100 books like Science Denial

By Gale Sinatra, Barbara Hofer,

Here are 100 books that Science Denial fans have personally recommended if you like Science Denial. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science

Andrew Shtulman Author Of Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories about the World Are So Often Wrong

From my list on the cognitive foundations of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of psychology at Occidental College, where I direct the Thinking Lab. I hold degrees in psychology from Princeton and Harvard and have published several dozen scholarly articles on conceptual development and conceptual change. I’m interested in how people acquire new concepts and form new beliefs, especially within the domains of science and religion. My research investigates intuitions that guide our everyday understanding of the natural world and strategies for improving that understanding.

Andrew's book list on the cognitive foundations of science

Andrew Shtulman Why did Andrew love this book?

Science has revolutionized the way we live and the way we understand reality, but what accounts for its success? What method sets science apart from other forms of inquiry and ensures that it yields ever-more accurate theories of the world? Strevens argues that the scientific method is not a special kind of logic, like deriving hypotheses from first principles or narrowing hypotheses through falsification, but a simple commitment to arguing with evidence. Strevens shows, with historical case studies, how this commitment is seemingly irrational, as it provides no constraints on what counts as evidence or how evidence should be interpreted, but also incredibly powerful, fostering ingenuity and discovery.

By Michael Strevens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

* Why is science so powerful?
* Why did it take so long-two thousand years after the invention of philosophy and mathematics-for the human race to start using science to learn the secrets of the universe?

In a groundbreaking work that blends science, philosophy, and history, leading philosopher of science Michael Strevens answers these challenging questions, showing how science came about only once thinkers stumbled upon the astonishing idea that scientific breakthroughs could be accomplished by breaking the rules of logical argument.

Like such classic works as Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery and Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of…


Book cover of The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind

Sanjay Sarma Author Of Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn

From my list on helping us reimagine what education could be.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm passionate about understanding and fixing how we teach and learn for a simple reason: My own journey as a learner was very nearly cut short. While attending one of the most competitive universities in India, I witnessed firsthand what can happen when a once-promising student runs into learning roadblocks. I nearly gave up on my academic career, only to be saved by—of all things—a hands-on, corporate training program. As I moved back into academia, it became my goal, first as an educator and later as MIT’s Vice President for Open Learning, to empower how we teach and learn with findings from cutting-edge research. And to avail these possibilities to as many learners as possible. 

Sanjay's book list on helping us reimagine what education could be

Sanjay Sarma Why did Sanjay love this book?

It’s impossible, as a parent, not to marvel at the miracle of learning that occurs in very young children. Indeed, parents have experienced this sense of awe for time immemorial, and some have gone so far as to venture explanations for how it works. John Dewey, the American philosopher and psychologist, argued at the dawn of the twentieth century that children are like young scientists as they go about their day, subtly testing the things and people around them to see how they work. We now know, in no small part due to the work of researchers including The Scientist in the Crib author Alison Gopnik, that Dewey was right. Children are compelled to experiment; what’s more, they make the most of the limited data they produce with a powerful logic invisible to the untrained eye. Parents—but also anyone with a sense of wonder—will find answers to deep mysteries in…

By Andrew N. Meltzoff, Alison Gopnik, Patricia K. Kuhl

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Scientist in the Crib as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This exciting book by three pioneers in the new field of cognitive science discusses important discoveries about how much babies and young children know and learn, and how much parents naturally teach them. It argues that evolution designed us both to teach and learn, and that the drive to learn is our most important instinct. It also reveals as fascinating insights about our adult capacities and how even young children -- as well as adults -- use some of the same methods that allow scientists to learn so much about the world. Filled with surprise at every turn, this vivid,…


Book cover of The Origin of Concepts

William Byers Author Of How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics

From my list on thinking, creativity, and mathematics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a mathematician but an unusual one because I am interested in how mathematics is created and how it is learned. From an early age, I loved mathematics because of the beauty of its concepts and the precision of its organization and reasoning. When I started to do research I realized that things were not so simple. To create something new you had to suspend or go beyond your rational mind for a while. I realized that the learning and creating of math have non-logical features. This was my eureka moment. It turned the conventional wisdom (about what math is and how it is done) on its head.

William's book list on thinking, creativity, and mathematics

William Byers Why did William love this book?

I’m interested in how mathematicians create mathematics but this book made me realize that learning mathematics is also a form of creativity. Each of us has created our understanding of mathematics as we were growing up. We are all creative!  

