Six Science Books to Expand Your Mind in 2018

Get smarter and get cozy.

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It’s a new year, so what’s the point of just sticking with the old stuff you know? Winter is the best excuse you have for locking yourself away from the outside world, with its flu and its bitcoin, and settling in with a good old-fashioned book.

What is decidedly not old-fashioned about the science books we at Inverse think you should be thumbing through into this winter are the subjects into which they boldly dive. Terraforming Mars, electric brain stimulation, and ancient DNA analysis are just a few of the subjects explored in our list of soon to be released science books. The overarching message of this collection is that, if anything, this world is a fascinating place — and these authors are ready to catch you up to speed.

The cover of the book "Phenomena."

Hatchette Group Book

Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis

New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen’s new book dips into the real news stories that inspired shows like Stranger Things and Wormwood. She incorporates interviews with people ranging from Defense Department scientists to astronauts to explain how and the U.S. government fueled secret programs exploring ESP, clairvoyance, and mental telepathy as tools for intelligence collection. Both fascinating and bizarrely amusing, she explores the millions spent in the name of science on topics that would have a hard time passing the review process of a scientific journal. Paperback release in January. [Phenomena on Amazon]

The cover of Steven Pinker's new book.

Penguin Random House

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Cognitive psychologist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Steven Pinker is known for his musings on human nature and his understanding of how human language is shaped by evolutionary psychology. In his upcoming book, Enlightenment Now, Pinker makes the case that in order for humanity to thrive, reason and science must flourish — and reminds us that all isn’t quite lost yet. Pinker weaves in data demonstrating that happiness, health, and safety are on the rise, and explains the forces that are driving our best protections against fatalism. February release. [Enlightenment Now on Amazon]

The cover of Kathryn Harkup's new book.

Bloomsbury Sigma

Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

The tale of Dr. Frankstein’s monster gets the how would this go down in real life treatment in Kathryn Harkup’s delightfully macabre new book Making the Monster. Harkup gives readers the backstory on the doctors that lived during Mary Shelley’s time, who sensationalized audiences with live medical demonstrations and experiments. And while, sure, even living scientists can’t exactly create a Frankenstein’s monster yet, much of time spent exploring medical concepts in the 19th century is what led to the achievements of modern medicine today. Harkup explains how that past informed both the novel and our future, and entertains readers along the way. February release. [Making the Monster on Amazon]

The cover of Michio Kaku's new book.

Penguin Random House

The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth

Theoretical physicist and co-founder of string field theory Michio Kaku thinks the inevitable future of mankind is getting the hell away from this planet. That means we’ll have to survive and build habitable homes in the inhospitable world of outer space, which isn’t going to be a walk in an asteroid field. Luckily for us, Kaku explores what he thinks it will take for that journey to be a success in his book — even though we can’t help but hope we won’t need to put these ideas into practice until the distant future. February release. [The Future of Humanity on Amazon]

Pan Macmillian is publishing "The Genius Within."

Pan Macmillan

The Genius Within: Smart Pills, Brain Hacks, and Adventures in Intelligence

Being smart is nice, but what if you could get smarter without the messiness of knowledge-gaining or actual intelligence? David Adam, the author of the popular The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, gets into that question and the world of cognitive enhancement in The Genius Within. Adam brings audiences into a wide scope of spaces — labs, autopsy clubs, MENSA classrooms — all united by the questionably ethical goal of neuroenhancement. February release. [The Genius Within on Amazon]

The cover of David Reich's new book.

Penguin Random House

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

Technological advances are rapidly increasing our understanding of ancient humans, which in turn treats us to some insight into how we came to be. Harvard geneticist David Reich argues that the “Genomic Revolution” underway is especially revolutionary because it deconstructs the idea that we’re all biologically the same. Our genomic differences, he explains, underly our history as a species, and to recognize this is to register what it means to be a human. March release. [Who We Are and How We Got Here on Amazon]

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