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EHSAN MASOOD is a science writer, journalist and broadcaster. Formerly on the editorial staff of Nature and New Scientist, he is currently the editor of Research Fortnight and Research Europe and teaches international science policy at Imperial College London. As well as writing for Prospect magazine, The Times, Guardian and Le Monde, he is a frequent presenter for BBC Radio and the author of SCIENCE AND ISLAM: A History (Icon, 2009) and coauthor of DRY: Life Without Water. Born in 1967, he lives in London.

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The Story of GDP and the Making and Unmaking of the Modern World


The biography of one of the twentieth-century's most influential and dangerously addictive ideas, as told through the lives of the people who invented it.


The world's principal measure of the health of economies is gross domestic product, or GDP: the sum of what all of us spend every day, from the contents of our weekly shopping to large capital spending by businesses. GDP also includes the myriad things that our governments pay for, from libraries and roadline-painting to naval dockyards and nuclear weapons. In 2011, America’s GDP was about $14 trillion. Britain’s was a more modest £1.5 trillion.


THE GREAT INVENTION is the biography of an idea told through lives of the people who invented it. It reveals how in just a few decades GDP became the world’s most powerful formula: how six algebraic symbols forged in the fires of the 1930s economic crisis helped Europe and America prosper, how the remedy now risks killing the patient it once saved and how this fundamentally flawed metric is creating the illusion of global prosperity and why many world leaders want to be able to ignore it but so far remain powerless to do so.


Drawing on interviews, firsthand accounts and previously neglected source materials, THE GREAT INVENTION takes readers on a journey from Capitol Hill in Washington to Whitehall in London, on the trail of theories made in Cambridge, tested in Karachi and designed for global application, and into the minds of unworldly geniuses seduced by the allure of power and the demands of politics. Along the way it asks how we might re-conceivesuch basic questions as what it means to be prosperous and whether we measure happiness independently of constant economic growth.


Publisher: TBC

Publication: TBC

Length: 360 pages


All rights available excluding:

All rights available excluding China (People’s Oriental Publishing & Media Co – simplified Chinese characters)



A History


Masood's eminently readable survey of science in Islam... provides the social and political context in which discoveries took place THE TIMES


Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the world was plunged into an age of darkness in which there was no scholarship, literacy or even civilized life. Only a thousand years later, with the dawn of the Renaissance, did the world finally rediscover classical learning. Or so the story goes...


In SCIENCE AND ISLAM, Ehsan Masood tells the story of one of history's most misunderstood yet rich and fertile periods in science: the extraordinary Islamic scientific revolution between AD 700 and 1500. It charts a religious empire's scientific heyday, its decline, and the many debates that now surround it.


Masood sheds light on this largely forgotten period of history, not only revealing the wealth of scientific exploration in medieval Islam but also showing how modern science has built directly on the work of scientists from Islamic times.


Publisher: Icon (UK)

Pub Date: 23 December 2008

Length: 256 pages


World rights: Icon