What is amazing about this book is that even children as young as six months possess rudimentary mathematical concepts, in particular, the concept of number. (Actually, Carey shows children have two distinct ways of thinking about numbers). The concept of number is built-in. That’s amazing to me! The mastery of counting numbers, 1,2,3,… is a great creative leap in the development of the child. This leap is followed by a series of further amazing accomplishments, for example, the insight that a fraction like 2/3, is a completely new kind of number (and not just a problem in division). How do kids manage to accomplish such radical changes in their concept…

By Susan Carey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Only human beings have a rich conceptual repertoire with concepts like tort, entropy, Abelian group, mannerism, icon and deconstruction. How have humans constructed these concepts? And once they have been constructed by adults, how do children acquire them? While primarily focusing on the second question, in The Origin of Concepts , Susan Carey shows that the answers to both overlap substantially.

Carey begins by characterizing the innate starting point for conceptual development, namely systems of core cognition. Representations of core cognition are the output of dedicated input analyzers, as with perceptual representations, but these core representations differ from perceptual representations…


Book cover of Education for Thinking

Andrew Shtulman Author Of Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories about the World Are So Often Wrong

From my list on the cognitive foundations of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of psychology at Occidental College, where I direct the Thinking Lab. I hold degrees in psychology from Princeton and Harvard and have published several dozen scholarly articles on conceptual development and conceptual change. I’m interested in how people acquire new concepts and form new beliefs, especially within the domains of science and religion. My research investigates intuitions that guide our everyday understanding of the natural world and strategies for improving that understanding.

Andrew's book list on the cognitive foundations of science

Andrew Shtulman Why did Andrew love this book?

Two skills fundamental to scientific reasoning are inquiry and argument. Inquiry is generating new information, and argument is using that information to justify and evaluate knowledge claims. Kuhn presents a framework for understanding these processes, as well as methods for teaching them. Her insights are grounded in science-education research demonstrating not only why inquiry and argument are challenging but also how they can be improved. Kuhn’s book fundamentally changed how I teach science to others. It provided me a way of organizing and motivating the various research methods I cover in my courses, as tools for building a collective body of knowledge.

By Deanna Kuhn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What do we want schools to accomplish? The only defensible answer, Deanna Kuhn argues, is that they should teach students to use their minds well, in school and beyond.

Bringing insights from research in developmental psychology to pedagogy, Kuhn maintains that inquiry and argument should be at the center of a "thinking curriculum"-a curriculum that makes sense to students as well as to teachers and develops the skills and values needed for lifelong learning. We have only a brief window of opportunity in children's lives to gain (or lose) their trust that the things we ask them to do in…


Book cover of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

Samuel Woolley Author Of Manufacturing Consensus: Understanding Propaganda in the Era of Automation and Anonymity

From my list on helping you navigate the disinformation deluge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been intrigued by politics and the tools and tactics people use in attempts to gain and maintain power. Since 2010, I’ve been researching and writing about propaganda and digital media. With collaborators at the University of Washington, the University of Oxford, and—currently—the University of Texas at Austin, I’ve done groundbreaking work on computational propaganda: the use of algorithms and automation in attempts to control public opinion. I’ve also worked with numerous think tanks, news organizations, policymakers, and private firms in efforts to make sense of our current informational challenges. In the summer of 2022 I testified before the U.S. congress on election-oriented disinformation challenges faced by communities of color.   

Samuel's book list on helping you navigate the disinformation deluge

Samuel Woolley Why did Samuel love this book?

Manufacturing Consent is the book that forms the basis of the discussions and arguments picked up and built upon in my own book—which even riffs on the former book’s name. Herman and Chomsky’s work has become a classic in the field of propaganda. It’s an essential roadmap for understanding how broadcast media, from newspapers to television to film, are so often controlled by the 1 percent. This, the authors argue, regularly results in news coverage that is skewed towards the goals of the powerful. They don’t pull any punches in building what they term “the propaganda model”—liberals, conservatives, democracies, and autocracies—all powerful organizations and individuals are involved in concerted efforts to mold public opinion.   

By Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A detailed and compelling political study of how elite forces shape mass media.

Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky investigate how an underlying elite consensus structures mainstream media. Here they skilfully dissect the way in which the marketplace and the economics of publishing significantly shape the news.

