100 books like A Matter of Taste

By Stanley Lieberson,

Here are 100 books that A Matter of Taste fans have personally recommended if you like A Matter of Taste. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Fergus Craik Author Of Memory

From my list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cognitive psychologist, originally from Scotland, but I have lived and worked in Canada for the last 50 years, first at the University of Toronto, and then at a research institute in Toronto. My passion has always been to understand the human mind – especially memory – through experimental research. Memory is fundamental to our mental life as humans; to a large extent it defines who we are. It is a complex and fascinating topic, and my career has been devoted to devising experiments and theories to understand it better. In our recent book, Larry Jacoby and I attempt to pass on the excitement of unravelling these fascinating mysteries of memory.

Fergus' book list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't

Fergus Craik Why did Fergus love this book?

This bestselling book is not so much about your memory as how to implant lasting memories in others.

How is it that some events and pieces of information are amazingly memorable, whereas others are lost as soon as our mental backs are turned? In a series of entertaining real-life examples, the authors propose and illustrate ways in which information can be “made to stick.” These include some obvious ones like getting people’s attention and building on their existing knowledge – stuff they are interested in.

Other factors are less obvious; set up an intriguing puzzle, provide some really unexpected information, especially of an emotional kind, embed the new information in an attention-grabbing story. Of course knowing how to teach effectively also reveals much about how memory works!

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Made to Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does fake news stick while the truth goes missing?

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes, it shows:

- how an Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria

- how a gifted sports reporter got people…


Book cover of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Neil Archer Author Of The Social Network: Youth Film 2.0

From my list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a fixation with films about or using digital technology: my work in this area is about trying to grasp the impacts of technological change on the world in which we live. In writing about The Social Network, I was gripped by the idea that a group of college kids could create something so contagious and monstrous as Facebook. More recently, I’ve been exploring the impacts of data on our understanding and management of sport. I’m also working on a long-term project about Pixar, a long-term fascination. I just love the idea that the films we and our children watch started out with a bunch of computer scientists, playing around with polygons.

Neil's book list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life

Neil Archer Why did Neil love this book?

How did Hush Puppies become cool again? This is just one of the questions answered in Gladwell’s first and possibly still most influential book.

Gladwell is essentially a detective of cultural phenomena, which is probably why his writing has such an influence on what I do; both in terms of my book and my current work on sport.

While it never actually mentions computers, The Tipping Point, which analyses the social forces, networks, and mathematics that make things go viral (before the phrase ‘go viral’ went, well, viral) anticipates the impacts of Web 2.0. Little wonder that Sean Parker, of Napster and later Facebook fame, was so fond of quoting it.

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Tipping Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to the Tipping Point theory explains how minor changes in ideas and products can increase their popularity and how small adjustments in an individual's immediate environment can alter group behavior.


Book cover of Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You

Jonah Berger Author Of Contagious: Why Things Catch on

From my list on make anything catch on.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

Jonah's book list on make anything catch on

Jonah Berger Why did Jonah love this book?

Many of the books by Seth Godin are amazing, but this is a personal favorite.

Great ideas aren't just ideas; they're like viruses. They spread from person to person in powerful, unexpected ways. The book explores this idea and talks about some of the factors that lead ideas to spread and some of the consequences of their diffusion.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Unleashing the Ideavirus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seth Godin examines how companies like Napster and Hotmail have successfully launched idea viruses - a customer-to-customer dialogue. He offers a recipe to creating your own idea virus and shows how businesses can use idea virus marketing to succeed in a world that doesn't want to hear from traditional marketeers anymore.


Book cover of Diffusion of Innovations

Jonah Berger Author Of Contagious: Why Things Catch on

From my list on make anything catch on.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

Jonah's book list on make anything catch on

Jonah Berger Why did Jonah love this book?

Decades ago, Everett Rogers wondered why some farmers adopted a type of corn seed while others didn’t. But once he studied that, he wondered whether similar factors might drive the adoption of all sorts of innovations, from new pharmaceutical drugs to the internet.

This book is a trove of useful insights into how ideas and concepts spread through society/culture.  It covers the S curve of diffusion, innovators, and laggards, and a variety of other things.

By Everett M. Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diffusion of Innovations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fifth edition, Diffusion of Innovations is a classic work on the spread of new ideas.

In this renowned book, Everett M. Rogers, professor and chair of the Department of Communication & Journalism at the University of New Mexico, explains how new ideas spread via communication channels over time. Such innovations are initially perceived as uncertain and even risky. To overcome this uncertainty, most people seek out others like themselves who have already adopted the new idea. Thus the diffusion process consists of a few individuals who first adopt an innovation, then spread the word among their circle…


Book cover of The Other Pareto

Christopher Adair-Toteff Author Of Vilfredo Pareto's Contributions to Modern Social Theory: A Centennial Appraisal

From my list on Vilfredo Pareto’s sociological writings.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was trained as a philosopher and have been a professor of philosophy for more than three decades. Beginning with Plato, I have been persuaded that reason is powerful. I am also a social theorist and have published scholarly books on Max Weber, Ferdinand Tönnies, and Raymond Aron. Yet Pareto’s writings have convinced me that people are most often motivated by interests and passions and then use reasons to justify their behavior. Plato showed people as they ought to be; Pareto showed them as they are. Philosophy is important, but so is Pareto’s social psychology.

Christopher's book list on Vilfredo Pareto’s sociological writings

Christopher Adair-Toteff Why did Christopher love this book?

The Other Pareto contains one of the best accounts of Pareto’s thinking. He provides a fuller context regarding Pareto's place in social thinking. 

Bucolo began with Pareto’s early writings from 1872 and proceeds to provide an explanation of Pareto’s ideas until Pareto’s death in 1923. Bucolo provided massive quotations from Pareto’s writings to support and document his interpretation.

By Placido Bucolo (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Other Pareto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

308p hardback with green laminated jacket, as new, dense ink notes to front endpapers, pages clean with bibliography and index, very good


Book cover of Social Theory and Social Structure

Jack Nusan Porter Author Of If Only You Could Bottle It: Memoirs of a Radical Son

From my list on the sociology of genocide and evil.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an immigrant child-survivor of the Holocaust, came to America after living in a DP camp in Linz, Austria in 1947 with my wonderful parents. We lost 25 members of our family to the Nazis so I “know evil”. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, went to Washington High School, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Northwestern University where I received a Ph.D. in sociology and studied with one of the best sociologists of deviance (Howie Becker). I combined sociology with deviance, evil, the Holocaust, and genocide, but as a progressive Zionist, I added socialist and kibbutz-life. All these things make up my memoir If Only You Could Bottle It: Memoirs of a Radical Son.

Jack's book list on the sociology of genocide and evil

Jack Nusan Porter Why did Jack love this book?

As I said, sociology can be filled with inscrutable jargon, but there are still classic theory books that I recommend.

Ok, it pays to have taken some sociology classes, but the following two books are important: Robert K. Merton’s Social Theory and Social Structure with its twin essays: the bearing of social theory on research and the bearing of research on social theory.

But despite Merton’s elegant theorizing, he was a genius at coining phrases that have entered out language: anomie, bureaucratic structure, reference groups, the self-fulfilling prophecy, and my favorite, actually taken from the Bible—the Mathew Effect, those who have will have more and those who don’t have will have less; meaning if you get a lot of honors, you’ll get more honors; if you have a lot of money, you’ll get more money and the poor people on the bottom will get few honors and money and will…

By Robert K. Merton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Theory and Social Structure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Social Theory and Social Structure was a landmark publication in sociology by Robert K. Merton. It has been translated into close to 20 languages and is one of the most frequently cited texts in social sciences. It was first published in 1949, although revised editions of 1957 and 1968 are often cited. In 1998 the International Sociological Association listed this work as the third most important sociological book of the 20th century. The book introduced many important concepts in sociology, like: manifest and latent functions and dysfunctions, obliteration by incorporation, reference groups, self-fulfilling prophecy, middle-range theory and others


Book cover of Visual and Other Pleasures

Hanna Flint Author Of Strong Female Character

From my list on championing women in cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a London-based critic, author, and host whose love affair with film began after seeing The Lion King in the cinema as a kid. I trained as a journalist because I wanted to talk about the world. Since then I’ve been covering film and culture for the likes of Empire Magazine, Time Out, and IGN. I co-host MTV Movies and the weekly film reviews podcast Fade to Black; co-founder of The First Film Club event series and podcast, and am a member of London's Critics' Circle. I'm a voice for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry and an advocate for MENA representation as a writer of Tunisian heritage.

Hanna's book list on championing women in cinema

Hanna Flint Why did Hanna love this book?

One of the most influential thinkers and writers on feminist film theory, Mulvey’s groundbreaking essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” is one of many that tackle the representation of women in art and culture and how these mediums might impede or aid the women’s movement.

Mulvey was a great resource for my own book in analysing the overt sexualisation of female characters on screen to cater to the so-called Male Gaze and misogynistic pleasures.

By L. Mulvey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Visual and Other Pleasures as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new edition of Laura Mulvey's groundbreaking collection of essays, originally published in 1989. In an extensive introduction to this second edition, Mulvey looks back at the historical and personal contexts for her famous article Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema , and reassesses her theories in the light of new technologies.


Book cover of Bauman: A Biography

Jane Stork Author Of Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom

From my list on understanding the human condition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in rural Western Australia, married young, traveled with my geologist husband in the Outback until our children were born, and was settling down to becoming a housewife and mother in a Perth suburb when an Indian guru crossed my path. In no time at all, I packed up my family and we moved to India. Four years later I followed my guru when he went to America, and four years after that, I found myself behind bars. Understanding what led me there, and facing the consequences, was to occupy me for many years to come. I continue to have a deep and abiding interest in what makes us tick and why we do the things we do.

