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If only today’s technology were simpler! It’s the universal lament, but it’s wrong. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It’s not complexity that’s the problem, it’s bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.

How Cheap Experiments Are Worth More than Good Ideas

What is the best way for a company to innovate? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. The Innovator’s Hypothesis addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively—and competitively—crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice.

Evidence-Based Social Design

Online communities are among the most popular destinations on the Internet, but not all online communities are equally successful. For every flourishing Facebook, there is a moribund Friendster—not to mention the scores of smaller social networking sites that never attracted enough members to be viable. This book offers lessons from theory and empirical research in the social sciences that can help improve the design of online communities.

Toward a New Aesthetic Paradigm

In this book, Tim Hodgkinson proposes a theory of aesthetics and music grounded in the boundary between nature and culture within the human being. His analysis discards the conventional idea of the human being as an integrated whole in favor of a rich and complex field in which incompatible kinds of information—biological and cultural—collide. It is only when we acknowledge the clash of body and language within human identity that we can understand how art brings forth the special form of subjectivity potentially present in aesthetic experiences.

Ecosystems of Bits, Bytes, and Biology

The relationship of humans to computers can no longer be represented as one person in a chair and one computer on a desk. Today computing finds its way into our pockets, our cars, our appliances; it is ubiquitous—an inescapable part of our everyday lives. Computing is even expanding beyond our devices; sensors, microcontrollers, and actuators are increasingly embedded into the built environment. In Architectural Robotics, Keith Evan Green looks toward the next frontier in computing: interactive, partly intelligent, meticulously designed physical environments.

Disappointment and Failure in Architecture

The usual history of architecture is a grand narrative of soaring monuments and heroic makers. But it is also a false narrative in many ways, rarely acknowledging the personal failures and disappointments of architects. In Bleak Houses, Timothy Brittain-Catlin investigates the underside of architecture, the stories of losers and unfulfillment often ignored by an architectural criticism that values novelty, fame, and virility over fallibility and rejection.

The Limits of Moral Enhancement

Throughout history, humanity has been seen as being in need of improvement, most pressingly in need of moral improvement. Today, in what has been called the beginnings of “the golden age of neuroscience,” laboratory findings claim to offer insights into how the brain “does” morality, even suggesting that it is possible to make people more moral by manipulating their biology. Can “moral bioenhancement”—using technological or pharmaceutical means to boost the morally desirable and remove the morally problematic—bring about a morally improved humanity?

This volume offers a comprehensive overview of the latest neuroscientific approaches to the scientific study of creativity. In chapters that progress logically from neurobiological fundamentals to systems neuroscience and neuroimaging, leading scholars describe the latest theoretical, genetic, structural, clinical, functional, and applied research on the neural bases of creativity. The treatment is both broad and in depth, offering a range of neuroscientific perspectives with detailed coverage by experts in each area.

Essays on Architecture

Trained as an art historian but viewing architecture from the perspective of a “displaced philosopher,” Hubert Damisch in these essays offers a meticulous parsing of language and structure to “think architecture in a different key,” as Anthony Vidler puts it in his introduction. Drawn to architecture because it provides “an open series of structural models,” Damisch examines the origin of architecture and then its structural development from the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries.

Contemporary art in the early twenty-first century is often discussed as if the very idea of art that is contemporary is new. Yet all works of art were once contemporary. In What Was Contemporary Art? Richard Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, and gives the contemporary its own art history.

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