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MIT Press Essential Knowledge

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers concise, accessible overviews of compelling topics. Written by leading thinkers, Essential Knowledge volumes provide expert syntheses of subjects ranging from the cultural and historical to the scientific and technical.

A concise and accessible examination of sustainability in a range of contemporary contexts, from economic development to government policy.

Everything we need to know about metadata, the usually invisible infrastructure for information with which we interact every day.

The idea of technological singularity, and what it would mean if ordinary human intelligence were enhanced or overtaken by artificial intelligence.

A guided tour through the Internet of Things, a networked world of connected devices, objects, and people that is changing the way we live and work.

Everything you always wanted to know about MOOCs: an account of massive open online courses and what they might mean for the future of higher education.

What beliefs are, what they do for us, how we come to hold them, and how to evaluate them.

An account of the emergence of the mind: how the brain acquired self-awareness, functional autonomy, the ability to think, and the power of speech.

A philosopher considers whether the scientific and philosophical arguments against free will are reason enough to give up our belief in it.

An introduction to paradoxes showing that they are more than mere puzzles but can prompt new ways of thinking.

Taking “Gangnam Style” seriously: what Internet memes can tell us about digital culture.

A concise introduction to crowdsourcing that goes beyond social media buzzwords to explain what crowdsourcing really is and how it works.

A guide to ocean waves traces their evolution from wind-wave generation to coastal effects.

A concise introduction to the basics of open access, describing what it is (and isn't) and showing that it is easy, fast, inexpensive, legal, and beneficial

A Concise History

A compact and accessible history, from punch cards and calculators to UNIVAC and ENIAC, the personal computer, Silicon Valley, and the Internet.

How a flexible and creative approach to intellectual property can help an organization accomplish goals ranging from building market share to expanding an industry.

A guide to information as the transformative tool of modern business.