Jane's book list on understanding the human condition

Jane Stork Why did Jane love this book?

I had never heard of Zygmunt Bauman when I picked up this book, but then I couldn’t put it down. By the time I had finished reading it, I was filled with the deepest appreciation and respect for both the man, and his biographer. Bauman’s life spanned almost a hundred years and his story is also the story of Europe, from 1925-2017.

Izabela Wagner has done monumental work to produce a biography worthy of its subject. Her loving respect for Bauman is tangible and adds greatly to the pleasure of reading the story of this extraordinary man’s life: Polish Jew, refugee, soldier, sociologist; an intellectual who spent his life reflecting on what he saw, and speaking and writing about it with pristine clarity.

By Izabela Wagner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bauman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Global thinker, public intellectual and world-famous theorist of 'liquid modernity', Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was a scholar who, despite forced migration, built a very successful academic career and, after retirement, became a prolific and popular writer and an intellectual talisman for young people everywhere. He was one of those rare scholars who, grey-haired and in his eighties, had his finger on the pulse of the youth.

This is the first comprehensive biography of Bauman's life and work. Izabela Wagner returns to Bauman's native Poland and recounts his childhood in an assimilated Polish Jewish family and the school experiences shaped by anti-Semitism.…


Book cover of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

Bryn Nelson Author Of Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

From my list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a trained microbiologist who received my doctorate from the University of Washington and who has long been fascinated by the natural world—whether microscopic or gigantic, within us or all around us. For more than 20 years, I’ve also been an award-winning science writer who has written for publications like The New York Times, Nature, Wired, and Scientific American. Ever since I wrote about the incredible ability of fecal transplants to cure a deadly bacterial infection, I’ve been obsessed with books that explore how the seemingly gross or ordinary things we often dismiss as lacking value have the power to transform both us and the planet.   

Bryn's book list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation

Bryn Nelson Why did Bryn love this book?

This superb book was one of the first to raise the issue of how poorly we’ve considered our waste and what to do with it, and it was a big inspiration for me.

It’s thoughtful and incredibly well-researched, packed full of amazing historical details, and provides a compelling case for how and why we should get our shit together—literally. I learned so much from this book, and it really encouraged me to keep digging and exploring how we might reimagine our human output. Just an excellent read and a compelling case for change.  

By Rose George,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Big Necessity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Produced behind closed doors, disposed of discreetly, hidden by euphemism, shit is rarely out in the open in 'civilized' society, but the world of waste - and the people who deal with it, work with it and in it - is a rich one.This book takes us underground to the sewers of New York and London and overground to meet the heroes of India's sanitation movement, American sewage schoolteachers, the Japanese genius at the cutting edge of toilet technology and the biosolids lobbying team. With a journalist's nose for story and a campaigner's desire for change, Rose George also addresses…


Book cover of It's Not You, It's the Dishes: How to Minimize Conflict and Maximize Happiness in Your Relationship

Emily Guy Birken Author Of Making Social Security Work for You: Advice, Strategies, and Timelines That Can Maximize Your Benefits

From my list on changing the way you look at money.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was about 8, I remember taking all the money out of my piggy bank, counting it, and carefully putting it back in again. My sister called me Ms. Moneybags. But I wasn’t worried about accumulating money. I was fascinated by money’s pure potential. I could do anything with it! From that early interest in the potential of money, I grew to be an avid reader of financial books–and that led to a surprise career as a money writer. I still love to think about money’s potential and the best ways to allocate that potential, and I love to bring my readers with me on the fascinating journey.

Emily's book list on changing the way you look at money

Emily Guy Birken Why did Emily love this book?

Szuchman and Anderson use the framework of economics principles to look at marital relationships. Though the book was written as more of a self-help marriage guide, it’s an excellent introductory primer to many economic theories. 

Every chapter introduces and defines an economic theory–including moral hazard, comparative advantage, loss aversion, supply and demand, and incentives. Then the authors profile a married couple in crisis and describe how the economic theory fits the marital problem.

It’s a fascinating way of narrowing the larger issues of how to allocate scarce resources into the domestic sphere. I found applying economic theories to married couple fights helped me better understand economics as a whole, and the ways I make decisions in every part of my life.

Additionally, this book can be laugh-out-loud funny.

By Paula Szuchman, Jenny Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It's Not You, It's the Dishes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your marriage is fine, right? Sure, there are showdowns over who unloads more dishes, and some simmering discontent over who drives more car pools, cleans more dust bunnies, and keeps the social wheels of your existence greased. The sex is good, though you can’t remember when you last had it. Come to think of it, you’re plagued by a nagging sense that marriage used to be so much more fun. Marriage can be a mysterious, often irrational business. But the key, propose Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson in this incomparable and engaging book, is to think like an economist. We…


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