Behavioural Economics and Social Psychology Book Recommendations

Dr. Brene Brown, NY Times Best selling Author, Viral TED Speaker, Research professor at University of Houston

Dr. Brene Brown

NY Times Best selling Author, Viral TED Speaker, Research professor at University of Houston

Dr. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the last 16 years of her life studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has used this research to write four #1 NY Times best sellers including Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead. Her TED Talk, the Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top 5 viewed talks boasting over 30M views. She is now somewhat of a celebrity professor commonly coined “the vulnerability woman”, the “shame academic”, the “self-help queen”, and she resents it.

She’s successful but she wants the focus to be on the work, not on her cult of celebrity. Despite her feelings towards her fame, Brown has been able to reach crowds and masses of people that most researchers can only dream of.

Dr. Brown’s work was a result of the interviews she conducted in which she found a common theme: that connection is the key to everything but there is a fear that prevents us from reaching it. However, there was a class of people who were not afraid to be vulnerable, those who were not constantly worried about rejection or shame.

Sources Bio:
Books: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
Images:
The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner

In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches both women and men to identify the true sources of anger and to use it as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.

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'Anger is a signal and one worth listening to,' writes Dr. Harriet Lerner in her renowned classic that has transformed the lives of millions of readers. While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. For decades, this book has helped millions of readers learn how to turn their anger into a constructive force for reshaping their lives. Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel—and certainly our anger is no exception.

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Why Won't You Apologize? Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts by Harriet Lerner

Dr. Harriet Lerner has been studying apologies—and why some people won’t give them—for more than two decades. Now she offers compelling stories and solid theory that bring home how much the simple apology matters and what is required for healing when the hurt we’ve inflicted (or received) is far from simple.

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Readers will learn how to craft a deeply meaningful “I’m sorry” and avoid apologies that only deepen the original injury. Why Won’t You Apologize? also addresses the compelling needs of the injured party—the one who has been hurt by someone who won’t apologize, tell the truth, or feel remorse. Lerner explains what drives both the non-apologizer and the over-apologizer, as well as why the people who do the worst things are the least able to own up. She helps the injured person resist pressure to forgive too easily and challenges the popular notion that forgiveness is the only path to peace of mind. With her trademark humor and wit, Lerner offers a joyful and sanity-saving guide to setting things right.

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Stretch by Scott Sonenshein

Using captivating stories to illustrate research in psychology and management, Rice University professor Scott Sonenshein examines why some people and organizations succeed with so little, while others fail with so much. Drawing from examples in business, education, sports, medicine, and history, Scott Sonenshein advocates a powerful framework of resourcefulness that allows anybody to work and live better.

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People and organizations approach resources in two different ways: “chasing” and “stretching.” When chasing, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of more. When stretching, we embrace the resources we already have. This frees us to find creative and productive ways to solve problems, innovate, and engage our work and lives more fully. Stretch shows why everyone—from executives to entrepreneurs, professionals to parents, athletes to artists—performs better with constraints; why seeking too many resources undermines our work and well-being; and why even those with a lot benefit from making the most out of a little.

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Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Michael S. Erwin and Raymond Kethledge

Through gripping historical accounts and firsthand interviews with a wide range of contemporary leaders, Raymond Kethledge (a federal court of appeals judge) and Michael Erwin (a West Pointer and three-tour combat veteran) show how solitude can enhance clarity, spur creativity, sustain emotional balance, and generate the moral courage necessary to overcome adversity and criticism.

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Throughout history, leaders have used solitude as a matter of course. Eisenhower wrote memoranda to himself during World War II as a way to think through complex problems. Martin Luther King found moral courage while sitting alone at his kitchen table one night during the Montgomery bus boycott. Jane Goodall used her intuition in the jungles of Central Africa while learning how to approach chimps. Solitude is a state of mind, a space where you can focus on your own thoughts without distraction, with a power to bring mind and soul together in clear-eyed conviction. Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, however, handheld devices and other media now leave us awash with the thoughts of others. We are losing solitude without even realizing it. Anyone who leads anyone-including oneself-can benefit from solitude. With a foreword by Jim Collins (author of the bestseller Good to Great), Lead Yourself First is a rallying cry to reclaim solitude-and all the benefits, both practical and sublime, that come with it.

