100 books like Intelligence and How to Get It

By Richard E. Nisbett,

Here are 100 books that Intelligence and How to Get It fans have personally recommended if you like Intelligence and How to Get It. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts

David Millett Author Of The Cure: Imagine There’s No Religion

From my list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest.

Why am I passionate about this?

David Millett is a digital artist. He is an accomplished author, filmmaker, and producer of paper and eBooks. He loves writing, painting, filmmaking, composing, and performing music.

David's book list on love, hate, greed, passion, and self interest

David Millett Why did David love this book?

This book is a joyous exploration of the mind and its thrilling complexities. It will excite anyone interested in cutting-edge science and technology and the vast philosophical, personal, and ethical implications of finally quantifying what consciousness is. How does our brain generate conscious thoughts? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

By Stanislas Dehaene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Consciousness and the Brain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE 2014 BRAIN PRIZE

From the acclaimed author of Reading in the Brain and How We Learn, a breathtaking look at the new science that can track consciousness deep in the brain

How does our brain generate a conscious thought? And why does so much of our knowledge remain unconscious? Thanks to clever psychological and brain-imaging experiments, scientists are closer to cracking this mystery than ever before.

In this lively book, Stanislas Dehaene describes the pioneering work his lab and the labs of other cognitive neuroscientists worldwide have accomplished in defining, testing, and explaining the brain events behind…


Book cover of The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter

Michael Muthukrishna Author Of A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going

From my list on changing how you see the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of economic psychology at the London School of Economics with affiliations in developmental economics and data science. Before that, I was at Harvard in Human Evolutionary Biology. During my PhD, I took graduate courses in psychology, economics, evolutionary biology, and statistics. I have undergraduate degrees in engineering and in psychology and took courses in everything from economics and biology to philosophy and political science. As a child, I witnessed the civil war in Sri Lanka; a violent coup in Papua New Guinea; the end of apartheid in South Africa, living in neighboring Botswana; and London’s 7/7 bomb attacks. I’ve also lived in Australia, Canada, USA, and UK.

Michael's book list on changing how you see the world

Michael Muthukrishna Why did Michael love this book?

Henrich is a frequent collaborator and was my PhD advisor, so I’m somewhat biased, but in my opinion, this remains the best book showcasing the evidence for cultural evolution and dual inheritance theory.

I use it as a second textbook for my undergraduates learning about the foundations of psychological science. 

By Joseph Henrich,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Secret of Our Success as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments. What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in…


Book cover of In the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind

Peter Carruthers Author Of The Centered Mind: What the Science of Working Memory Shows Us about the Nature of Human Thought

From my list on what makes humans so smart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the question of what is innate and what is learned, and how the two things interact to issue in ourselves. It turns out that the innate human capacity for controlled uses of working memory, combined with a suite of other cognitive enhancements, then interact with culture and cultural learning to enable distinctively human forms of life; and that those cognitive enhancements are themselves a product of gene-culture co-evolution.

Peter's book list on what makes humans so smart

Peter Carruthers Why did Peter love this book?

This is an earlier incarnation of the global workspace theory of consciousness (which in turn follows up on Baars’ book from nearly a decade earlier, titled A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness). Although some of the evidence Baars draws on is a little bit dated today, the theory is still valid, and the book is a great read.

By Bernard J. Baars,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Theater of Consciousness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The study of conscious experience has seen remarkable strides in the last ten years, reflecting important technological breakthroughs and the enormous efforts of researchers in disciplines as varied as neuroscience, cognitive science, and philosophy. Although still embroiled in debate, scientists are now beginning to find common ground in their understanding of consciousness, which may pave the way for a unified explanation of how and why we experience and understand
the world around us. Written by eminent psychologist Bernard J. Baars, Inside the Theater of Consciousness: The Workspace of the Mind brings us to the frontlines of this exciting discipline, offering…


Book cover of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

Guy Crosby Ph.D Author Of Cook, Taste, Learn: How the Evolution of Science Transformed the Art of Cooking

From my list on history and future of agriculture, food, and cooking.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I've been fascinated with the beauty of organic molecules. I pursued this passion in graduate school at Brown University and through a postdoctoral position at Stanford University. My professional career began at a startup pharmaceutical company in California, which evolved into research positions in agriculture and food ingredients. After 30 years I retired as a vice-president of research and development for a food ingredients company. I developed a passion for food and cooking and subsequently acquired a position as the science editor for America’s Test Kitchen, which I held for over 12 years. Today at the age of 80 I still write and publish scientific papers and books about food, cooking, and nutrition.

Guy's book list on history and future of agriculture, food, and cooking

Guy Crosby Ph.D Why did Guy love this book?

This book was the inspiration for my book and was written by a professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. It sets out a convincing argument that cooking may have been started by the earliest humans about 2 million years ago, which is far earlier than most anthropologists believe. Much of Wrangham’s arguments are based on his own research that illustrates how cooking provided better nutrition resulting in the expansion of the human brain by 60% over thousands of years giving humans a head-start over all other living species. 

By Richard Wrangham,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Catching Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus. At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: The habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as "the cooking apes".

Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about…


Book cover of The Nature of Human Intelligence

Paul Thagard Author Of Bots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart?

From my list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by the highest achievements of human intelligence while a graduate student in philosophy working on the discovery and justification of scientific theories. Shortly after I got my PhD, I started working with cognitive psychologists who gave me an appreciation for empirical studies of intelligent thinking. Psychology led me to computational modeling of intelligence and I learned to build my own models. Much later a graduate student got me interested in questions about intelligence in non-human animals. After teaching a course on intelligence in machines, humans, and other animals, I decided to write a book that provides a systematic comparison: Bots and Beasts.  

Paul's book list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines

Paul Thagard Why did Paul love this book?

This collection of essays gives a good overview of current psychological research on human intelligence, ranging from traditional IQ research to criticisms of it by Robert Sternberg and Howard Gardner. It also includes overviews of research on cultural and brain aspects of intelligence. One startling observation is how little psychologists agree on a definition of intelligence.

By Robert J. Sternberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The study of human intelligence features many points of consensus, but there are also many different perspectives. In this unique book Robert J. Sternberg invites the nineteen most highly cited psychological scientists in the leading textbooks on human intelligence to share their research programs and findings. Each chapter answers a standardized set of questions on the measurement, investigation, and development of intelligence - and the outcome represents a wide range of substantive and methodological emphases including psychometric, cognitive, expertise-based, developmental, neuropsychological, genetic, cultural, systems, and group-difference approaches. This is an exciting and valuable course book for upper-level students to learn…


Book cover of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Lars Chittka Author Of The Mind of a Bee

From my list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Sensory and Behavioural Ecology at Queen Mary College of the University of London and also the founder of the Research Centre for Psychology at Queen Mary. I've been fascinated by the strange world of insects since childhood and after taking the first glance into a beehive, I was hooked – I instantly knew that I was looking into a form of alien civilization. Since becoming a scientist, I have explored their strange perceptual worlds as well as their intelligence, and most recently the question of their consciousness. I hope you find wonderful insights in the books that I have suggested and a new respect for the animal minds that surround us. 

Lars' book list on animal intelligence – from aliens to octopuses

Lars Chittka Why did Lars love this book?

This captivating book dismantles the prevalent notion that various facets of human intelligence are exclusive to our species.

Through a compelling array of examples spanning the animal kingdom, the author illuminates how skills like crafting tools, understanding mental perspectives, recognizing oneself, and even exhibiting cultural practices are not confined to humans and their nearest kin. Instead, these abilities have independently emerged in a diverse array of other creatures.

Consequently, the book serves as a stimulating challenge to the idea of human superiority, offering numerous indications that when an animal's environment demands it, evolution is inclined to yield intelligent behavior in a myriad of manifestations.

By Frans de Waal,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hailed as a classic, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? explores the oddities and complexities of animal cognition-in crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, chimpanzees, and bonobos-to reveal how smart animals really are, and how we've underestimated their abilities for too long. Did you know that octopuses use coconut shells as tools, that elephants classify humans by gender and language, and that there is a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame? Fascinating, entertaining, and deeply informed, de Waal's landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you…


Book cover of Architects of Intelligence: The truth about AI from the people building it

Paul Thagard Author Of Bots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart?

From my list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by the highest achievements of human intelligence while a graduate student in philosophy working on the discovery and justification of scientific theories. Shortly after I got my PhD, I started working with cognitive psychologists who gave me an appreciation for empirical studies of intelligent thinking. Psychology led me to computational modeling of intelligence and I learned to build my own models. Much later a graduate student got me interested in questions about intelligence in non-human animals. After teaching a course on intelligence in machines, humans, and other animals, I decided to write a book that provides a systematic comparison: Bots and Beasts.  

Paul's book list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines

Paul Thagard Why did Paul love this book?

This book provides a good introduction to the current state of machine intelligence through interviews with many leading practitioners including Geoffrey Hinton, Yann LeCun, Stuart Russell, and Demis Hassabis (DeepMind). You will get a sense of both of AI’s recent accomplishments and how far it falls short of full human intelligence.

By Martin Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Financial Times Best Books of the Year 2018

TechRepublic Top Books Every Techie Should Read

Book Description

How will AI evolve and what major innovations are on the horizon? What will its impact be on the job market, economy, and society? What is the path toward human-level machine intelligence? What should we be concerned about as artificial intelligence advances?

