Basic Books
Basic Books

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Renowned publisher of serious nonfiction by leading intellectuals, scholars, and journalists.   


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Matthew Cobb’s LIFE GREATEST SECRET reviewed in Scientific American

After Catholic monk Gregor Mendel discovered the laws of inheritance—how traits are passed on from parents to offspring—in the 1860s, his work was ignored for 35 years. But in 1900 three scientists rediscovered Mendel's findings and popularized them, spawning what zoologist and science historian Cobb calls "the century of genetics."

Cesar Hidalgo’s WHY INFORMATION GROWS reviewed in the Economist

“The question seems basic, but economists have yet to find a comprehensive answer: why and how do economies grow? Additional capital and labour were long considered the main factors. Then the focus shifted to higher productivity and increased human capital, the knowledge embodied in members of society.”

LESSER BEASTS author Mark Essig contributes to NPR’s The Salt

"In 1849 an American farmer watched a sow give birth and was moved to record a diary entry: "Pigs! Pigs! Pork! Pork! Pork!" The writer's enthusiasm is understandable. Swine reproduce far more quickly than cows and sheep, thanks to brief gestation periods and large litters, and pork only improves when cured with salt and smoke. If your goal is to produce a great deal of meat and then store it at room temperature — crucial before refrigerators came along — the pig is the animal for you."


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