This book reveals how issues are framed and topics chosen, and the double standards underlying accounts of free elections, a free press, and governmental repression between Nicaragua and El Salvador; between the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the American invasion of Vietnam; between the genocide in Cambodia under a pro-American government and genocide…


Book cover of How to Win the War on Truth: An Illustrated Guide to How Mistruths Are Sold, Why They Stick, and How to Reclaim Reality

Dashka Slater Author Of Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed

From my list on facing down extremism, online and off.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent the past ten years reporting and writing true crime narratives about teenagers and hate, first in The 57 Bus and now in Accountable. My research has led me into some fascinating places and has left me convinced that we cannot prevent what we don’t understand. In both books I found that the young people who harmed others weren’t the stereotypical grimacing loners I’d always associated with hate and extremism. Instead, they were imitating behaviors that we see all around us. Being young, with brains that aren’t fully developed in important ways, and lacking the life experience that teaches us a more nuanced understanding of the world, they are ripe for radicalization.

Dashka's book list on facing down extremism, online and off

Dashka Slater Why did Dashka love this book?

After watching both a close friend and a relative get radicalized through online disinformation, I realized that no one is immune, no matter how smart or how educated, if they don’t have the tools to recognize disinformation when it comes their way.

Media scholar Samuel C. Spitale has written a compulsively readable and highly entertaining explanation of what disinformation is and how to recognize and combat it. The propaganda mills are churning out disinformation faster than ever before and even those of us who think we’re too smart to be fooled are vulnerable.

By Samuel C. Spitale, Allan Whincup (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Win the War on Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The average person receives 4,000 to 10,000 media messages a day. It s no wonder we struggle to separate the news from the noise and fact from fiction but in these unprecedented times, it s essential to democracy that we do. For anyone struggling to figure out how to live and vote their values, How to Win the War on Truth is here to help. You ll learn: The history of propaganda, from Edward Bernays to Fox News Why simple messages are so powerful How social messaging creates unconscious biases Who profits from propaganda How propaganda is manufactured and delivered…


Book cover of After Democracy: Imagining Our Political Future

Samuel Woolley Author Of Manufacturing Consensus: Understanding Propaganda in the Era of Automation and Anonymity

From my list on helping you navigate the disinformation deluge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been intrigued by politics and the tools and tactics people use in attempts to gain and maintain power. Since 2010, I’ve been researching and writing about propaganda and digital media. With collaborators at the University of Washington, the University of Oxford, and—currently—the University of Texas at Austin, I’ve done groundbreaking work on computational propaganda: the use of algorithms and automation in attempts to control public opinion. I’ve also worked with numerous think tanks, news organizations, policymakers, and private firms in efforts to make sense of our current informational challenges. In the summer of 2022 I testified before the U.S. congress on election-oriented disinformation challenges faced by communities of color.   

Samuel's book list on helping you navigate the disinformation deluge

Samuel Woolley Why did Samuel love this book?

Papacharissi’s work—more so than almost any other thinker—has informed my thinking about how social media and the internet are inherently tied to politics and power. In this book, she interviews everyday citizens in order to understand where (and who) democracy has failed, but also how it might succeed in the future. This book situates communication, and particularly digital communication, at the center of our current political challenges. It manages to provide some much-needed hope, thinking through how technology and its use might be tied to solutions to the current problems associated with disinformation. 

By Zizi Papacharissi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What do ordinary citizens really want from their governments?

Democracy has long been considered an ideal state of governance. What if it's not? Perhaps it is not the end goal but, rather, a transition stage to something better. Drawing on original interviews conducted with citizens of more than thirty countries, Zizi Papacharissi explores what democracy is, what it means to be a citizen, and what can be done to enhance governance.

As she explores how governments can better serve their citizens, and evolve in positive ways, Papacharissi gives a voice to everyday people, whose ideas and experiences of capitalism, media,…


Book cover of Social Media and the Public Interest: Media Regulation in the Disinformation Age

James Meese Author Of Digital Platforms and the Press

From my list on news and the impact of technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the news media and technology for as long as I can remember. I successfully campaigned for a VCR as a five-year-old, and watched multiple news programs with my grandfather growing up. Alongside these interests, I managed to read as many books as I possibly could. I’ve managed to somehow parlay that into a job as a researcher, where I study the news media sector and technological transformation. I read everything on this list while I was writing my latest book, and hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

James' book list on news and the impact of technology

James Meese Why did James love this book?

Philip Napoli is a leading media policy expert and was one of the first people to identify some of the problems that emerge when news gets distributed online through social media algorithms.

I love this book because it provides a great narrative of how we got to this point, but also some fantastic suggestions for how policymakers can respond. It’s quite readable for an academic book, and worth checking out. 

