MIT Press

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The MIT Press is the only university press in the United States whose list is based in science and technology. This does not mean that science and engineering are all we publish, but it does mean that we are committed to the edges and frontiers of the world—to exploring new fields and new modes of inquiry. (For a time we described our publishing program as chasing "The Moving Frontier," but we've moved beyond even that.) We publish about 200 new books a year and over 30 journals. We are a major publishing presence in fields as diverse as architecture, social theory, economics, cognitive science, and computational science, and we have a long-term commitment to both design excellence and the efficient and creative use of new technologies. Our goal is to create books and journals that are challenging, creative, attractive, and yet affordable to individual readers.

Our history starts in 1926 when the physicist Max Born visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to deliver a set of lectures on Problems of Atomic Dynamics. The Institute published the lectures under its own imprint, and that book is numbered 1 in the archives of The MIT Press. In 1932, James R. Killian, Jr.—editor of the Institute's alumni magazine and future scientific adviser to President Kennedy and tenth president of MIT—engineered the creation of an Institute-sponsored imprint called Technology Press, which published eight titles over the next five years. In 1937, John Wiley & Sons took on editorial and marketing functions for the young imprint, which during the next 25 years published 125 titles. In 1962, MIT amicably severed the Wiley connection and upgraded its imprint to an independent publishing house, naming it The MIT Press. One of the independent Press's first new employees was graphic innovator Muriel Cooper, who designed our distinctive logo and set the course for the design innovations that have been a hallmark of the Press's work to the present day. A Journals division was added in 1968, and a European marketing office was opened in 1969. (Today we sell a higher proportion of our products outside the United States than any other U.S. university press.)

The creative burst and explosive growth of the 1960s slackened with the library cutbacks of the early 1970s, and by the end of that decade the Press knew that it had to rethink what it was doing. We developed a strategy of focusing the list on a few key areas and publishing in depth in those areas. The initial core consisted of architecture, computer science and artificial intelligence, economics, and the emerging interdiscipline of cognitive science. The plan worked wonderfully, and by the mid-1980s the Press was again thriving. As the list developed, occasional offshoots sprouted (neuroscience, for example, was spun off from cognitive science in 1987), while a few smaller areas in which we continued to publish—technology studies, aesthetic theory, design, and social theory—have remained viable and interesting components of what has become a unique mix. Our latest addition was an environmental science list, started in the early 1990s.

Today the Press continues to thrive. In fact, our archive received book 9000 in January 2010.

The Press's enthusiasm for innovation is reflected in our continuing exploration of the electronic frontier. Since the late 1960s, we have experimented with generation after generation of electronic publishing tools. From those messy paper-tape systems through IBM Composers to our present-day use of direct-to-press production technologies, our intensive use of the Internet, and our commitment to new electronic products—whether digital journals or entirely new forms of communication—we have continued to look for the most efficient and effective means to serve our readership. These readers have come to expect excellence from our products, and they can count on us to maintain a commitment to producing rigorous and innovative information products in whatever forms the future of publishing may bring.

John Maeda - Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)

Year of Publication: 
2011
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When designer and computer scientist John Maeda was tapped to be president of the celebrated Rhode Island School of Design in 2008, he had to learn how to be a leader quickly. He had to transform himself from a tenured professor—with a love of argument for argument's sake and the freedom to experiment—into the head of a hierarchical organization. The professor is free to speak his mind against "the man." The college president is "the man." Maeda has had to teach himself, through trial and error, about leadership.

Andrew Feenberg - Between Reason and Experience: Essays in Technology and Modernity

Year of Publication: 
2010
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The technologies, markets, and administrations of today's knowledge society are in crisis. We face recurring disasters in every domain: climate change, energy shortages, economic meltdown. The system is broken, despite everything the technocrats claim to know about science, technology, and economics.

Paul N. Edwards - A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming

Year of Publication: 
2010
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Global warming skeptics often fall back on the argument that the scientific case for global warming is all model predictions, nothing but simulation; they warn us that we need to wait for real data, "sound science." In A Vast Machine Paul Edwards has news for these skeptics: without models, there are no data. Today, no collection of signals or observations—even from satellites, which can "see" the whole planet with a single instrument—becomes global in time and space without passing through a series of data models.

Peter J. Denning - The Innovator's Way: Essential Practices for Successful Innovation

Year of Publication: 
2010
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Innovation is the ruling buzzword in business today. Technology companies invest billions in developing new gadgets; business leaders see innovation as the key to a competitive edge; policymakers craft regulations to foster a climate of innovation. And yet businesses report a success rate of only four percent for innovation initiatives. Can we significantly increase our odds of succeeding at innovation? In The Innovator’s Way, innovation experts Peter Denning and Robert Dunham reply with an emphatic yes.

Cathy N. Davidson - The Future of Thinking Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Year of Publication: 
2010
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How traditional learning institutions can become as innovative, flexible, robust, and collaborative as the best social networking sites.

Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg - The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

Year of Publication: 
2009
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In this report, Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg focus on the potential for shared and interactive learning made possible by the Internet. They argue that the single most important characteristic of the Internet is its capacity for world-wide community and the limitless exchange of ideas. The Internet brings about a way of learning that is not new or revolutionary but is now the norm for today’s graduating high school and college classes.

Eric J. Cesal - Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice

Year of Publication: 
2010
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I paused at the stoop and thought this could be the basis of a good book. The story of a young man who went deep into the bowels of the academy in order to understand architecture and found it had been on his doorstep all along. This had an air of hokeyness about it, but it had been a tough couple of days and I was feeling sentimental about the warm confines of the studio which had unceremoniously discharged me upon the world.
—from Down Detour Road

Michael E. Brown - Going Nuclear: Nuclear Proliferation and International Security in The21st Century

Year of Publication: 
2010
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The spread of nuclear weapons is one of the most significant challenges to global security in the twenty-first century. Limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials may be the key to preventing a nuclear war or a catastrophic act of nuclear terrorism. Going Nuclear offers conceptual, historical, and analytical perspectives on current problems in controlling nuclear proliferation. It includes essays that examine why countries seek nuclear weapons as well as studies of the nuclear programs of India, Pakistan, and South Africa.

John Bolender - The Self-Organizing Social Mind

Year of Publication: 
2010
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In The Self-Organizing Social Mind, John Bolender proposes a new explanation for the forms of social relations. He argues that the core of social-relational cognition exhibits beauty--in the physicist's sense of the word, associated with symmetry. Bolender describes a fundamental set of patterns in interpersonal cognition, which account for the resulting structures of social life in terms of their symmetries and the breaking of those symmetries.

Beatriz Armendáriz and Jonathan Morduch - The Economics of Microfinance

Year of Publication: 
2010
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The microfinance revolution, begun with independent initiatives in Latin America and South Asia starting in the 1970s, has so far allowed 65 million poor people around the world to receive small loans without collateral, build up assets, and buy insurance. This comprehensive survey of microfinance seeks to bridge the gap in the existing literature on microfinance between academic economists and practitioners.