100 books like The WEIRDest People in the World

By Joseph Henrich,

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

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Book cover of The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It

Anthony Biglan Author Of Rebooting Capitalism: How We Can Forge a Society That Works for Everyone

From my list on to find out what we can do to fix the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my career studying how we can make our world more nurturing for every person. We can build a society that ensures that every child has the skills, interests, values, and health habits they need to lead a productive life in caring relationships with others. I created Values to Action to make this a reality in communities around the world. We have more than 200 members across the country who are working together to reform our society so that it has less poverty, economic inequality, discrimination, and many more happy and thriving families. 

Anthony's book list on to find out what we can do to fix the USA

Anthony Biglan Why did Anthony love this book?

Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett provide an analysis of the past 125 years of American history that makes a significant contribution to the growing movement to reform American Society. They carefully analyze trends in American life in a way that delineates the tangle of problems we are currently experiencing while at the same time offering hope that we can overcome them. The essence of their analysis is that across a wide variety of societal indicators, the past century and a quarter has involved an upswing in prosocial or communitarian norms and practices, beginning in the progressive era of the early twentieth century. That was followed by a reversal toward less communitarian and more individualistic and self-centered norms and practices.

By Robert D. Putnam,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The most important book in social science for many years' Paul Collier, TLS Books of the Year

The Upswing is Robert D. Putnam's brilliant analysis of economic, social, cultural and political trends from the Gilded Age to the present, showing how America went from an individualistic 'I' society to a more communitarian 'We' society and then back again, and how we can all learn from that experience.

In the late nineteenth century, America was highly individualistic, starkly unequal, fiercely polarised and deeply fragmented, just as it is today. However, as the twentieth century dawned, America became - slowly, unevenly, but…


Book cover of The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

Paul Collier Author Of The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties

From my list on how to renew our divided societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Our societies have become increasingly polarised, both materially and psychologically. Our youth are riven with anxieties. Most people expect their children’s lives to be worse than their own. This reflects a staggering failure across business, politics, and public institutions. Fortunately, an intellectual revolution has begun that is resetting our course: you can become part of it. My own life has straddled these increasingly bitter tensions. My parents left school at 12, and we lived in a city whose industry moved to Korea so the jobs evaporated. The lives of my relatives collapsed, but by fortune’s wheel, I became a professor at Oxford, Harvard, and Paris. We can reverse such cruel divides: I want to share what I have learned from my work and my life to show how we can do it.

Paul's book list on how to renew our divided societies

Paul Collier Why did Paul love this book?

Tyranny is the landmark book that is moral philosophy’s contribution to the inflection point. Its fundamental concept of ‘contributive justice’ magnificently supersedes Rawls’ dated ‘distributive justice’. To give you a glimpse of two profound works, Rawls invoked some moral gymnastics involving a hypothetical withdrawal from society to a veil of ignorance about a hypothetical lottery of how a hypothetical national cake might be cut up. Sandel places us firmly back in our society and focuses on the agency needed for the moral duty to contribute to the baking of our national cake. Sandel, again at Harvard, is the most famous philosopher in the world, his superb online lectures have been so downloaded that they have triggered complaints from lesser philosophers fearing redundancy. Tyranny will shift your moral compass, but don’t be scared.

By Michael J. Sandel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A TLS, GUARDIAN AND NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020

The new bestseller from the acclaimed author of Justice and one of the world's most popular philosophers

"Astute, insightful, and empathetic...A crucial book for this moment" Tara Westover, author of Educated

These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that "you can make it if you try". And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has…


Book cover of Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

US economist Frank Knight is credited with distinguishing uncertainty from risk back in 1921. Yet the two are often conflated.

Kay (an eminent economist) and King (a former Governor of the Bank of England) argue powerfully that the distinction does matter. They range widely across macroeconomics, politics, and consumer choices to show why reducing the future to a set of numbers (probabilities) creates a false – and often disastrous – illusion of power over future outcomes.

