85 books like Pseudoscience and Deception

By Bryan Farha,

Here are 85 books that Pseudoscience and Deception fans have personally recommended if you like Pseudoscience and Deception. 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 Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Ted Schick Author Of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

From my list on evaluating claims of the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in philosophy ever since I heard the album Poitier Meets Plato, a product of the 60’s coffee house culture, in which Sidney Poitier reads Plato to jazz music. As a professional philosopher, I investigate the nature of knowledge and reality, and if paranormal claims turn out to be true, many of our beliefs about knowledge and reality may turn out to be false. In an attempt to distinguish the justified from the unjustified—the believable from the unbelievable—I’ve tried to identify the principles of good thinking and sound reasoning that can be used to help us make those distinctions.

Ted's book list on evaluating claims of the paranormal

Ted Schick Why did Ted love this book?

The Dark Ages were a time of superstition and magic, of true causes those living then knew little. The science of the Enlightenment pushed back that darkness and gave us a more clear-headed view of the world.

Sagan showed me how that view was under attack and how to make the candle of truth burn a little brighter.

By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Demon-Haunted World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the…


Book cover of Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

Bryan Farha Author Of Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims

From my list on critically analyzing paranormal claims.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a licensed mental health professional, I once had a client claiming to be demonically possessed, and requested that I get an exorcist to drive the evil spirits out of her body. Instead, I utilized a therapeutic approach to challenge “irrational” beliefs. The problem was gone. I realized that people were prone to strange beliefs and started to read and listen to “experts” who were skeptical in nature. To my surprise, I saw Carl Sagan distinguishing astrology (pseudoscience) from astronomy (science). His talk was clear, convincing, and logical. I was hooked.

Bryan's book list on critically analyzing paranormal claims

Bryan Farha Why did Bryan love this book?

Michael Shermer systematically addresses why humans believe weird and extraordinary things. He even makes a case that we are hard-wired for it. Further—and this should make most of us feel better about our strange thinking—he shows how even highly intelligent people sometimes believe in pseudoscience and other extraordinary claims. 

By Michael Shermer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Why People Believe Weird Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work presents a down-to-earth and sometimes funny survey of a range of contemporary irrationalisms, and explains their empirical and logical flaws. It tackles a variety of topics including creationism, Holocaust denial, race and IQ, cults and alien abductions, and the author looks at the research behind the claims and discredits the pseudoscience involved.


Book cover of Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There

Bryan Farha Author Of Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims

From my list on critically analyzing paranormal claims.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a licensed mental health professional, I once had a client claiming to be demonically possessed, and requested that I get an exorcist to drive the evil spirits out of her body. Instead, I utilized a therapeutic approach to challenge “irrational” beliefs. The problem was gone. I realized that people were prone to strange beliefs and started to read and listen to “experts” who were skeptical in nature. To my surprise, I saw Carl Sagan distinguishing astrology (pseudoscience) from astronomy (science). His talk was clear, convincing, and logical. I was hooked.

Bryan's book list on critically analyzing paranormal claims

Bryan Farha Why did Bryan love this book?

Richard shows how people are emotionally attracted to thinking about the supernatural world and how they are hoping that it’s true. There are activities in the book that promote learning and understanding regarding how we fool ourselves and allow ourselves to be fooled. He even shows the reader how to convince others how he/she has paranormal abilities. 

By Richard Wiseman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Professor Richard Wiseman is clear about one thing: paranormal phenomena don't exist. But in the same way that the science of space travel transforms our everyday lives, so research into telepathy, fortune-telling and out-of-body experiences produces remarkable insights into our brains, behaviour and beliefs. Paranormality embarks on a wild ghost chase into this new science of the supernatural and is packed with activities that allow you to experience the impossible. So throw away your crystals, ditch your lucky charms and cancel your subscription to Reincarnation Weekly. It is time to discover the real secrets of the paranormal. Learn how to…


Book cover of Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind

Bryan Farha Author Of Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims

From my list on critically analyzing paranormal claims.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a licensed mental health professional, I once had a client claiming to be demonically possessed, and requested that I get an exorcist to drive the evil spirits out of her body. Instead, I utilized a therapeutic approach to challenge “irrational” beliefs. The problem was gone. I realized that people were prone to strange beliefs and started to read and listen to “experts” who were skeptical in nature. To my surprise, I saw Carl Sagan distinguishing astrology (pseudoscience) from astronomy (science). His talk was clear, convincing, and logical. I was hooked.

Bryan's book list on critically analyzing paranormal claims

Bryan Farha Why did Bryan love this book?

David Buss combines the fields and research provided by both psychology and biology to examine human behavior from an evolutionary vantage point. And he makes a compelling case. Critical thinking questions and case studies are included in the book. He explains human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, based on what is “adaptive.”

By David Buss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Where did we come from?

What is our connection with other life forms?

What are the mechanisms of mind that define what it means to be a human being?

Evolutionary psychology is a revolutionary new science, a true synthesis of modern principles of psychology and evolutionary biology. Since the publication of the award-winning first edition of Evolutionary Psychology, there has been an explosion of research within the field. In this book, David M. Buss examines human behavior from an evolutionary perspective, providing students with the conceptual tools needed to study evolutionary psychology and apply them to empirical research on the…


Book cover of A Shadow Intelligence

Victor Robert Lee Author Of Performance Anomalies

From my list on spy books set in Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about Asia, where I have spent a chunk of my life. My non-fiction reporting has centered on Beijing's territorial ambitions, including its ongoing takeover of the South China Sea, which in a sense was prefigured by the plot of my novel Performance Anomalies. The main character, Cono 7Q, has been pecking at my brain for many years, abetted by my brushes with spooks in the underbelly of Central Asia and China. I use a pen name so my travel in certain countries can be less encumbered.

Victor's book list on spy books set in Asia

Victor Robert Lee Why did Victor love this book?

This novel is set in Kazakhstan, with which I have a longstanding love-hate relationship. But that's not the reason I praise the book. In 2014 The Guardian asked the espionage novelist Charles Cumming, "Has modern technology killed spy thrillers?" Oliver Harris shows us the answer is No. Deep fake videos, manipulated social media, conjured digital backstories, intentionally corrupted data sets, geotracking, wifi tricks, hacked networks-- they're all here in spades, part of the new tradecraft. They don't overwhelm the story, they feed it. Russian militias are positioning to take a bite out of snow-coated Kazakhstan-- our friends in Ukraine will be uncomfortably familiar with at least one part of this tale.

By Oliver Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

AN NPR BEST BOOK OF 2020

“An absorbing, superbly written novel likely to stand as one of the best spy novels of the year.”
—Kirkus, starred review

Elliot Kane reflects the dark side of MI6. He is the instrument of an agency that puts two years and more than £100K into training recruits to steal cars, hack bank accounts, strip weapons, and employ everything from blackmail to improvised explosives in service of Crown and Country. After fifteen years overseas embroiled in events that never make the news, Kane is a ghost in his own life, assuming and shedding personalities with…


Book cover of The Postscript Murders

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From my list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

Susan McCormick Why did Susan love this book?

This is Book 2 in a series but can easily be read alone.

It introduces several older characters, including the page one murder victim, each of whom is so well-sketched they could be your friend or neighbor. The story has an excellent murder, a twist, wonderful characters, and humor.

The best is that the unlikely sleuths are a mixture of old and young, male and female, many backgrounds, yet all best of friends and all very funny yet sometimes heartbreaking.

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INVENTING CRIME STORIES CAN GET YOU KILLED

'A LOVE LETTER TO MURDER MYSTERIES' SUNDAY MIRROR

The ultimate gripping murder mystery to curl up with, from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka's account of Peggy Smith's death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her...

And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant'…


Book cover of A Court of Wings and Ruin

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

From my list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved fairy tales, myths, and fantasy, having developed a vivid imagination during childhood because we lived far from friends. When I began studying French, I discovered a love for medieval legends such as Tristan et Yseult.  During trips to France, I explored troglodyte caves of the Loire Valley and prehistoric grottos, such as La Grotte de Lascaux. The more I researched legends and myths, the more my fantasy world of paranormal romance and shapeshifting warriors evolved.

Jennifer's book list on paranormal romances with shapeshifting warriors

Jennifer Ivy Walker Why did Jennifer love this book?

I loved how otherworldly mates Rhys and Feyre formed a fierce alliance with the winged Illyrian warriors of the Night Court. A fiery novel of passion, power, politics, and pain—all wrapped up in a sizzling, steamy, paranormal romance filled with fantasy and Fae!

To me, the passion between Rhys and Feyre is very much like The Phantom of the Opera, which I adored. Rhys is dark, mysterious, and dangerously seductive, like the Phantom. And Feyre, like Christine Daaé, is irresistibly drawn to the fiercely loyal man within the terrifying beast.

By Sarah J. Maas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Court of Wings and Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The epic third novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's actions and learn what she can about the invading king threatening to bring her land to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit. One slip could bring doom not only for Feyre, but for everything-and everyone-she holds dear.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre endeavors to take her place amongst the High Fae of the land, balancing…


Book cover of Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps: True Tales of an Accidental Ghost Hunter

Sylvia Shults Author Of Days of the Dead: A Year of True Ghost Stories

From my list on for paranormal enthusiasts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a paranormal investigator (a paranormal reporter, actually) for over a decade. One of the very best parts of my job is that I get to gorge myself on books of true accounts of the paranormal. It's exciting to see what else is out there, and what other people have experienced – both historically, and personally. I'm so grateful for the chance to add to this body of work; there are many renowned investigators and writers out there, and I'm thrilled to be counted among them. And someday, someone will read about my experiences and be terrified and intrigued and inspired by them.