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Dan Ariely, Author of Predictably Irrational, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University

Dan Ariely

Author of Predictably Irrational, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University

Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and is the founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight and co-founder of Kayma BEworks, Timeful, Genie and Shapa. His life’s mission is to translate behavioural economics into plain language to use in daily life, which has led him to author several books, Irrationally Yours, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, a movie, Dishonesty, and a card game, Irrational Game.

Ariely was inspired to dive into this field when he was hospitalized due to an explosion and receiving treatments for his burns. His treatments were always incredibly painful, partly due to the irrational behaviours and ways they were delivered by the healthcare professionals. When he left the hospital, he began his research into how to provide better care for injured patients. In his words, “I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.”

Sources Bio: http://danariely.com/all-about-dan/
Books: https://fivebooks.com/best-books/behavioural-economics-dan-ariely/
Images: +Acumen
The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us, by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself—and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla ,Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.

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Chabris and Simons combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain: why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail, how a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it, why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes, what criminals have in common with chess masters, why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback, and why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters.

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Influence by Robert Cialdini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say 'yes'—and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His thirty-five years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.

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You'll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness By Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones.

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Using dozens of eye-opening examples and drawing on decades of behavioral science research, Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. But by knowing how people think, we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people toward the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society, without restricting our freedom of choice.

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Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

Food psychologist Brian Wansink revolutionizes our awareness of how much, what, and why we’re eating—often without realizing it. His findings will astound you.

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Can the size of your plate really influence your appetite? Why do you eat more when you dine with friends? What “hidden persuaders” are used by restaurants and supermarkets to get us to overeat? How does music or the color of the room influence how much—and how fast—we eat? How can we “mindlessly” lose—instead of gain—up to twenty pounds in the coming year? Starting today, you can make more mindful, enjoyable, and healthy choices at the dinner table, in the supermarket, at the office—wherever you satisfy your appetite.

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The Person and the Situation by Lee Ross and Richard Nisbett

How does the situation we're in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behavior in this timely reissue of one of social psychology's classic textbooks. With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.

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Malcolm Gladwell, Author of Best-seller Outliers, Radio Personality of Revisionist History, Time's Most Influential People List

Malcolm Gladwell

Author of Best-seller Outliers, Radio Personality of Revisionist History, Time's Most Influential People List

Author of five+ NYT best-selling books, one of Time’s most influential people, one of Foreign Policy’s top global thinkers, radio personality of Revisionist History, and one of the best storytellers of all time.

Gladwell was born in Canada and has worked in a number of content-creating mediums as a journalist for the New Yorker and the Washington Post. Following his journalism stint, he proceeded to write a number of page-turning books like the Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, Outliers, David and the Goliath, among many more.

Today, you’ll find him on his podcasts Revisionist History that looks at events that have been “overlooked or misunderstood”, or Broken Record that talks with artists about their musical craft.

In his content, Gladwell often explores the unexpected consequences of work in the social sciences; drawing from research in sociology, psychology and social psychology, Gladwell teaches his readers through amazing stories.

Sources Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Gladwell
Books: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
Images: Tim.blog
Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy D. Wilson

"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.

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This is not your psychoanalyst's unconscious. The adaptive unconscious that empirical psychology has revealed, and that Wilson describes, is much more than a repository of primitive drives and conflict-ridden memories. It is a set of pervasive, sophisticated mental processes that size up our worlds, set goals, and initiate action, all while we are consciously thinking about something else. If we don't know ourselves―our potentials, feelings, or motives―it is most often, Wilson tells us, because we have developed a plausible story about ourselves that is out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are or what you feel or what you're like, Wilson advises, pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think about you. Showing us an unconscious more powerful than Freud's, and even more pervasive in our daily life, Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we know ourselves.

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Merchant Princes: An Intimate History of Jewish Families Who Built Great Department Stories by Leon A. Harris

A compelling history of America's famous Jewish shopkeeping families shows how the Filenes, Gimbels, Marcuses, and others created renowned retail empires out of small pushcart beginnings, powerfully evoking the social changes that were transforming America early in the century.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le-Carre

A modern classic in which John le Carré expertly creates a total vision of a secret world, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy begins George Smiley's chess match of wills and wits with Karla, his Soviet counterpart.

