Essential Research
October 3, 2021 4:16 PM   Subscribe

I am looking to create a small compendium of contemporary thought for myself. As a guide, I think of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines. The list infers that clinics and hospitals of all nations should have all of them and most medicine cabinets should have at least a few of them.

I'm looking to collect studies that identify just as plainly how I can improve my inner life. And like aspirin, the first piece of research that I'd want to fill my binder with is Justin Kruger and David Dunning's 1999 study, "Unskilled and Unaware of It."

Collections of the great writings of American history have no trouble identifying the Gettysburg Address or Letter from a Birmingham Jail as among their seminal writings. Do you have suggestions for my binder along the lines I'm looking for? A dozen or so key works that overlap and maybe, encapsulate a lot of the human condition.
posted by CollectiveMind to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, I'll bite with Regrettable Substitution; other examples.
posted by BobTheScientist at 10:57 PM on October 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Enjoy Old Age, by B.F. Skinner and M.E. Vaughan
posted by the Real Dan at 1:13 AM on October 4, 2021

Hmm. Your description seems like it could cover a few different fields - philosophy (thinking fairly abstractly about the human condition), social sciences (which would include Dunning Kruger) and self-help (since you say your aim is to improve your inner world).

Each of them is such a huge field it would be a challenge to cover any one of them in 12 books. But I’ll make some suggestions that I guess would fall broadly into the self-help bracket:

Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which I confess is on my “to read some day” list so I probably shouldn’t give it as a recommendation, but I think it would cover well a big segment of the Western Buddhist-inspired mindfulness movement. A lot of the blurb refers specifically to living with pain, anxiety and stress, but the underlying principles are about how to just deal with life.

Or for something more practical along those lines, maybe a better bet would be Mindfulness - A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Danny Penman, J. Mark G. Williams, and Mark Williams.

Self Compassion by Kristin Neff.
posted by penguin pie at 3:25 AM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

There was this list a few years ago, which isn’t exactly the same thing you’re asking about, but overlaps enough that you should be able to get some value from it.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:55 AM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

This article made a big impression on me: "The Futile Pursuit of Happiness", by Jon Gertner. New York Times. Sept. 7, 2003.
posted by alex1965 at 7:03 AM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you.
posted by CollectiveMind at 11:38 AM on October 7, 2021

« Older Where can I travel internationally, responsibly...   |   Spider dude, Spider dude Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments