Firefly Fact Friday – How you get the girl

“[F]emale Photinus [fireflies] are quite picky. Even the most ardent suitor is rarely favored with a reply: Photinus females typically answer fewer than half of the male courtship flashes they see on a given night. When a female likes a particular suitor, she’ll show this by responding more reliably to his flashes. And whichever male can elicit the highest rate of female responses is usually the one who gets the girl.” p. 41

Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies
Sara Lewis

LewisFor centuries, the beauty of fireflies has evoked wonder and delight. Yet for most of us, fireflies remain shrouded in mystery: How do fireflies make their light? What are they saying with their flashing? And what do fireflies look for in a mate? In Silent Sparks, noted biologist and firefly expert Sara Lewis dives into the fascinating world of fireflies and reveals the most up-to-date discoveries about these beloved insects. From the meadows of New England and the hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, to the rivers of Japan and mangrove forests of Malaysia, this beautifully illustrated and accessible book uncovers the remarkable, dramatic stories of birth, courtship, romance, sex, deceit, poison, and death among fireflies.

The nearly two thousand species of fireflies worldwide have evolved in different ways—and while most mate through the aerial language of blinking lights, not all do. Lewis introduces us to fireflies that don’t light up at all, relying on wind-borne perfumes to find mates, and we encounter glow-worm fireflies, whose plump, wingless females never fly. We go behind the scenes to meet inquisitive scientists who have dedicated their lives to understanding fireflies, and we learn about various modern threats including light pollution and habitat destruction. In the last section of the book, Lewis provides a field guide for North American fireflies, enabling us to identify them in our own backyards and neighborhoods. This concise, handy guide includes distinguishing features, habits, and range maps for the most commonly encountered fireflies, as well as a gear list.

A passionate exploration of one of the world’s most charismatic and admired insects, Silent Sparks will inspire us to reconnect with the natural world.

For more information, visit Sara Lewis’s website! To check out some cool firefly videos, find her on Vimeo

Win a copy of Alan Turing: The Enigma, The Book That Inspired the Film The Imitation Game and tickets to see the movie

Hodges_AlanTuring movie tie inOn November 21, The Imitation Game will open in limited release. In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. The film is inspired by the award-winning biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

To celebrate the release of the film, Princeton University Press is pleased to announce the publication of a new edition of the book with a movie still cover and new material from the author that brings the story current through Turing’s pardon by the Queen. Enter our giveaway below to win a copy of the new edition of the book AND a $25.00 Fandango gift certificate.

This giveaway will run from November 11 through November 24 and is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, aged 18 and older. No purchase is necessary. If you prefer to enter via email, please send a note to Please see complete terms and conditions below.

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Aristotle Goes Digital

Praise for the previous edition:

“A splendid achievement.”–Times Higher Education Supplement

“This new edition makes a landmark of scholarship available in a very usable form.”–Library Journal

If Aristotle is quoted as saying that a “friend” is a single soul dwelling in two bodies, then what is “brilliant”? How about two complete volumes of Aristotle’s work dwelling in one digital edition.

Princeton University Press is excited to bring you a digital edition of The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, which combines both print volumes of Aristotle’s complete works for the first time. This digital edition’s 2,510 pages contain:

  • the substance of the original translation, slightly emended in light of recent scholarship
  • new translations replacing three of the original versions
  • a new and enlarged selection of fragments

The Oxford Translation of Aristotle was originally published in twelve volumes between 1912 and 1954. The original two volumes of The Complete Works of Aristotle are universally recognized as the standard English version. The aim of the translation remains the same: to make the surviving works of Aristotle readily accessible to English-speaking readers.

Check out The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, One-Volume Digital Edition for yourself through these online vendors.

Princeton University Press’s best-selling books for the past week

These are the best-selling books for the past week.

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline
shtetl The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern
Liberalism: The Life of an Idea by Edmund Fawcett
Fernandez_Everyday cover Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us by Oscar E. Fernandez
Carlson_Tesla jacket Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson
OnBullshit On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt
The Five Elements of Effective Thinking The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird
I Ching The I Ching or Book of Changes, edited by Hellmut Wilhelm, translated by Cary F. Baynes
The Soul of the World by Roger Scruton


Princeton University Press’s Best-selling books for the past week

These are the best-selling books for the past week.

