new books

24 November 2016

‘A magic carpet ride through the history of thought… Among the greatest compliments you can give a book is that it helps you to see things differently. So long as you’re not dazzled by the fireworks, Rethink could do just that.’ — Guardian

‘Clever and entertaining… when it comes to describing a complex idea clearly, Poole is one of the best writers around.’ — Sunday Times

‘Entertaining and important… elegantly written and full of surprises.’ — Telegraph

‘It’s a treasure trove for people who like to begin stories with “Did you know that…?”… a clever and entertaining book, which, if it does nothing else, will make me more fun at parties.’ — Times

‘With this book, Poole confirms his standing as one of our liveliest and most thought-provoking writers on science and technology.’ — Spectator

Everyone likes innovation, but maybe our idea of it needs to be upgraded. Because very often innovation comes from reconsidering the failures of the past. Rethink is the story of how old ideas that were mocked or ignored for centuries are now storming back to the cutting edge of research. The book is about evolutionary biology, chess, consciousness, nukes, medicine, spycraft, cosmology, economics, and a lot more. Rethink is out now in the UK (Random House Books) and
the US (Scribner).

Above, I am talking about the book with Jay Shetty of the Huffington Post. I was also interviewed at length about Rethink on the Guardian Science Weekly podcast, and discussed it along with the mathematician and author Marcus du Sautoy on the Spectator books podcast.

Here are published extracts from the book: in the Guardian, on Zombie Ideas and the persistence of conspiracies; in New York magazine, on the rediscovery of LSD as therapy, and why the greatest computing pioneer of the 20th century is still not a household name. Readers of the book will also learn about black-box ideas, placebo ideas, pariah ideas, and a whole lot more…