62 books like The Constitution of Knowledge

By Jonathan Rauch,

Here are 62 books that The Constitution of Knowledge fans have personally recommended if you like The Constitution of Knowledge. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Treatise of Human Nature

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Steven Pinker Why did Steven love this book?

When I wrote Rationality, I mentioned Hume 32 times. He didn’t think of everything, but he explained an astonishing range of topics related to rationality, including causation versus correlation, is versus ought, and individual versus collective self-interest.

His follow-up, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, explained why we shouldn’t believe in miracles. He explored all of these topics with clarity and wit, putting modern academic writing to shame.

By David Hume,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Treatise of Human Nature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the greatest of all philosophical works, covering knowledge, imagination, emotion, morality, and justice." — Baroness Warnock, The List
Published in the mid-18th century and received with indifference (it "fell dead-born from the press," noted the author), David Hume's comprehensive three-volume A Treatise of Human Nature has withstood the test of time and has had enormous impact on subsequent philosophical thought. Hume — whom Kant famously credited with having "interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave my investigations in the field of speculative philosophy a quite new direction" — intended this work as an observationally grounded study of human nature.…


Book cover of Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Steven Pinker Why did Steven love this book?

This is technically a textbook and isn’t marketed as a book you bring to the beach. But sometimes, it’s more satisfying to have the big ideas on a topic patiently explained to you in an orderly fashion than to try to pick them up from stories and arguments.

This paperback, coauthored by one of my graduate school teachers (Hastie), explains the famous discoveries by Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman on biases in human reasoning, which Kahneman presented in his bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow (too obvious for me to include on my list). It also explains lesser-known but still fascinating discoveries and has helpful appendices for those of us who forget some of the basics of probability theory.

By Reid Hastie, Robyn M. Dawes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rational Choice in an Uncertain World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the Second Edition of Rational Choice in an Uncertain World the authors compare the basic principles of rationality with actual behaviour in making decisions. They describe theories and research findings from the field of judgment and decision making in a non-technical manner, using anecdotes as a teaching device. Intended as an introductory textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, the material not only is of scholarly interest but is practical as well.

The Second Edition includes:

- more coverage on the role of emotions, happiness, and general well-being in decisions

- a summary of the new research on the…


Book cover of Rationality for Mortals: How People Cope with Uncertainty

Helge Thorbjørnsen Author Of More Numbers Every Day: How Data, Stats, and Figures Control Our Lives and How to Set Ourselves Free

From my list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by human behavior and decision-making. What influences our thoughts and behavior and why? In hindsight, I probably should have majored in psychology instead of business, but as a business school professor I still get to investigate all the little quirks and biases of the human mind. I live in Bergen, Norway and devote much of my time researching and teaching consumer psychology and decision-making. I hope you find some inspiration in this list of brilliant books!   

Helge's book list on who and what influences our thoughts and behavior

Helge Thorbjørnsen Why did Helge love this book?

Ok: This is not an easy read like the other books I’ve recommended.

In fact, some parts of it require quite a lot of the reader. But it is a very smart and novel book on human reasoning, uncertainty, and probability.

Gigerenzer elegantly shows us how human behavior often is more rational than one might think, and his concept of “fast and frugal heuristics” is instrumental in understanding how we deal with probability and risk.

If you’ve read Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman and are open to some new and different perspectives on rationality and decision-making, this is your book.  

By Gerd Gigerenzer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rationality for Mortals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gerd Gigerenzer's influential work examines the rationality of individuals not from the perspective of logic or probability, but from the point of view of adaptation to the real world of human behavior and interaction with the environment. Seen from this perspective, human behavior is more rational than it might otherwise appear. This work is extremely influential and has spawned an entire research program. This volume collects recent articles, looking at how
people use "fast and frugal heuristics" to calculate probability and risk and make decisions. It includes the revised articles and newly written introduction that were first published in the…


Book cover of The Bias That Divides Us: The Science and Politics of Myside Thinking

Steven Pinker Author Of Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters

From my list on rationality and why it matters.

Who am I?

I’m a Harvard professor of psychology and a cognitive scientist who’s interested in all aspects of language, mind, and human nature. I grew up in Montreal, but have lived most of my adult life in the Boston area, bouncing back and forth between Harvard and MIT except for stints in California as a professor at Stanford and sabbatical visitor in Santa Barbara and now, Berkeley. I alternate between books on language (how it works, what it reveals about human nature, what makes for clear and stylish writing) and books on the human mind and human condition (how the mind works, why violence has declined, how progress can take place).