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline
Turner_Philology Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities by James Turner
Blind Spots Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do about It by Max H. Bazerman and Ann E. Tenbrunsel
Carlson_Tesla jacket Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson
Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better by Peter H. Schuck
Fernandez_Everyday cover
Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us by Oscar E. Fernandez
OnBullshit On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt
I Ching The I Ching or Book of Changes by Hellmut Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes
bumblebeesofnorthamerica Bumblebees of North America: An Identification Guide by Paul H. Williams, Robbin W. Thorp, Leif L. Richardson, and Sheila R. Colla
Osterhammel_Transformation The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century by Jürgen Osterhammel (trans. Patrick Camiller)


The selfie-conscious: ‘Mirror Mirror’ queries our eternal preoccupation with our ‘selves’

Blackburn jacketFor those among us active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instragram or Twitter, it is hard to miss the viral trend that has succeeded ‘Movember’ and the ‘NekNomination’; the ‘#NoMakeupSelfie’. Created to raise awareness and encourage donations to breast cancer research, the craze invites girls and women to take a ‘selfie’ (Oxford English Dictionary: ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website’) wearing no make-up, and then to nominate friends to do the same. The internet and media have exploded with responses that both condemn and condone the purportedly philanthropic trend, with Yomi Adegoke of The Independent describing it as ‘narcissism masked as charity’. But now that the phenomenon of the ‘selfie’ has been teamed up with charitable giving – generally deemed to be ‘self-less’ – this craze has now entered into the debate surrounding ‘selfie-mania’ and ‘self-love’ that Simon Blackburn explores in Mirror Mirror: The Uses and Abuses of Self-Love.

Blackburn examines this modern phenomenon in conjunction with the classical origins of a consideration of the self, such as ‘Know thy self’, a trope that was advocated by Apollo’s oracle at Delphi. However, ‘Mirror Mirror’ reminds us that Narcissus was warned against this advice by what Blackburn describes as ‘the highly reliable’, ‘blind seer Tiresius’, and he goes on to explore this contradiction and the subsequent dispute between ignorance and knowledge of the self. Blackburn underpins these modern and classical references with a discussion of philosophy, psychology, and morality, reflected in his chapter titles: ‘Temptation’, ‘Hubris’, and ‘Respect’. Mirror Mirror skilfully moves through a multi-faceted examination of what it means to be and to document our ‘selves’, and why we have been, and continue to be, so obsessed with them.

By Hannah Lucas, Princeton University Press Europe intern, March 2014


PUP News of the World


Welcome to the next edition of our brand new series, PUP News of the World! Every week we will be posting a round-up of all of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles–this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!


As we near the end of 2013–where did the year go?–we’ve entered the season of “Best of” lists. Princeton University Press is excited to highlight just some of the most recent titles that have been featured as the best of the past year.

Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig start it off as THE BANKERS’ NEW CLOTHES is included in The WSJ Best Nonfiction of 2013″ roundup. What separates this title from the pack? “In a year of important books about the recent economic crisis, the most important one told us simply how to stop the next one,” says the WSJ. Interested in learning more? Check out chapter one.

Mike Tyson, whose new book was released earlier this fall, pointed to a PUP book as one of his favorites of 2013. THE QUOTABLE KIERKEGAARD, edited by Gordon Marino, is a “collection of awesome quotes from that great Danish philosopher,” Tyson says.

The English translation of THE PLUM IN THE GOLDEN VASE was finally completed when PUP released the fifth volume this fall. Tash Aw names David Tod Roy’s translation as one of his favorites of the year, saying that this last volume “completes the joyous rediscovery of a genuine masterpiece.” See the full entries for both Tyson and Aw here in the Wall Street Journal‘s “12 Months of Reading” article.

For the scientists in the bunch, EINSTEIN AND THE QUANTUM is another 2013 favorite. Science Friday’s Ira Flatow named the book as one of his favorites, and Jennifer Oullette picked it for her list on Cocktail Party Physics. Have that “Einstein curiosity” about this title? Hear more from author A. Douglas Stone on this Physics Central Podcast.

Maria Popova of Brain Pickings selects ITALO CALVINO: Letters as one of her “Best Books on Writing and Creativity 2013.” Popova called the book “an absolute treasure trove in its entirety — the most profound intersection of writing, philosophy, and literary voyeurism since Susan Sontag’s journals and the diary of Anaïs Nin.” PUP is releasing a paperback edition this spring.

To round out our bunch–or should we say batch–we turn to the beloved cookbook by Merry White, which was re-released in a 40th Anniversary Edition this fall. COOKING FOR CROWDS is named one of the Atlantic‘s “Best Food Books of 2013.” Illustrated by the New Yorker‘s Ed Koren, this charming book offers simple, step-by-step instructions for easy cooking and entertaining on a grand scale–from hors d’oeuvres to desserts. Corby Kummer says:

“Not just enormously charming but useful, full of sturdy recipes that can still seem mildly exotic no matter how much we flatter ourselves at the sophistication of our palates….This is more, that is, than an artifact of Brooklyn avant la lettre. It’s full of practical dishes and tricks you’ll call your own, like tossing fresh-roasted almonds in maple syrup to serve on ice cream.”

World News 12-18


Gurcharan Das discusses the state of India and the issues highlighted in AN UNCERTAIN GLORY in his recent Wall Street Journal review. Listen to this interview with Amartya Sen, who co-authored the book with Jean Dréze.

