HELLO WORLD, by Hannah Fry NOTE: MEETING ONLINE

Futurist
Wednesday, November 3, 7:30 pm

The Futurist Book Group is led by Sam Lubell and Eamon Bobowski and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Politics and Prose, in the Den coffeehouse. Please note: book group is meeting online. Please contact: Sam Lubell samlubell@verizon.net for online access information.

The Futurist Book Group was started by the Washington chapter of the World Future Society, but now operates independently of that organization. It has met at Politics and Prose on the first Wednesday of every month except August since 2004. About 10 of our 50+ members attend nearly every meeting; and several people who don’t attend also read our selections. We hold lively, wide-ranging discussions of non-fiction books which are focused on the future.

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms Cover Image

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms (Paperback)

$15.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of May 28 1:19pm

Shortlisted for the 2018 Baillie Gifford Prize and the 2018 Royal Society Investment Science Book Prize



"A beautifully accessible guide.…One of the best books yet written on data and algorithms." —Times (UK)


When it comes to artificial intelligence, we either hear of a paradise on earth or of our imminent extinction. It’s time we stand face-to-digital-face with the true powers and limitations of the algorithms that already automate important decisions in healthcare, transportation, crime, and commerce. Hello World is indispensable preparation for the moral quandaries of a world run by code, and with the unfailingly entertaining Hannah Fry as our guide, we’ll be discussing these issues long after the last page is turned.



Hannah Fry is the author of Hello World. With Adam Rutherford, she co-hosts the BBC Radio 4 show The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry. She lives in London.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393357363
ISBN-10: 0393357368
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 24th, 2019
Pages: 256
Language: English
With refreshing simplicity, Fry explains what AI, machine learning and complicated algorithms really mean.
— Guardian

Fascinating and funny. I learned something on every page.
— Tom Chivers - Buzzfeed

An action-packed read during which you will be outraged, provoked, and challenged.
— Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction

This short, sharp book on the power and dangers of algorithms offers one of the clearest explanations of a complex subject.
— Financial Times

Hannah Fry is one of the best STEM explainers and popularizers today.
— Forbes

For a reader unfamiliar with the technical aspects of AI, this book offers among the best lay explanations of how algorithms work.
— Science

Hannah Fry makes algorithms sound not only quite interesting but an idea that we must understand better as they dominate more and more of our daily lives in ways we see and in many ways we don’t.
— Amazon Book Review

Mixing mathematics and storytelling, this book asks the big questions about algorithms and humans—and their future together.
— Literary Hub

A well-constructed tour of technology and its discontents?timely, too, given the increasing prominence of AI in our daily lives.
— Kirkus Reviews

A lucid and timely analysis.
— Booklist (starred review)

HOW TO AVOID CLIMATE DISASTER, by Bill Gates NOTE: Meeting Online

Futurist
Wednesday, October 6, 7:30 pm

The Futurist Book Group is led by Sam Lubell and Eamon Bobowski and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Politics and Prose, in the Den coffeehouse. Please note: book group is meeting online. Please contact: Sam Lubell samlubell@verizon.net for online access information.

The Futurist Book Group was started by the Washington chapter of the World Future Society, but now operates independently of that organization. It has met at Politics and Prose on the first Wednesday of every month except August since 2004. About 10 of our 50+ members attend nearly every meeting; and several people who don’t attend also read our selections. We hold lively, wide-ranging discussions of non-fiction books which are focused on the future.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need Cover Image

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need (Hardcover)

$26.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
2 on hand, as of May 28 1:19pm
Politics and Prose at Union Market
1 on hand, as of May 28 1:03pm
(ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES)
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical—and accessible—plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide to certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions—suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.
Bill Gates is cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Breakthrough Energy. Bill founded Microsoft in 1975 with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on his foundation’s work to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people. As cochair, he leads the foundation’s development of strategies and sets the overall direction of the organization. Through his private office, Gates Ventures, he pursues his work on innovation in clean energy, Alzheimer’s disease and other healthcare issues, interdisciplinary education, and technology. At Breakthrough Energy, he’s putting his experience as an innovator and problem-solver to work to address climate change by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, big thinkers, and clean technologies. Bill uses his experience partnering with global leaders across sectors to help drive the policy, market, and technological changes required for a clean-energy transition. In 2010, Bill, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will.
Product Details ISBN: 9780385546133
ISBN-10: 0385546130
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: February 16th, 2021
Pages: 272
Language: English
“Gates gathers advice from experts while laying out his vision for technological innovations that could reduce greenhouse gases and stop the warming of the planet. If even some of his plans work, this might be the most important book of the year.” —CNN
 
“One of the most accessible, practical, and interesting books on the topic to emerge since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.” Oprah Daily

