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Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true?Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.
Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power
A riveting tour through the landscape and meaning of modern conspiracy theories, exploring the causes and tenacity of this American malady, from Birthers to Pizzagate and beyond.American society has always been fertile ground for conspiracy theories, but with the election of Donald Trump, previously outlandish ideas suddenly attained legitimacy. Trump himself is a conspiracy enthusiast: from his claim that global warming is a Chinese hoax to the accusations of “fake news,” he has fanned the flames of suspicion.But it was not by the power of one man alone that these ideas gained new power. Republic of Lies looks beyond the caricatures of conspiracy theorists to explain their tenacity. Without lending the theories validity, Anna Merlan gives a nuanced, sympathetic account of the people behind them, across the political spectrum, and the circumstances that helped them take hold. The lack of a social safety net, inadequate education, bitter culture wars, and years of economic insecurity have created large groups of people who feel forgotten by their government and even besieged by it. Our contemporary conditions are a perfect petri dish for conspiracy movements: a durable, permanent, elastic climate of alienation and resentment. All the while, an army of politicians and conspiracy-peddlers has fanned the flames of suspicion to serve their own ends.Bringing together penetrating historical analysis and gripping on-the-ground reporting, Republic of Lies transforms our understanding of American paranoia.
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die
The levels of inequality in the world today are on a scale that have not been seen in our lifetimes, yet the disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. In The Broken Ladder psychologist Keith Payne examines how inequality divides us not just economically; it also has profound consequences for how we think, how we respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and even how we view moral concepts such as justice and fairness.Research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics has not only revealed important new insights into how inequality changes people in predictable ways but also provided a corrective to the flawed view of poverty as being the result of individual character failings. Among modern developed societies, inequality is not primarily a matter of the actual amount of money people have. It is, rather, people's sense of where they stand in relation to others. Feeling poor matters - not just being poor. Regardless of their average incomes, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social maladies we associate with poverty, including lower than average life expectancies, serious health problems, mental illness, and crime.The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, and why they have them at a younger age; why there is little trust among the working class in the prudence of investing for the future; why people's perception of their social status affects their political beliefs and leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels as effectively as actual physical threats; how inequality in the workplace affects performance; and why unequal societies tend to become more religious. Understanding how inequality shapes our world can help us better understand what drives ideological divides, why high inequality makes the middle class feel left behind, and how to disconnect from the endless treadmill of social comparison.
The Quick Fix: Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills
An investigative journalist exposes the many holes in today’s bestselling behavioral science, and argues that the trendy, TED-Talk-friendly psychological interventions that are so in vogue at the moment will never be enough to truly address social injustice and inequality.With their viral TED talks, bestselling books, and counter-intuitive remedies for complicated problems, psychologists and other social scientists have become the reigning thinkers of our time. Grit and “power posing” promised to help overcome entrenched inequalities in schools and the workplace; the Army spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a positive psychology intervention geared at preventing PTSD in its combat soldiers; and the implicit association test swept the nation on the strength of the claim that it can reveal unconscious biases and reduce racism in police departments and human resources departments.But what if much of the science underlying these blockbuster ideas is dubious or fallacious? What if Americans’ longstanding preference for simplistic self-help platitudes is exerting a pernicious influence on the way behavioral science is communicated and even funded, leading respected academics and the media astray?In The Quick Fix, Jesse Singal examines the most influential ideas of recent decades and the shaky science that supports them. He begins with the California legislator who introduced self-esteem into classrooms around the country in the 1980s and the Princeton political scientist who warned of an epidemic of youthful “superpredators” in the 1990s. In both cases, a much-touted idea had little basis in reality, but had a massive impact. Turning toward the explosive popularity of 21st-century social psychology, Singal examines the misleading appeal of entertaining lab results and critiques the idea that subtle unconscious cues shape our behavior. As he shows, today’s popular behavioral science emphasizes repairing, improving, and optimizing individuals rather than truly understanding and confronting the larger structural forces that drive social ills.Like Anand Giridharadas’s Winners Take All, The Quick Fix is a fresh and powerful indictment of the thought leaders and influencers who cut corners as they sell the public half-baked solutions to problems that deserve more serious treatment.
Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals That Direct Our Lives
Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?”In search of a common answer, Gelfand has spent two decades conducting research in more than fifty countries. Across all age groups, family variations, social classes, businesses, states and nationalities, she’s identified a primal pattern that can trigger cooperation or conflict. Her fascinating conclusion: behavior is highly influenced by the perception of threat.With an approach that is consistently riveting, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers thrusts many of the puzzling attitudes and actions we observe into sudden and surprising clarity.
Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side
What is it about evil that we find so compelling? From our obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture, we seem inescapably drawn to the stories of monstrous acts and the aberrant people who commit them. But evil, Dr. Julia Shaw argues, is all relative, rooted in our unique cultures. What one may consider normal, like sex before marriage, eating meat, or being a banker, others find abhorrent. And if evil is only in the eye of the beholder, can it be said to exist at all? In Evil, Shaw uses case studies from academia, examples from and popular culture, and anecdotes from everyday life to break down complex information and concepts like the neuroscience of evil, the psychology of bloodlust, and workplace misbehavior. This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.
