Synopses & Reviews
Have you ever met a person who left you wondering, "How could someone be so twisted? So evil?" Prompted by clues in her sisters diary after her mysterious death, author Barbara Oakley takes the reader inside the head of the kinds of malevolent people you know, perhaps all too well, but could never understand. Starting with psychology as a frame of reference, Oakley uses cutting-edge images of the working brain to provide startling support for the idea that "evil" people act the way they do mainly as the result of a dysfunction. In fact, some deceitful, manipulative, and even sadistic behavior appears to be programmed genetically—suggesting that some people really are born to be bad. But there are unexpected fringe benefits to "evil genes." We may not like them—but we literally cant live without them.
Oakley deftly ties together the big picture implications of revolutionary neuroscientific and genetic discoveries, showing the eerily similar behavioral tics of Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and Slobodan Milosevic. The dramatic recent scientific findings presented in Evil Genes shed light not only on dictators far afield, but on politics at home, as well as business, religion, and everyday life. In fact, history itself has been shaped by the strange confluence of genes and environment that science is just now beginning to understand. Oakley links the latest findings of molecular research to a wide array of seemingly unrelated historical and current phenomena, from the harems of the Ottomans and the chummy jokes of "Uncle Joe" Stalin, to the remarkable memory of investor Warren Buffet. Throughout, she never loses sight of the personal cost of evil genes as she unravels the mystery surrounding her sisters enigmatic life—and death. Evil Genes is a tour de force of popular science writing that brilliantly melds scientific research with intriguing family history and puts both a human and a scientific face to evil.
Borne out of a quest to understand her sister Carolyn's lifelong sinister behavior, the author sets out on an exploration of malevolent individuals. A tour-de-force of popular science writing that brilliantly melds scientific research with intriguing family history, this work puts both a human and scientific face to evil.
Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbers
offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her optionsboth to rise in the military and to explore other careersshe returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.
In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to effectively learning math and sciencesecrets that even dedicated and successful students wish theyd known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that theres only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutionsyou just need the creativity to see them. For example, there are more than three hundred different known proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. In short, studying a problem in a laser-focused way until you reach a solution is not an effective way to learn math. Rather, it involves taking the time to step away from a problem and allow the more relaxed and creative part of the brain to take over. A Mind for Numbers shows us that we all have what it takes to excel in math, and learning it is not as painful as some might think!
About the Author
Barbara A. Oakley, PhD (Rochester, MI), has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones—her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen from Private to Regular Army Captain in the US Army. Currently an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, Oakley is a recent vice president of the world's largest bioengineering society and holds a doctorate in the integrative discipline of systems engineering.