Architects of Intelligence contains a series of in-depth, one-to-one interviews where New York Times bestselling author, Martin Ford, uncovers the truth behind these questions from some of the brightest minds in the Artificial Intelligence community.

Martin has wide-ranging conversations with twenty-three…


Book cover of How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now

Paul Thagard Author Of Bots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart?

From my list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated by the highest achievements of human intelligence while a graduate student in philosophy working on the discovery and justification of scientific theories. Shortly after I got my PhD, I started working with cognitive psychologists who gave me an appreciation for empirical studies of intelligent thinking. Psychology led me to computational modeling of intelligence and I learned to build my own models. Much later a graduate student got me interested in questions about intelligence in non-human animals. After teaching a course on intelligence in machines, humans, and other animals, I decided to write a book that provides a systematic comparison: Bots and Beasts.  

Paul's book list on intelligence in humans, animals, and machines

Paul Thagard Why did Paul love this book?

Stanislas Dehaene is one of the leading European cognitive scientists and this book provides a deep discussion of the neuroscience of learning, a key component of intelligence. He makes a strong case that current machine learning techniques are inferior to the processes that operate in human brains even in the womb. He draws out important implications for education concerning how people learn best.

By Stanislas Dehaene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"There are words that are so familiar they obscure rather than illuminate the thing they mean, and 'learning' is such a word. It seems so ordinary, everyone does it. Actually it's more of a black box, which Dehaene cracks open to reveal the awesome secrets within."--The New York Times Book Review

An illuminating dive into the latest science on our brain's remarkable learning abilities and the potential of the machines we program to imitate them

The human brain is an extraordinary learning machine. Its ability to reprogram itself is unparalleled, and it remains the best source of inspiration for recent…


Book cover of All Are Welcome

Tanya Valentine Author Of Little Taco Truck

From my list on diversity & inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the white parent of both a white child and a child of color, the discrepancies of representation and inclusivity in children’s literature is an important conversation in our home. Seeing themselves in books allows all children to dream big, feel seen, and know there is a place in this world for them. I hope both of my books, All Bears Need Love and Little Taco Truck do exactly that. I know the list of brilliant books I’ve suggested here are wonderful examples of inclusivity and diversity that young readers need.

Tanya's book list on diversity & inclusion

Tanya Valentine Why did Tanya love this book?

All Are Welcome Here follows school children throughout their day to reveal and celebrate many cultures, backgrounds, nationalities, races, body types, clothes, food, etc. Everyone is represented in this beautiful book, allowing children to find themselves and their families among the pages. The repetition of “All are welcome here” throughout the story reinforces the simple and important Celebration of diversity and inclusivity. 

By Alexandra Penfold, Suzanne Kaufman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bright and uplifting celebration of cultural diversity and belonging, where all children are welcome in the classroom 'If your little one is a little nervous about fitting in and whether they'll belong at school, pick up All Are Welcome' Barnes & Noble No matter how you start your day, What you wear when you play, Or if you come from far away, All are welcome here. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children in patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side. A school where…


Book cover of The Interpretation of Cultures

Robert Darnton Author Of Pirating and Publishing: The Book Trade in the Age of Enlightenment

From my list on anthropology for lovers of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an emeritus professor from Harvard and have spent decades trying to develop an anthropological mode of understanding history. Far from being “one damned thing after another,” as Henry Ford allegedly put it, history is an attempt to understand the human condition. It brings us into contact with people in the past, showing us how they thought, felt, and acted. For many decades, anthropologists have endeavored to do the same thing, concentrating on people separated from us by space rather than time. By applying anthropological insights to historical research, I think it is possible to make the past come alive to modern readers, while at the same time making it interesting and even amusing.

Robert's book list on anthropology for lovers of history

Robert Darnton Why did Robert love this book?

This collection of essays by one of the greatest anthropologists of the last century inspired a whole generation of historians—for example, Joan Scott and William Sewell, Jr. as well as myself.  The essays also should appeal to the general reader because of their well-wrought style and wit.  Drawing on Max Weber, Geertz treats cultures as symbolic systems and shows how they helped ordinary people make sense of the world.  Far from wandering off into abstractions, he offers fine-grained descriptions of actual events, notably a Balinese cockfight in an essay that has been cited and debated endlessly among social scientists.

By Clifford Geertz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Interpretation of Cultures, the most original anthropologist of his generation moved far beyond the traditional confines of his discipline to develop an important new concept of culture. This groundbreaking book, winner of the 1974 Sorokin Award of the American Sociological Association, helped define for an entire generation of anthropologists what their field is ultimately about.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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