Steven's book list on rationality and why it matters

Steven Pinker Why did Steven love this book?

Stanovich is a cognitive psychologist who showed that rationality is related, but not identical, to intelligence.

In this timely book, he shows that smart people, and everyone else, are victims of a powerful bias to show that our own tribe is virtuous and wise and knowledgeable and the other tribe is evil and stupid and ignorant. Needless to say, it explains a lot about our current moment.

By Keith E. Stanovich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why we don't live in a post-truth society but rather a myside society: what science tells us about the bias that poisons our politics.

In The Bias That Divides Us, psychologist Keith Stanovich argues provocatively that we don't live in a post-truth society, as has been claimed, but rather a myside society. Our problem is not that we are unable to value and respect truth and facts, but that we are unable to agree on commonly accepted truth and facts. We believe that our side knows the truth. Post-truth? That describes the other side. The inevitable result is political polarization.…


Book cover of Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow.

Who am I?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom love this book?

Microsoft president Brad Smith’s thoughtful book is basically about responsibility in the digital age.

Smith takes an approach that is different from most corporate executive books in that he calls out the threats represented by digital technology his company is built on rather than trying to sugarcoat them.

Then he suggests responsible steps that everyone – individuals, public policy, and companies like his – should take to mitigate those threats.

By Brad Smith, Carol Ann Browne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Tools and Weapons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller, now updated with new material on cyber attacks, digital sovereignty, and tech in a pandemic.

From Microsoft's president and one of the tech industry's broadest thinkers, a frank and thoughtful reckoning with how to balance enormous promise and existential risk as the digitization of everything accelerates.

"A colorful and insightful insiders' view of how technology is both empowering and threatening us. From privacy to cyberattacks, this timely book is a useful guide for how to navigate the digital future." -Walter Isaacson

Microsoft president Brad Smith operates by a simple core belief: When your technology changes…


Book cover of Future Shock

Jerry Fishenden Author Of Fracture. The collision between technology and democracy-and how we fix it

From my list on technology and democracy.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved technology. I like the constant change, the sense of creativity and invention, of how it can act as an incredible force for good and human progress and betterment in the world. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering with gadgets—taking radios apart to mend them or learn how they worked; designing electronic circuits for music synthesis; programming computers. But I’ve also always been interested in politics and the complex intersection of technology and public policy. So much so that most of my working life has been spent at this intersection, which is why I love these books—and hope you will too.

Jerry's book list on technology and democracy

Jerry Fishenden Why did Jerry love this book?

I remember first reading Future Shock after buying a battered, orange-coloured paperback edition at a bargain price from one of the second-hand bookshops that once saturated London’s Charing Cross Road.

It hadn’t really occurred to me before how much the increasingly rapid technological changes around us might create a sense of shock—‘future shock’— for some people. It changed my thinking about the influence of technology on our world and the impact it has on people, society, economics, and politics.

Even after all these years, many of Alvin Toffler’s insights and ideas remain just as topical today.

By Alvin Toffler,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Future Shock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The classic work that predicted the anxieties of a world upended by rapidly emerging technologies—and now provides a road map to solving many of our most pressing crises. 

“Explosive . . . brilliantly formulated.” —The Wall Street Journal 

Future Shock is the classic that changed our view of tomorrow. Its startling insights into accelerating change led a president to ask his advisers for a special report, inspired composers to write symphonies and rock music, gave a powerful new concept to social science, and added a phrase to our language. Published in over fifty countries, Future…


Book cover of The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics and Society

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow.

Who am I?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom love this book?

Tech analyst and investor Azeem Azhar concisely pulls together his take on how the arc of technology has moved from linear to exponential both in its development as well as its impact on society and business.

Azhar brings great insight into how exponential growth – creating an “exponential gap” – has put strains not only on businesses, but also on government and society writ large. 

By Azeem Azhar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*2021 Financial Times Best Book of the Year*


A bold exploration and call-to-arms over the widening gap between AI, automation, and big data—and our ability to deal with its effects


We are living in the first exponential age.

High-tech innovations are created at dazzling speeds; technological forces we barely understand remake our homes and workplaces; centuries-old tenets of politics and economics are upturned by new technologies. It all points to a world that is getting faster at a dizzying pace.