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It is now beyond a doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by Moscow Centre, has burrowed his way into the highest echelons of British Intelligence. His treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. It is clear that the double agent is one of its own kind. But which one? George Smiley is assigned to identify him. And once identified, the traitor must be destroyed.

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Little Drummer’s Girl by John le-Carre

Charlie is a promiscuous, unsuccessful English actress in her twenties. Intrigued by a handsome, solitary stranger, she finds herself lured into the “theatre of the real.” For the mysterious man is Kurtz, an embattled Israeli intelligence officer out to stop the bombing of Jews in Europe. Forced to play her most challenging role, Charlie is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terrorist … and soon proves herself a double agent of the highest order.

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The Russia House by John le-Carre

John le-Carre's bestselling classic is a timeless spy thriller about the Iron Curtain and the tense relationship between Great Britain and Russia.

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John le-Carre has earned worldwide acclaim with extraordinary spy novels, including The Russia House, an unequivocal classic. Navigating readers through the shadow worlds of international espionage with critical knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carré tracks the dark and devastating trail of a document that could profoundly alter the course of world events. In Moscow, a sheaf of military secrets changes hands. If it arrives at its destination, and if its import is understood, the consequences could be cataclysmic. Along the way it has an explosive impact on the lives of three people: a Soviet physicist burdened with secrets; a beautiful young Russian woman to whom the papers are entrusted; and Barley Blair, a bewildered English publisher pressed into service by British Intelligence to ferret out the document's source. A magnificent story of love, betrayal, and courage, The Russia House catches history in the act. For as the Iron Curtain begins to rust and crumble, Blair is left to sound a battle cry that may fall on deaf ears.

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le-Carre

In this classic, John le Carre's third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carre brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment.

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When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray -- this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat.

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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower--and middle--class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

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Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely--really unlikely--heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.

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The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

The New York Times bestselling author of Better and Complications reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist. We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.

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First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third. In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds. An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.

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Richard Thaler, Recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Author of Best-seller Nudge

Richard Thaler

Recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Author of Best-seller Nudge

Richard Thaler has received a Nobel Prize for his behavioural economics contributions, so you know he’s the real deal. His studies mainly focus on the intersection of behavioural economics and finance. He’s argued that in an economic context, people are not rational beings and make emotional, human decisions. He has also explored the concept of mental accounting which on a very basic level, can be described as people treating money differently based on its intended use and origin. For example, people want to save $1 on groceries rather than saving $1 on a new TV because the $1 seems like more value saved on a smaller amount like groceries, although they’re the same $1. This idea led to the development of the behavioural finance field.

Thaler is also the co-author of global best seller, Nudge and has published Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.

Sources Bio: http://theconversation.com/why-richard-thaler-won-the-2017-economics-nobel-prize-85404, https://www.chicagobooth.edu/faculty/directory/t/richard-h-thaler
Books: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-books-recommended-by-richard-thaler-a-founding-father-of-behavioral-economics-2016-07-05
Images: Nobel Prize
Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

Cialdini’s last book, “Influence,” was published in 1984, and Thaler says he’s read an early version of this one. “He’s the most practical psychologist on Earth,” Thaler says of Cialdini. (Thaler, Marketwatch)

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What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? With the same rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to prepare people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.” Named a “Best Business Books of 2016” by the Financial Times, and “compelling” by The Wall Street Journal, Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion draws on his extensive experience as the most cited social psychologist of our time and explains the techniques a person should implement to become a master persuader. Altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, says Cialdini—all that’s required is for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action. From studies on advertising imagery to treating opiate addiction, from the annual letters of Berkshire Hathaway to the annals of history, Cialdini outlines the specific techniques you can use on online marketing campaigns and even effective wartime propaganda. He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.” His book is “an essential tool for anyone serious about science based business strategies…and is destined to be an instant classic. It belongs on the shelf of anyone in business, from the CEO to the newest salesperson” (Forbes).

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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thaler calls Kahneman, a fellow University of Chicago professor, one of his mentors and this book a “natural companion to ‘Misbehaving.’ ” Thaler has his own Kahneman story, of when Kahneman was asked about Thaler and called “lazy” his best attribute. (Thaler, Marketwatch)

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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.

