Jack Zipes

Wry political fairy tales from a nineteenth-century politician that speak to our current times

Édouard Laboulaye (1811–1883), one of nineteenth-century France’s most prominent politicians and an instrumental figure in establishing the Statue of Liberty, was also a prolific writer of fairy tales. Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men brings together sixteen of Laboulaye’s most artful stories in new translations. Filled with biting social commentary and strong notions of social justice, these rediscovered tales continue to impart lessons today. 

Inspired by folktales from such places as Estonia, Germany, Iceland, and Italy, Laboulaye’s deceptively entertaining stories explore the relationships between society and the ruling class. In “Briam the Fool,” the hero refuses the queen’s hand after he kills the king. In “Zerbino the Bumpkin,” the king and prime minister are idiots, while the king’s daughter runs away with a woodcutter to an enchanted island. And in the title story, “Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men,” a superficial prince is schooled by a middle-class woman who smacks him when he won’t engage in his lessons and follows him across Europe until he falls in love with her. In these worlds, shallow aristocrats come to value liberty, women are as assertive and intelligent as men, and protagonists experience compassion as they learn of human suffering. 

With an introduction by leading fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes that places Laboulaye’s writing in historical context, Smack-Bam, or The Art of Governing Men presents spirited tales from the past that speak to contemporary life.

Jack Zipes is the editor of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (both Princeton), as well as The Great Fairy Tale Tradition (Norton). He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

Jacob Shapiro

How a new understanding of warfare can help the military fight today’s conflicts more effectively

The way wars are fought has changed starkly over the past sixty years. International military campaigns used to play out between large armies at central fronts. Today’s conflicts find major powers facing rebel insurgencies that deploy elusive methods, from improvised explosives to terrorist attacks. Small Wars, Big Data presents a transformative understanding of these contemporary confrontations and how they should be fought. The authors show that a revolution in the study of conflict–enabled by vast data, rich qualitative evidence, and modern methods—yields new insights into terrorism, civil wars, and foreign interventions. Modern warfare is not about struggles over territory but over people; civilians—and the information they might choose to provide—can turn the tide at critical junctures.

The authors draw practical lessons from the past two decades of conflict in locations ranging from Latin America and the Middle East to Central and Southeast Asia. Building an information-centric understanding of insurgencies, the authors examine the relationships between rebels, the government, and civilians. This approach serves as a springboard for exploring other aspects of modern conflict, including the suppression of rebel activity, the role of mobile communications networks, the links between aid and violence, and why conventional military methods might provide short-term success but undermine lasting peace. Ultimately the authors show how the stronger side can almost always win the villages, but why that does not guarantee winning the war. 

Small Wars, Big Data provides groundbreaking perspectives for how small wars can be better strategized and favorably won to the benefit of the local population.

Eli Berman is chair of economics at the University of California, San Diego, and research director for international security studies at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Joseph H. Felter is a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. Jacob N. Shapirois professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. Felter and Shapiro codirect the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

Craig Clunas

What is Chinese painting? When did it begin? And what are the different associations of this term in China and the West? In Chinese Painting and Its Audiences, which is based on the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts given at the National Gallery of Art, leading art historian Craig Clunas draws from a wealth of artistic masterpieces and lesser-known pictures, some of them discussed here in English for the first time, to show how Chinese painting has been understood by a range of audiences over five centuries, from the Ming Dynasty to today. Richly illustrated, Chinese Painting and Its Audiences demonstrates that viewers in China and beyond have irrevocably shaped this great artistic tradition.

Arguing that audiences within China were crucially important to the evolution of Chinese painting, Clunas considers how Chinese artists have imagined the reception of their own work. By examining paintings that depict people looking at paintings, he introduces readers to ideal types of viewers: the scholar, the gentleman, the merchant, the nation, and the people. In discussing the changing audiences for Chinese art, Clunas emphasizes that the diversity and quantity of images in Chinese culture make it impossible to generalize definitively about what constitutes Chinese painting.

Exploring the complex relationships between works of art and those who look at them, Chinese Painting and Its Audiences sheds new light on how the concept of Chinese painting has been formed and reformed over hundreds of years.

Craig Clunas is Professor of the History of Art at the University of Oxford. His books include Screen of Kings: Royal Art and Power in Ming ChinaEmpire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China, and Art in China.

