Rowan Hooper - Superhuman - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781405540612
    • Publication date:03 May 2018
  • Paperback
    More information
    • ISBN:9780349142715
    • Publication date:02 May 2019

Superhuman

Life at the Extremes of Mental and Physical Ability

By Rowan Hooper

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

Superhuman is a fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring celebration of the best that the current human species has to offer.

Sunday Times Book of the Year

This is a book about what it feels like to be exceptional - and what it takes to get there. Why can some people achieve greatness when others can't, no matter how hard they try? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Just how much potential does our species have?

In this inspirational book, New Scientist Managing Editor Rowan Hooper takes us on a tour of the peaks of human achievement. We sit down with some of the world's finest minds, from a Nobel-prize winning scientist to a double Booker-prize winning author; we meet people whose power of focus has been the difference between a world record and death; we learn from international opera stars; we go back in time with memory champions, and we explore the transcendent experience of ultrarunners. We meet people who have rebounded from near-death, those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, and those who have found happiness in the most unexpected ways.

Drawing on interviews with a wide range of superhumans as well as those who study them, Hooper assesses the science of peak potential, reviewing the role of genetics alongside the famed 10,000 hours of practice.

For anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in incredible human stories, Superhuman is a must-read.

Biographical Notes

Rowan Hooper is Managing Editor of New Scientist magazine, where he has spent more than ten years writing about all aspects of science. He has a PhD in evolutionary biology, and worked as a biologist in Japan for five years, before joining the Japan Times newspaper in Tokyo, and later taking up a fellowship at Trinity College Dublin. Two collections of his long-running column for the paper have been published in Japan, and his work has also appeared in The Economist, Guardian, Wired and the Washington Post. He lives in London with his partner and two daughters.
@rowhoop

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781408709481
  • Publication date: 03 May 2018
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Little, Brown
Fascinating, timely and very well put together . . . The range of human activities, and abilities, covered in Rowan Hooper's study is astonishing and inspiring. It's a reminder of the incomparable adaptability that evolution has brought about in the human body and mind, and I found myself frequently wondering: what else are we capable of? How much further can we reach? And not least: how can we make sure the human race survives long enough for all our potential to unfold? The whole study is enthralling — Philip Pullman
This is a scream, in several ways: it's highly entertaining, but it's kind of painful to realise I will never be superhuman. Dang, eh? — Margaret Atwood, bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale, on Twitter
Superhuman is an incredibly readable and endlessly interesting book. Perhaps most importantly, it is an inspiring book — Christopher Kemp, Science
Rowan Hooper's book corrals humans who are the best at things we revere, such as intelligence, musical ability, bravery and endurance, plus the things that matter the most, longevity and happiness. He sought achievers from all over the world and asked them why and how . . . The result is terrifically entertaining. Hooper is the managing editor of New Scientist magazine and that precious thing, an easy, fluent, funny scientist (evolutionary biology in his case). From an armchair this is spectacularly enjoyable. Hooper is an amiable, jaunty companion who explores the science of extreme human achievement - a mix of environment, practice, genetics, psychology and passion. The message from this upbeat, clever, feel good book is that all of us have greater capacity than we realise. I finished the book inspired — Melanie Reid, The Times
For his new book, Superhuman, Rowan Hooper has travelled the world meeting people who are the best in a range of coveted traits . . . The book details conversations with people who have reached the peak of human potential in happiness, focus, resilience, sleep, ageing, language, bravery and much more - and lays out the scientific studies that back up their experiences . . . Rowan found the people he met, like Ellen MacArthur, explained time and time again in different words that you can overcome any obstacles if you have a burning passion and a goal to strive towards. Find a 'why' and you'll find a way — Niamh Horan, Irish Sunday Independent
In this excellent book, Hooper seeks out the highest achievers in myriad fields and also the scientists studying human capability to reframe the old debate: it's never genes or environment, it is always both things, together — New Scientist
This fascinating book reveals what it takes to be superhuman . . . as an evolutionary biologist, Hooper is persuasive in arguing that the genetic element in extreme performance is generally underestimated — Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
In this highly readable and well-researched book, Rowan Hooper, an evolutionary biologist by training, sets out to "demystify people at the extremes" of everything from intelligence to running to sleeping. As promoted in a recent spate of popular books, one appealing account of success says that all that really distinguishes highly accomplished people from the rest of us is the environment: having the opportunity and resources to pursue a dream. Nurture certainly does play an important role in success, but as Hooper explains in engaging detail in Superhuman, drawing on insightful interviews with people at the peak of success to illustrate, it is becoming increasingly clear from scientific research on expert performance that there is more to the story. Genetic makeup not only underpins basic abilities and capacities that bear on complex skills - it influences the environments that we seek out and create for ourselves. Superhuman will help shift the debate about the origins of exceptional performance beyond an anachronistic nature vs. nurture perspective and towards a recognition that it no longer even make sense to try to separate these two types of influence. The book is essential reading for anyone who has marvelled at exceptional human performance and wondered what explains it — Zach Hambrick, professor of cognitive psychology and director of the Expertise Lab, Michigan State University
Haven't read a book so simultaneously inspiring and geekily fascinating in ages — Emma Hooper, author of Our Homesick Songs and Etta and Otto and Russell and James
At one level this is science writing as freak show: Hooper tracks down people who run insane distances (seven consecutive marathons, for instance, at roughly three hours per marathon), remain unimaginably alert (from F1 drivers to Zen monks), memorise pi to umpteen places, and so on. But underneath the highly entertaining cor blimeys he is investigating something serious and timely: the controversial relationship between genes and environment, and the physiological, intellectual, genetic and ethical limits of being human — James McConnachie, Sunday Times
Little, Brown

