Books published by Basic Books

The Socialist Manifesto

Basic Books | April 30, 2019 | 272 pages
From one of the most prominent voices on the American left, a galvanizing argument for why we need socialism in the United States today The success of Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign revived a political idea many had thought dead. But what, exactly, is socialism? And what would a... More Info

A Thousand Small Sanities

Basic Books | May 14, 2019 | 208 pages
The New York Times-bestselling author offers a stirring defense of liberalism against the dogmatisms of our time Not since the early twentieth century has liberalism, and liberals, been under such relentless attack, from both right and left. The crisis of democracy in our era has produced a crisis... More Info

In Search of the Canary Tree

Basic Books | November 27, 2018 | 272 pages
The surprisingly hopeful story of one woman's search for resiliency in a warming world Several years ago, ecologist Lauren E. Oakes set out from California for Alaska's old-growth forests to hunt for a dying tree: the yellow-cedar. With climate change as the culprit, the death of this species meant... More Info

What Is Real?

Basic Books | March 20, 2018 | 384 pages
The untold story of the heretical thinkers who dared to question the nature of our quantum universe Every physicist agrees quantum mechanics is among humanity's finest scientific achievements. But ask what it means, and the result will be a brawl. For a century, most physicists have followed Niels... More Info


Basic Books | July 10, 2018 | 304 pages
From the award-winning author of The Triumph of Seeds and Feathers, a natural and cultural history of the buzzing wee beasties that make the world go round. Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of... More Info

The Book of Why

Basic Books | May 15, 2018 | 432 pages
How the study of causality revolutionized science and the world "Correlation is not causation." This mantra, chanted by scientists for more than a century, has led to a virtual prohibition on causal talk. Today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, instigated by Judea Pearl and his... More Info


Basic Books | June 12, 2018 | 336 pages
"Rest is such a valuable book. If work is our national religion, Pang is the philosopher reintegrating our bifurcated selves."---Arianna Huffington, New York Times Book Review Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done-but they are never done. Looking at... More Info

Edge of Chaos

Basic Books | April 24, 2018 | 320 pages
From an internationally acclaimed economist, a provocative call to jump-start economic growth by aggressively overhauling liberal democracy Around the world, people who are angry at stagnant wages and growing inequality have rebelled against established governments and turned to political extremes.... More Info

A Girl Stands at the Door

Basic Books | May 15, 2018 | 384 pages
A new history of school desegregation in America, revealing how girls and women led the fight for interracial education The struggle to desegregate America's schools was a grassroots movement, and young women were its vanguard. In the late 1940s, parents began to file desegregation lawsuits with... More Info

How to Be a Stoic

Basic Books | May 8, 2018 | 288 pages
In the tradition of How to Live and How Proust Can Change Your Life, a philosopher asks how ancient Stoicism can help us flourish today Whenever we worry about what to eat, how to love, or simply how to be happy, we are worrying about how to lead a good life. No goal is more elusive. In How to Be a... More Info

The New Urban Crisis

Basic Books | May 8, 2018 | 368 pages
"Richard Florida offers a brilliant assessment of the varied and evolving challenges facing our cities today.... The New Urban Crisis is essential reading for urban leaders and all city-dwellers." --Richard M. Daley, former mayor of Chicago In The New Urban Crisis, Richard Florida demonstrates how... More Info

Calculating the Cosmos

Basic Books | May 15, 2018 | 352 pages
"[In Calculating the Cosmos] Ian Stewart elegantly reviews the uncanny effectiveness of mathematics in explaining the universe."--Mario Livio, Wall Street Journal In Calculating the Cosmos, Ian Stewart presents an exhilarating guide to the cosmos, from our solar system to the entire universe. He... More Info

Becoming Myself

Basic Books | October 3, 2017 | 352 pages
Irvin D. Yalom has made a career of investigating the lives of others. In this profound memoir, he turns his writing and his therapeutic eye on himself. He opens his story with a nightmare: He is twelve, and is riding his bike past the home of an acne-scarred girl. Like every morning, he calls out,... More Info

In Defense of Troublemakers

Basic Books | March 20, 2018 | 272 pages
An eminent psychologist explains why dissent should be cherished, not feared We've decided by consensus that consensus is good. In In Defense of Troublemakers, psychologist Charlan Nemeth argues that this principle is completely wrong: left unchallenged, the majority opinion is often biased,... More Info

