100 books like Mentored by a Madman

By A. J. Lees,

Here are 100 books that Mentored by a Madman fans have personally recommended if you like Mentored by a Madman. 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 The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

Alice Neikirk Author Of The Elephant Has Two Sets of Teeth: Bhutanese Refugees and Humanitarian Governance

From my list on cross-cultural interactions.

Who am I?

I grew up in a small, rural community that is perhaps best defined by cold, grey, rainy days – perfect reading weather. I developed an interest in learning about different places and cultures through books. Then I started traveling and my interest turned into a passion, that transformed my educational journey. I completed a Masters and PhD in Anthropology and did my field research for my degree in Australia and Nepal. I still love to learn about new cultures, though the children have meant less traveling and more adventuring via books!

Alice's book list on cross-cultural interactions

Alice Neikirk Why did Alice love this book?

This book is a brilliant ethnography and one of the first books I read as a young anthropology student, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman.

It is about a Hmong family, living in California, that has an epileptic child and their interactions at a children’s hospital. The book came back into my life when my second daughter started having seizures and we were admitted into the same children’s hospital where the book was researched.

One of the doctors knew I was an anthropologist and reminded me of the book. Despite the cultural difference between myself and the Hmong family, I could see myself in their fear, their hope, and their desire to make sense of having a very ill child.

Book cover of The Brain from Inside Out

Lauren Aguirre Author Of The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember

From my list on the mind, memory, and medical science.

Who am I?

I am an author, science journalist, and storyteller. I worked for the PBS science series NOVA for many years, producing documentaries, podcasts, digital video series, and interactive games on everything from asteroids to human origins to art restoration. But I am particularly fascinated by strange brains, which is why I wrote my first book, The Memory Thief. I am currently at work on a second book about a different neurological disorder. 

Lauren's book list on the mind, memory, and medical science

Lauren Aguirre Why did Lauren love this book?

Neuroscientist György Buzsáki believes that focusing on human mental constructs (imagination, attention, instinct) gets in the way of seeing things from the brain’s perspective. Rather than being a blank slate waiting for experiences to etch new pictures onto it, the brain comes equipped with a huge reserve of built-in patterns, each one created by connected groups of neurons. In his view, memory formation is a game of matching those patterns with meaningful experiences so that your brain can better predict the future and the consequences of your actions. I walked away from this book with my brain very much changed. 

By Gyorgy Buzsaki,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Brain from Inside Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gyoergy Buzsaki's The Brain from Inside Out examines why the outside-in framework for understanding brain function have become stagnate and points to new directions for understanding neural function. Building upon the success of Rhythms of the Brain, Professor Buzsaki presents the brain as a foretelling device that interacts with its environment through action and the examination of action's consequence. Instead of a brain that
represents the world, consider that it is initially filled with nonsense patterns, all of which are gibberish until grounded by action-based interactions. By matching these nonsense "words" to the outcomes of action, they acquire meaning.

The…


Book cover of Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting

Lauren Aguirre Author Of The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember

From my list on the mind, memory, and medical science.

Who am I?

I am an author, science journalist, and storyteller. I worked for the PBS science series NOVA for many years, producing documentaries, podcasts, digital video series, and interactive games on everything from asteroids to human origins to art restoration. But I am particularly fascinated by strange brains, which is why I wrote my first book, The Memory Thief. I am currently at work on a second book about a different neurological disorder. 

Lauren's book list on the mind, memory, and medical science

Lauren Aguirre Why did Lauren love this book?

Lisa Genova’s book is an efficient, crystal-clear description of memory—what it’s for, how it’s made, and why forgetting is such an essential aspect of memory. She manages to explain tricky neuroscience in an accessible way without being overly simplistic. I only wish the book had come out before I started researching mine. It would have saved me a lot of time!

By Lisa Genova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.

“Using her expertise as a neuroscientist and her gifts as a storyteller, Lisa Genova explains the nuances of human memory”—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works

Have you ever felt a crushing wave of panic when you can't for the life of you remember the name of that actor in the movie you saw last week,…


Book cover of The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

Lauren Aguirre Author Of The Memory Thief: And the Secrets Behind How We Remember

From my list on the mind, memory, and medical science.

Who am I?

I am an author, science journalist, and storyteller. I worked for the PBS science series NOVA for many years, producing documentaries, podcasts, digital video series, and interactive games on everything from asteroids to human origins to art restoration. But I am particularly fascinated by strange brains, which is why I wrote my first book, The Memory Thief. I am currently at work on a second book about a different neurological disorder. 

Lauren's book list on the mind, memory, and medical science

Lauren Aguirre Why did Lauren love this book?