You can also hear an interview with Francisco Bethencourt, the author of RACISMS, as he spoke to The Forum this week. RACISMS is the first comprehensive history of racism, from the Crusades to the twentieth century.

Did you hear all of the buzz about US President Barack Obama’s selfie? PUP author Simon Blackburn says it could have been worse. Check out his explanation in the Financial Times. His book, MIRROR, MIRROR, will be released this spring.


Princeton Authors Receive 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics


Lars Peter Hansen
University of Chicago
Robert J. Shiller

Yale University

Congratulations to Professors Lars Peter Hansen of the University of Chicago and Robert J. Shiller of Yale University on winning, along with economist Eugene F. Fama, the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics, announced yesterday.

Lars Hansen is co-author with fellow Nobel laureate Thomas Sargent of the 2007 book, Robustness, and also with Professor Sargent of Recursive Models of Dynamic Linear Economies, forthcoming this December.

Commenting on Robustness David Kreps noted, “Hansen and Sargent were among the cadre of macroeconomists who challenged conventional (Keynesian) wisdom, and they are at it again, in a book that sparkles with ideas and analysis of fundamental problems in dynamic macroeconomics. The specific results reported here are, of course, interesting but this book is so much more: for young and ambitious economic theorists, this book is like the California gold fields in 1848.”

Robert Shiller is author of several PUP books, the first being his 2000 classic, Irrational Exuberance, followed in 2003 by The New Financial Order, in 2008 by The Subprime Solution, in 2009 by Animal Spirits, co-written with fellow Nobelist George Akerlof, and most recently, in 2012 by Finance and the Good Society.

Robert Shiller’s  Irrational Exuberance, which presaged the bursting of the stock market bubble in spring 2000, was the first original hardback Princeton University Press book to make the New York Times Bestseller List.  A global success, Irrational Exuberance was published in 17 translated editions around the world.  Timely as the first edition of Irrational Exuberance was, its second edition, published in the spring of 2005, was equally prescient in warning the world of the overheating of the housing bubble.  Housing and the mortgage finance debacle was the subject of Shiller’s 2008 book, The Subprime Solution.

Much as Shiller’s market analysis is represented in books such as Irrational Exuberance and The Subprime Solution, his imagination as a policy architect is on full display in his 2003 book, The New Financial Order, in which he explores how financial institutions can be engineered for the purpose of covering the biggest social risks, from homes through cities through careers and livelihoods.  In his 2012 book, Finance and the Good Society, Shiller provides the next generation of finance professionals with a tutorial on the challenges facing the investment community in the coming years framed in the context of technologically driven financial capitalism.

Finally, Shiller along with co-author economist George Akerlof, enlarges the foundations of the field of behavioral economics in the 2009 book, Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism.

Commenting on Shiller’s great work, Irrational Exuberance, Paul Krugman noted that, “Robert Shiller has done more than any economist of his generation to document the less rational aspects of financial markets.”


September Book Giveaways

Looking for your next read? Princeton University Press is participating in several book giveaways this month. See the details below for a chance to win something new for your bookshelf!

Calaprice_QuotableEinstein_cvr.inddThe Ultimate Quotable Einstein
Alice Calaprice

The Ultimate Quotable Einstein features roughly 1,600 quotes in all. This paperback edition includes sections unique to the ultimate collection—”On and to Children,” “On Race and Prejudice,” and “Einstein’s Verses: A Small Selection”—as well as a chronology of Einstein’s life and accomplishments, Freeman Dyson’s authoritative foreword, and commentary and descriptive source notes by Alice Calaprice.

Enter here.

What W.H. Auden Can Do for YouMcCallSmith_Auden
Alexander McCall Smith

When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie—Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith—often refers to the great twentieth-century poet W. H. Auden. This is no accident: McCall Smith has long been fascinated by Auden. Indeed, the novelist, best known for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, calls the poet not only the greatest literary discovery of his life but also the best of guides on how to live. In this book, McCall Smith has written a charming personal account about what Auden has done for him—and what he just might do for you.

Enter here.

Stephenson_WarblerGBirding Package

Includes one of each of the following:

The Warbler Guide
The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors
How to Be a Better Birder
–Zeiss TERRA binoculars
–audio companion to The Warbler Guide

Enter here.

The Book of Common Prayer: A BiographyJacobs_BkCommonPrayer
Alan Jacobs

Jacobs shows how The Book of Common Prayer—from its beginnings as a means of social and political control in the England of Henry VIII to its worldwide presence today—became a venerable work whose cadences express the heart of religious life for many.

Enter here.

Larrimore_BkJobThe Book of Job: A Biography
Mark Larrimore

The book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible’s most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job’s trials and his challenge to God have been used and understood in diverse contexts, from commentary and liturgy to philosophy and art.

