Books I Like . . . and why you should read them
Psychology / Cognitive Science / Behavioral Science
Marketing is often the application of other sciences. Many psychology studies are funded by marketers, and many more & used by them. Hence my interest.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
An excellent book on how big data is being used to answer questions new and old about human behavior with unprecedented accuracy.
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson
This book on cognitive dissonance by social psychologists vastly changed my understanding of how we think, decide & behave.
The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good by David J. Linden
A neuroscience-heavy book (think rats, dopamine, & brain regions) on temptation, behaviour & addiction. He blogs too.
A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire by Ogi Ogas & Sai Gaddam
The biggest survey on sex since Kinsey, using internet search, online dating & conventional primary research. They blog too.
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
A neuroscience book on how much our brain is on autopilot or 'zombie mode', dating, drugs, beauty, visual illusions & more. This book touches on much the same topics as Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There by Richard Wiseman
A guide on how people are fooled into believing in the supernatural. Every psychic fair you attend thereafter will be a game of 'spot the techniques'.
Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder
A continuation of the fascinating OkTrends blog (blog of the online dating site OkCupid), similar to Everybody Lies (top of this list) in that it uses big data to look at how people really behave, despite how they say they do.
You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney
Also a great blog. A handbook on cognitive biases and logical fallacies.
How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff should be mandatory reading.
Jennifer Government by Max Barry
Set in a dystopian hyper-capitalist world run by marketing, a government employee must stop a conspiracy by John Nike before it's too late. Reads like a Hollywood blockbuster & explores issues I'm very interested in.
Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin
Have you finished the Game Of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire books and are having George R.R. Martin withdrawals? This article explains why Tuf Voyaging will restore your faith in human nature. Themes explored include honesty, religion and over-population.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
I'll never write this eloquently, nor do I think the movie of the same name will ever capture an eloquent script such as this so perfectly.
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
A fanfic (yep) where Harry's aunt marries an Oxford professor who teaches him science, which he then applies to the magical world. Seriously, you'll learn a thing or two about science and how to exploit human behavior.
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
The history of information and communication, from phonetic writing to African talking drums, telegrams & the computer age.
God's Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, & Other Victims of Man's Eternal Search for the Divine by Michael Largo
An A-Z of cults & their leaders over the millennia. The patterns of human and organisational behavior are fascinating.
Turn Around & Run Like Hell: Unconventional Military Strategies That Worked by Joseph Cummins
If the name doesn't get you, know that Cummins writes engaging history books, spending a chapter on one time, place, culture, person or battle, with a common theme throughout the book.
Wishlist - or see my much bigger Goodreads To Read shelf