Cyril Aydon - A Brief History of Mankind - Little, Brown Book Group

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A Brief History of Mankind

By Cyril Aydon

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

From the Stone Age to the Space Age - an entertaining journey through our own story that asks not just how we got here, but also, where are we going?

A Brief History of Mankind is the thrilling introduction to the big ideas in history combining the latest research in history and archaeology to look for answers to some of the questions we ask ourselves: Where do we come from? Why has the human race been so successful? What are the origins of our religions?

In a sweeping, panoramic narrative Cyril Aydon tells the story of our species from origins in Africa, the development of technology, the rise of nations and empires, and the evolution of culture from cave painting to the internet. Packed with fascinating facts and insights, the book also looks to the future and asks is the crisis of climate change one challenge too far for Homo Sapiens?

Biographical Notes

Cyril Aydon is a full time writer. His previous works include A Brief Guide to Charles Darwin: His Life and Times and Scientific Curiosities which sold in over 8 countries. He lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781845297480
  • Publication date: 29 Jan 2009
  • Page count: 432
  • Imprint: Robinson

This is a wide-ranging study of endless fascination, encapsulating succinctly the astonishing story of our species.

From man's initial wanderings out of Africa, through the emergence of settled agriculture, the spread of language and religion, the rise of great civilizations, the Industrial Revolution and right up to the technological advancements of the 21st century, Homo sapiens has proved both remarkable adaptable and innovative.Aygdon narrates 150,000 years worth of key events, some familiar, some new, from the domestication of sheep to the invention of paper money, the re-peopling of the Americas to the rise of modern China, and poses some questions for our future survival.

— Good Book Guide
Robinson

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele J. Gelfand
Authors:
Michele J. Gelfand

"A groundbreaking analysis of what used to be an impenetrable mystery: how and why do cultures differ? Gelfand shows that a wide range of divides of class, culture, and coalition are traceable to an intriguing source. Anyone interested in our cultural divides will find tremendous insight in Rule Makers, Rule Breakers." - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Enlightenment NowWhy are clocks in Germany always correct, while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why are Singaporeans jailed for selling gum? Why do women in New Zealand have three times the sex of females worldwide? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? And why does each generation of Americans give their kids weirder and weirder names? Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying both tight societies (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and loose societies (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats. It's why certain nations seem predisposed to tangle with others; some American states identify as "Red" and others as "Blue"; and those attending a sports contest, health club, or school function behave in prescribed ways. Rule Makers, Rule Breakers reveals how to predict national variations around the globe, why some leaders innovate and others don't, and even how a tight vs. loose system can determine happiness. Consistently riveting and always illuminating, Michele Gelfand's book helps us understand how a single cultural trait dramatically affects even the smallest aspects of our lives."Fascinating and profound...It's quite possibly this year's best book on culture." Roy F. Baumeister, bestselling co-author of Willpower and author of The Cultural Animal"This brilliant book is full of well-documented insights that will change the way you look at yourself and at the world around you." Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and Why We Work

Constable

Viceroys

Christopher Lee
Authors:
Christopher Lee

Between 1858 and 1947, twenty British men ruled millions of some of the most remarkable people of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.From the Indian Mutiny to the cruel religious partition of India and the newly formed and named Pakistan, the Viceroy had absolute power, more than the monarch who had sent him. Selected from that exclusive class of English, Scottish and Irish breeding, the aristocracy, the Viceroys were plumed, rode elephants, shot tigers. Even their wives stood when they entered the room. Nevertheless, many of them gave everything for India. The first Viceroy, Canning, exhausted by the Mutiny, buried his wife in Calcutta before he left the subcontinent to die shortly afterwards.The average Viceroy lasted five years and was granted an earldom but rarely a sense of triumph. Did these Viceroys behave as badly as twenty-first century moralists would have us believe? When the Raj was over, the legacy of Empire continued, as the new rulers slipped easily into the offices and styles of the British who had gone. Being 'British' was now a caste.Viceroys is the tale of the British Raj, the last fling of British aristocracy. It is the supreme view of the British in India, portraying the sort of people who went out and the sort of people they were on their return. It is the story of utter power and what men did with it. Moreover, it is also the story of how modern British identity was established and in part the answer to how it was that such a small offshore European island people believed themselves to have the right to sit at the highest institutional tables and judge what was right and unacceptable in other nations and institutions.

