100 books like The Righteous Mind

By Jonathan Haidt,

Here are 100 books that The Righteous Mind fans have personally recommended if you like The Righteous Mind. 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 Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

David P. Barash Author Of OOPS! The Worst Blunders of All Time

From my list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic.

Who am I?

I’m an emeritus professor of psychology (University of Washington) who has long been intrigued by the mistakes that people have made throughout history. I’ve long been struck by Oppenheimer’s observation, immediately after the Trinity explosion, that “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This led me to look into the wide array of mistakes, from the mythic, literary, athletic, business, political, medical, and military. In writing OOPS!, I let myself go in a way that I’ve never before, writing with a critical and wise-ass style that isn’t strictly academic, but is factually accurate and, frankly, was a lot of fun!

David's book list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic

David P. Barash Why did David love this book?

Two renowned social psychologists show how people—some famous and some not—avoid taking responsibility for their blunders.

By the book''s end, we see how we avoid admitting our missteps, and aware of how much our own (and everyone's) lives would improve if we could simply say, ''I made a mistake. I'm sorry.”

By Elliot Aronson, Carol Tavris,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. This updated edition concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.

Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it?

When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral,…


Book cover of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Who am I?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

This is one of the most brilliant and important books I have ever read!

Way ahead of his time, Postman described the increasing and detrimental role of entertainment in every aspect of American life. His predictions have been realized beyond his wildest nightmares. 

Although not a book about advertising, it helped me understand that advertising has been a key player in the trivialization of American culture and the corruption of the way we think. I had the privilege of knowing Neil, which certainly added to my appreciation of his genius.

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Amusing Ourselves to Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell…


Book cover of The Big Short

Claire A. Hill Author Of Better Bankers, Better Banks: Promoting Good Business through Contractual Commitment

From my list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly.

Who am I?

I’ve always been interested—a vast understatement to anyone who knows me—in what makes people tick. I’ve focused on analyzing business actors – bankers, lawyers, investors, executives, shareholders, and others. What do they want? Some combination of money, power, or prestige? How does loving to win fit in? How about hating to lose? When is enough (money/power/prestige) enough? What do they think is ok to do to get what they want? What do they think is not ok? Amazingly, as a law professor, I can pursue that interest as part of my job, and – I think and hope – do so in a way that might help lawmakers, regulators, and policymakers do better.

Claire's book list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly

Claire A. Hill Why did Claire love this book?

As everyone knows at this point, anything Michael Lewis writes will be enormous fun to read, while being about something really important—something he’ll make you care about even if you didn’t when you started the book.

In this case, the subject is people who bet on the direction of mortgages (and thus, house prices), and how those who bet on a huge plunge were right. This book has an amazing cast of characters, all richly drawn: some are smart, some are not so smart; some are excellent schmoozers, some can barely tolerate human interaction; some care a lot about money, some care more about being right, especially if everyone else is wrong.

Each book I've recommended cries out to be made into a movie. This one actually was.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Big Short as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a…


Book cover of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Who am I?

I’m an economist who started out in stockbroking. But that felt like an exploitative industry and, looking for a more positive role, I moved to the consumer organisation Which? There, I cut my teeth helping people make the most of their money and then started my own freelance business. Along the way, I’ve worked with many clients (including financial regulators and the Open University where I now also teach), taken some of the exams financial advisers do and written 30 or so books on personal finance. The constant in my work is trying to empower individuals in the face of markets and systems that are often skewed against them.

Jonquil's book list on insights for managing your money wisely

Jonquil Lowe Why did Jonquil love this book?

Cialdini is a social psychologist who set out to explore what makes us comply with requests from strangers.

He did this from the inside by taking jobs where he was trained by various organisations to sell their wares. What makes this book so valuable is that Cialdini not only identifies six key methods of persuasion that are routinely deployed but also offers guidance on how to defend yourself against them. This has huge relevance for personal finance.

As banks and other financial institutions increase their fraud detection systems, criminals increasingly see you, the individual, as the weak link they can exploit to defraud you. Cialdini’s book is a great tool to help you detect and rebuff scammers intent on parting you from your money.

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

22 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 A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing

Eric Tyson Author Of Investing For Dummies

From my list on getting smarter about investing and money.

Who am I?

When I was growing up, I saw family members and friends, who were otherwise smart people who could master other aspects of their lives, have difficulty with personal finance decisions and investing. When my dad was laid off during a recession, he had some retirement money distributed to him, and I got interested in investing as he researched and tried with difficulty to handle this money himself. In my young adult years, I was a sponge to learn as much as I could about personal finance. 

Eric's book list on getting smarter about investing and money

Eric Tyson Why did Eric love this book?

I first read this book as required reading for a college course, and it greatly changed how I thought about investing.

Over the years, I’ve read updated editions, and it never gets stale and always includes new information and insights. But the foundational issues have stood the test of time and remain in the newest edition.

I also love this book because it introduced me at a young age to mutual funds and Vanguard.

By Burton G. Malkiel,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Random Walk Down Wall Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today's stock market is not for the faint hearted. At a time of frightening volatility, the answer is to turn to Burton G. Malkiel's advice in his reassuring, authoritative, gimmick-free and perennially best-selling guide to investing. Long established as the first book to purchase before starting a portfolio, A Random Walk Down Wall Street now features new material on "tax-loss harvesting"; the current bitcoin bubble and automated investment advisers; as well as a brand-new chapter on factor investing and risk parity. And as always, Malkiel's core insights-on stocks and bonds, as well as investment trusts, home ownership and tangible assets…


Book cover of The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Who am I?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

Pinker challenges the widely held belief that human beings are born as blank slates, shaped solely by their environment and experiences.