They argue that instead we should aim to make decisions that stand a reasonable chance of being robust against unknowable, as well as forecastable, paths that the future might take. That’s very much the ethos of my own books: building in resilience is a key part of successful personal financial planning.

By John Kay, Mervyn King,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Radical Uncertainty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some uncertainties are resolvable. The insurance industry's actuarial tables and the gambler's roulette wheel both yield to the tools of probability theory. Most situations in life, however, involve a deeper kind of uncertainty, a radical uncertainty for which historical data provide no useful guidance to future outcomes. Radical uncertainty concerns events whose determinants are insufficiently understood for probabilities to be known or forecasting possible. Before President Barack Obama made the fateful decision to send in the Navy Seals, his advisers offered him wildly divergent estimates of the odds that Osama bin Laden would be in the Abbottabad compound. In 2000,…


Book cover of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Sarah Kaplan Author Of The 360° Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-Offs to Transformation

From my list on stakeholder capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sarah Kaplan is Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is the author of the bestseller Creative Destruction: Why Companies That Are Built to Last Underperform the Market—And How to Successfully Transform Them and The 360º Corporation: From Stakeholder Trade-offs to Transformation, both address the challenges of innovation and organizational change in society. She frequently speaks and appears in the media on topics related to achieving a more inclusive economy and corporate governance reform. Formerly a professor at the Wharton School and a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she earned her PhD at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Sarah's book list on stakeholder capitalism

Sarah Kaplan Why did Sarah love this book?

If we want to reimagine capitalism as a system that does not destroy the planet and destabilize society, this must be enabled by corporations changing the way that they operate. Henderson’s Reimagining Capitalism gives us some principles for thinking about how to do this. A long-time innovation scholar, Henderson draws on her knowledge about how to succeed at organizational change to propose a more purpose-driven model of corporate action. Using numerous case studies of companies that have (partially) succeeded and those that have failed, she animates a number of principles for change. To start, such a model will require new metrics for social and environmental impact. This would involve more collaborative engagement amongst stakeholders to grow the economic pie and amongst companies to self-regulate in a more sustainable manner.

Particularly refreshing, at the end of the book, Henderson connects the macro conversation about economic and corporate change with a discussion…

By Rebecca Henderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A renowned Harvard professor debunks prevailing orthodoxy with a new intellectual foundation and a practical pathway forward for a system that has lost its moral and ethical foundation.
Free market capitalism is one of humanity's greatest inventions and the greatest source of prosperity the world has ever seen. But this success has been costly. Capitalism is on the verge of destroying the planet and destabilizing society as wealth rushes to the top. The time for action is running short.

Rebecca Henderson's rigorous research in economics, psychology, and organizational behavior, as well as her many years of work with companies around…


Book cover of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

Given my interests in nature and nurture, what I find especially fascinating is “the nature of nurture”. By this I mean how Darwinian natural selection has shaped the way our species rears its children and the effects such care has on them.

This book by a world-famous anthropologist beautifully, informative, and insightfully reveals how evolution has made us who we are as parents, people capable of unconditional love but by no means always dispensing it, sometimes the exact opposite—and why that is the case.

By Sarah Blaffer Hrdy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A History of Mothers, Infants and Natural Selection


Book cover of The Development of the Person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation from Birth to Adulthood

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

This book tells the story of the ground-breaking Minnesota Longitudinal Study, the first to document developmental effects of infant-mother attachment security/insecurity and so much more, a contribution to understanding that greatly shaped my own career.

The book shares discoveries which emerged in following more than 200 children growing up under high-risk conditions from birth to adulthood. In so doing it illuminates whether, how, and why early-life experiences foster problematic development or resilience in the face of adversity.