Game Changers

João Medeiros
Authors:
João Medeiros

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Great Britain ranked thirty-sixth in the medals table, finishing below countries like Algeria, Belgium and Kazakhstan. It was their worst ever record, a dismal performance labelled a national disgrace.But then something happened. In Sydney in 2000 and then Athens in 2004, Team GB achieved a much more respectable tenth place. BY 2008, in Beijing, they finished fourth with forty-seven medals. How had they so convincingly reversed their fortunes?In Game Changers we meet the incredible coaches who rethink how sport is played, how it is performed, how people train and how people coach. In Liverpool in the late 1980s, a motley group - a mathematician, a physiologist, a psychologist and a former Olympic basketball player - began to pioneer ways of tracking performance. Over the decades that followed, performance analysis came of age. Incredible technological leaps have led to devices such as the OptimEye S5, developed by two Australian mechanical engineers to combine fifteen different sensors which monitor every aspect of athletic performance. These advances are now the gold standard in sport: providing the world's best athletes with a competitive edge that has been crucial to some of the most extraordinary victories of all time.João Medeiros's fascinating, insightful account takes us behind the scenes to tell the stories of this sporting revolution and disclose its secrets. We'll find out how the England rugby team used match analysis software and a vision coach to win their first ever World Cup, how a middling football team with no budget and older players found extraordinary success in the best football league in the world using tactics based purely on statistics, how Britain transformed itself from one of the worst to the world's best cycling nation. And we learn too how surgeons, police forces, dancers and business leaders are applying these skills to all aspects of everyone's lives.

Sphere

Slugfest

Reed Tucker
Authors:
Reed Tucker

Over the years, the companies have deployed an arsenal of schemes in an attempt to outmaneuver the competition, whether it be stealing ideas, poaching employees, planting spies, ripping off characters or launching price wars. Sometimes the feud has been vicious, at other times, more cordial. But it has never completely disappeared, and it simmers on a low boil to this day.This is the story of the greatest corporate rivalry never told. Other books have revealed elements of the Marvel-DC battle, but this will be the first one to put it all together into a single, juicy narrative. It will also serve as an alternate history of the superhero, told through the lens of these two publishers.

