"The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press, April 2016)
A New York Times national bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, The Genius of Birds has been published in 18 languages. It was a finalist for the 2017 National Academies Communication Book Award and was long-listed for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. The book was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2016 by the Wall Street Journal, a "best book of the year" by The Spectator, a "nature book of the year" by the London Sunday Times, and a "best science book of 2016" by the National Public Radio program Science Friday. Read more
The beautiful illustration of the scrub jay on the cover of the book jacket was painted by Eunike Nugroho. Read more here.
"A gloriously provocative and highly entertaining book" -- The Wall Street Journal (read more)
"A lovely, celebratory survey...elevated by Ackerman's prose" -- The New York Times (read more)
"Ackerman writes with a light but assured touch, her prose rich in fact but economical in delivering it. Fans of birds in all their diversity will want to read this one." Kirkus Review, February 2016
"Richly researched... The Genius of Birds provides engrossing evidence that will have readers looking at birds in a completely new way." --The Daily Progress
"A lyrical testimony to the wonders of avian intelligence." --Scientific American
"Ackerman is a pro at parsing scientific concepts in an accessible style, and her lyrical writing underscores her appreciation for the beauty and adaptability of birds." --BookPage
"Ackerman not only tells the story of the recently uncovered genius of birds but also delves deeply into the latest findings about the bird brain itself that are revolutionizing our view of what it means to be intelligent." Library Journal, February 11, 2016
If you were to divide the animal world into the smart and the not-so-smart, you might put birds squarely in the ‘dim bulb’ category. For decades, people have written off birds as largely witless, driven solely by instinct, and their brains as primitive, capable of only the simplest mental processes. But it is not so. In recent years, science has discovered a remarkable thing: Birds are much, much more intelligent than we ever supposed, capable of sophisticated problem-solving, remembering the past and thinking about the future, learning by example, recognizing faces, even conversing in a meaningful way—all with a packet of brain so tiny it would fit inside a walnut. This book explores the new view of birds as cunning, playful, clever, artistic, deceptive, and socially and technically adept. It is packed with interesting new science that will appeal to a broad range of readers, including sophisticated bird lovers, nature enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the brain or animal behavior. Read more...
For a podcast on The Genius of Birds, created at the Aspen Ideas Festival in June 2018 by Flora Lichtman of "Every Little Thing", click here.
Listen to NPR interview April 12, 2016 with "On Point".
Read excerpt in Smithsonian.com
Read Q & A with Scientific American Mind.
Read interview with Audubon.
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)
Taking us through a typical day, from the arousal of the senses to hunger, fatigue, stress, sex, the reverie of sleep and dreams, this book explores the new science of what happens in the body. At once entertaining and deeply practical, it reveals the body as we’ve never seen it: busy, cunning, miraculous.
“An enthusiastic tour through 24 hours in the life of a typical human body. . . .[an] illuminating and hospitable book.” —New York Times Book Review
“A readable and remarkably comprehensive tour of all that is new and intriguing in the study of human physiology.” — Abigail Zuger, MD, The New York Times “Science Times “
"An engaging, eloquent, and accessible book." — New Scientist
Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold (Twelve, 2010)
To see the Ah-Choo! video, click here.
On average, we spend five years of our lives suffering from colds. Some are like mice, timid and annoying; others like dragons, accompanied by body aches and deep misery. Ah-Choo! explains just what a cold is, how it works, and whether it’s really possible to “fight one off.”
“A thoroughly delightful compendium of facts, fiction, and down-to-earth advice… Ackerman parses the variety and durability of the cold, its well known miseries, paradoxes, and myriad mysteries with the thoroughness of a scientist, the doggedness of a journalist, and the verve of a thriller writer.” Publishers Weekly
“People looking for gross-your-guests-out cocktail conversation are in the right place.”
—The New York Post
(Houghton Mifflin, 2001)
A startling new message has emerged lately about the human body. Scientists probing the deep workings of living organisms have discovered that we are all run by surprisingly similar bits of biology, genes and proteins that have been passed along in evolution nearly intact for hundreds of million of years. This book, part personal memoir, part cutting-edge science, offers an encompassing vision of the impact of this shared biology on our everyday lives.
"Fascinating…tying together the famous and the forgotten, the microscopic and the vast." — New York Times Book Review
"A poetic view of heredity... a grand literary experiment.” — Science
“A beautiful story of the natural world that will inspire and educate.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Birds by the Shore (Penguin Books, 2019)
An exploration of the natural life of the mid-Atlantic coast—the sort of blue-water, white-sand landscape people love—this book takes the reader on a journey to the ocean’s edge, to view the habits of shorebirds, the movement of sand and tides, the wealth of creatures that survive amid storm and surf.
“The alchemy of art with solid science” –Edward Hoagland
“Arresting and provocative, a joy to read” –The Washington Post
“Serene and loving, Ackerman’s deeply personal take on the world around her constitutes nature writing at its best.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer.