100 books like Rationality

By Steven Pinker,

Here are 100 books that Rationality fans have personally recommended if you like Rationality. 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 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Melina Palmer Author Of What Your Customer Wants and Can't Tell You: Unlocking Consumer Decisions with the Science of Behavioral Economics

From my list on brainy branding that results in buying.

Why am I passionate about this?

The more I learn about the brain, the more I want to dig in and discover more. Why do we procrastinate? Why do people buy things? Why do some people love unlocking these topics weekly on The Brainy Business podcast (where each person on this list has been a guest) and sharing those insights with the world? When it comes to selling and buying in a brainy way, behavioral economics is the best way to get there, and these books are all a great first step into learning what behavioral science is, how the brain really works, and up-leveling your brand. 

Melina's book list on brainy branding that results in buying

Melina Palmer Why did Melina love this book?

No list on behavior, sales, and brand messaging would be complete without including Robert Cialdini on the list. Concepts like social proof, scarcity, and reciprocity are key for getting customers to buy in on your product or service before they even get to the buying moment.

If you are one of the millions of people who has already read Influence, his other book Pre-Suasion is amazing as well and so helpful for brands!

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…


Book cover of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Larry Cahoone Author Of The Emergence of Value: Human Norms in a Natural World

From my list on history and science books that tell us who we are now.

Why am I passionate about this?

A philosophy professor, my central interest has always been something historical: what is going on in this strange modern world we live in? Addressing this required forty years of background work in the natural sciences, history, social sciences, and the variety of contemporary philosophical theories that try to put them all together. In the process, I taught philosophy courses on philosophical topics, social theory, and the sciences, wrote books, and produced video courses, mostly focused on that central interest. The books listed are some of my favorites to read and to teach. They are crucial steps on the journey to understand who we are in this unprecedented modern world.

Larry's book list on history and science books that tell us who we are now

Larry Cahoone Why did Larry love this book?

Best recent book examining human morality from a scientific, psychological point of view.

Darwinians used to think humans had to be selfish and immoral. Contemporary evolution argues the opposite, that humans evolved moral limits on our selfishness in order to live together. Haidt’s is the best book presenting this new evolutionary psychology.

But it goes further to connect those scientific issues with contemporary politics, explaining why people from “red” and “blue” states cannot understand each other: they each embody a short list of human moral values, but different ones. This is a great book for thinking carefully about human morality and contemporary politics. Students love it, and so do I. 

By Jonathan Haidt,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The Righteous Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A landmark contribution to humanity's understanding of itself' The New York Times

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe? Why do ideas such as 'fairness' and 'freedom' mean such different things to different people? Why is it so hard to see things from another viewpoint? Why do we come to blows over politics and religion?

Jonathan Haidt reveals that we often find it hard to get along because our minds are hardwired to be moralistic, judgemental and self-righteous. He explores how morality evolved to enable us to form communities, and…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Scott Galloway Author Of The Algebra of Wealth: A Simple Formula for Financial Security

From my list on helping you be your best self.

Why am I passionate about this?

I try to use my platform to  help people consider how to live a more meaningful life. I've made mistakes, learned from them, and want to pass on those lessons. There are many definitions of success and fulfillment and many paths to achieve it. I hope by telling my story others can avoid some of the mistakes I made.

Scott's book list on helping you be your best self

Scott Galloway Why did Scott love this book?

Professor Kahneman’s ideologies on decision-making have helped me in business and my personal life.

His insights have enhanced my decision-making process and helped me navigate the strait between instinct and decision. His insights have encouraged me to delegate routine decisions, allowing me to reserve my mental energy for the most critical choices.

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

By Robert F. Barsky,

Book cover of The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

Robert F. Barsky Author Of Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us about People Fleeing from Persecution

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Professor of Humanities Borders Radicalist

Robert's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Noam Chomsky has been praised by the likes of Bono and Hugo Chávez and attacked by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz. Groundbreaking linguist and outspoken political dissenter—voted “most important public intellectual in the world today” in a 2005 magazine poll—Chomsky inspires fanatical devotion and fierce vituperation.

