One of my nephews has been incarcerated since June on charges stemming from demonstrations against police brutality. The charges are federal and will probably be pled down (meaning they are at least semi-bogus), but for now, due to COVID, he still has no trial date.
He’s reading romance novels, comic books, ANYTHING he can find. I got to thinking about nonfiction titles I’ve come across that delivered a lot of well-supported insight and information, books he might enjoy as a change of pace from whodunits and HEAs. My top five suggestions were:
Give and Take by Adam Grant (2014). This was “groundbreaking” when it came out in 2014, but the basic premise will ring true to any romance reader: Nice guys rarely finish last in the races that matter. Grant’s big contribution was to back up that finding with the sort of studies even C-suite alpha dunces have to take seriously.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn (1962), from which we got the term “paradigm shift.” An oldie but goodie that concluded, long before confirmation bias was a thing, that science, which we hope to be fact-based, objective, and radiant with the golden light of truth, generally reaches that light after a thorough bath in the less than fragrant waters of bias, expedience, and politics. Galileo could have told us so, but did we listen?
Talking to Strangers (2019) by Malcolm Gladwell. Before we were protesting police brutality in 2020, Gladwell had done some brilliant research into why our policing has become so ineffective and frustrating for all concerned (including the cops). What strikes me now is how relevant this book is to the national debate, and how little I’ve heard it mentioned.
When–The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing (2018) by Daniel Pink. Despite the cheesy title, Pink packs a lot of interesting and highly readable science into this tome, which looks at everything from late bloomers (yay!), to night owls, to the super-virtuoso female musicians who studied with Antonio Vivaldi in the early 1700s. Not what I’d call a life-changing read, but it does debunk the 10,000-hour myth and points out the big downsides of early specialization (so there).
Thinking Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman, PhD. Kahneman took a look at how we make decisions, compared to how we believe we make them, and found a trove of myths much in need of debunking. We are far more subjective, impressionable, and irrational than we like to, um, think. Anybody interested in world domination should read this book, as should anybody who does not want to be manipulated by villains, greedy social media corporations, or children’s organizations selling cookies.
Is there non-fiction on your keeper shelf? On your gift lists? What exactly ARE you reading in these challenging December days? To one commenter, I will send a $100 gift card from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or Apple (your choice), and then my little bloggy-poo is going on hiatus until January.