10 books like Interaction Ritual

By Erving Goffman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Interaction Ritual. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Birth and Death of Meaning

By Ernest Becker,

Book cover of The Birth and Death of Meaning

This is to me is the best book ever written for understanding what human beings are, how we are similar to and different from other animal species, how we develop from helpless newborns to fully functioning adults, and what we are striving for in our lives. Most nonfiction books make a point and then repeat it over and over with examples and anecdotes. In contrast, The Birth and Death of Meaning begins with evolution and progresses logically from its first page to its last. When you finish this book, you will have a much better understanding of yourself, the people in your life, historical and current events, and problems ranging from anxiety and depression to interpersonal conflict to prejudice.  

The Birth and Death of Meaning

By Ernest Becker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Birth and Death of Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Uses the disciplines of psychology, anthropology, sociology and psychiatry to explain what makes people act the way they do.


Steps to an Ecology of Mind

By Gregory Bateson,

Book cover of Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Gregory Bateson, an intellectual maverick, had an evolutionary rule named after him when he was a teenager, (his father was a famed geneticist), was the formulator, along with Jurgen Ruesch, of the double-bind hypothesis of schizophrenia, and was a pioneer in the field of mammalian communication. Given its wide range of address to issues within evolutionary biology, psychiatry, anthropology, systems theory, cybernetics, and communication theory, this is a classic “must read” collection of short essays. Bateson’s unrelentingly original and provocative analyses provoke thought and defy any easy categorization. At the very least, he shows how mammalian play, as multileveled interaction, paves the way for the evolution of human language, and also, how human interaction, with its multiple logical types and different kinds of learning, occurs at various levels of abstraction.

Steps to an Ecology of Mind

By Gregory Bateson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steps to an Ecology of Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gregory Bateson was a philosopher, anthropologist, photographer, naturalist, and poet, as well as the husband and collaborator of Margaret Mead. With a new foreword by his daughter Mary Katherine Bateson, this classic anthology of his major work will continue to delight and inform generations of readers.

"This collection amounts to a retrospective exhibition of a working life. . . . Bateson has come to this position during a career that carried him not only into anthropology, for which he was first trained, but into psychiatry, genetics, and communication theory. . . . He . . . examines the nature of…


Philosophy in a New Key

By Susanne K. Langer,

Book cover of Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art

Susanne K. Langer was a philosopher of aesthetics, and a specialist in the nature of symbolism and language. This classic book, dedicated to Alfred North Whitehead, contains her now somewhat famous distinction between “presentational forms” and “discursive forms,” which refers, roughly to symbolism such as sculpture and architecture which present much-at-once, and symbolism such as music and language which disclose their meaning linearly over time. She also brilliantly lays out her views on “Language,” where in a chapter by that name, she critiques instinct theories, challenges naïve views, and speculates on how human beings are evolutionary descendants of singing, dancing, pantomiming apes.

Philosophy in a New Key

By Susanne K. Langer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Philosophy in a New Key as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Modern theories of meaning usually culminate in a critique of science. This book presents a study of human intelligence beginning with a semantic theory and leading into a critique of music.

By implication it sets up a theory of all the arts; the transference of its basic concepts to other arts than music is not developed, but it is sketched, mainly in the chapter on artistic import. Thoughtful readers of the original edition discovered these far-reaching ideas quickly enough as the career of the book shows: it is as applicable to literature, art and music as to the field of…


The Rhetoric of Religion

By Kenneth Burke,

Book cover of The Rhetoric of Religion

Kenneth Burke was Shakespeare scholar, biblical scholar, poet, novelist, literary critic, rhetorical theorist, the father of “Dramatism,” and a ferocious homegrown, self-taught intellect, and this book is Burke at his best. It boldly addresses the vital role that language plays in human life and religious thought, advocates a thoroughgoing study of theology not to assess any veracity therein, but rather, as a specimen of language use, for, whatever else theology may be, it is, at the least, verbal, and, the study of religious language reveals much about human motives and self-understanding. This book also touches upon some of the interesting relations between money, guilt, and the Christian notion of redemption. It ends with an “Epilogue: Prologue in Heaven,” which is a lengthy mind-blowing fictional dialogue set in Heaven between “The Lord” and “Satan” regarding “the word-animal,” and it playfully draws out important connections between language, negativity, property rights, time, and…

The Rhetoric of Religion

By Kenneth Burke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"But the point of Burke's work, and the significance of his achievement, is not that he points out that religion and language affect each other, for this has been said before, but that he proceeds to demonstrate how this is so by reference to a specific symbolic context. After a discussion 'On Words and The Word,' he analysess verbal action in St. Augustine's Confessions. He then discusses the first three chapters of Genesis, and ends with a brilliant and profound 'Prologue in Heaven,' an imaginary dialogue between the Lord and Satan in which he proposes that we begin our study…


Captivate

By Vanessa Van Edwards,

Book cover of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

Vanessa calls herself a human behavior investigator. She talks about the formula for charisma and how to read people. These critical influence tools help people adapt their ability to bond with people and persuade them how they want to be persuaded. This book gives you the hacks to influence better and faster. I love how she focuses on first impressions. We all know that the first impression is critical to having charisma and connecting with people.

Captivate

By Vanessa Van Edwards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do you feel awkward at networking events? Do you wonder what your date really thinks of you? Do you wish you could decode people? You need to learn the science of people.
 
As a human behavior hacker, Vanessa Van Edwards created a research lab to study the hidden forces that drive us. And she’s cracked the code. In Captivate, she shares shortcuts, systems, and secrets for taking charge of your interactions at work, at home, and in any social situation. These aren’t the people skills you learned in school. This is the first comprehensive, science backed, real life manual on…


Social

By Matthew D. Lieberman,

Book cover of Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

“The bad news is that as a society we’re blowing it.” Not because the GDP isn’t high enough, distinguished psychologist Matthew Lieberman argues, but because we don’t understand basic facts about our social brains: (1) Physical and social pain share the same neurocognitive processes, as do responses to physical and social rewards; (2) Our ability (and proclivity) to mentalize—to understand others’ actions as driven by their thoughts—relies on and competes with a different neural system than nonsocial thinking; (3) Our sense of self is a Trojan horse transmitting social influence and so harmonizing behavior in groups.  As a result, improving our social relations—not increasing our financial wealth—makes us happier; maximizing social capital increases our productivity at work; and engaging our social brains improves our learning. If that gets your attention, you’re ready to read Social

Social

By Matthew D. Lieberman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why are we influenced by the behaviour of complete strangers? Why does the brain register similar pleasure when I perceive something as 'fair' or when I eat chocolate? Why can we be so profoundly hurt by bereavement? What are the evolutionary benefits of these traits? The young discipline of 'social cognitive neuroscience' has been exploring this fascinating interface between brain science and human behaviour since the late 1990s.

Now one of its founding pioneers, Matthew D. Lieberman, presents the discoveries that he and fellow researchers have made. Using fMRI scanning and a range of other techniques, they have been able…


Teeth and Tongue Landscape

By Carlton Mellick III,

Book cover of Teeth and Tongue Landscape

This is a truly bizarre novel that can be read in one sitting, but it’s worth every page. Dripping with creativity, this book is a tour of a truly imaginative world unlike anything else I’ve read. The characters and locations will stick with you long after you finish it and the loss the main character feels resonates in a way you’ll never expect. 

Teeth and Tongue Landscape

By Carlton Mellick III,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a world made out of meat, a socially-obsessive monophobic man finds himself to be the last human being on the face of the planet. Desperate for social interaction, he explores the landscape of flesh and blood, teeth and tongue, trying to befriend any strange creature or community that he comes across.


The WEIRDest People in the World

By Joseph Henrich,

Book cover of The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous

Don’t be by the weirdest title in the world, this is another landmark book and it perfectly complements The Upswing. Combining deep social history, - Europe in the Early Middle Ages – with revolutionary research on evolutionary biology, it shows how a distinctive inflection point fortuitously broke the otherwise universal practice of kin-group mating. This gradually released parts of Europe into forging the purposive social capital that Putnam celebrates. Nor need you be deterred by Heinrich’s polymath credentials – he currently heads Harvard’s Department of Evolutionary Biology, but could equally hold chairs in Anthropology or Economics – he writes beautifully for a general audience.

The WEIRDest People in the World

By Joseph Henrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The WEIRDest People in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark in social thought. Henrich may go down as the most influential social scientist of the first half of the twenty-first century' MATTHEW SYED

Do you identify yourself by your profession or achievements, rather than your family network? Do you cultivate your unique attributes and goals? If so, perhaps you are WEIRD: raised in a society that is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic.

Unlike most who have ever lived, WEIRD people are highly individualistic, nonconformist, analytical and control-oriented. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically peculiar? What part did these differences play in our history, and what do…


Bauman

By Izabela Wagner,

Book cover of Bauman: A Biography

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.

Bauman

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.…


Modernity and the Holocaust

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Book cover of Modernity and the Holocaust

This is a profound and disturbing work written after reading his wife’s account of how she, her mother and sister, all of Jewish origin, survived the Nazi/war years in Warsaw (Winter in the Morning by Janina Bauman (1986)). Bauman exposes the popular fallacy that the Holocaust was a singular event, an unfortunate tear in the fabric of civilization, demonstrating with devastating clarity that it was, in fact, a (logical) product of modernism: “Without modern civilization and its most central essential achievements, there would be no Holocaust”.

Modernity and the Holocaust

By Zygmunt Bauman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A new afterword to this edition, "The Duty to Remember-But What?" tackles difficult issues of guilt and innocence on the individual and societal levels. Zygmunt Bauman explores the silences found in debates about the Holocaust, and asks what the historical facts of the Holocaust tell us about the hidden capacities of present-day life. He finds great danger in such phenomena as the seductiveness of martyrdom; going to extremes in the name of safety; the insidious effects of tragic memory; and efficient, "scientific" implementation of the death penalty. Bauman writes, "Once the problem of the guilt of the Holocaust perpetrators has…


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