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The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis

Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original papers that invented the field of behavioral economics. One of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, Kahneman and Tversky’s extraordinary friendship incited a revolution in Big Data studies, advanced evidence-based medicine, led to a new approach to government regulation, and made much of Michael Lewis’s own work possible. In The Undoing Project,Lewis shows how their Nobel Prize–winning theory of the mind altered our perception of reality.

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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Mark Twain once observed, “A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” His observation rings true: Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly. Meanwhile, people with important ideas—entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists—struggle to make them “stick.” In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps.

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Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits. Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard”  by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control.

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The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly. In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results. The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients. The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping. The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service. In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

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Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?

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In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions. Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course? Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.

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Stephen J. Dubner, Author of Freakonomics, Journalist, Podcast Personality

Stephen J. Dubner

Author of Freakonomics, Journalist, Podcast Personality

Stephen J. Dubner is an author, journalist, and podcast personality. He has written a total of seven books including the super popular pop-economic book, Freakonomics, along with his co-founder and co-economist, Steven D. Levitt.

Freakonomics has sold over 4 million copies worldwide since its publishing and has been described as the piece of work that melds pop culture and economics in one entertaining, educational piece of work.

He published his first work in an American children’s magazine, which landed him the Chancellor’s Scholarship from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, where he played in a band.

When he decided to take off his musical plants, he wanted to focus more on writing driving him to complete his Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University.

Sources Bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_J._Dubner
Books: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
Images: Earwolf
Levels of the game by John McPhee

(Stephen’s most gifted books for adults) This account of a tennis match played by Arthur Ashe against Clark Graebner at Forest Hills in 1968 begins with the ball rising into the air for the initial serve and ends with the final point. McPhee provides a brilliant, stroke-by-stroke description while examining the backgrounds and attitudes which have molded the players' games.

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The Empty Pot by Demi

The Empty Pot is Demi's beloved picture book about an honest schoolboy. A long time ago in China there was a boy named Ping who loved flowers. Anything he planted burst into bloom.The Emperor loved flowers too. When it was time to choose an heir, he gave a flower seed to each child in the kingdom. 'Whoever can show me their best in a year's time,' he proclaimed, 'shall succeed me to the throne!'

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Ping plants his seed and tends it every day. But month after month passes, and nothing grows. When spring comes, Ping must go to the Emperor with nothing but an empty pot. Demi's exquisite art and beautifully simple text show how Ping's embarrassing failure is turned triumphant in this satisfying tale of honesty rewarded.

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Steven Pinker, Canadian-American Cognitive Psychologist and Writer on Popular Science

Steven Pinker

Canadian-American Cognitive Psychologist and Writer on Popular Science

Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist and writer on popular science (think human behaviour, language, human nature, mind, etc.) He majored in Psychology at McGill University in Montreal before earning his PhD from Harvard in Experimental Psychology in 1979 where he taught as a professor. He moved to MIT, then Stanford, for a short period and returned to Harvard to teach in 2003. His books include The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Better Angels of our Nature, The Sense of Style, etc. etc. etc…. (10 books in total) So he has a lot of books but he has also been a frequent contributor for the New York Times, Time magazine, The Atlantic, and other notable publications.

His early studies revolved around understanding how humans understand languages, focussing on individuals’ innate abilities to understand languages leading to a conclusion that this arose from evolutionary adaptation. This led to his first popular book, listed on Bill Gates’ list, The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. Its sequel, How the Mind Works won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction writing.

Hi books aimed at general audiences have truly made him one of the best-known intellectuals in the world.

Sources Bio: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Steven-Pinker, https://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/people/steven-pinker
Books: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
Images:
36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction Book by Rebecca Goldstein

“(full disclosure: I am married to her, but that puts me even more firmly on the hook, because my judgment would be even more discredited if this turned out to be an unworthy recommendation). It’s the best examination of the arguments about God’s existence, laid out as a nonfiction Appendix written by the protagonist, a psychologist of religion. (Pinker’s Notes, Tribe of Mentors)

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It’s also funny, moving, and a dead-on satire of the foibles of academic and intellectual life today.” (Pinker’s Notes, Tribe of Mentors)

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The Strategy of Conflict by Thomas C. Schelling

A series of closely interrelated essays on game theory, this book deals with an area in which progress has been least satisfactory―the situations where there is a common interest as well as conflict between adversaries: negotiations, war and threats of war, criminal deterrence, extortion, tacit bargaining.