Robinson

A Brief History Of Video Games

Rich Stanton
Authors:
Rich Stanton

From the first wood-panelled Pong machines in California to the masterpieces of engineering that now sit in countless homes all over the world, A Brief History of Video Games reveals the vibrant history and culture of interactive entertainment. Above all, this is a book about the games - how the experience of playing has developed from simple, repetitive beginnings into a cornucopia of genres and styles, at once utterly immersive and socially engaging. With full-colour illustrations throughout, it shows how technological advances have transformed the first dots and dashes of bored engineers into sophisticated, responsive worlds that are endlessly captivating. As thrilling and surprising as the games it describes, this is an indispensable read for anyone serious about the business of having fun.

Robinson

The Physics of Everyday Things

James Kakalios
Authors:
James Kakalios
Piatkus

Unscaled

Hemant Taneja
Authors:
Hemant Taneja
Robinson

Mismatch

Ronald Giphart, Mark van Vugt
Authors:
Ronald Giphart, Mark van Vugt
Abacus

The Middle Class

Lawrence James
Authors:
Lawrence James

Abacus

The Lie of the Land

Amanda Craig
Authors:
Amanda Craig

CHOSEN AS BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN, OBSERVER, TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, EVENING STANDARD, SUNDAY TIMES AND IRISHTIMES'Terrific, page-turning, slyly funny' India Knight'As satisfying a novel as I have read in years' Sarah Perry'Amanda Craig is one of the most brilliant and entertaining novelists now working in Britain' Alison LurieQuentin and Lottie Bredin, like many modern couples, can't afford to divorce. Having lost their jobs in the recession, they can't afford to go on living in London; instead, they must downsize and move their three children to a house in a remote part of Devon. Arrogant and adulterous, Quentin can't understand why Lottie is so angry; devastated and humiliated, Lottie feels herself to have been intolerably wounded.Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing - but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side involving poverty, revenge, abuse and violence which will rise up to threaten them.Sally Verity, happily married but unhappily childless knows a different side to country life, as both a Health Visitor and a sheep farmer's wife; and when Lottie's innocent teenage son Xan gets a zero-hours contract at a local pie factory, he sees yet another. At the end of their year, the lives of all will be changed for ever. A suspenseful black comedy, this is a rich, compassionate and enthralling novel in its depiction of the English countryside, and the potentially lethal interplay between money and marriage.

Abacus

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker

Roger Hutchinson
Authors:
Roger Hutchinson
Sphere

The Spy's Daughter

Adam Brookes
Authors:
Adam Brookes

'Authentic, taut and compelling. Brookes is the real deal'Charles CummingThe stunning third novel from multi-award-nominated author Adam Brookes is paranoid, tense and spy fiction at its very finest.Meet Pearl Tao: an American girl with a lethal secret.Pearl longed for the life of a normal American teenager: summers at the pool, friends, backyard barbecues in the Washington DC suburbs. But she was different. Pearl had a gift for mathematics, a college sponsorship from a secretive technology corporation, and a family riven with anger and dysfunction. And it's only now, at nineteen years old, that she has started to understand what role she is to play. What her parents intend for her. For Pearl Tao, any hope of escape lies with two British spies: Trish Patterson, sidelined in disgrace, and Philip Mangan, blown and discredited - and following his own trail of corruption. Finding out the truth about Pearl will be the most urgent, the most dangerous mission they'll ever undertake.'The final instalment of Brookes' Mangan trilogy secures its status as a classic'Telegraph (50 Best Books of 2017)'Riveting and accomplished'Sunday Times

Basic Books

Designing Reality

Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld
Authors:
Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

The 20th century witnessed two digital revolutions. Computing power has revolutionized every industry, from finance to agriculture to pharmaceuticals. We've got computers at work and at home, in our pockets and our bags, on our wrists, and even embedded in the architecture of our houses. At the same time a revolution in digital communication unfolded, which has forever altered our lives-work, social, and private-by enabling a world in which we're never impossible to reach and have nearly limitless power to express ourselves. But no one saw the downsides of these: powerful computers threaten to displace human labor from a range of jobs, both blue and white collar, and, after an election in which the Internet played such a pivotal role in spreading disinformation-not to mention the simple problem of never being able to escape our jobs if our email goes with us everywhere-the possible pitfalls of free communication become clearer.And now, as Neil Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, and Alan Gershenfeld make clear, we are in the early years of the third digital revolution: from computation and communication comes fabrication. Fabrication includes everything from 3D printing to laser cutters to machines that can assemble anything, including themselves, by precisely controlling the placement of individual atoms. We will soon be able to program matter the same way we can now program a computer. This may sound outlandish, but just as the smartphone is the logical conclusion of trends in computing that began in the 1960s, so is this fabrication technology of the future the extension of today's trends in manufacturing. Neil Gershenfeld, an MIT professor, is at the forefront of making it a reality, through his scientific work as well as his championing of Fab Labs, a sort of low-cost personal factory. In Designing Reality, he and his brothers Alan and Joel explore not just the promise but the perils of this revolution in fabrication. On one extreme, it promises self-sufficient cities, the end of work, and the ability for each of us to design and create anything we can imagine. On the other, it could lead to the concentration of wealth in very few hands. Neither guaranteeing utopia nor insisting that our worst nightmares are about to come true, the Gershenfelds are trying to anticipate the future and teach us how best to prepare for it, personally and as a society, across education, employment and more. The first two digital revolutions caught us flat-footed, and there has been a heavy price to pay. Let us prepare for the future, not simply react to it.

