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Essential Knowledge from the MIT Press

Some of the MIT Press Bookstore's favorite titles from the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series—synthesizing specialized subject matter for nonspecialists and engaging critical topics through fundamentals, each of these compact volumes offers readers a point of access to complex ideas.

Auctions

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Timothy P. Hubbard & Harry J. Paarsch
Narrated by Sean Pratt /  5 hours 40 minutes

Although it is among the oldest of market institutions, the auction is ubiquitous in today's economy, used for everything from government procurement to selling advertising on the Internet to course assignment at MIT's Sloan School. And yet beyond the small number of economists who specialize in the subject, few people understand how auctions... Read More »

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Cloud Computing

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Nayan B. Ruparella
Narrated by Walter Dixon /  5 hours 21 minutes

Most of the information available on cloud computing is either highly technical, with details that are irrelevant to non-technologists, or pure marketing hype, in which the cloud is simply a selling point. This book, however, explains the cloud from the user's viewpoint -- the business user's in particular. Nayan Ruparelia explains what the... Read More »

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$32.18 USD

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Machine Learning

The New AI
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Ethem Alpaydi
Narrated by Steven Menasche /  4 hours 24 minutes

Today, machine learning underlies a range of applications we use every day, from product recommendations to voice recognition -- as well as some we don't yet use everyday, including driverless cars. It is the basis of the new approach in computing where we do not write programs but collect data; the idea is to learn the algorithms for the tasks... Read More »

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Robots

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By John M. Jordan
Narrated by Walter Dixon /  5 hours 11 minutes

Robots are entering the mainstream. Technologies have advanced to the point of mass commercialization -- Roomba, for example -- and adoption by governments -- most notably, their use of drones. Meanwhile, these devices are being received by a public whose main sources of information about robots are the fantasies of popular culture. We know a... Read More »

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Free Will

By Mark Balaguer
Narrated by Steven Menasche /  2 hours 53 minutes

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series In our daily life, it really seems as though we have free will, that what we do from moment to moment is... Read More »

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$22.98 USD

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The Conscious Mind

By Zoltan Torey
Narrated by Don Hagen /  3 hours 31 minutes

How did the human mind emerge from the collection of neurons that makes up the brain? How did the brain acquire self-awareness, functional autonomy, language, and the ability to think, to understand itself and the world? In this volume in the Essential Knowledge series, Zoltan Torey offers an accessible and concise description of the... Read More »

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Paradox

By Margaret Cuonzo
Narrated by Jo Anna Perrin /  5 hours 23 minutes

Thinkers have been fascinated by paradox since long before Aristotle grappled with Zeno's. In this volume in The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Margaret Cuonzo explores paradoxes and the strategies used to solve them. She finds that paradoxes are more than mere puzzles but can prompt new ways of thinking. A paradox can be defined as a set... Read More »

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Self-Tracking

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Gina Neff & Dawn Nafus
Narrated by Karen Saltus /  4 hours 36 minutes

People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. This audiobook examines... Read More »

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The Technological Singularity

By Murray Shanahan
Narrated by Tim Andres Pabon /  6 hours 14 minutes

The idea that human history is approaching a "singularity" -- that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both -- has moved from the realm of science fiction to serious debate. Some singularity theorists predict that if the field of artificial... Read More »

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Understanding Beliefs

By Nils J. Nilsson
Narrated by Don Hagen /  2 hours 46 minutes

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series Our beliefs constitute a large part of our knowledge of the world. We have beliefs about objects, about... Read More »

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Memes

In Digital Culture
By Limor Shifman
Narrated by Karen Saltus /  3 hours 47 minutes

In December 2012, the exuberant video "Gangnam Style" became the first YouTube clip to be viewed more than one billion times. Thousands of its viewers responded by creating and posting their own variations of the video--"Mitt Romney Style," "NASA Johnson Style," "Egyptian Style," and many others. "Gangnam Style" (and its attendant parodies,... Read More »

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Waves

By Fredric Raichlen
Narrated by Tim Andres Pabon /  4 hours 18 minutes

Sitting on the beach on a sunny summer day, we enjoy the steady advance and retreat of the waves. In the water, enthusiastic waders jump and shriek with pleasure when a wave hits them. But where do these waves come from? How are they formed and why do they break on the shore? In Waves, Fredric Raichlen traces the evolution of waves, from their... Read More »

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Sustainability

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Kent E. Portnoy
Narrated by Don Hagen /  4 hours 24 minutes

The word "sustainability" has been connected to everything from a certain kind of economic development to corporate promises about improved supply sourcing. But despite the apparent ubiquity of the term, the concept of sustainability has come to mean a number of specific things. In this accessible guide to the meanings of sustainability, Kent... Read More »

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Computing: A Concise History

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Paul E. Ceruzzi
Narrated by Tim Andres Pabon /  3 hours 56 minutes

The history of computing could be told as the story of hardware and software, or the story of the Internet, or the story of "smart" hand-held devices, with subplots involving IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. In this concise and accessible account of the invention and development of digital technology, computer historian Paul Ceruzzi... Read More »

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Neuroplasticity

(The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Moheb Costandi
Narrated by Tim Andres Pabon /  3 hours 14 minutes

Fifty years ago, neuroscientists thought that a mature brain was fixed like a fly in amber, unable to change. Today, we know that our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes. This concept of neuroplasticity has captured the imagination of a public eager for self-improvement -- and has inspired countless Internet entrepreneurs... Read More »

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The Mind-Body Problem

(The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Jonathan Westphal
Narrated by Sean Pratt /  4 hours 59 minutes

Philosophers from Descartes to Kripke have struggled with the glittering prize of modern and contemporary philosophy: the mind-body problem. The brain is physical. If the mind is physical, we cannot see how. If we cannot see how the mind is physical, we cannot see how it can interact with the body. And if the mind is not physical, it cannot... Read More »

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The Internet Things

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Samuel Greengard
Narrated by Derek Shetterly /  4 hours 18 minutes

We turn on the lights in our house from a desk in an office miles away. Our refrigerator alerts us to buy milk on the way home. A package of cookies on the supermarket shelf suggests that we buy it, based on past purchases. The cookies themselves are on the shelf because of a "smart" supply chain. When we get home, the thermostat has already... Read More »

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Metadata

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series
The MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Jeffrey Pomerantz
Narrated by Steven Menasche /  5 hours 8 minutes

When "metadata" became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured that the NSA was "only" collecting metadata about phone calls -- information about the caller, the... Read More »

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Machine Translation

MIT Press Essential Knowledge
By Thierry Poibeau
Narrated by James Anderson Foster /  5 hours 39 minutes

The dream of a universal translation device goes back many decades, long before Douglas Adams's fictional Babel fish provided this service in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since the advent of computers, research has focused on the design of digital machine translation tools—computer programs capable of automatically translating a text... Read More »

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Information and Society

By Michael Buckland
Narrated by Steven Jay Cohen /  3 hours 48 minutes

Using information in its everyday, nonspecialized sense, Michael Buckland explores the influence of information on what we know, the role of communication and recorded information in our daily lives, and the difficulty (or ease) of finding information. He shows that all this involves human perception, social behavior, changing technologies, and... Read More »

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