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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012 Paperback – October 2, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0547799537 ISBN-10: 0547799535 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Best American (Book 2012)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547799535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547799537
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

There is so much we don’t know, which leads us to make so many irrational decisions that we need scientists and science writers to share their inquiries and discoveries in welcoming and lucid prose. Stellar examples of just this sort of cogent and compelling writing sustains this invaluable and exciting series. This year’s guest editor, Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioral economics and author of The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty (2012), kicks things off with a provocative introductory essay about how we can and should use science to improve our lives. His commanding and eye-opening selections run the gamut from the micro (gut biota) to the macro (global air pollution) and steadily ramp up our sense of awe and concern. His engaging contributors write of food allergies (Jerome Groopman), the evolution of feathers (Carl Zimmer), the extraction of DNA from Neanderthal bones (Elizabeth Kolbert), and crowd disasters (John Seabrook). In the most intimate essay, Sy Montgomery describes her unexpectedly emotional encounters with Athena, a very smart and expressive giant Pacific octopus. How wondrous and complicated life is. --Donna Seaman

About the Author

Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality and Predictably Irrational, is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.

TIM FOLGER is a contributing editor at Discover and writes about science for several magazines.


More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Me either, until I read this book!
artgoddess
The essays were carefully selected and represent a good cross-section of the best American science and nature writing over the 2012 calendar year.
B. Case
As can be expected each of the articles is very well written and completely engaging.
John Paton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By John Paton on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a third year psychology student I found this year's selection to be completely to my liking. The articles in the collection move from the micro to the macro, and cover topics from how bacteria in your gut affect your health (the human microbiome project) to how the our cities have been changing over the past centuries.

As can be expected each of the articles is very well written and completely engaging. They come from sources like the National Geographic, Science, Nature, and Wired. Most of the authors are journalists, although there are a couple of authors who are professional scientists.

The emphasis of the articles is on the social sciences-- there's nothing at all on recent physics discoveries. If you have an interest in the social sciences, and enjoy Dan Ariely's work then you'll find this selection to your pleasing. There's enough variability in the articles that you'll probably learn something new too-- I know I've certainly been learning a lot.

In sum, I'd say that it's an inspiring collection of articles. The editor did a great job, and I will continue to read the series in the future.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous Coward on December 2, 2012
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Unlike previous versions, this compilation does not contain any pieces on physics, astronomy, or mathematics. If that doesn't bother you, go for it. If it does, read through the table of contents before purchasing.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By William A. Baity on November 29, 2012
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I buy these every year, along with the "Best Science Writing" one from a competing publisher. Strangely, they rarely duplicate each other. With this series you also get Nature ( think ecology and environmentalism) articles. As I prefer not to be lectured when I am reading for pleasure, I somewhat prefer the other series.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 16, 2012
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I was hooked from that line forward! Fellow readers, please don't be afraid of reading about science and nature; these are neither learned disertations nor stuffy academic folderol. These are essays--thinking on paper--written as much for the writer as for the reader, and, by the way, as the reader, you have the right and resposibility to rebut the authors' points of view, if you find them in error. Read these essays and be not afraid when you hear a grinding of gears and the faint smell of burning rubber as your brain starts up and begins to cogitate, percolate and burst forth with ideas and thoughts un-thunk before. Let these essays be your impetus. I wish you happy reading and wonder-filled thoughts!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DJ Jonathan E. on February 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have to say I think many of these other reviews are unkind to this book. There is a subtle intelligence to it that unfolds as you read the articles. Certainly, this is not hard-core science and it is aimed at general readers with a literary non-fiction approach. I found it generally interesting and informative; some articles were genuinely excellent and the whole hung together in a way that other volumes in the series have not attempted as far as I recall. Any intelligent person should be able to get something useful out of it.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Toelle on January 17, 2013
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The weakest of these Science and Nature anthologies that I've read. Very little substantial science. No skeptical articles. Recommend that you try other books in this series instead.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kenny A. Chaffin on December 7, 2012
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Seemed filled with watered down medical and pseudo-psych articles. No real meat (like higgs bosons) to be had. Thoroughly disappointed in this years release. :(
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Schaller on February 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I took this book with me on a vacation and was delighted that each section was short enough to read in one sitting, ranging from 15-55 minutes per section. The science was current and fascinating.
I typically read fiction and thought this would be good for me...stretch my horizons so to speak. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't have to "force" myself to slog through this book. Not only was the subject matter interesting to someone who is not a "science person," but the writing was good quality prose. Some of it was genuinely clever and funny. The readings are also well attributed and I found myself going online to read more about something/someone mentioned in the article.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in science and nature, but isn't necessarily a scientist.
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