Book recommendation: The Best American Science and Nature Writing

This series, edited by Tim Folger — and specifically this 2004 edition, edited by Steven Pinker — is filled to the proverbial brim with interesting articles and short essays expertly plucked from a wide range of publications. One need not be a dyed-in-the-wool Darwinian or even an advocate of unadulterated mother Earth to enjoy portions — or all — of this collection.

I especially loved the 12-page article: The Battle For Your Brain, which focused on current and future neuropharmaceutical drugs as well as "neuroethics" surrounding their use, proposed limitations, and delineations of 'therapy' and 'enhancement'. I found this unbiased article, written by Ronald Bailey, extremely well written and informative.

The article, We're All Gonna Die!, of similar length — and similarly enjoyed — is the polar opposite in terms of tone and entertainment-value of many non-fiction articles. Instead, Gregg Easterbrook lists the top ten methods and modes the human race currently fears it will be eradicated from the earth and then deconstructs each in turn. I was wonderfully entertained as I enhanced my knowledge.

And in a short article by Jonathan Rauch: Caring for Your Introvert, I learned why 75% of the people I've met in my life don't understand me (and — more importantly — why they don't want to understand me).

These are but three examples of twenty-five fantastic articles contained in this book. I highly recommend the paperback, which can be purchased online or at your local bookstore.

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