The Heavens Might Crack

Basic Books | March 20, 2018 | 352 pages
A vivid portrait of how Americans grappled with King's death and legacy in the days, weeks, and months after his assassination On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. At the time of his murder, King was a polarizing... More Info

Weird Math

Basic Books | April 17, 2018 | 320 pages
A successful science writer and a teenage math prodigy reveal the complex mathematics that is all around us Everyone has stared at the crumpled page of a math assignment and wondered, where on Earth will I ever use this? It turns out, Earth is precisely the place. As teen math prodigy Agnijo... More Info

What the F

Basic Books | April 3, 2018 | 304 pages
"A sneaky--charming, consistently engrossing--introduction to linguistics." --New York Times Book Review Everyone swears. Only the rare individual can avoid ever letting slip an expletive. And yet, we ban the words from television and insist that polite people excise them from their vocabularies.... More Info

Language at the Speed of Sight

Basic Books | March 6, 2018 | 384 pages
"An important and alarming new book." --New York Times The way we teach reading is not working, and it cannot continue. We have largely abandoned phones-based reading instruction, despite research that supports its importance for word recognition.  More Info

The Taste of Empire

Basic Books | October 3, 2017 | 368 pages
A history of the British Empire told through twenty meals eaten around the world In The Taste of Empire, acclaimed historian Lizzie Collingham tells the story of how the British Empire's quest for food shaped the modern world. Told through twenty meals over the course of 450 years, from the Far... More Info

Exact Thinking in Demented Times

Basic Books | December 5, 2017 | 384 pages
Inspired by Albert Einstein's theory of relativity and Bertrand Russell and David Hilbert's pursuit of the fundamental rules of mathematics, some of the most brilliant minds of the generation came together in post-World War I Vienna to present the latest theories in mathematics, science, and... More Info

What It's Like to Be a Dog

Basic Books | September 5, 2017 | 304 pages
What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner-completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value... More Info

The Cold War

Basic Books | September 5, 2017 | 720 pages
From a Bancroft Prize-winning scholar, a new global history of the Cold War and its ongoing impact around the world In The Cold War, Odd Arne Westad offers a new perspective on a century when a superpower rivalry and an ideological war transformed every corner of our globe. We traditionally think... More Info

The New Urban Crisis

Basic Books | April 11, 2017 | 320 pages
In recent years, the young, educated, and affluent have surged back into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. And yet all is not well, Richard Florida argues in The New Urban Crisis. Florida, one of the first scholars to anticipate this back-to-the-city movement in his... More Info

Local Knowledge

Basic Books | August 17, 2019 | 244 pages
In essays covering everything from art and common sense to charisma and constructions of the self, the eminent cultural anthropologist and author of The Interpretation of Cultures deepens our understanding of human societies through the intimacies of "local knowledge." A companion volume to The... More Info

Hidden Order

Basic Books | August 17, 1995 | 185 pages
al readers how Complexity--the watershed science agenda for at least the nexttwo decades--is affecting our lives.  More Info

First Bite

Basic Books (AZ) | December 1, 2015 | 336 pages
We do not come into the world with an innate sense of taste and nutrition; as omnivores, we have to learn how and what to eat, how sweet is too sweet, and what food will give us the most energy for the coming day. But how does this education happen? What are the origins of taste? In First Bite, the... More Info

The Cash Nexus: Economics And Politics From The Age Of Warfare Through The Age Of Welfare, 1700-2000

Basic Books | February 21, 2002 | 576 pages
Conventional wisdom has long claimed that economic change is the prime mover of political change, whether in the age of industry or Internet. But is it? Ferguson thinks it is high time we re-examined the link-the nexus, in Thomas Carlyle's phrase-between economics and politics. His central argument... More Info

The Fall of the Ottomans

Basic Books | March 10, 2015 | 512 pages
In 1914 the Ottoman Empire was depleted of men and resources after years of war against Balkan nationalist and Italian forces. But in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo, the powers of Europe were sliding inexorably toward war, and not even the Middle East could escape the vast and... More Info

The Last Empire

Basic Books | June 2, 2015 | 544 pages
A prize-winning historian describes the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, dispelling the myth that the event was spurred on in part by the close relationship between George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev. 20,000 first printing. (This book was previously listed in Forecast.)  More Info