What if addiction isn’t a chronic relapsing disease, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse? What if a better way to think about it is as a type of learning disorder? Neuroscientist and author Marc Lewis, himself a recovering addict, makes his compelling argument through the stories of five people suffering from substance use disorders. This insightful book left me believing that the attempt to fit addiction into rigid categories does a disservice to the complexity of this condition.

By Marc Lewis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through the vivid, true stories of five people who journeyed into and out of addiction, a renowned neuroscientist explains why the "disease model" of addiction is wrong and illuminates the path to recovery.The psychiatric establishment and rehab industry in the Western world have branded addiction a brain disease, based on evidence that brains change with drug use. But in The Biology of Desire , cognitive neuroscientist and former addict Marc Lewis makes a convincing case that addiction is not a disease, and shows why the disease model has become an obstacle to healing.Lewis reveals addiction as an unintended consequence of…


Book cover of The Story of the Country House: A History of Places and People

James Peill Author Of The English Country House: New Format

From my list on country houses.

Who am I?

I have loved visiting country houses ever since I was a child. There is something unique about the combination of art, architecture, and people. Over my lifetime, I have been privileged to visit all sorts of houses and castles. I used to work at Christie’s and during that time I visited many country houses, some of which were completely private. It was a natural progression when I moved to Goodwood and became the curator of the art collection, enjoying the house as part of my daily life. The view from my office looks out through the columns of the portico, across the park, with the sea glinting in the distance. What could be better?  

James' book list on country houses

James Peill Why did James love this book?

The country house is a subject that has always fascinated me, but I’ve often struggled to define it accurately. Clive Aslet, former editor of Country Life magazine does a brilliant job of refining the topic into very readable, succinct, chapters filled with plenty of anecdotes and charming illustrations. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. 

By Clive Aslet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of the Country House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating story of the evolution of the country house in Britain, from its Roman precursors to the present

The Story of the Country House is an authoritative and vivid account of the British country house, exploring how they have evolved with the changing political and economic landscape. Clive Aslet reveals the captivating stories behind individual houses, their architects, and occupants, and paints a vivid picture of the wider context in which the country house in Britain flourished and subsequently fell into decline before enjoying a renaissance in the twenty-first century. The genesis, style, and purpose of architectural masterpieces such…


Book cover of The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers

David P. Oakley Author Of Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship

From my list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence.

Who am I?

My fascination with intelligence studies is tied to my previous experience as a practitioner. While serving as a military officer and CIA officer, I became curious about how two organizations with a shared history could be so different. Exploring the “why” of the CIA/DoD differences led me to the broader interplay of organizational cultures, individuals, and missions in influencing the evolution of intelligence, its purpose, and its role. These five books will provide the reader a broader appreciation of how intelligence was used to help policymakers understand reality and how intelligence organizations have been used to try to change reality. You will not merely learn something about intelligence but will be entertained and engaged while doing so. 

David's book list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence

David P. Oakley Why did David love this book?

I am fascinated by how different countries approach intelligence, both from how they organize intelligence activities and how intelligence informs policymaking. These various approaches highlight there is not a common approach to intelligence and help explain why simple definitions of intelligence are insufficient at capturing various intelligence activities and organizations. The Black Door looks at how British Prime Ministers have used intelligence and their relationships with intelligence organizations over the past century. A well-written account by two thoughtful and prolific scholars, the reader will appreciate how British Prime Ministers have used intelligence to not only understand the world but to also act.  

By Richard J. Aldrich, Rory Cormac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British prime ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith's Secret Service Bureau to Cameron's National Security Council.

Intelligence can do a prime minister's dirty work. For more than a century, secret wars have been waged directly from Number 10. They have staved off conflict, defeats and British decline through fancy footwork, often deceiving friend and foe alike. Yet as the birth of the modern British secret service in 1909, prime ministers were strangers to the secret world - sometimes with disastrous consequences. During the Second World War, Winston Churchill oversaw a…


Book cover of Entertaining Mr. Pepys

Carol M. Cram Author Of The Muse of Fire

From my list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare.

Who am I?

I’ve loved the theater ever since I first stepped on stage in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. I had one line and was hooked! And as for Shakespeare–I fell in love with the Bard when I was 13 and saw Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. My best friend and I spent hours reciting the lines (I still remember whole speeches). So, when I was looking for an artsy subject (I love the arts) for my third novel, I naturally turned to the theater. I have a Master of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto and when I’m not writing, I run Art In Fiction, a website showcasing 1700+ novels inspired by the arts.

Carol's book list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare

Carol M. Cram Why did Carol love this book?