In The Chomsky Effect, Chomsky biographer Robert Barsky examines Chomsky's positions on a number of highly charged issues—including Vietnam, Israel, East Timor, and his work in linguistics—that illustrate not only “the Chomsky effect” but also “the Chomsky approach.”

Chomsky, writes Barsky, is an inspiration and a catalyst. Not just an analyst…

The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower

By Robert F. Barsky,

What is this book about?

"People are dangerous. If they're able to involve themselves in issues that matter, they may change the distribution of power, to the detriment of those who are rich and privileged."--Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky has been praised by the likes of Bono and Hugo Chávez and attacked by the likes of Tom Wolfe and Alan Dershowitz. Groundbreaking linguist and outspoken political dissenter--voted "most important public intellectual in the world today" in a 2005 magazine poll--Chomsky inspires fanatical devotion and fierce vituperation. In The Chomsky Effect, Chomsky biographer Robert Barsky examines Chomsky's positions on a number of highly charged issues--Chomsky's signature issues,…


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Book cover of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want

Chris West Author Of The Karpman Drama Triangle Explained: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, Trainers, Therapists – and Everybody Else

From my list on really helpful psychology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by human behaviour since going to a school where we were told there was a right and a wrong way to do everything. That never felt right to me – human beings are much bigger than that! I studied Counselling and Therapy at Norwich City College in the 1990s and later specific courses on Transactional Analysis. Many years on, I am still learning…

Chris' book list on really helpful psychology

Chris West Why did Chris love this book?

This book is based on the science of Positive Psychology, not just helpful tips from someone nice.

Since 1980, lots of serious research has been done on what behaviours and mindsets really make people happy – and the results are all here, in this clear, well-presented book. I dip back into this book regularly.

By Sonja Lyubomirsky,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The How of Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The key tenet of THE HOW OF HAPPINESS is that every human being has a happiness 'set point' which, depending on how high or low it is, can determine how positive or negative they feel. This book offers a practical approach to help readers increase their set point, and find a level of happiness above that which they would normally feel, and feel more satisfaction in life.

Based on scientific research and trials, this is a groundbreaking book that offers a practical plan to enable readers to achieve a more positive outlook at home, at work and in their personal…


Book cover of The Art of Choosing

Monica L. Smith Author Of Cities: The First 6,000 Years

From my list on why humans have so much stuff.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an archaeologist, which means that I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many places to dig and survey ancient remains. What I’ve realized in handling those dusty old objects is that all over the world, in both past and present, people are defined by their stuff: what they made, used, broke, and threw away. Most compelling are the things that people cherished despite being worn or flawed, just like we have objects in our house that are broken or old but that we keep anyway.

Monica's book list on why humans have so much stuff

Monica L. Smith Why did Monica love this book?

Almost everyone has more stuff than they can hold at once. Picking up something new involves setting down something that you already had. Iyengar’s book is the background for every marketing decision ever made, but from the consumer’s perspective: when there is so much stuff in the world, how do you make a choice? Part psychology, part business manual, Iyengar illustrates how much decision-making we do every single day.

By Sheena Iyengar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every day we make choices. Coke or Pepsi? Save or spend? Stay or go? Whether mundane or life-altering, these choices define us and shape our lives. Sheena Iyengar asks the difficult questions about how and why we choose: Is the desire for choice innate or bound by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Her award-winning research reveals that the answers are surprising and profound. In our world of shifting political and cultural forces, technological revolution, and interconnected commerce, our decisions have far-reaching consequences. Use this…


Book cover of Jane, Unlimited

Katie Kennedy Author Of What Goes Up

From my list on with parallel worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a history instructor and often think about alternate historical outcomes, but you don’t get to choose those. Wish the Spanish Armada hadn’t sunk? Tough luck. But you can take a novel in any direction—kill a character, bring them back, let them fall in love, make them eat an egg salad sandwich… When the book itself is about parallel worlds, it increases those possibilities exponentially. In What Goes Up, Rosa and Eddie have very different backgrounds—Earth is two different worlds for them. What happens when there’s another world out there and they meet themselves in a different place? As one character asks, how much do you trust yourself?