As a cognitive psychologist, he makes this case with a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence on evolutionary psychological adaptations. I especially appreciate how Pinker conveys a lot of complicated information so plainly. He argues that the belief in the “blank slate” has often led to misguided policies, such as in education and the criminal justice system.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature from the author of Rationality, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and Enlightenment Now.

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." --Time

Updated with a new afterword

One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses…


Book cover of Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World--And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Tobias Rose-Stockwell Author Of Outrage Machine: How Tech Amplifies Discontent, Disrupts Democracy--And What We Can Do about It

From my list on why everything feels terrible right now.

Who am I?

As a writer, designer, and technologist, I've always been fascinated by the extraordinary potential of the internet. It’s our species' greatest invention to date, giving us powers our ancestors would have only dreamed of. But I'm equally aware of its darker side. We now live an inordinate amount of our lives in spaces controlled by algorithms that have strange agendas. A key part of my work is exposing how the subtle designs of our online spaces can dramatically change our emotions, making them much more contagious. By translating these insights into understandable narratives, my goal is to foster digital resilience, and help us take back some real measure of control of our digital lives.

Tobias' book list on why everything feels terrible right now

Tobias Rose-Stockwell Why did Tobias love this book?

Factfulness is a critical tool for showing that the world is knowable and making the case for optimism.

Beloved by Bill Gates—who called it “[one] of the most important books I’ve ever read”—the book shows how our perspectives get distorted by the information we consume every day. It also shows how taking a fact-based worldview can drastically reduce the anxiety and fear so many of us feel right now.

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.' BARACK OBAMA

'One of the most important books I've ever read - an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.' BILL GATES

*#1 Sunday Times bestseller * New York Times bestseller * Observer 'best brainy book of the decade' * Irish Times bestseller * Guardian bestseller * audiobook bestseller *

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how…


Book cover of Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

Dennis W. Johnson Author Of American Public Policy: Federal Domestic Policy Achievements and Failures, 1901 to 2022

From my list on understanding public policy challenges and failures.

Who am I?

Much of my academic work has been focused on American domestic public policy. Previously, I wrote a ground-breaking book called The Laws that Shaped America, which focused on 15 key laws in American history. My latest book, American Public Policy: Federal Domestic Policy Achievements and Failures, 1901 to 2022, focuses on what we have accomplished, but even more importantly on what we have failed to do. And, boy, do we have work to do: inequality, climate change, immigration, racial injustice, gun violence, drug addiction, and more. I’m passionate about what good government can accomplish, and, like so many, sadden by what we have failed to accomplish.

Dennis' book list on understanding public policy challenges and failures

Dennis W. Johnson Why did Dennis love this book?

This is a sobering account of what has happened to far too many blue-collar, non-college-educated workers in America.

Wracked with economic uncertainty, shunted aside, feeling left out and powerless, many have turned to alcohol, drugs, and suicide. The greed of the opioid industry—the doctors, the pharmacies, the corporate pushers—has led to an extraordinary increase in deaths among white blue-collar workers.
For working men and women, once the backbone of American economic vibrancy, capitalism, and globalization has not worked, but has crushed families and prospects for a better life.

A powerful indictment, but one we need to hear and comprehend.

By Anne Case, Angus Deaton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2020
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year
A New Statesman Book to Read

From economist Anne Case and Nobel Prize winner Angus Deaton, a groundbreaking account of how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America's working class

Life expectancy in the United States has recently fallen for three years in a row-a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times. In the…


Book cover of Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform

Charles Wheelan Author Of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

From my list on economics and public policy.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about economics and public policy because they are the tools we can use to improve our lives—everything from fighting a pandemic to preventing the next financial crisis. I’m interested in politics, too, because that is how policies get made in a democracy. We’re living through a time with serious social challenges and a political system paralyzed by partisanship. We have to do better.

Charles' book list on economics and public policy

Charles Wheelan Why did Charles love this book?

Who knew that a book on tax reform could be so interesting? Showdown at Gucci Gulch, which tells the story of the 1986 federal tax reform, remains the best in depth look at how a bill really becomes a law, including a cast of interesting characters, from Ronald Reagan to Dan Rostenkowski. The book is also a good primer on what a good tax system ought to look like and how myriad special interests invariably oppose such a system. Murray and Birnbaum were reporters for the Wall Street Journal who covered the 1986 tax reform and write with a reporter’s eye for detail. Really, this is an entertaining book.

By Alan Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Showdown at Gucci Gulch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was the single most sweeping change in the history of America's income tax. It was also the best political and economic story of its time. Here, in the anecdotal style of The Making of the President, two Wall Street Journal reporters provide the first complete picture of how this tax revolution went from an improbable dream to a widely hailed reality.


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Luke Fowler Author Of Democratic Policy Implementation in an Ambiguous World

From my list on how ideas are turned into actions.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by the obsession that we as a society have with making policy, but not whether policy works, and how policy is treated as a magic bullet to the social problems that we all care about. But my experience is that it’s not ideas that solve problems; it’s action that solves problems. This fascination has led me to become a professor of public policy and administration, where I have read extensively about this issue for over a decade and written two books and over four dozen articles. My work focuses on how ideas are translated into actions and how those actions impact our communities.

Luke's book list on how ideas are turned into actions

Luke Fowler Why did Luke love this book?

What I like about this book is that it digs into the cognitive processes that help explain our behaviors and how we come to understand the world.

The big takeaway from this book for me is that people don’t always think through their choices, and that is hardwired into our brains. It’s really important to understand that when you start thinking about how to get people to change their behaviors.

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

38 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,…


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