Little, Brown

Messy

Tim Harford
Authors:
Tim Harford
Basic Books

The Jazz of Physics

Stephon Alexander
Authors:
Stephon Alexander

More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane had put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favour, using jazz to answer physics' most vexing questions about the past and future of the universe.Following the great minds that first drew the links between music and physics,a list including Pythagoras, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, and Rakim, The Jazz of Physics revisits the ancient realm where music, physics, and the cosmos were one. This cosmological journey accompanies Alexander's own tale of struggling to reconcile his passion for music and physics, from taking music lessons as a boy in the Bronx to studying theoretical physics at Imperial College, London's inner sanctum of string theory. Playing the saxophone and improvising with equations, Alexander uncovered the connection between the fundamental waves that make up sound and the fundamental waves that make up everything else. As he reveals, the ancient poetic idea of the music of the spheres," taken seriously, clarifies confounding issues in physics.Whether you are more familiar with Brian Greene or Brian Eno, John Coltrane or John Wheeler, the Five Percent Nation or why the universe is less than five percent visible, there is a new discovery on every page. Covering the entire history of the universe from its birth to its fate, its structure on the smallest and largest scales, The Jazz of Physics will fascinate and inspire anyone interested in the mysteries of our universe, music, and life itself.

Basic Books

The Edge of the Sky

Roberto Trotta
Authors:
Roberto Trotta
Basic Books

Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics

Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Authors:
Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton

Combined into one volume for the first time, the updated and clarified Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics provides comprehensive, hands-on practice in all the most important areas of physics,from Newtonian mechanics through the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.A perfect complement to The Feynman Lectures on Physics , these exercises have all been assigned in Caltech's mandatory two-year introductory physics course, either when Richard Feynman was teaching it, or during the nearly two decades that followed when The Feynman Lectures on Physics was used as the textbook. With this modern, easy-to-use volume, students of physics will have a chance to apply what they have learned in the Lectures and to enhance and reinforce the concepts taught by the inimitable Richard Feynman.

Basic Books

Linked

Albert-laszlo Barabasi
Authors:
Albert-laszlo Barabasi
Basic Books

Supersymmetry and Beyond

Gordon Kane
Authors:
Gordon Kane

The epic story of the quest to uncover a fully unified theory of physics, revised to reflect the possible discovery of the Higgs Boson.

Orbit

Necessary Evil

Ian Tregillis
Authors:
Ian Tregillis

The history of the Twentieth Century has been shaped by a secret conflict between technology and magic. When a twisted Nazi scientist devised a way to imbue ordinary humans with supernatural abilities - to walk through walls, throw fire and see the future - his work became the prized possession of first the Third Reich, then the Soviet Army. Only Britain's warlocks, and the dark magics they yield, have successfully countered the threat posed by these superhuman armies. But for decades, this conflict has been manipulated by Gretel, the mad seer. And now her long plan has come to fruition. And with it, a danger vastly greater than anything the world has known. Now British Intelligence officer Raybould Marsh must make a last-ditch effort to change the course of history - if his nation, and those he loves, are to survive.

PublicAffairs

Memoirs of an Addicted Brain

Marc Lewis
Authors:
Marc Lewis

Marc Lewis's relationship with drugs began in a New England boarding school where, as a bullied and homesick fifteen-year-old, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine, alcohol, and marijuana. In Berkeley, California, in its hippie heyday, he found methamphetamine and LSD and heroin he sniffed nitrous oxide in Malaysia and frequented Calcutta's opium dens. Ultimately, though, his journey took him where it takes most addicts: into a life of desperation, deception, and crime.But unlike most addicts, Lewis recovered to become a developmental psychologist and researcher in neuroscience. In Memoirs of an Addicted Brain , he applies his professional expertise to a study of his former self, using the story of his own journey through addiction to tell the universal story of addictions of every kind.

