Spring 2020 MIT Press Catalog

The Spring 2020 MIT Press catalog has arrived

It’s the dawn of a new decade and the Spring 2020 MIT Press catalog is here to serve as your intellectual guide. The books from our spring season continue to push the limits of discovery and research to cross academic and geographic boundaries. These forward-thinking books from leading educators and researchers advance knowledge and offer useful synthesis on a variety of topics and disciplines. 

As always, digital evolution is at the forefront of our minds. Bridging psychology and technology, books like Keep Calm and Log On consider the importance of online mindfulness, touching on the topics of digital self-empowerment, cyber security, and more. Speaking of cyber security, Coding Democracy examines how hackers can actually be vital disruptors in a new wave of activism. If you’re feeling nostalgic, Home Computers features 100 specially commissioned photos of vintage computers. 

From science to art to our enlightening Essential Knowledge Series, the books in the Spring 2020 catalog are as diverse as they are informational. For some of our top picks, check out the list by category below. 


Science is at the core of what we publish. These are just some of the exciting books you will find from the MIT Press this spring.  

When Blood Breaks Down

Life Lessons from Leukemia

By Mikkael A. Sekeres

When you are told that you have leukemia, your world stops. Your brain can’t function. You are asked to make decisions about treatment almost immediately, when you are not in your right mind. And yet you pull yourself together and start asking questions. Beside you is your doctor, whose job it is to solve the awful puzzle of bone marrow gone wrong. The two of you are in it together. In When Blood Breaks Down, Mikkael Sekeres, a leading cancer specialist, takes readers on the journey that patient and doctor travel together.

The Alchemy of Us

How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

Ainissa Ramirez

In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer.


Staying on the forefront of technology is essential to being an informed, knowledgeable citizen. Here are some of our top picks this year for tech.

Keep Calm and Log On        

Your Handbook for Surviving the Digital Revolution

Gillian “Gus” Andrews

Feeling overwhelmed by an avalanche of online content? Anxious about identity theft? Unsettled by the proliferation of fake news? Welcome to the digital revolution. Wait—wasn’t the digital revolution supposed to make our lives better? It was going to be fun and put the world at our fingertips. What happened? Keep Calm and Log On is a survival handbook that will help you achieve online mindfulness and overcome online helplessness—the feeling that tech is out of your control—with tips for handling cybersecurity, creepy ads, untrustworthy information, and much more.

Coding Democracy

How Hackers Are Disrupting Power, Surveillance, and Authoritarianism

Maureen Webb

Hackers have a bad reputation, as shady deployers of bots and destroyers of infrastructure. In Coding Democracy, Maureen Webb offers another view. Hackers, she argues, can be vital disruptors. Hacking is becoming a practice, an ethos, and a metaphor for a new wave of activism in which ordinary citizens are inventing new forms of distributed, decentralized democracy for a digital era. Confronted with concentrations of power, mass surveillance, and authoritarianism enabled by new technology, the hacking movement is trying to “build out” democracy into cyberspace.


The worlds of art and science often intersect in fascinating ways. From colossal structures to the early home computers that have shaped our lives, these books examine our undeniable relationship to art and design. 

 The World as an Architectural Project

Hashim SarkisRoi Salgueiro Barrio and  Gabriel Kozlowski

The world’s growing vulnerability to planet-sized risks invites action on a global scale. The World as an Architectural Project shows how for more than a century architects have imagined the future of the planet through world-scale projects. With fifty speculative projects by Patrick Geddes, Alison and Peter Smithson, Kiyonori Kikutake, Saverio Muratori, Takis Zenetos, Sergio Bernardes, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Luc Deleu, and many others, documented in text and images, this ambitious and wide-ranging book is the first compilation of its kind.

Home Computers

100 Icons that Defined a Digital Generation

Alex Wiltshire

Today, people carry powerful computers in our pockets and call them “phones.” A generation ago, people were amazed that the processing power of a mainframe computer could be contained in a beige box on a desk. This book is a celebration of those early home computers, with specially commissioned new photographs of 100 vintage computers and a generous selection of print advertising, product packaging, and instruction manuals. 

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series

The Spring 2020 MIT Press Catalog will feature 12 new titles from the popular Essential Knowledge Series. This series offers accessible, concise, beautifully produced books on topics of current interest. Written by leading thinkers, the books in this series deliver expert overviews of subjects that range from the cultural and historical to the scientific and technical. 

In 2020, we will explore these topics:

·       Cynicism

·       Quantum entanglement

·       fMRI

·       AI ethics

·       Contraception

·       Critical thinking

·       Smart cities

·       Collaborative society

·       Irony and sarcasm

·       Extraterrestrials

·       Macroeconomics

·       Spatial computing

In addition to publishing our own MIT Press titles, we also carry amazing books from the following distributions.

Afterall Books

Boston Review

Goldsmiths Press

SA+P Press


Sternberg Press

Strange Attractor Press

Tera Nova Press


Zone Books


View the rest of the Spring 2020 MIT Press Catalog here.

The MIT Press gratefully acknowledges Books On Books for sponsoring the planting of a tree through World Land Trust in honor of each new book in the Spring 2020 catalog.