With little time on my hands recently, I have found that the amount of nonfiction I read has been steadily increasing. No narrative arc to follow. I can read multiple books at a time easily. Chapters often stand alone successfully, allowing me to jump around in a text and select that which interests me most. Skimming often. But a few in the last month or two have held my attention entirely.
- Language: The Cultural Tool by Daniel Everett - Aggressively challenges certain linguistic assumptions and shows how waning linguistic diversity corresponds with waning cultural diversity.
- "Multiplication is for White People" by Lisa Delpit - There is no achievement gap at birth. Enough said.
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt - "His starting point is moral intuition—the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures. But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim—that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation."
- How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer - From the Author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist. A brilliant, fast-paced read that I loved for the fact that it employed the latest findings in neuroscience to champion my own personal and constant self-justification of the conflation of reason and emotion.
- Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer - Came at a time when a friend at work shared a belief that creativity is not an innate gift but something that can be developed. A belief I share and found echoed here. But especially loved the focus upon creativity and productivity - making a vision real. It takes hard work, a cultivation of one's creativity and not a muse tapping you on the shoulder beckoning you into an afternoon of daydreaming. Which I, of course, have no objection to. But wish to touch the best my head holds in many instances.