“The most comprehensible explanation for what’s driving our warming planet; how to measure the impact of the myriad contributions to this staggering and seemingly incalculable problem; and ultimately how to go about finding more effective approaches to each of them. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen to a how-to guide for addressing the climate crisis.” —Clinton Leaf, Fortune

“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster presents ideas with the methodical approach of a college textbook . . . Remarkably, given the state of the world, it is an optimistic, can-do sort of book, chock-full of solutions.” —Christina Binkley, The Wall Street Journal Magazine

“The most refreshing aspect of this book is its bracing mix of cold-eyed realism and number-crunched optimism . . . Ultimately his book is a primer on how to reorganise the global economy so that innovation focuses on the world’s gravest problems. It is a powerful reminder that if mankind is to get serious about tackling them, it must do more to harness the one natural resource available in infinite quantity—human ingenuity.” —The Economist

“The author’s enthusiasm and curiosity about the way things work is infectious. He walks us through not just the basic science of global warming, but all the ways that our modern lives contribute to it . . . Gates seems energized by the sheer size and complexity of the challenge. That’s one of the best things about the book—the can-do optimism and conviction that science in partnership with industry are up to the task.” —Richard Schiffman, The Christian Science Monitor
 
“In this wonklike and persuasive book, Gates takes his environmental activism a bridge further, laying out an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050. Drawing on data from researchers, policymakers, and engineers, Gates advocates for solutions both scientific (like developing alternative fuels) and personal (like increasing civic engagement in environmental justice issues). If you feel a radical shred of hope reading these galvanizing pages, dare to let in—without hope, we’ll get nowhere.” —Esquire
“With the help of experts in fields such as physics, engineering, chemistry, finance and politics, the technologist and philanthropist offers a practical and accessible plan for getting the world to zero greenhouse gas emissions and averting climate catastrophe.” —Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today

“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster is clear, concise on a colossal subject, and intelligently holistic in its approach to the problem. Gates may not be the perfect messenger, but he has written a fine primer on how to get ourselves out of this mess.” —Adama Vaughan, New Scientist

“Bill Gates has a plan to save the world . . . While acknowledging that the challenge is daunting, and how we make things, grow things, move around, keep cool and stay warm will all need to fundamentally change, Gates argues that wholesale transformation is possible while maintaining lifestyles in high income countries and continuing to lift billions out of poverty.” —Greg Williams, Wired

“His expertise . . . is apparent in the book’s lucid explanations of the scientific aspects of climate change. The solutions he outlines are pragmatic and grounded in forward-thinking economic reasoning. Although he does not avoid the hard truths we must face as our climate changes, Gates remains optimistic and believes that we have the ability to avoid a total climate disaster.” —Miriam R. Aczel, Science

“Concise, straightforward . . . Gates has crafted a calm, reasoned, well-sourced explanation of the greatest challenge of our time and what we must change to avoid cooking our planet.” —Jeff Rowe, Associated Press
 
“A persuasive, optimistic strategy for reducing greenhouse emissions to zero by midcentury . . . Though Gates doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the daunting challenges ahead, his narrative contains enough confidence—and hard science and economics—to convince many readers that his blueprint is one of the most viable yet . . . supremely authoritative and accessible.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“Those looking for an accessible review of how global warming can be countered will find this a handy—and maybe even hope-inspiring—guide.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Gates has put his considerable wealth behind global health, educational, and economic initiatives and now turns his laser-like attention to this most existential of issues . . . He provides illuminating contexts for [his] perspectives and offers a treatise that is imperative, approachable, and useful.” —Booklist

TAILSPIN, by Brill NOTE: Meeting Online

Futurist
Wednesday, August 4, 7:30 pm
Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--and Those Fighting to Reverse It Cover Image

Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall--and Those Fighting to Reverse It (Paperback)

$16.95


Backordered
In this revelatory narrative covering the years 1967 to 2017, Steven Brill gives us a stunningly cogent picture of the broken system at the heart of our society. He shows us how, over the last half century, America’s core values—meritocracy, innovation, due process, free speech, and even democracy itself—have somehow managed to power its decline into dysfunction. They have isolated our best and brightest, whose positions at the top have never been more secure or more remote.

The result has been an erosion of responsibility and accountability, an epidemic of shortsightedness, an increasingly hollow economic and political center, and millions of Americans gripped by apathy and hopelessness. By examining the people and forces behind the rise of big-money lobbying, legal and financial engineering, the demise of private-sector unions, and a hamstrung bureaucracy, Brill answers the question on everyone’s mind: How did we end up this way? Finally, he introduces us to those working quietly and effectively to repair the damages. At once a diagnosis of our national ills, a history of their development, and a prescription for a brighter future, Tailspin is a work of riveting journalism—and a welcome antidote to political despair.
STEVEN BRILL has written for The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, New York, and Fortune. He founded and ran Court TV, The American Lawyer magazine, ten regional legal newspapers, and Brill's Content magazine. Brill was the author of Time's March 4, 2013, special report "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," for which he won the 2014 National Magazine Award for Public Interest, and the 2015 bestseller America's Bitter Pill. He has regularly appeared as an expert analyst on NBC, CBS, and CNN. He teaches journalism at Yale, where he founded the Yale Journalism Initiative to enable talented young people to become journalists. In 2018, he cofounded NewsGuard, which rates the legitimacy of online news sites. He lives in New York City.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525432012
ISBN-10: 0525432019
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 480
Language: English
*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018*