Entertaining Mr. Pepys explores the world of British theater during a time when women were finally allowed on stage as actresses. I loved it because of how the author explored her main character’s fascination with acting, which reminded me very much of how Grace in my own book is captivated by the stage and willing to go to any lengths to become an actress. I have read several of Swift’s novels and credit them with inspiring me to write my own novels based on women in the arts.

By Deborah Swift,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O'Brien and Elizabeth Chadwick, Deborah Swift brings a unique period in history to vivid, fascinating life in her acclaimed Pepys trilogy.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' Readers' Favorite

London, 1666. Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer…


Book cover of To the Greatest Heights: Facing Danger, Finding Humility, and Climbing a Mountain of Truth

Christine Reed Author Of Alone in Wonderland

From my list on outdoor adventures by and about women.

Who am I?

I got interested in long-distance backpacking in my mid-twenties, looking for an escape from the messy life I had created for myself. I wanted to reinvent myself, and a blog about the Appalachian Trail suggested a perfect solution. After 650 miles on the trail and the death of my mother, I knew I would never be the same. In the years since, I have hiked the Wonderland Trail (as featured in Alone in Wonderland) and the Colorado Trail. Backpacking has become more than an escape – it has become home.

Christine's book list on outdoor adventures by and about women

Christine Reed Why did Christine love this book?

Vanessa O'Brien recounts her journey from busy businesswoman to badass mountaineer. She is now the fastest woman to complete the seven summits (both versions just in case you had anything to say about that!) She's brash and gutsy, doesn't hold back what she really thinks, and addresses some of the human and environmental issues facing the world's biggest and ever increasingly popular peaks.

By Vanessa O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Vanessa O'Brien was made redundant in 2008 as part of the recession, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband for his career and resigned herself to being 'just the wife'. There she was, aged 46, bored, uninspired, unemployed. Was this going to be how she was going to live the rest of her life?

One night in the infamous Kee Club, over shots of tequila, a friend suggested O'Brien climb Everest, and that was the start of an epic journey she never looked back from as she climbed Everest, K2 and many other mountains.

This is her inspirational…


Book cover of Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Jennifer Kincheloe Author Of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

From my list on smart historical mysteries that start a series.

Who am I?

I’m a public health research scientist who writes humorous historical mysteries set in 1900s Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD. Like you, I read. I love smart, well-researched historical fiction with strong female protagonists and a good romantic subplot. Extra points if the book is funny because studies show laughter is good for you. 

Jennifer's book list on smart historical mysteries that start a series

Jennifer Kincheloe Why did Jennifer love this book?

In 1940 London, Maggie Hope, a brilliant mind who graduated top of her class, is recruited by Number 10 Downing Street to be…a typist. Of course. She’s a woman. She’s also a crackerjack code breaker. I think you know where this is going. The character is wonderful, the writing strong, the story tight. A highlight for me was when Maggie –a young, virginal, cerebral type—pulls off a daring motorcycle jump with a man on the back because she has to. I don’t know, I think there’s a life lesson somewhere in there.

By Susan Elia MacNeal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mr. Churchill's Secretary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BARRY AWARD WINNER • Heralding the arrival of a brilliant new heroine, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.

“With any luck, the adventures of red-haired super-sleuth Maggie Hope will go on forever. . . . Taut, well-plotted, and suspenseful, this is a wartime mystery to sink your teeth into.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none…


Book cover of Broadsides: Caricature and the Navy 1756 - 1815

Julian Stockwin Author Of Balkan Glory

From my list on understanding the Age of Sail.

Who am I?

I wanted to go to the sea ever since I can remember. In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me at the tender age of fourteen to the ‘Indefatigable’, a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea, and I joined the Royal Navy at 15. My family emigrated and I transferred to the Royal Australian Navy and saw service around the world.  Although I no longer have an active involvement with the navy, I sail in my imagination through my sea-faring novels.

Julian's book list on understanding the Age of Sail

Julian Stockwin Why did Julian love this book?

I’m greatly drawn to the caricaturists and satirists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the days before the internet they were often vehicles for witty, sometimes very pointed, commentary on all aspects of society. This book, with prints from the National Maritime Museum, focuses on the Royal Navy during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

By James Davey, Richard Johns,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Broadsides explores the political and cultural history of the Navy during the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries through contemporary caricature. This was a period of intense naval activity - encompassing the Seven Years War, the American War of Independence, the wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France, and the War of 1812. Naval caricatures were utilised by the press to comment on events, simultaneously reminding the British public of the immediacy of war, whilst satirising the same Navy it was meant to be supporting. The thematic narrative explores topics from politics to invasion, whilst encompassing detailed analysis of the context…


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