By L. Alan Sroufe, Byron Egeland, Elizabeth A. Carlson , W. Andrew Collins

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive work on a groundbreaking study, this essential volume provides a coherent picture of the complexity of development from birth to adulthood. Explicated are both the methodology of the Minnesota study and its far-reaching contributions to understanding how we become who we are. The book marshals a vast body of data on the ways in which individuals' strengths and vulnerabilities are shaped by myriad influences, including early experiences, family and peer relationships throughout childhood and adolescence, variations in child characteristics and abilities, and socioeconomic conditions. Implications for clinical intervention and prevention are also addressed. Rigorously documented and clearly presented,…


Book cover of Attachment: The Fundamental Questions

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

How parenting—and other factorsshape infant-parent attachment security/insecurity and the effects of attachment on child, adolescent, and adult development has been the subject of extensive study for more than 4 decades.

This edited volume takes stock of what developmental scholars have learned as well as what challenges to attachment theory and research remain to be addressed. The contributors to this edited volume are all well-recognized experts in the field.

By Ross A. Thompson (editor), Jeffry A. Simpson (editor), Lisa J. Berlin (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The ongoing growth of attachment research has given rise to new perspectives on classic theoretical questions as well as fruitful new debates. This unique book identifies nine central questions facing the field and invites leading authorities to address them in 46 succinct chapters. Multiple perspectives are presented on what constitutes an attachment relationship, the best ways to measure attachment security, how internal working models operate, the importance of early attachment relationships for later behavior, challenges in cross-cultural research, how attachment-based interventions work, and more. The concluding chapter by the editors delineates points of convergence and divergence among the contributions and…


Book cover of Children of the Great Depression: Social Change in Life Experience

Jay Belsky Author Of The Origins of You: How Childhood Shapes Later Life

From my list on development from childhood to middle age.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was almost by accident that I became who I turned out to be as a professional, a developmental scientist interested in how early-life experiences shape who we become. Had someone asked me when I graduated from high school what were the chances of me becoming a scientist and teacher, I would have answered “zero, zero”! During my now 40+ year academic career I've come to appreciate how complex the many forces are that shape who we become. There's no nature without nurture and no nurture without nature. This emergent realization led me to learn about and study many aspects of developmental experience, like parenting and peer relations, and the role of genetics and evolution.

Jay's book list on development from childhood to middle age

Jay Belsky Why did Jay love this book?

Whether and how childhood adversity shapes human development is a question that has long intrigued scientists and citizens.

This book tells the story of a great sociologist mining archival data about children who grew up during economically troubled times in America in order to underscore how the past is—and is notprologue. Perhaps its greatest contribution is in illuminating the environmental conditions and life experiences that determined whether children eventually thrived or failed. In so doing, this work shaped the field of developmental studies, including my own work, for decades to come.

By Glen H. Elder, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Children of the Great Depression as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explores the familial and intergenerational implications and consequences of drastic socio-economic change, as experienced by Oakland, California residents born in 1920-21


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 The Psychology of Gratitude

Patrick M. Garry Author Of The Power of Gratitude: Charting a Path Toward a Joyous and Faith-Filled Life

From my list on gratitude and how it can uplift your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have published more than twenty books and hundreds of articles. But not one of those books and articles inspired the kind of devotion I felt toward The Power of Gratitude. In a way, this book encapsulates a lifetime of writing. It is the book I believe I was called to write.

Patrick's book list on gratitude and how it can uplift your life

Patrick M. Garry Why did Patrick love this book?

While we sometimes might think of gratitude as just a simple emotion or reaction, Emmons and McCullough show a much more complex side to gratitude. 

In this book, Emmons and McCullough explore the scientific and medical aspects of gratitude. The book helps the reader understand all the psychological and medical benefits produced by a life lived with gratitude.

By Robert A. Emmons (editor), Michael E. McCullough (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gratitude, like other positive emotions, has inspired many theological and philosophical writings, but it has inspired very little vigorous, empirical research. In an effort to remedy this oversight, this volume brings together prominent scientists from various disciplines to examine what has become known as the most-neglected emotion. The volume begins with the historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations of gratitude, then presents the current research
perspectives from social, personality, and developmental psychology, as well as from primatology, anthropology, and biology. The volume also includes a comprehensive, annotated bibliography of research on gratitude. This work contributes a great deal to the growing…


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