Announcing The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting, written with the game theorist Kevin Zollman. A witty, irreverent (and slightly Machiavellian) guide to using strategies from executives and diplomats to encourage cooperation, sharing, fairness and responsibility at home. 

Raeburn and Zollman "put the math on the back burner and bring the commonsensicality of the theory to the fore” with “tantalizing perspectives on cultivating sharing, honesty, and cooperation—via game theory.”                                 — Kirkus starred review

Unlike most parenting books, this one is based on actual research into how humans behave. It should increase the odds that there will be less whining for all involved.
—The Wall Street Journal

How the Science of Strategic Thinking Can Help You Deal with the Toughest Negotiators You Know — Your Kids

The tools you need to master the toughest negotiations you'll ever face--those with your kids

As every parent knows, kids are surprisingly clever negotiators. But how can we avoid those all-too-familiar wails, “That’s not fair!” and “You can’t make me!”? In The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting, the award-winning journalist and father of five Paul Raeburn and the game theorist Kevin Zollman pair up to highlight tactics from the worlds of economics and business that can help parents break the endless cycle of quarrels and ineffective solutions. Raeburn and Zollman show that some of the same strategies successfully applied to big business deals and politics―such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Ultimatum Game―can be used to solve such titanic, age-old parenting problems as dividing up toys, keeping the peace on long car rides, and sticking to homework routines.

Raeburn and Zollman open each chapter with a common parenting dilemma. [...]


What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked

In recent years, researchers have begun to wonder what fathers contribute to their children. Fathers were clearly important for something, or they would disappear from their children’s lives, as is the case with most of our animal relatives. A new science of fatherhood was soon born, as psychologists, and then geneticists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and sociologists all began to investigate the role of fathers in their children’s and families’ lives.

The new science of fatherhood has now generated solid scientific data on why fathers behave the way they do—and why and how that matters to children. Along the way, have discarded any number of stereotypes about what fathers do. Gone are the father as moral guardian, symbol of masculinity for his sons, or harsh disciplinarian (all father images that were widely accepted and promoted in generations past).

Researchers are now showing that fathers play many roles in their families, including those of companions, care providers, spouses, protectors, models, moral guides, teachers and, of course, breadwinners, according to one recent study. […]


A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children

In this searingly honest memoir, Raeburn tells the story of the diagnosis—and repeated misdiagnosis—of two of his children’s experiences with bipolar disorder and depression. He tells a disturbing but all too familiar tale of failed efforts to get proper treatment, or school officials too eager to discard "problem kids," and of efforts by insurance companies to determine treatment based on financial accounting, not on doctors’ advice or the effectiveness of treatment.

Ultimately, he is forced to ask himself whether what he might have done to exacerbate his children’s problems. His confession of his own faults is one of the virtues of this memoir. Eventually, Raeburn and his children learn what they need to do for themselves and each other—and so this story importantly provides hope. [...]




Paul Raeburn and National Geographic present a state-of-the-art report on Mars. Beginning with the mythology of Mars dating back to ancient times, Raeburn takes us on a tour through the earliest efforts to study Mars, including the “discovery” of its once-famous canals, and the many volumes of science fiction they spawned.

Mars includes spectacular photographs of the red planet, culled from NASA’s archives, including a three-dimensional fold out of the Martian landscape as seen by the Pathfinder mission. (The book comes with a pair of 3-D glasses.)

This beautiful book will intrigue youngsters and adults alike, making it a perfect complement to the family coffee table, or the children’s bookshelf. [..]


The Genetic Gamble That Threatens To Destroy American Agriculture

Have you ever taken a drive through the Midwestern United States and noticed the endless rows of corn, mile after mile—and that each corn plant identical to all the others?

What you can’t see is that the corn plants are identical not only in their size and shape, but in many other characteristics—including their vulnerability to disease. This genetic uniformity, which might make sense in some commercial respects, leaves the corn crop disturbingly vulnerable to disease. If something comes along that can destroy one of those plants, it can likely destroy millions of them.

There is a way out of this genetic bottleneck. Raeburn explores the problem and provides solutions, in the first book to look at the links between preserving agriculture—and preserving the environment.

It’s an unusual book that will be of interest to food-lovers, environmentalists, and anyone who wants to know where their food comes from. [...]