By Philip M. Napoli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Facebook, a platform created by undergraduates in a Harvard dorm room, has transformed the ways millions of people consume news, understand the world, and participate in the political process. Despite taking on many of journalism's traditional roles, Facebook and other platforms, such as Twitter and Google, have presented themselves as tech companies-and therefore not subject to the same regulations and ethical codes as conventional media organizations. Challenging such superficial distinctions, Philip M. Napoli offers a timely and persuasive case for understanding and governing social media as news media, with a fundamental obligation to serve the public interest.

Social Media and…


Book cover of How to Stand Up to a Dictator: The Fight for Our Future

Rebecca Kingston Author Of Plutarch's Prism: Classical Reception and Public Humanism in France and England, 1500-1800

From my list on why politics matter.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a student of the history of ideas, with a particular interest in political thought, for over forty years. I have read countless books, both ancient and modern, and in several languages, that explore themes related to public life. I am a dedicated citizen of a contemporary liberal democracy, but today, I live in fear of a growing backlash against liberal democracy. The risk of democratic backsliding in the contemporary US is real as citizens become more disillusioned with politics. In other liberal democracies, some party leaders are adopting populist rhetoric to enhance their electoral appeal, but in doing so, they are undermining some of the established norms of public life. 

Rebecca's book list on why politics matter

Rebecca Kingston Why did Rebecca love this book?

Maria Ressa is an inspiring figure. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for her work in trying to defend the freedom of the press in the Philippines, under threat due to the authoritarianism of Duterte. The narrative of her life and struggles offers insight into the ways in which democracy is fragile and can easily be upended.

I am particularly drawn to her discussion of the effects of contemporary social media on social psychology and how it can contribute to the weakening of democratic mores. The case of the Philippines might be considered to have the status of a ‘canary in the coal mine,’ alerting other contemporary liberal democratic countries to the dangers of unregulated social media, AI, and other new electronic technologies.

We need to be informed about the effects of these technologies and work to save our public and democratic institutions, which are being eroded by…

By Maria Ressa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stand Up to a Dictator as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*BBC RADIO 4 START OF THE WEEK and GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR*

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2021

What will you sacrifice for the truth?

Maria Ressa has spent decades speaking truth to power. But her work tracking disinformation networks seeded by her own government, spreading lies to its own citizens laced with anger and hate, has landed her in trouble with the most powerful man in the country: President Duterte.

Now, hounded by the state, she has multiple arrest warrants against her name, and a potential 100+ years behind bars to prepare for - while she stands…


Book cover of How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers

Rebecca Campbell Author Of How to Teach Economics to Your Dog: A Quirky Introduction

From my list on economics for people who are allergic to algebra.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently teach in the management department of the London School of Economics, and I often need to communicate economic ideas to non-economists. Honestly, I was very nervous about writing (yet another) book about economics. Especially since there are so many around. Two things made me have a go. I really wanted to convey the key arguments with simplicity, translating often complicated and abstruse ideas into straightforward language in a way that didn’t dumb down. Second the world has changed so much in recent years that you need to keep up to date. Quantitative easing, modern monetary theory, and Bitcoin are ideas that just did not exist until recently. 

Rebecca's book list on economics for people who are allergic to algebra

Rebecca Campbell Why did Rebecca love this book?

All politicians should be forced to read this book. Anyone who reads a newspaper should be forced to read this book. My favourite radio programme in the world is Tim Harford’s More or Less. And this book is every bit as good. Harford is clear, incisive, and always interesting. In a world crowded with disinformation and fake news, he shows you how to evaluate the numbers that are thrown at you. To read him is to become a little cleverer. Make this man prime minister someone.

By Tim Harford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Make the World Add Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times Bestseller

'Tim Harford is one of my favourite writers in the world. His storytelling is gripping but never overdone, his intellectual honesty is rare and inspiring, and his ability to make complex things simple - but not simplistic - is exceptional. How to Make the World Add Up is another one of his gems. If you're looking for an addictive pageturner that will make you smarter, this is your book' Rutger Bregman, author of Humankind

'Tim Harford could well be Britain's Malcolm Gladwell'
Alex Bellos, author of Alex's Adventures in Numberland

'If you aren't in love with…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in pseudoscience, cognition, and philosophy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about pseudoscience, cognition, and philosophy.

Pseudoscience Explore 19 books about pseudoscience
Cognition Explore 39 books about cognition
Philosophy Explore 1,583 books about philosophy