Enter here.

Junkies and Kingpins: Illegal drug use in America

A new chapter in the “war on drugs” was opened Monday as Attorney General Eric Holder announced shifts in policies regarding drug-related arrests. While speaking to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, he argued that there is a need to “examine new law enforcement strategies” in America, especially those related to drug crimes. Under Attorney General Holder’s new plan, fewer drug-related arrests will lead to prison time, and other disciplinary or treatment methods will be employed. Specifically, “certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.” The New York Times reports on the new Justice Department policies.

These changes will certainly refocus attention on the debate about punishment for the use of illegal drugs, a conversation that dates back to Ronald Reagan’s declaration of a “war on drugs” in the early 1980s. Although the “war” has been fought for more than three decades, how to wage the battle is still a question debated in many American cities. This shift in policy will likely affect those living in areas where the drug trade leads to daily arrests. One of such areas is Baltimore’s Eastern District, where Princeton University Press author Peter Moskos served as a police officer.

Moskos is a Harvard-trained sociologist who left the classroom to serve as a policeman in the Eastern District and study police socialization. In his book, Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District, Moskos recounts how he was thrust deep into police culture and the ways of the street–the nerve-rattling patrols, the thriving drug corners, and a world of poverty and violence that outsiders never see.

However, not all residents from this area are entangled in the drug game, and those that are range from relatively cooperative junkies to violent and illusive kingpins. Moskos writes:

Families try to make it against the odds. Old women sweep the streets. People rise before dawn to go to work. On Sundays, ladies go to church wearing beautiful hats and preachers preach to the choir. But if you’re looking for stereo types, they’re there. Between the vacant and abandoned buildings you’ll find liquor stores, fast food, Korean corner stores, and a Jewish pawnshop. Living conditions are worse than those of third- world shantytowns: children in filthy apartments without plumbing or electricity, entire homes put out on eviction day, forty-five-year-old great-grandparents, junkies not raising their kids, drug dealers, and everywhere signs of violence and despair.

Source, Cop in the Hood, Page 16.

Through Moskos’s eyes, we see police academy graduates unprepared for the realities of the street, success measured by number of arrests, and the ultimate failure of the war on drugs. In addition to telling an explosive insider’s story of what it is really like to be a police officer, he makes a passionate argument for drug legalization as the only realistic way to end drug violence–and let cops once again protect and serve. In a new afterword, Moskos describes the many benefits of foot patrol–or, as he calls it, “policing green.” As officials continue to work to combat illegal drug use and its effects, Peter Moskos’ book offers an insider look at the role of the police force in the future of this effort.

Check out chapter one of Cop in the Hood for a look at Moskos’ story.

You can also read the Attorney General’s speech from Monday, August 12, in its entirety here.



Throwback Thursday with Isaiah Berlin: The Roots of Romanticism

The Roots of Romanticism was first published by Princeton in 1998. The new edition will be available this month! The Roots of Romanticism is a series of Berlin’s famed Mellon lectures that were originally delivered in Washington in 1965 and broadcasted by the BBC. Take a look at the covers for the 1998 edition and the 2013 edition!

4-1 roots BOTH

“For Berlin, the Romantics set in motion a vast, unparalleled revolution in humanity’s view of itself. They destroyed the traditional notions of objective truth and validity in ethics with incalculable, all-pervasive results. As he said of the Romantics elsewhere: “The world has never been the same since, and our politics and morals have been deeply transformed by them. Certainly this has been the most radical, and indeed dramatic, not to say terrifying, change in men’s outlook in modern times.”

In these brilliant lectures Berlin surveys the myriad attempts to define Romanticism, distills its essence, traces its developments from its first stirrings to its apotheosis, and shows how its lasting legacy permeates our own outlook. Combining the freshness and immediacy of the spoken word with Berlin’s inimitable eloquence and wit, the lectures range over a cast of the greatest thinkers and artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Kant, Rousseau, Diderot, Schiller, Schlegel, Novalis, Goethe, Blake, Byron, and Beethoven. Berlin argues that the ideas and attitudes held by these and other figures helped to shape twentieth-century nationalism, existentialism, democracy, totalitarianism, and our ideas about heroic individuals, individual self-fulfillment, and the exalted place of art.”

You can listen to an excerpt from Berlin’s first lecture of the series here.

Announcing the 3rd Annual Princeton in Europe Lecture – Sunetra Gupta: Pandemics: Are We All Doomed?

Gupta_Pandemics poster - April 2013.inddAll are invited to attend the 3rd annual Princeton in Europe lecture, “Pandemics: Are We All Doomed?” given by Sunetra Gupta, Professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford.

The lecture will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at The St Pancras Room, Kings Place.* Drinks and canapés will be served from 6:30 p.m. The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m.

*Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9AG