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It proposes enlightening similarities between, for instance, maneuvering in limited war and in a traffic jam; deterring the Russians and one’s own children; the modern strategy of terror and the ancient institution of hostages.

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The Science of Words by George A. Miller

This text entertains and enlightens readers about the relations between words, languages, thought, and the human brain.

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Retreat from Doomsday by John Mueller

Despite large stockpiles of deadly arms and some significant ideological differences, the developed world has been at peace for a longer continuous period than ever before. Arguing that this state of affairs is no accident, this book offers a detailed history of public policies and attitudes to war in modern times...

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The author sets out to show that, in spite of two 20th-century world wars, major war as a policy option among developed nations has gradually passed out of favour. He also contends that nuclear weapons have not had an important impact on this trend, neither making a crucial contribution to nor severely threatening post-war stability. Tracing the major Cold War crises - Korea, Cuba, Vietnam - the book concludes that, despite their revolutionary and expansionist ideology, former Soviet leaders never visualized major war as a sensible tactic. Only in the Third World does war remain endemic, and even here the author is cautiously optimistic that the developed world's aversion to war might prove infectious.

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The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris

This groundbreaking book, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times notable pick, rattled the psychological establishment when it was first published in 1998 by claiming that parents have little impact on their children's development. In this tenth anniversary edition of The Nurture Assumption, Judith Harris has updated material throughout and provided a fresh introduction...

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Combining insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology, she explains how and why the tendency of children to take cues from their peers works to their evolutionary advantage. This electrifying book explodes many of our unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives us a radically new view of childhood.

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The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Donald Symons

Author Donald Symonds examines the differences between men and women in sexual behavior and attitudes, concluding that these differences are innate and that it is impossible to achieve identical sexualities in males and females...

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Combining insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology, she explains how and why the tendency of children to take cues from their peers works to their evolutionary advantage. This electrifying book explodes many of our unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives us a radically new view of childhood.

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Knowledge and Decisions by Thomas Sowell

Sowell describes in concrete detail how knowledge is shared and disseminated throughout modern society. He warns that society suffers from an ever-widening gap between firsthand knowledge and decision making—a gap that threatens not only our economic and political efficiency, but our very freedom because actual knowledge gets replaced by assumptions based on an abstract and elitist social vision of what ought to be.

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Knowledge and Decisions, a winner of the 1980 Law and Economics Center Prize, was heralded as a ”landmark work” and selected for this prize ”because of its cogent contribution to our understanding of the differences between the market process and the process of government.” In announcing the award, the center acclaimed Sowell, whose ”contribution to our understanding of the process of regulation alone would make the book important, but in reemphasizing the diversity and efficiency that the market makes possible, [his] work goes deeper and becomes even more significant.”

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Clear and simple as the truth Book by Francis-Noël Thomas

For more than a decade, Clear and Simple as the Truth has guided readers to consider style not as an elegant accessory of effective prose but as its very heart. Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner present writing as an intellectual activity, not a passive application of verbal skills. In classic style, the motive is truth, the purpose is presentation, the reader and writer are intellectual equals, and the occasion is informal.

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This general style of presentation is at home everywhere, from business memos to personal letters and from magazine articles to student essays. Everyone talks about style, but no one explains it. The authors of this book do; and in doing so, they provoke the reader to consider style, not as an elegant accessory of effective prose, but as its very heart. At a time when writing skills have virtually disappeared, what can be done? If only people learned the principles of verbal correctness, the essential rules, wouldn't good prose simply fall into place? Thomas and Turner say no. Attending to rules of grammar, sense, and sentence structure will no more lead to effective prose than knowing the mechanics of a golf swing will lead to a hole-in-one. Furthermore, ten-step programs to better writing exacerbate the problem by failing to recognize, as Thomas and Turner point out, that there are many styles with different standards.

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