Sylvia's book list on for paranormal enthusiasts

Sylvia Shults Why did Sylvia love this book?

Adam Selzer writes as if you're listening to him tell ghost stories over a beer and a plate of nachos in a dark Chicago bar, with a summer night's breeze blowing in off Lake Michigan. Selzer is hands-down the expert on Chicago history, and he's no slouch at the paranormal aspect of the city's background either -- he's a tour guide for one of the Chicago ghost tour companies. He has a snarky, irreverent style that makes any of his books a sheer pleasure to read. In addition to his historical and paranormal nonfiction, he also writes YA fiction. 

By Adam Selzer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Getting pushed down the stairs by unseen hands? An old spirit hag sitting on your chest, holding you down? Strange glowing ectoplasm escaping from a grave? Don't believe everything you hear ...then again, some things can't just be brushed off. Come aboard the ghost bus and get a glimpse of Chicago's ghostly goings-on. With a healthy dose of skepticism, professional ghostbuster Adam Selzer takes you on a tour of his famously spooky town and the realm of the weird. Tag along with your tour guide Selzer, bus driver and improve comic Hector, psychic detective Ken, and prolific author Troy Taylor…


Book cover of Cold Sight

Jennifer Carole Lewis Author Of Revelations

From my list on superhero stories of love and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories where people have fantastical powers, especially if they’re set in our world. I grew up with Marvel and DC telling me stories about people who could always be counted on to save the day. But I had a frustration. Those comic stories often ended badly when it came to relationships. If a character was in love, they invariably broke up, or the love interest was kidnapped or killed. I’ve collected these awesome examples of stories where superpowers don’t mean being alone. They capture the blend that I’ve tried to create in my own books: an exciting story full of adventure that can also warm the heart.

Jennifer's book list on superhero stories of love and adventure

Jennifer Carole Lewis Why did Jennifer love this book?

A whole agency of supernaturally gifted investigators… oh, yes, please! This story focuses on Aidan, who is able to read people and objects through touch. He’s been disgraced after failing to find a missing child and has come to Savannah to nurse his wounds. The heroine, Lexie, is a reporter and believes a serial killer is hunting in their city, but no one believes her. She enlists Aidan’s reluctant help and the two of them develop a romance as they search for clues. This story has adventure, romance, psychic powers, and a ghost that is used for reconnaissance. It’s got everything! The characters’ powers are solidly researched and feel like they could be possible and the suspense plot will take your breath away.

By Leslie Parrish,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet the Extrasensory Agents…a team of psychics who can solve the coldest of crimes!

Aidan McConnell once used his special psychic abilities to help find the missing. But after the media made him the scapegoat for a child’s death, he retreated from the world and became a recluse.

Lexie Nolan is a small-town reporter with big vision. She was the first to connect a series of disappearances among teenage girls to a serial killer…but nobody will listen to her.

Lexie is in desperate need of help from the sexy psychic who's an expert in finding people. And even though Aidan…


Book cover of The Return of Martin Guerre

Stuart Carroll Author Of Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe

From my list on getting started with early modern history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of early modern Europe. I have a particular interest in the history of violence and social relations and how and why ordinary people came into conflict with each other and how they made peace, that’s the subject of my most recent book Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe, which compares the entanglement of everyday animosities and how these were resolved in Italy, Germany, France and England. I’m also passionate about understanding Europe’s contribution to world history. As editor of The Cambridge World History of Violence, I explored the dark side of this. But my next book, The Invention of Civil Society, will demonstrate Europe’s more positive achievements.

Stuart's book list on getting started with early modern history

Stuart Carroll Why did Stuart love this book?

I love this book because it’s a story about ordinary people. But it’s a true story.

It reads like a fairytale: a peasant, Arnaud du Tilh, is accused of impersonating another man who had abandoned his wife several years before. Arnaud seems to have outwitted the judges until the errant husband returns condemning the impostor to death.

I like this story because it helps to identify with men and women in the past, who in many respects, are just like us. It’s also a piece of great history reconstructed from original trial records. Davis is a great writer.

By Natalie Zemon Davis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Return of Martin Guerre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The clever peasant Arnaud du Tilh had almost persuaded the learned judges at the Parlement of Toulouse when, on a summer's day in 1560, a man swaggered into the court on a wooden leg, denounced Arnaud, and reestablished his claim to the identity, property, and wife of Martin Guerre. The astonishing case captured the imagination of the continent. Told and retold over the centuries, the story of Martin Guerre became a legend, still remembered in the Pyrenean village where the impostor was executed more than 400 years ago.

Now a noted historian, who served as consultant for a new French…


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