At the start of 2020, I set my GoodReads goal to 150 books, and as of right now, I’ve read 185 books this year. I’m absolutely fascinated by human behavior, so I read non-fiction books in the realm of psychology, philosophy, critical thinking, politics, and more. I figured it’s about time I put together a weekly list of the books I finish in case anyone is looking for some recommendations. This week, there are 6 books on the list as well as some others.
Lastly, each of the links to the books are affiliate links, so if you use my link to purchase any of these books, some comes back to support what I do (and it also helps fund my reading habit).
Why do conservatives deny science? Why is it that when conservatives are presented with evidence that counters their beliefs, it doesn’t sway them? The Republican Brain dives into the psychological flaw of motivated reasoning, which all of us struggle with.
No matter which party you affiliate with, I think it’s of the utmost importance to understand how the other side thinks. As a liberal, I’m always trying to have a better understanding of the conservative mindset, and this book had a lot of research that I haven’t seen in other books on the subject. In this book, we find that liberals are more open-minded, which has its pros and cons. I think there are better books on the subject, but I feel it’s still a must-read for anyone trying to understand the republican brain.
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
Moral Politics by George Lakoff
Like many creatives, I have this brain that never stops. Yesterday, I had all these ideas flowing through my head but no clue what to do with them. It left me paralyzed, and I felt like I needed to create something. Then, via serendipity, this book by Bayles and Orland was mentioned in another book I was reading, and I remembered that it’s a good practice to read books about the artistic process when you feel stuck. I binged this book in a few sittings, and it’s a quick read that covers a lot of great subjects. I highly recommend this book if you’re any type of creator.
This was a great, short read that I picked up when I bought Art & Fear. I actually enjoyed it more than Art & Fear because it was a lot more casual, and it felt like a creative friend just hanging out and giving you some advice from their journey. I’m definitely going to re-read this book whenever I feel that I’m stuck or in a funk. And it turns out the author Todd Brison writes here on Medium, so I highly suggest you follow him.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
One of the keys to reaching self-awareness is to fully understand the balance between luck and skill. For many years, I believed that the hardest workers received the best results, but this is far from the truth. Luck is completely outside of our control, but this book explains the research behind how we can cultivate higher probabilities of serendipity. I loved this book, but the last quarter of it was geared a little bit more towards business professionals than I personally cared for. Although a great book, I recommend Richard Wiseman’s book over this one and The Serendipity Mindset as a follow-up.
The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil
Education, healthcare, insurance, jobs, loans, and credit are all decided by numbers. But people aren’t just numbers. We’re more nuanced than that.
This is a must-read for everyone. Math is not a subject that I’m a fan of, but I kept hearing about this book, and I wasn’t disappointed. Although the author loves math, she doesn’t over-complicate her thesis and arguments with numbers. This book is about how in an effort to make a world more efficient and optimized, many people are being left behind, and some of these algorithms are really hurting our society.
Much like The Serendipity Mindset, books like this one further prove that there are forces far beyond our control that are deciding whether we succeed or fail. Weapons of Math Destruction isn’t just a great book to educate yourself about how data is holding people back, but it’s also beneficial for everyone from business owners to students to have a better understanding of how we can make this world a little bit better.
Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert H. Frank
Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes
Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus Deaton
This is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, and it explains the importance of why we need to redefine failure. The book is titled after the black box in airplanes, which was designed for pilots and aviation experts to learn from mistakes. Due to “black box” thinking, we have minimal airplane crashes. Syed references Captain Sully in one chapter who said that he was able to save lives because other people lost theirs.
Throughout the book, Syed argues that we need to embrace failure and learn from it rather than fostering workplaces and communities that shame it. The best example he gives is how medical errors go unchecked, and thousands of lives are lost. Due to ego and lack of transparency, mistakes aren’t corrected. Not only does this make me think about my own work and how I address failure, but with all of the talk about police reform, I think this is an extremely relevant book.
The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind by Gary Marcus
How to Think by Alan Jacobs
I think it’s important to avoid the sunk cost fallacy and know when to abandon a book. These are books that I lost interest in for one reason or another but not quality. I wanted to add this section just in case one catches your eye because I do think they’re books some people would enjoy.
In the future, I may or may not add brief reasons why I abandoned the books in this section. If that’s something you’d like, let me know on social media.
The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley
Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Taleb
The Myths We Live By by Mary Midgley
Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest by Zeynep Tufekci
If you need help with your mental health, I highly recommend the service I use, BetterHelp. They’re an affordable online therapy service, and by using this affiliate link, you help support The Rewired Soul.