6 New Non-Fiction Books To Read Now

6 New Non-Fiction Books To Read Now


From an exposé of working life in Silicon Valley to new ways for thinking about ageing and decision making, here are six books you really ought to read…

American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson

Known as the ‘American Sherlock Holmes’, Edward Oscar Heinrich was the first forensic scientist. He might still be the greatest: in a 40-year career, he cracked more than 2,000 cases. A brilliant man – and commanding presence as a regular expert witness – he redefined the nature of criminal investigating in the States. He can claim to have pioneered all of blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector testing and fingerprinting. Enjoy true-crime stories today? Then it’s probably time to bone up on the original criminologist.
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Broken Greek by Pete Paphides

When the parents of respected music journo Pete Paphides moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 60s, they had no money and only a slight grasp of English. Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age four to seven and, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc, found refuge in the embrace of pop. From Abba to The Police, music was a safety net to protect him from the tensions of his home life. But with every passing year, his guilty secret became more horrifying to him: his parents were Greek, but all the things that excited him were British – including ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Tragedy’, ‘Come On Eileen’, and every other chart hit blaring out of the radio in his parents’ chip shop. A must for music fans.
“An exceptional coming-of-age story. Pete Paphides may very well have the biggest heart in Britain.” – Marina Hyde, columnist
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The Changing Mind by Daniel Levitin

The subtitle of this book is suitably plain speaking: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Ageing Well. Daniel Levitin, who is also a psychologist and bestselling author, wants to spark a fundamental shift in our understanding of old age. With more of us living longer than ever before, he reckons it’s time for a rethink: we should appreciate getting older as a beneficial experience not a period of cognitive decline. Indeed, recent studies show happiness levels peak in our 80s. With more than 4,000 research papers at his fingertips, Levitin explains the importance of personality traits, lifestyle, memory and community in determining the quality of our old age, offering actionable tips that we can all start now – at any age.
“The book is replete with curious facts” – The Times
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The Nanny State Made Me by Stuart Maconie

Radio DJ, writer and son of Wigan, Stuart Maconie makes the case for a properly funded welfare state. In witty, timely fashion he asks provocative questions such as: what was so wrong with student grants? Or free eye tests? Or council houses? He revisits the past, including his own working-class childhood, to make a compelling case for recalibrating Britain’s future towards a more just, fairer society. That should start, he believes, by recognising the ‘nanny state’ not as a derogatory term, but as a force for good in the world.
“He is as funny as Bryson and as wise as Orwell” – The Observer
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Radical Uncertainty by John Kay & Mervyn King

An economics professor and a former governor of the Bank of England have put their rather large heads together and come up with a new approach to the uncertainty that increasingly plagues all of our lives. John Kay and Mervyn King believe current methods for assessing the future are causing as many problems as they solve because they do not respect life’s true mysteries. Whether you’re trying to work out how much to pay into your pension each month, deciding if you should expand your business or, you know, enter a trade agreement, they have an alternative strategy for you to consider. Well written and entertaining, Radical Uncertainty draws on history, economics and philosophy to present a novel way of dealing with our turbulent times.
“If you’re interested in judgement and decision-making, this book is fascinating. If that’s your job, Radical Uncertainty is essential.” – Ed Smith, England cricket selector
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Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

At 25, Anna Wiener quit a meagrely paid publishing job in New York to join the Silicon Valley gold rush. She arrived on the West Coast just as the first serious questions were being asked about whether tech start-ups really were here to save the world. Living the life of free office breakfasts and company-branded hoodies, Wiener started to wonder herself where all of this was headed. Her memoir of this time captures an industry that’s drunk on success – and behaving badly. A valuable corrective for anyone still expecting the tech bros to make life better for everyone. 
“A fabulously frank account of striving in Silicon Valley” – Sunday Times

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