Orbit

The Coldest War

Ian Tregillis
Authors:
Ian Tregillis
Basic Books

Feynman's Tips on Physics

Michael A. Gottlieb, Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton
Authors:
Michael A. Gottlieb, Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton
Sphere

It's Not Rocket Science

Ben Miller
Authors:
Ben Miller

The Top Ten BestsellerBlack holes. DNA. The Large Hadron Collider. Ever had that sneaking feeling that you are missing out on some truly spectacular science? You do? Well, fear not, for help is at hand. Ben Miller was working on his Physics PhD at Cambridge when he accidentally became a comedian. But first love runs deep, and he has returned to his roots to share with you all his favourite bits of science. This is the stuff you really need to know, not only because it matters but because it will quite simply amaze and delight you. 'Let me show you another, perhaps less familiar side of Science; her beauty, her seductiveness and her passion. And let's do it quickly, while Maths isn't looking'Ben Miller'This book makes climate change actually seem interesting. Not just important - it's obviously important - but interesting. As a result I bought lots of other books about climate change, something I now regret'David MitchellBen Miller is, like you, a mutant ape living through an Ice Age on a ball of molten iron, orbiting a supermassive black hole. He is also an actor, comedian and approximately one half of Armstrong & Miller. He's presented a BBC Horizon documentary on temperature and a Radio 4 series about the history of particle physics, and has written a science column for The Times. He is slowly coming to terms with the idea that he may never be an astronaut.

Orbit

Bitter Seeds

Ian Tregillis
Authors:
Ian Tregillis
Basic Books

How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog

Chad Orzel
Authors:
Chad Orzel

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But what about relativity? Physics professor Chad Orzel and his inquisitive canine companion, Emmy, tackle the concepts of general relativity in this irresistible introduction to Einstein's physics. Through armchair- and sometimes passenger-seat- conversations with Emmy about the relative speeds of dog and cat motion or the logistics of squirrel-chasing, Orzel translates complex Einsteinian ideas- the slowing of time for a moving observer, the shrinking of moving objects, the effects of gravity on light and time, black holes, the Big Bang, and of course, E=mc2- into examples simple enough for a dog to understand. A lively romp through one of the great theories of modern physics, How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about space, time, and anything else you might have slept through in high school physics class.

Basic Books

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. III

Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Authors:
Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Basic Books

Six Easy Pieces

Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Authors:
Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton

It was Richard Feynman's outrageous and scintillating method of teaching that earned him legendary status among students and professors of physics. From 1961 to 1963, Feynman delivered a series of lectures at the California Institute of Technology that revolutionized the teaching of physics around the world. Six Easy Pieces , taken from these famous Lectures on Physics, represent the most accessible material from the series. In these classic lessons, Feynman introduces the general reader to the following topics: atoms, basic physics, energy, gravitation, quantum mechanics, and the relationship of physics to other topics. With his dazzling and inimitable wit, Feynman presents each discussion with a minimum of jargon. Filled with wonderful examples and clever illustrations, Six Easy Pieces is the ideal introduction to the fundamentals of physics by one of the most admired and accessible physicists of modern times.

Basic Books

The Feynman Lectures on Physics, boxed set

Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Authors:
Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Basic Books

Sperm Wars, 10th anniversary edition

Robin Baker
Authors:
Robin Baker
Basic Books

Travels To The Nanoworld

Michael Gross
Authors:
Michael Gross

Our lives are about to be changed by new technologies that operate on a scale too small to be seen by even the most powerful optical microscopes. Devices measured in nanometers-billionths of a meter-have set off a nanotechnology revolution. In Travels to the Nanoworld , Michael Gross takes us deep into this miniature universe and describes natural processes and new technologies that will make modern machines look like relics from the Stone Age. Starting with the model of the living cell, whose vital processes are directed and carried out by structures with dimensions on the nanometer scale, Gross shows how biochemists are beginning to understand the mechanisms of the "nanotechnology of nature." Soon science will have the knowledge and technology to generate artificial systems that will perform similar tasks, and through them will find new treatments for disease, substitutes for toxic waste, and alternatives to carbon fuel.