Michael Best

A groundbreaking study that shows how countries can create innovative, production-based economies for the twenty-first century

Achieving economic growth is one of today’s key challenges. In this groundbreaking book, Michael Best argues that to understand how successful growth happens we need an economic framework that focuses on production, governance, and skills.

This production-centric framework is the culmination of three simultaneous journeys. The first has been Best’s visits to hundreds of factories worldwide, starting early as the son of a labor organizer and continuing through his work as an academic and industrial consultant. The second is a survey of two hundred years of economic thought from Babbage to Krugman, with stops along the way for Marx, Marshall, Young, Penrose, Richardson, Schumpeter, Kuznets, Abramovitz, Keynes, and Jacobs. The third is a tour of historical episodes of successful and failed transformations, focusing sharply on three core elements—the production system, business organization, and skill formation—and their interconnections.

Best makes the case that government should create the institutional infrastructures needed to support these elements and their interconnections rather than subsidize individual enterprises. The power of Best’s alternative framework is illustrated by case studies of transformative experiences previously regarded as economic “miracles”: America’s World War II industrial buildup, Germany’s postwar recovery, Greater Boston’s innovation system, Ireland’s tech-sector boom, and the rise of the Asian Tigers and China.

Accessible and engaging, How Growth Really Happens is required reading for anyone who wants to advance today’s crucial debates about industrial policy, free trade, outsourcing, and the future of work.

Michael H. Best is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, where he was codirector of the Center for Industrial Competitiveness. He has held numerous academic fellowships and participated in development projects with the United Nations, the World Bank, and governments in more than twenty countries. He is the author of The New Competition: Institutions of Industrial Restructuring and The New Competitive Advantage: The Renewal of American Industry.

Glen Weyl

Revolutionary ideas on how to use markets to bring about fairness and prosperity for all

Many blame today’s economic inequality, stagnation, and political instability on the free market. The solution is to rein in the market, right? Radical Markets turns this thinking—and pretty much all conventional thinking about markets, both for and against—on its head. The book reveals bold new ways to organize markets for the good of everyone. It shows how the emancipatory force of genuinely open, free, and competitive markets can reawaken the dormant nineteenth-century spirit of liberal reform and lead to greater equality, prosperity, and cooperation.

Eric Posner and Glen Weyl demonstrate why private property is inherently monopolistic, and how we would all be better off if private ownership were converted into a public auction for public benefit. They show how the principle of one person, one vote inhibits democracy, suggesting instead an ingenious way for voters to effectively influence the issues that matter most to them. They argue that every citizen of a host country should benefit from immigration—not just migrants and their capitalist employers. They propose leveraging antitrust laws to liberate markets from the grip of institutional investors and creating a data labor movement to force digital monopolies to compensate people for their electronic data.

Only by radically expanding the scope of markets can we reduce inequality, restore robust economic growth, and resolve political conflicts. But to do that, we must replace our most sacred institutions with truly free and open competition—Radical Markets shows how.

Eric A. Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. His many books include The Twilight of Human Rights Law and Climate Change Justice (Princeton). He lives in Chicago. E. Glen Weyl is principal researcher at Microsoft and visiting senior research scholar in economics and law at Yale University. He lives in Boston.

Katrina van Grouw

There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn’t mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the musculature of a porpoising penguin, and an unfeathered sparrowhawk plucking its prey. Jargon-free and easily accessible to any reader, the lively text relates birds’ anatomy to their lifestyle and evolution, examining such questions as why penguins are bigger than auks, whether harrier hawks really have double-jointed legs, and the difference between wing claws and wing spurs. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art.

    • A unique book that bridges art, science, and history
    • Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book
    • Accessible, jargon-free text–the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader
    • Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens
    • Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups
    • Many species never illustrated before

Katrina van Grouw is a former curator of the ornithological collections at London’s Natural History Museum, a taxidermist, an experienced bird bander, a successful fine artist, and a graduate of the Royal College of Art. She is the author of Birds, a historical retrospective of bird art, published under her maiden name Katrina Cook. The creation of The Unfeathered Bird has been her lifetime’s ambition.

Hugo Drochon

Nietzsche’s impact on the world of culture, philosophy, and the arts is uncontested, but his political thought remains mired in controversy. By placing Nietzsche back in his late-nineteenth-century German context, Nietzsche’s Great Politics moves away from the disputes surrounding Nietzsche’s appropriation by the Nazis and challenges the use of the philosopher in postmodern democratic thought. Rather than starting with contemporary democratic theory or continental philosophy, Hugo Drochon argues that Nietzsche’s political ideas must first be understood in light of Bismarck’s policies, in particular his “Great Politics,” which transformed the international politics of the late nineteenth century.