The Social Leap: The New Evolutionary Science of Who We Are, Where We Come From, and What Makes Us Happy
Von Hippel, William
A groundbreaking and eye-opening exploration that applies evolutionary science to provide a new perspective on human psychology, revealing how major challenges from our past have shaped some of the most fundamental aspects of our being.The most fundamental aspects of our lives—from leadership and innovation to aggression and happiness—were permanently altered by the "social leap" our ancestors made from the rainforest to the savannah. Their struggle to survive on the open grasslands required a shift from individualism to a new form of collectivism, which forever altered the way our mind works. It changed the way we fight and our proclivity to make peace, it changed the way we lead and the way we follow, it made us innovative but not inventive, it created a new kind of social intelligence, and it led to new sources of life satisfaction.In The Social Leap, William von Hippel lays out this revolutionary hypothesis, tracing human development through three critical evolutionary inflection points to explain how events in our distant past shape our lives today. From the mundane, such as why we exaggerate, to the surprising, such as why we believe our own lies and why fame and fortune are as likely to bring misery as happiness, the implications are far reaching and extraordinary.Blending anthropology, biology, history, and psychology with evolutionary science, The Social Leap is a fresh and provocative look at our species that provides new clues about who we are, what makes us happy, and how to use this knowledge to improve our lives.
Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias
Uncovers the science behind our "unintentional" biases using real world stories underpinned by scientific theories and research.Experiments have shown that our brains categorize people by race in less than one-tenth of a second, about 50 milliseconds before determining sex. This means that we are labeling people by race and associating certain characteristics to them without even hearing them speak or getting to know them. This subtle cognitive process starts in the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with strong emotions.Does this mean that unconscious biases are hardwired into our brains as an evolutionary response, or do they emerge from assimilating information that we see around us? In Sway, author Pragya Agarwal uncovers the science behind our "unintentional" biases. Using real world stories underpinned by scientific theories and research, this book unravels the way our unconscious biases are affecting the way we communicate, make decisions and perceive the world. A wide range of implicit biases are covered, including left-handedness, age-ism, sexism and aversive racism, and by using research and theories from a wide range of disciplines, including social science, psychology, biology and neuroscience, readers learn how these biases manifest and whether there is anything we can do about them.
Clash! How to Thrive in a Multicultural World
Markus, Hazel Rose
As our planet gets smaller, cultural conflicts are becoming fiercer. Rather than lamenting our multicultural worlds, Hazel Rose Markus and Alana Conner reveal how we can leverage our differences to mend the rifts in our workplaces, schools, and relationships, as well as on the global stage. Provocative, witty, and painstakingly researched, Clash! not only explains who we are, it also envisions who we could become.
Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Jon Ronson has been on patrol with America's real-life superheroes and to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams. He's met a man who tried to split the atom in his kitchen and asked a conscious robot if she's got a soul.Fascinated by madness, strange behaviour and the human mind, Jon has spent his life exploring mysterious events and meeting extraordinary people. Collected from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ) Lost at Sea features the very best of his adventures.Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these fascinating stories of the chaos that lies on the fringe of our daily lives will have you wondering just what we're capable of.
Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing To Us
By the author of The Unpersuadables, this thrilling and ambitious book explores the mysterious power of the self and reveals the danger of our modern obsession with it.We live in the age of the individual. Every day, we’re bombarded with depictions of the beautiful, successful, slim, socially conscious, and extroverted individual that our culture has decided is the perfect self, and we berate ourselves when we don’t measure up. This model of the perfect self and the impossibly high standards it sets can be extremely dangerous. People are suffering under the torture of this impossible fantasy, and unprecedented social pressure is leading to increases in depression and suicide. Journalist and novelist Will Storr began to wonder about this perfect self that torments so many of us: Where does this ideal come from? Why is it so powerful? Is there any way to break its spell?To answer these questions, Storr takes the reader on a journey from the shores of Ancient Greece, through the Christian Middle Ages, to the self-esteem evangelists of 1980s California, the rise of narcissism and the “selfie” generation, and right up to the era of hyper-individualism in which we live now. Selfie tells the epic tale of the person we all know so intimately - because it’s us.
Becker, Howard S.
Howard Becker's Outsiders broke new ground in the early 1960s, arguing that social deviance is a more common phenomenon than perceived and the conventional wisdom that social deviants are pathological in incorrect. Becker's seminal study remains the most piercing exploration about unconventional individuals and their position in "normal" society.
When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away with Murder
Why do some women murder their children? Why do others team up with men in ghoulish killing sprees? What motivates the female serial killer?When She Was Bad explores the enigmatic heart of female darkness, drawing into focus such fascinating characters as Dorothea Puente, who murdered several elderly tenants in her boarding house in Sacramento; Mary Beth Tinning, who killed eight of her children in upstate New York; Karla Homolka, who joined forces with Paul Bernardo to abduct, rape and murder school girls in southern Ontario; and Karla Faye Tucker, the born-again Christian who was executed in Texas for having killed two people with a pickax.In this provocative book, Patricia Pearson explores women's innate capacity for aggression, an idea we remain deeply uncomfortable with.
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