Azeem Azhar, renowned technology analyst and host of the Exponential View podcast, offers a revelatory new model for understanding how…


Book cover of The Master Switch: the Rise and Fall of Information Empires

Tom Wheeler Author Of From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future

From my list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow.

Who am I?

I have been fortunate to have spent the last 40 years of my professional life dealing with new networks and new technology. From the early days of cable television and mobile communications to the development of digital video and the transmission of data over cable lines and satellite. It was a career topped off with the privilege of being the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with regulatory responsibly for approximately 1/6th of the American economy (on which the other 5/6s depended). 

Tom's book list on today’s roadmap to tomorrow

Tom Wheeler Why did Tom love this book?

Columbia Law Professor and recently departed White House advisor Tim Wu looks at the evolution of the information industry.

While written in 2011, Master Switch describes the technological and corporate developments that have brought us to today’s information age and all its corporate and civil challenges. I love the historical stories he uses and how they are really not that different from contemporary developments. 

By Tim Wu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Internet Age: on the face of it, an era of unprecedented freedom in both communication and culture. Yet in the past, each major new medium, from telephone to satellite television, has crested on a wave of similar idealistic optimism, before succumbing to the inevitable undertow of industrial consolidation. Every once free and open technology has, in time, become centralized and closed; as corporate power has taken control of the 'master switch.' Today a similar struggle looms over the Internet, and as it increasingly supersedes all other media the stakes have never been higher.

Part industrial expose, part examination of…


Book cover of A Book of Untruths

Ruth Badley Author Of Where are the grown-ups?

From my list on troubled families and the secrets they keep.

Who am I?

I am a journalist with a background in performing arts and have spent much of my work life as a storyteller, fascinated by the process of knocking a narrative into shape, either for print or stage performance. My mother’s death prompted me to use those same skills to tell my own stories and the process has been the most satisfying of my professional life. As a memoirist of two books, my dreams have come true. My work has been shortlisted for awards, featured in national newspapers, special interest magazines, and by the BBC. I regularly speak to family history societies, book clubs, writer’s groups, and at literature festivals.   

Ruth's book list on troubled families and the secrets they keep

Ruth Badley Why did Ruth love this book?

Miranda Doyle makes sense of her life through a series of lies told to her and by her. It’s a fabulously original and shocking approach.

One of several siblings at the mercy of an explosive father and passive mother, her truth, as she admits, is also unreliable. I enjoyed how the writer breaks free to question the idea of truthfulness in memoir and her astute observations made me look a little closer at her family photos for the subtext, and to question their veracity. Terrifying episodes are recounted with verve and urgency, akin to a rollercoaster ride.

In an age of post-truth, fake news, and false narratives, the science behind lying sheds further light on the dynamics of this family and the narrator’s quest for closure.      

By Miranda Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Book of Untruths is a family story told through a series of lies. Each short chapter features one of these lies and each lie builds to form a picture of a life-Miranda Doyle's life as she struggles to understand her complicated family and her own place within it.

This is a book about love, family and marriage. It is about the fallibility of human beings and the terrible things we do to one another. It is about the ways we get at-or avoid-the truth. And it is about storytelling itself: how we build a sense of ourselves and our…


Book cover of Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

Jass Richards Author Of Too Stupid to Visit

From my list on funny bits to make you laugh out loud.

Who am I?

Years ago, when I went to Montreal to get my Master's degree in Philosophy, I decided to become a stand-up comic at the same time. I soon realized that I had a lot more fun coming up with the funny bits than I did being ignored or heckled while on stage delivering them. So I became a sit-down comic. (Well, a sprawled-on-the-couch comic.) I've since written and published several novels, which contain a lot of funny bits, but I decided, in addition, to publish the leftover or funny-on-their-own bits in a separate book. Hence, Too Stupid to Visit.

Jass' book list on funny bits to make you laugh out loud

Jass Richards Why did Jass love this book?

I discovered The Onion late in life as well, and also through their website. Which, yes, I have bookmarked as well—I love most just their headlines. And discovered, again, they'd actually published a book of headlines! 'Nuff said.

By The Onion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


From The Birth Of A Nation To The Death Of Journalism

Since its founding by a bloodthirsty tyrant in 1756, The Onion has not merely changed the way we think about the news -- it has changed whether we think about the news at all. As the first decade of this new millennium draws to a close, Our Front Pages shows us the first thing that presidents, kings, prime ministers, and popes saw when they opened their eyes each morning for the last 21 years. Now you, the common reader and citizen, can see what they saw and be as…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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