Rowan Hooper is joint head of features at New Scientist;
before his career in journalism he spent five years as a biologist in Japan and
went on to write for the Japan Times. He has also written for The Economist,
The Guardian and Wired and here he tells us about his most recent book, Superhuman.
Can you introduce your book in a couple of sentences?
Superhuman is about people at the peak of human potential, for a range of traits both mental and physical, from intelligence to memory, singing ability, endurance and even happiness. It’s about what it’s like to be the best in the world at these things, and about the science behind peak potential.
How did you come to write Superhuman?
I was interested in how people feel to be the best in the world at different things, and how they achieve that. And also about how the rest of us might learn from them, and how humans in the future may reach greater heights.
Are you working on another book or do you have other projects under way?
Yes I am – due to be published later this year!
Can you offer any advice to other journalists thinking about writing a book about their own specialist area?
I would say make sure you have a real passion for what you want to write about as a book length treatment is far more demanding than a regular piece.
What books are you reading right now, or about to pick up?
I’m reading Milkman by Anna Burns and The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success, by Mark Jaccard.
Are there any examples of your everyday journalism that you’re especially proud of or would just like to share?