Expecting Better Books
February 20, 2016 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I love the book Expecting Better by Emily Oster, and I want to find more nonfiction in that style (doesn't need to be the same subject). Basically research based/centered while giving the reader room to make their own decisions.

I loved this book and its my favorite non-fiction book (1491 is probably second). While babies/pregnancy are interesting to me, the main thing that I love is that the author consistently summarizes the research in a very readable way, and then leaves the decision of what to do up to you in cases where it's debatable. She reinforces this by giving her decision of what to do (and why) and a friend who chose the opposite (and why).

Are there other books that summarize research for general readers without trying to prescribe what you should do based on that reasoning? I liked the detail in the descriptions of the research -- the lack-of-fear of describing how the research tests for things and what the methodology is.
posted by triscuit to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I really loved "Expecting Better" as well. This is kind of a hard question for me because I feel the book was really singular in taking that approach, especially in offering different points of views for what's also ok. So many books get wrapped up in their own thesis of what's good or not good.

I was looking at my bookshelf and thinking about any similar books I've read. My first recc would be "The Female Brain" by Louann Brizendine - this is in a similar style and was huge for me around 2009 (published in 2006) - not sure how the research aspect of it holds up 7 years later.

Another author in this vein might be Mary Roach - I've read "Bonk:The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex," and found it pretty illuminating, but again I'm not sure how it holds up years later.

I'm interested to see other people's answers as well - and the fact that both these books are female/sex-centric merely has to do with my own interests.
posted by permiechickie at 7:29 PM on February 20, 2016

The Brain that Changes itself

it's a book that talks about some cutting edge and interesting research into brain plasticity, in a really interesting and readable way. I don't really like non-fiction, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. It's not really something you could choose to do or not do, but it is really interesting scientifically!
posted by euphoria066 at 8:29 PM on February 20, 2016

I also recently read Expecting Better and loved it. I am now in my third pregnancy and have moved past the week by week books and read some that are more research based. In the same vein I also read and loved Do chocolate lovers have sweeter babies? It is similar to Expecting Better in some ways, discusses a little bit of the same things at the beginning but has more info in the actual babies and post-birth topics. Worth a look.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:30 PM on February 20, 2016

I haven't read Expecting Better, but based on what you wrote I think you would like Nurture Shock "The central premise of this book is that many of modern society’s strategies for nurturing children are in fact backfiring – because key twists in the science have been overlooked. "
Kind of a 'what we all think is common sense about child development is actually not based on any science or research - and here is the research.
posted by Megami at 10:22 PM on February 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I really think you'd like Thinking, Fast and Slow, on how people think. It presents what seems (to the nonexpert) to be a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, is fascinating, useful, and brilliantly written. It doesn't generally have that specific "here are two perspectives," but he does explain when there is ongoing debate about an issue.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:35 AM on February 22, 2016

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