books by researchers summarizing their work for the popular press?
January 7, 2018 9:02 PM   Subscribe

I really liked Thinking, Fast and Slow and The Dictator's Handbook. I think I might in general enjoy reading books where academics summarize their own work for the popular press. What should I read next?
posted by d. z. wang to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I've got two recommendations, both written by professor-writer teams and both very similar to Thinking, Fast and Slow in that there's plenty of solid research but also a lot of practical advice on how to apply that research in your everyday life:

Make It Stick. Summarizes basically everything useful we know about how to learn effectively. If you like this book also consider this one, which was written by a journalist but very well researched.

Peak. Detailed look into how people become experts, from the professor whose research brought us Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule. That rule is actually bunk, so skip Outliers and read this instead.
posted by perplexion at 12:03 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I was absolutely fascinated by Norman Doidge’s books about his research in the field of neuroplasticity:The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain’s Way of Healing
posted by Salamander at 12:57 AM on January 8, 2018

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. Takes a macro look at income inequality - I found it thoroughly mindblowing.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 1:12 AM on January 8, 2018

Dan Gilbert, "Stumbling on Happiness" fits, and was good.

Krugman's & Stiglitz work well on this plane.

Less satisfying was Richard Thaler's "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness"

Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" is also very very good.

Ditto for Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies"
posted by nothing.especially.clever at 4:14 AM on January 8, 2018

Agree on Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Leon Lederman used to be director of Fermilab, and wrote a book called The God Particle. It’s dated now, but he does a good job of talking about particle physics theory and—his specialty—experimentation. He talks through how the big supercolliders work and how they’ve evolved over time. I don’t know if there’s a newer version that doesn’t pine for the Texas SSC.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2018

The Brain that Heals Itself. And anything by Oliver Sacks
posted by Enid Lareg at 5:15 PM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

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