The Good War

Basic Books (AZ) | November 11, 2014 | 416 pages
Provides a narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, from its inception after the September 11 attacks to the drawdown in 2014.  More Info

The Man who Shocked the World

Basic Books | February 23, 2009 | 368 pages
Presents a biography of Stanley Milgram, dicussing among other experiments his obedience experiments and shedding light on his personality and personal life.  More Info

The Vertigo Years

Basic Books | November 2, 2010 | 488 pages
Examines how changes from the Industrial Revolution prior to World War I brought about radical transformation in society, changes in education, and massive migration in population that led to one of the bloodiest events in history.  More Info

Free to Learn

Basic Books (AZ) | August 17, 2019 | 274 pages
A developmental psychologist argues that children who are freed to follow their own interests through self-directed play will become better learners and achievers than the way they learn in modern school, which he says shows them that learning is work and not fun. 15,000 first printing.  More Info

July 1914

Basic Books | August 17, 2019 | 460 pages
Focusing on the weeks preceding the beginning of World War I, traces the efforts of a group of statesmen who used the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand--which was largely ignored--to trigger the outbreak of war.  More Info

A conflict of visions

Basic Books (AZ) | June 5, 2007 | 329 pages
This revised edition of a classic analyzes the centuries-long debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality and power.  More Info

The Design of Everyday Things

Basic Books (AZ) | November 5, 2013 | 384 pages
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious?even liberating?book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the... More Info

Trauma and Recovery

Basic Books | August 17, 1997 | 290 pages
Examines how people adapt to traumatic events such as rape, domestic violence, terrorism, and combat, discusses the healing process, and provides a framework for treatment  More Info

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat

Basic Books (AZ) | October 8, 2013 | 336 pages
Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. In Consider the Fork, award-winning food... More Info

Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal

Basic Books (AZ) | September 10, 2013 | 304 pages
We are what we eat, as the saying goes?but we are also how we eat, and when, and where. Our eating habits reveal as much about our national identity as the food on our plates, as food historian Abigail Carroll vividly demonstrates in Three Squares. Reaching back to colonial America, when settlers... More Info

Consider the Fork

Basic Books (AZ) | August 17, 2019 | 327 pages
Traces the history of cooking through a series of engaging cultural anecdotes while demonstrating how technological innovations ranging from the mortar and pestle to the microwave have shaped how and what humans eat.  More Info


Basic Books | October 25, 2006 | 302 pages
Chronicles the life of Huey P. Newton, discussing his childhood in poverty, involvement in the civil rights movement, role as cofounder and leader of the Black Panther Party, and other related topics.  More Info

How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America

Basic Books (AZ) | December 25, 2006 | 236 pages
With a new preface by the author. In the tradition of Backlash and The Morning After, and in a political climate where Roe v. Wade is in serious jeopardy, a young activist reveals that the Pro-Life Movement's real agenda is a war on contraception, family planning, and sexual freedom.  More Info

Letters to a Young Activist

Basic Books (AZ) | July 31, 2012 | 192 pages
A social activist considers the spirit of activism, the guiding principles that govern today's activists, the changing nature of idealism, and the positive potential of the future.  More Info

Alone Together

Basic Books (AZ) | October 2, 2012 | 384 pages
A wake-up call from a cyber-expert: our use of technology is fueling disturbing levels of isolation, leaving us incapable of distinguishing between true human connection and digital communication  More Info

The Science of Evil

Basic Books (AZ) | September 4, 2012 | 272 pages
An award-winning British researcher with an extensive background in psychology and autism examines the lack of empathy common among a number of borderline personality disorders and discusses the social and environmental factors that can erode empathy and increase human cruelty.  More Info

The Haves and the Have-Nots

Basic Books (AZ) | August 7, 2012 | 258 pages
A leading economist at the World Bank's research division traces the history of financial inequality as reflected in famous stories, analyzing such examples as the monetary disparities between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and the assets of wealthy ancient Romans compared to today's super-rich.  More Info

Life's Ratchet

Basic Books (AZ) | October 30, 2012 | 288 pages
A physicist describes how life emerges from the random motion of atoms through sophisticated cellular machinery and describes the long quest to determine the true nature of life from ancient Greece to the study of modern nanotechnology. 20,000 first printing.  More Info