Pun Salad is going into rerun season for a few days. But before we do that, I thought I'd mention some good non-fiction books I've read over the past few months. You can click on the book image to go to the relevant Amazon page (assuming your ad blocker lets you see them, which it should, they're very tasteful), or click on the title to go to my take on the work.
Usually people do a "Top 10" list. As Nigel Tufnel might say, this one goes to 11. In no particular order:
|Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. An interesting book by a Nobel Prize winner. Although he's a psychologist, he got the Econ prize. Read the book to find out why.|
|The Undoing Project — A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis. Might well be read before or after you read the one above. This is the "outside" view on the research of Kahneman and his late longtime partner, Amos Tversky.|
|The Three Languages of Politics — Talking Across the Political Divides by Arnold Kling. His simple explanation of why our various political tribes are so mutually incomprehensible, and why that matters.|
|One Nation Undecided — Clear Thinking about Five Hard Issues That Divide Us by Peter H. Schuck. A masterful analysis of five "hard" issues facing America today. Schuck's purpose is to not just provide the facts and arguments behind those issues; he also provides an example of what civilized debate could look like about these issues. But doesn't.|
|Hillbilly Elegy — A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance. Mr. Vance grew up hillbilly, and provides an unsentimental look about that culture's strengths and flaws. A longtime best-seller, and deservedly so.|
|The Death of Expertise — The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols. A very readable, and a tad cranky, book about the decline in respect for the American Expert. Some wounds are self-inflicted, but not all of them,|
|Wonderland — How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson. A very entertaining and readable book about unexpected connections between yesterday's pursuit of the seemingly frivolous and the shape of the modern world.|
|The Boys in the Boat — Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. Another deserved best-seller. I didn't think a book about young men engaging in competitive rowing could be so captivating. Wrong again.|
|Against Democracy by Jason Brennan. Brennan doesn't quite slay the sacred cow of "democracy", but does a pretty good job of desacralizing it. But if you want an impetus for reading this book, take a cold hard look at the people "we" elected to have power over us.|
The Secret of Our Success — How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
by Joseph Henrich. A "big idea" book (I've been a sucker
for those lately) which examines the concept of "cultural
evolution". Or: why didn't humans become tiger chow millions
of years ago?
The linked post has an inexplicable slam at Mr. Craig Kimbrel. I assume he must have had a poor outing at the time of writing. I apologize.
|Unwanted Advances — Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus by Laura Kipnis. A clearly-written take on the epidemic of kangraroo courts in our nation's colleges and universities, adjudicating and punishing alleged sex-related misbehavior with little respect for due process, or, too often, truth.|