Why can't our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition--the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures. But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim--that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Publication Date: 2011-10-25
Major New York Times bestseller Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012 Selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011 A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2011 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Kahneman's work with Amos Tversky is the subject of Michael Lewis's The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation--each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives--and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the ten best books of 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow is destined to be a classic.
Don't Be Such a Scientist by Randy Olson
Publication Date: 2009-08-28
"You think too much! You mother F@$#%&* think too much! You're nothing but an arrogant, pointy-headed intellectual -- I want you out of my classroom and off the premises in five minutes or I'm calling the police and having you arrested for trespassing." -- Hollywood acting teacher to Randy Olson, former scientist After nearly a decade on the defensive, the world of science is about to be restored to its rightful place. But is the American public really ready for science? And is the world of science ready for the American public? Scientists wear ragged clothes, forget to comb their hair, and speak in a language that even they don't understand. Or so people think. Most scientists don't care how they are perceived, but in our media-dominated age, style points count. Enter Randy Olson. Fifteen years ago, Olson bid farewell to the science world and shipped off to Hollywood ready to change the world. With films like Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus (Tribeca '06, Showtime) and Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (Outfest '08), he has tried to bridge the cultural divide that has too often left science on the outside looking in. Now, in his first book, Olson, with a Harvard Ph.D. and formerly a tenured professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, recounts the lessons from his own hilarious-and at times humiliating-evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker. In Don't Be Such a Scientist, he shares the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argues, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational, and ultimately more human. In a book enlivened by a profane acting teacher who made Olson realize that "nobody wants to watch you think," he offers up serious insights and poignant stories. You'll laugh, you may cry, and as a communicator you'll certainly learn the importance of not only knowing how to fulfill, but also how to arouse.
Am I Making Myself Clear? by Cornelia Dean
Publication Date: 2009-10-30
Urging scientists to speak up and be heard in current debates, Cornelia Dean offers advice on public speaking, media relations and popular science writing.
Explaining Research by Dennis Meredith
Publication Date: 2010-02-25
Explaining Research is the first comprehensive communications guidebook for scientists, engineers, and physicians. Drawing on knowledge gleaned from a forty-year career in research communications, Dennis Meredith maps out how scientists can utilize sophisticated tools and techniques todisseminate their discoveries to important audiences. He explains how to use websites, blogs, videos, webinars, old-fashioned lectures, news releases, and lay-level articles to reach key audiences, emphasizing along the way that a strong understanding of the audience in question will allow a moreeffective communication tailored to a unique background and set of needs. In addition to drawing on the experience of the author, the book also includes excerpts from interviews with 45 of the country's leading science communications experts, including academics, authors, journalists, and publicinformation officers.As the "information age" places new demands on scientists, Explaining Research will be a valuable resource not only for current professional scientists, but also for students who are the voice of the science community's next generation.This authoritative guide shows how to:DT Develop a "strategy of synergy" that makes research communication efficient and effective DT Give compelling talksDT Build a professional Web siteDT Create quality posters, photos, animations, videos, e-newsletters, blogs, podcasts, and WebinarsDT Write popular articles and booksDT Persuade donors, administrators and other key funding decision-makersDT Produce news releases that attract media coverageDT Give clear media interviewsDT Serve as a public educator in schools and science centers
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain in this important exploration of choice architecture, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture” can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take--from neither the left nor the right--on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years.
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt; Stephen J. Dubner
Publication Date: 2005-05-01
"Steven D. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of incentives - how people get what they want, or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. In Freakonomics, they set out to explore the hidden side of...well, everything. The inner workings of a crack gang. The truth about real-estate agents. The myths of campaign finance. The telltale marks of a cheating schoolteacher. The secrets of the Ku Klux Klan."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Publication Date: 2005-01-11
In his landmark bestseller The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell redefined how we understand the world around us. Now, in Blink, he revolutionizes the way we understand the world within. Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?In Blink we meet the psychologist who has learned to predict whether a marriage will last, based on a few minutes of observing a couple; the tennis coach who knows when a player will double-fault before the racket even makes contact with the ball; the antiquities experts who recognize a fake at a glance. Here, too, are great failures of "blink": the election of Warren Harding; "New Coke"; and the shooting of Amadou Diallo by police. Blink reveals that great decision makers aren't those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who have perfected the art of "thin-slicing"-filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
"A marvelous book… thought provoking and highly entertaining." —Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think "Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser." —George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics "Revolutionary." —New York Times Book Review Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup? When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we? In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Publication Date: 2010-05-11
The Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don't understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don't know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the "impossible." For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don't know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, "On Robustness and Fragility," which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book--itself a black swan. Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb "The most prophetic voice of all."--GQ Praise for The Black Swan "[A book] that altered modern thinking."--The Times (London) "A masterpiece."--Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail "Idiosyncratically brilliant."--Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times "The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works."--Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate "[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy."--The Wall Street Journal "Hugely enjoyable--compelling . . . easy to dip into."--Financial Times "Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition."--The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Publication Date: 2009-12-29
The New York Times bestseller that gives readers a paradigm--shattering new way to think about motivation. Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money--the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home--is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does--and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation--autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.
Is Anyone Responsible? by Shanto Iyengar
Publication Date: 1991-11-15
A disturbingly cautionary tale, Is Anyone Responsible? anchors with powerful evidence suspicions about the way in which television has impoverished political discourse in the United States and at the same time molds American political consciousness. It is essential reading for media critics, psychologists, political analysts, and all the citizens who want to be sure that their political opinions are their own. "Not only does it provide convincing evidence for particular effects of media fragmentation, but it also explores some of the specific mechanisms by which television works its damage. . . . Here is powerful additional evidence for those of us who like to flay television for its contributions to the trivialization of public discourse and the erosion of democratic accountability."—William A. Gamson, Contemporary Sociology "Iyengar's book has substantial merit. . . . [His] experimental methods offer a precision of measurement that media effects research seldom attains. I believe, moreover, that Iyengar's notion of framing effects is one of the truly important theoretical concepts to appear in recent years."—Thomas E. Patterson, American Political Science Review