Piatkus

Living in a Mindful Universe

Eben Alexander, Karen Newell
Authors:
Eben Alexander, Karen Newell
Constable

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Harry Leslie Smith
Authors:
Harry Leslie Smith
Back Bay

And Soon I Heard A Roaring Wind

Bill Streever
Authors:
Bill Streever

Scientist and bestselling nature writer Bill Streever goes to any extreme to explore wind--the winds that built empires, the storms that wreck them--by traveling right through it. Narrating from a fifty-year-old sailboat, Streever leads readers through the world's first forecasts, Chaos Theory, and a future affected by climate change. Along the way, he shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-tossed airplanes, and the uncomfortable interactions between wind and wars, drawing from natural science, history, business, travel, as well as from his own travels. AND SOON I HEARD A ROARING WIND is an effortless personal narrative featuring the keen observations, scientific rigor, and whimsy that readers love. You'll never see a breeze in the same light again.

Robinson

Sugar

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin
Basic Books

Wild Nights

Benjamin Reiss
Authors:
Benjamin Reiss
Robinson

A Brief History of the Martial Arts

Jonathan Clements
Authors:
Jonathan Clements
Robinson

Waves of Prosperity

Greg Clydesdale
Authors:
Greg Clydesdale

When the Genoese merchant, Marco Polo, first arrived in Dynastic China he was faced with a society far advanced of anything he had encountered in Europe. The ports were filled with commodities from all over the eastern world, while new technology was driving the economy forward. It would take another 400 years before European trade in the Atlantic eclipsed the Pacific markets.From China's phenomenally successful Sung dynasty (c. AD 960-1279), Cargoes reveals the power of the Mughals merchants of Gujarat, who built an empire so powerful that, even in the 17th century, the richest man in the world was a Gujarat trader. It was not until the opening up of the spice routes and the discovery of South American gold that medieval Iberia came to the fore. It was only then that the Atlantic Empire of the west came to dominate world trade, first the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, then the British Empire in the age of the Industrial Revolution, American supremacy in the twentieth century, and the development of post-war Japan. Along the way Greg Clydesdale looks at the parallel lives and ideas of merchants and explorers, missionaries, kings, bankers and emperors. He shows how great trading nations rise on a wave of technological and financial innovation and how in that success lies the cause of their inevitable decline.

Basic Books

Play Anything

Ian Bogost
Authors:
Ian Bogost

Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant... I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." u- Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter ife is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun . But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations . Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances, like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints,as sources for meaning and joy. We can play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed,and enjoyed,when we first impose boundaries on ourselves. "An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives." u- Library Journal (STARRED review) /u Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully." u- Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You /u

Corsair

The Goddess Pose

Michelle Goldberg
Authors:
Michelle Goldberg

When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in 1899, yoga was virtually unknown outside of India. By the time of her death, in 2002, it was being practiced everywhere, from Brooklyn to Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. In The Goddess Pose, New York Times best-selling author Michelle Goldberg traces the life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West and in so doing paints a sweeping picture of the twentieth century.Born into the minor aristocracy (as Eugenia Peterson), Devi grew up in the midst of one of the most turbulent times in human history. Forced to flee the Russian Revolution as a teenager, she joined a famous Berlin cabaret troupe, dove into the vibrant prewar spiritualist movement, and, at a time when it was nearly unthinkable for a young European woman to travel alone, followed the charismatic Theosophical leader Jiddu Krishnamurti to India. Once on the subcontinent, she performed in Indian silent cinema and hobnobbed with the leaders of the independence movement. But her greatest coup was convincing a recalcitrant master yogi to train her in the secrets of his art. Devi would go on to share what she learned with people around the world, teaching in Shanghai during World War II, then in Hollywood, where her students included Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo. She ran a yoga school in Mexico during the height of the counterculture, served as spiritual adviser to the colonel who tried to overthrow Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and, in her eighties, moved to Buenos Aires at the invitation of a besotted rock star. Everywhere she went, Indra Devi evangelized for yoga, ushering in a global craze that continues unabated. Written with vivid clarity, The Goddess Pose brings her remarkable story as an actress, yogi, and globetrotting adventuress to life.