22 Pop Psychology Books
Original List by
the 90-minute effect
brilliant look at the effect of movies, television, and story in general on our lives and goals.
stumbling on happiness
gilbert's book is fascinating, funny, and inspirational and should be read by everyone who wants to know more about human behavior or who wants to stimulate their brain a little. one of the first studies gilbert mentions is one that showed how learning new information actually makes us humans happy. this was certainly the case for `stumbling,' especially when you consider all the witty remarks of personalized remarks about your brother in law eating cheese dip on the couch. while most of the book focuses on fascinating psychological findings and scientific studies, he doesn't tie them in concretely to his ultimate conclusion of why people aren't happy when they think they're supposed to be. he does, however, make a clear case for why people look for happiness in certain things and fai
in the fascinating and groundbreaking new work, everyone agrees, j.s.b. morse uncovers clues to these riddles and reveals how disagreements are merely the result of a difference in perspective of a shared "mountain of truth." using entertaining examples from both scientific literature and pop culture, morse breaks down the popular "us-against-them" and morally relative mentalities, proving that everyone really does agree, even when it comes to such hot-button issues as politics, religion, and the nfl's best quarterback. everyone agrees offers an introduction to the theory of concurrence, a unique take on human behavior which places logic (or simple common sense) at the heart of a universal morality.
We are in the midst of a brain science revolution. Highly sophisticated neuroimaging technology and cunning psychological experiments have helped researchers delve into the darkest corners of the human brain to shine light on how it works and explain human behavior. Their conclusions boggle the mind: We make decisions before we are even conscious of our choices; we allow irrelevant influences to dominate our thought processes; and we go against our own best interest as a matter of course. In short, the latest brain science has conquered the mind and determined that we are all irrational and helpless in our condition. But should that be the last word?
this is the type of book that you will want to re-read over and over again because it is well-written, entertaining, and insightful. the premise of the book is that we can know something without really knowing it. gladwell uses a number of unique examples (such as the getty's near $10 million dollar blunder on an artificial classic statue, and how improvisational comedy works) to show how we can surmise certain things in a blink of an eye. gladwell's proof is anecdotal for the most part (which makes on intelligence and stumbling on happiness great companions to this work), but the author gives us a great look into an almost sixth-sense we humans have though we may not be completely aware of it. he goes on to describe intense scenes where blink-thinking (meta-cognition) wasn't used prop
snoop: what your stuff says about you
man's search for meaning
the black swan: the impact of the highly improbable
how we decide
the logic of life
tim harford's entertaining book is another volume in a line of somewhat similar behavioral economist books that try to make sense of the whacky world we live in, most notable of those being "freakonomics" and the similarly-timed predictably irrational. the logic of life is more like freakonomics in that harford explains how there's a rational reason we do some pretty irrational-seeming things (like why we gamble, value things more when we own them, and why ceos get such a ridiculous amount of money); as he puts it, life isn't illogical--the reasons are just sometimes obscure.
the birth order book: why you are the way you are
thinking, fast and slow
freakonomics: a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Steven D. Levitt
mozart's brain and the fighter pilot
the tipping point
we humans are knuckleheads. that’s what you will surmise from the countless entertaining studies and anecdotes that ariely describes in this fantastic book about behavioral economics. why else would we let something as seemingly irrelevant as a social security number determine how much we’d pay for a bottle of wine? why else would we easily steal a pen, but wouldn’t consider taking the cash equivalent of that pen? why else would we pick a beer that we don’t want just if it was the only one not ordered by our friends? these are the type of things that ariely seeks to uncover in “predictably irrational” and, which, coincidentally act as a fantastic support for the financial behaviors i describe in how to take advantage…. ironically, however, the fact that ariely is so successful at explainin
macolm gladwell offers another expertly-written and thoughtfully-presented argument in ‘outliers’, which describes the life paths of many incredibly successful individuals but also makes the case for nurture over nature as a means to that success. in the concise book, gladwell presents in his tom wolfe-esque narrative journalistic style the stories of some of history’s greatest musicians (the beatles), computer whizzes (bill joy and bill gates), and lawyers (joe from). his point is that, yes, these greatest of greats had some innate talent to make it as far as they did, but they also had a great deal of luck. for instance, bill gates didn’t become the wealthiest man in the world by pure ambition and cunning; his wealth was the result of skill in computer programming that sprung from a seri
made to stick: why some ideas survive and others die
made to stick
this interesting book elaborates on "the tipping point" by gladwell and uses a similar writing style to get across its reasons why some ideas stick and why others don't. it's a good read for those who are interested in the psychology of marketing and even the concept of communication in general, but actual marketers will find it difficult to get a lot of practical methods out of the book. the book starts off with those ubiquitous urban legends (i.e. the man who gets his kidney stolen from a stranger and ends up in a bath tub full of ice and a tube sticking out of his back), and explains why that idea sticks and why others don't. the heath brothers go on to describe why numerous ideas have stuck in the collective mind: "it's the economy stupid," "where's the b
simplexity: why simple things become complex
the culture of fear: why americans are afraid of the wrong things
the stuff of thought
if waiters wait and bankers bank, why don't hammers ham? stephen pinker asks this question along with numerous other questions in his interesting and enlightening book "the stuff of thought", which focuses on the bizarre quirks of language and its interaction with human conception. he also wonders why we abbreviate things but end up making them longer (it's longer to say 'www' than 'world wide web'); why the f-bomb is considered obscene, but the word 'rape', with its vile definition, is not; and how the tautological phrase 'enough is enough' actually says anything worthwhile. the reader will be quite familiar with the bizarre quirks in the english language that pinker brings up and they will certainly come to the same conclusion that there may be rhyme, but no reason.
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