Katie's book list on with parallel worlds

Katie Kennedy Why did Katie love this book?

Jane, Unlimited is a marvelously constructed book that focuses on Jane, a girl grieving her aunt and making umbrellas, who gets an invitation to a mysterious island mansion. I am here for all mysterious island mansion books. This estate is named Tu Reviens–"You come back” in French. That is, of course, a clue to the premise. There are a couple of possible love interests, but it’s not a love triangle and I don’t think it would annoy the people who are dead set against triangles.

By Kristin Cashore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jane, Unlimited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times bestseller—from the award-winning author of the Graceling Realm series—about adventure, grief, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices.

"A wild gift for readers who like books that take them to unexpected places."—Melissa Albert, author of The Hazel Wood

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is lost. So she's easily swept away when a glamorous, capricious, and wealthy acquaintance from years ago asks Jane to accompany her to a gala…


Book cover of Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams

Erica Sosna Author Of The Career Equation: Coaching a Culture of Career Conversations

From my list on transforming your career or others area of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Do you know you will spend 80,000 hours at work in your lifetime? And yet we get so little guidance on how to make choices about the work we do. I am fascinated by the world of work and how we navigate it, and thrive in it. I’ve always wondered how people made decisions about how to live and how to approach finding the right kind of livelihood that fits their skills and interests. I’ve made it my job to design a method to help people get specific and clear and help them not only find the work that best utilises their skills and passions but also identifies the environment that works best for us.

Erica's book list on transforming your career or others area of life

Erica Sosna Why did Erica love this book?

If you are anything like me and struggle to decide on one career or one path then this is the book for you. If by working through your passions, skills, etc. you find that there isn’t just one area you want to work in but in fact, you are interested in loads of stuff, then this book will help you manage this challenge and create the life that you want not the one everyone else says you should have.

By Barbara Sher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't know what to do with your life? Drawn to so many things that you can't choose just one? New York Times best-selling author Barbara Sher has the answer-do EVERYTHING!

"Designed to help you enjoy your many interests without feeling overwhelmed and unfocused"
- Metro New York

Author of Wishcraft and I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was..., Barbara Sher has become famous for her extraordinary ability to help people define and achieve their goals. What Sher has discovered is that some individuals simply cannot, and should not, decide on a single path; they are genetically…


Book cover of Blob

Wendy Greenley Author Of Lola Shapes the Sky

From my list on kids who celebrate being themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

A former microbiologist and attorney turned children’s book author, I’m delighted to advocate for children’s self-confidence and critical thinking skills in literature. I like to write about things that I know, to share my passion, and about things I don’t know—to learn more. Stories have been an escape and a learning tool for me and I want to share stories that do the same for children today.

Wendy's book list on kids who celebrate being themselves

Wendy Greenley Why did Wendy love this book?

This recent title’s combination of silly and earnest has quickly become a favorite. Blob is able to shape itself into being anything it wants to be and it reminded me of my cloud character Lola. But unlike Lola, Blob isn’t sure at first what it wants to be, and the shapes it makes are a journey of self-exploration. As a grownup who has held many varied jobs over the years, the idea of not picking to be any one thing resonates with me. People, and blobs, get to be themselves, whatever that is.

By Anne Appert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blob as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A humorous picture book featuring a blob (n. a creature that can be anything they want) about embracing who we are and the many things we can be.

Blob is a creature of indeterminate kind. Blob can be a giraffe, cotton candy, and even an octopus. It's not until a certain someone continuously calls them "Bob" that Blob starts to question who they really are.

After a series of funny yet enlightening discoveries about all the possible things they can be, Blob realizes that the best thing to be is . . .

Blob.

(With the L.)