Nietzsche’s Great Politics shows how Nietzsche made Bismarck’s notion his own, enabling him to offer a vision of a unified European political order that was to serve as a counterbalance to both Britain and Russia. This order was to be led by a “good European” cultural elite whose goal would be to encourage the rebirth of Greek high culture. In relocating Nietzsche’s politics to their own time, the book offers not only a novel reading of the philosopher but also a more accurate picture of why his political thought remains so relevant today.

Hugo Drochon is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century political thought and a postdoctoral research fellow at CRASSH, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, at the University of Cambridge.

David Hu

Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us

Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.

Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature’s unexpected feats—such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.

Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.

David L. Hu is associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology and adjunct professor of physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.

Jacob Shapiro

How a new understanding of warfare can help the military fight today’s conflicts more effectively

The way wars are fought has changed starkly over the past sixty years. International military campaigns used to play out between large armies at central fronts. Today’s conflicts find major powers facing rebel insurgencies that deploy elusive methods, from improvised explosives to terrorist attacks. Small Wars, Big Data presents a transformative understanding of these contemporary confrontations and how they should be fought. The authors show that a revolution in the study of conflict–enabled by vast data, rich qualitative evidence, and modern methods—yields new insights into terrorism, civil wars, and foreign interventions. Modern warfare is not about struggles over territory but over people; civilians—and the information they might choose to provide—can turn the tide at critical junctures.

The authors draw practical lessons from the past two decades of conflict in locations ranging from Latin America and the Middle East to Central and Southeast Asia. Building an information-centric understanding of insurgencies, the authors examine the relationships between rebels, the government, and civilians. This approach serves as a springboard for exploring other aspects of modern conflict, including the suppression of rebel activity, the role of mobile communications networks, the links between aid and violence, and why conventional military methods might provide short-term success but undermine lasting peace. Ultimately the authors show how the stronger side can almost always win the villages, but why that does not guarantee winning the war. 

Small Wars, Big Data provides groundbreaking perspectives for how small wars can be better strategized and favorably won to the benefit of the local population.

Eli Berman is chair of economics at the University of California, San Diego, and research director for international security studies at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Joseph H. Felter is a senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. Jacob N. Shapirois professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. Felter and Shapiro codirect the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

David Hu

Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us

Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.

Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature’s unexpected feats—such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.

Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.

David L. Hu is associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology and adjunct professor of physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.

Edward Burger

How you can become better at solving real-world problems by learning creative puzzle-solving skills

We solve countless problems—big and small—every day. With so much practice, why do we often have trouble making simple decisions—much less arriving at optimal solutions to important questions? Are we doomed to this muddle—or is there a practical way to learn to think more effectively and creatively? In this enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring book, Edward Burger shows how we can become far better at solving real-world problems by learning creative puzzle-solving skills using simple, effective thinking techniques.

Making Up Your Own Mind teaches these techniques—including how to ask good questions, fail and try again, and change your mind—and then helps you practice them with fun verbal and visual puzzles. The goal is not to quickly solve each challenge but to come up with as many different ways of thinking about it as possible. As you see the puzzles in ever-greater depth, your mind will change, helping you become a more imaginative and creative thinker in daily life. And learning how to be a better thinker pays off in incalculable ways for anyone—including students, businesspeople, professionals, athletes, artists, leaders, and lifelong learners.

A book about changing your mind and creating an even better version of yourself through mental play, Making Up Your Own Mind will delight and reward anyone who wants to learn how to find better solutions to life’s innumerable puzzles.

And the puzzles extend to the thought-provoking format of the book itself because one of the later short chapters is printed upside down while another is printed in mirror image, further challenging the reader to see the world through different perspectives and make new meaning.

Edward B. Burger is the president of Southwestern University, a mathematics professor, and a leading teacher on thinking, innovation, and creativity. He has written more than seventy research articles, video series, and books, including The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking (with Michael Starbird) (Princeton), and has delivered hundreds of addresses worldwide. He lives in Georgetown, Texas.

David Hu

Discovering the secrets of animal movement and what they can teach us

Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.

Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature’s unexpected feats—such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.

Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.

David L. Hu is associate professor of mechanical engineering and biology and adjunct professor of physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. He lives in Atlanta.