, but today there are at least seventy policed borders like it. What are they doing to our minds?
Wapner investigates, following a trail of psychological harm around the world. In Brownsville, Texas, the hotly contested US-Mexico border wall instills more feelings of fear than of safety. And in eastern Europe, a Georgian grandfather pines for his homeland--cut off from his daughters, his baker, and his bank by the arbitrary path of a razor-wire fence built in 2013. Even in borderlands riven by conflict, the same walls that once offered relief become enduring reminders of trauma and helplessness.
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