Author, artist, and…


Book cover of Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

Dorothy Suskind Author Of Workplace Bullying: Finding Your Way to Big Tent Belonging

From my list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

The truth is, I’ve never fit in. I'm always asking questions like: Why do we do it that way? And, what if we tried this instead? These types of questions, however, though intriguing to me and other creatives, make the keepers of the status quo really nervous. As a professor and narrative inquiry researcher, I study the stories of people who've been silenced—extracting the characters, plot, and setting these narratives have in common. For workplace abuse survivors, a salient theme is they think big! To support this mission, I'm on the Executive Board and serve as the Education Director for the National Workplace Bullying Coalition and am a regular contributor to Psychology Today. 

Dorothy's book list on why work sometimes sucks and what to do about it

Dorothy Suskind Why did Dorothy love this book?

A book on quitting may seem like a downer to end my list of recommendations, but if that is what you think, you’ve got quitting all wrong.

Quitting is not about endings, but about clearing the page so there is space to write the next story. In this thought-jostling book, Duke brings the reader into the lives of notable characters who stayed in the game too long and the high price they paid for not walking away.

Throughout her engaging narratives, she infuses research on why we hang on too long and offers reflective questions to get us out of the muck. Threaded amongst the chapters are life lessons disguised on quips like when we quit on time, it likely feels like we are giving up too early, and when it looks like a tie between sticking it out and cutting our losses, we are almost always better walking away.…

By Annie Duke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Brilliant and entertaining' Daniel Kahneman | 'Quit what you are doing right now and read this' Richard Thaler | 'Engrossing, important, and grounded in science' Katy Milkman

What if the secret to success is not just hard work, but knowing when to change track?

In this game-changing guide, decision-making expert Annie Duke shows why quitting what holds you back is essential for success. Drawing on new research and fascinating examples, this book offers practical strategies and explains:

Why it's so hard to walk away
How to identify when it's best to persevere or pivot
How quitting on time often feels…


Book cover of The Offset

Redfern Jon Barrett Author Of Proud Pink Sky

From my list on sci-fi and speculative stories depicting queer lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 20 years of community work and activism in LGBTQ+ spaces, I couldn’t help but turn these experiences into a novel in which Berlin becomes the world’s first gay state – Proud Pink Sky, released March 14 from Amble Press. My essays and short stories focus on the strange, the queer, and the speculative, and have been published in The Sun Magazine, Guernica, Strange Horizons, PinkNews, and Nature Futures, while my campaign work for LGBTQ+ and polyamory rights has been referenced in The Mirror, Buzzfeed, and BBC News. I am also nonbinary queer, have a Ph.D. in Literature, and currently live in Berlin.

Redfern's book list on sci-fi and speculative stories depicting queer lives

Redfern Jon Barrett Why did Redfern love this book?

Presenting one of the darkest futures I’ve ever read, The Offset plunges us into a neo-medieval world ravaged by climate destruction. The debut novel of writing duo Natasha C. Calder and Emma Szewczak, The Offset is set in a sinister, depopulated London which murders people for reproducing, yet it also weaves in a strange social acceptance. As with Becky Chambers’s A Psalm for the Wild-Built, queer and nonbinary people are completely and unquestioningly accepted – yet though the latter takes place in a quiet utopia, while here we’re dealing with a dramatic dystopia. This tolerance adds depth and nuance to an otherwise bleak setting, and it’s not just relegated to the background: The central protagonists form a queer family, one threatened by the omnipresent cruelties of a decaying future.

By Calder Szewczak, Natasha C. Calder, Emma Szewczak

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world is dying and over populated. Professor Jac Boltanski is leading Project Salix, a ground-breaking new mission to save the world by replanting radioactive Greenland with genetically-modified willow trees. But things aren't working out and there are discrepancies in the data. Has someone intervened to sabotage her life's work?

In the meantime, her daughter Miri, an anti-natalist, has run away from home. Days before their Offset ceremony where one of her mothers must be sentenced to death, she is brought back against her will following a run-in with the law. Which parent will Miri pick to die: the one…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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