“Persuasive, bracing . . . an essential read if you want to understand the pressures that have brought a sclerotic Uncle Sam to his knees." —Alexander C. Kafka, Los Angeles Review of Books

Tailspin distinguishes itself within the America Gone Wrong genre. . . . All of the book’s chapters on the law crackle with energy. . . . In a downbeat era, Tailspin offers some modest ammunition for hope.” —Daniel W. Drezner, The New York Times Book Review

"Steven Brill's Tailspin does precisely what the daily torrent of news does not: make sense. The book is nothing less than a unified (and persuasive) theory of everything—including politics, business, culture—and it even includes several glimmers of hope amid the pervasive darkness." —Jeffrey Toobin, author of American Heiress

“A penetrating and personal examination of why the United States is in the midst of a nervous breakdown. But with his fantastically reported story, Brill also shows how—and who—might restore some common sense and equilibrium.” —Bob Woodward  

“An astonishingly shrewd and detailed account of our modern American reality . . . Tailspin offers something unique: a meticulous cross-disciplinary history.” —Mattea Kramer, The New York Journal of Books

“A compelling story. . . . The fact that America’s best values and ideas, in Brill’s estimation, contributed to its tailspin should give us more than just momentary pause." —Paul Rosenberg, Salon

“An absolute must-read: a brilliant chronicle of the failures of America’s elite.” —Steve Hilton, host of Fox News’ The Next Revolution

“This is a book that pulses with dry intelligence and righteous anger.” —Philip Delves Broughton, The Weekly Standard
 
“An eye-opening and engrossing treatise representative of all that is wrong with today’s political processes.” Library Journal (starred review)
 
“A dysfunctional system serving an unaccountable ruling class is wrecking America, according to this searing sociopolitical jeremiad. . . . [Brill] brings both detailed reporting and wide-ranging perspective to this insightful account of how America reached its current state.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Penetrating . . . in large part because of Brill’s skill in presenting abstruse legal and financial developments in an accessible manner. . . . [A] clarifying and invaluable overview.” Booklist (starred review)

“Steven Brill is a remarkable journalist who has always ventured away from the herd. In Tailspin, he has identified and analyzed brilliantly the surprising pressure points where our democracy has fractured and failed over the past half-century, leading to today’s overwhelming dysfunction and cultural polarization. In uncovering what happened, Brill shows us that there may be a way back from America’s dire predicament.” —Carl Bernstein

“[Brill] offers ample evidence that American democracy is in peril. . . . Hard-hitting.” Kirkus

“Steve Brill has written a book that every American should read. It faces the problems of our immediate past unflinchingly. At the same time it sees the seedlings of hope all across America. Ultimately, it reminds us that America is in the choices we make as citizens. The future is up to us.” —Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator

“Lucid and engaging.” —The National Book Review

Tailspin is a must read for all citizens troubled by the inequities, malfunctions and bizarre shape of our public and private sectors.” —Tom Brokaw

“Complaining about American politics has become a national pastime. But in his expertly researched new book, Steven Brill does far more than identify what’s wrong: he explains why American democracy isn’t working. And he gives us the powerful stories and surprising personalities who are feeding—and fighting—our democratic dysfunction.” —Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale, and Co-Author, American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper

“Brill's perceptive analysis about how the cult of meritocracy has tragically created an entrenched elite who are determined to defend their moats—and make themselves, rather than America, "great"—should challenge us all. The analysis is meticulously detailed and sourced, building on Brill's long career in investigative journalism. However, Brill shows how groups in America are trying to fight back, in all manner of grassroots ways, making the book also a manifesto for practical change and a rallying cry for everyone who wants to rebuild America.” —Gillian Tett, author of Fool’s Gold and U.S. Managing Editor of The Financial Times

“Steve Brill has built on years of investigative journalism to produce a brilliant and powerful book on the most critical issue of our time: How did America’s core values get hijacked by a privileged class? During the past fifty years, we have undermined our basic national creed that we are a level playing field where any kid has the opportunity to build a better life. This book is not a political or ideological screed. Instead, it’s a model of deep reporting and fact-driven analysis. Everyone, left and right and center, should read it. It will open your eyes and challenge your assumptions.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci

“A compelling, surprising narrative about the unlikely people and forces responsible for the dashing of the American dreamand an uplifting look at those working to restore it.” —Jill Abramson, former executive editor, The New York Times 

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