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Jill Lepore
A historian at Harvard University and a staff writer for the New Yorker, Lepore is the author of The Story of America: Essays on Origins, to be published in October. In The Unseen she revisits a landmark essay about America’s “invisible” poor. “The poor aren’t invisible anymore; they’re displayed and despised,” she says. “It’s gone from grim to much, much grimmer.”

Tom Vanderbilt
The author of three books, including Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do, Vanderbilt says using biology as an inspiration for design (“Better Living Through Imitation) is elegant: “After all, nature has a billion-year head start when it comes to developing products.”

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