Some Great Books
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Psychology and Sociology:
- Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman 1995. A great, easily readable book on how our minds work. Read report
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell 2000. This is a book about "selling", whether it’s about selling products or ideas. It is an interesting course in how to work with the psychology of the human mind in an attempt to promote a trend (tipping point). Read report
- Bridges out of Poverty, Strategies for Professionals and Communities by Ruby K. Payne,PhD, Philip E. DeVol and Terie Greussi Smith -revised 2009. The format is: textbook/case studies, methods and suggestions. Read report
- Scarcity, The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives by Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir 2014. This book examines why we often make bad decisions, especially when we feel pressed by something like time, finances, etc. A new awareness helps you think deeper before acting.
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 1962. This book was largely responsible for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Read report
- The 6th Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert 2014, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a staff writer for The New Yorker who extensively traveled the globe to interview and work with many involved scientists. Read report
- The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen 2017. I discovered this book after reading his article Mass Extinctions on Earth in Scientific American magazine (sept 2020). I was impressed by the author's pervasive knack for vivid depiction in that article. His book is even better! Read report
- The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells 2019. This 40-ish author wasn't particularly environmentally conscious early on, growing up in typical America with its focus on consumption. Gradually, as this Journalist was exposed to various environmental reports, he began to see a picture emerging. These perceptions led him to write this book, as a wake-up call to all who blithely go about their daily habits unaware of the long term affects of our collective behavior. Read report
- Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert 2021. The author starts with the story of the Chicago River, in which we reversed its flow in 1900. Prior to that, the river was a sewer which flowed into Lake Michigan and fostered routine outbreaks of Typhoid and Cholera. This was a massive public works project which resulted in the river ultimately flowing down the Mississippi River. Now we struggle with underwater Electric Fences to prevent the large Asian Carp in the river from entering the Great Lakes and driving many popular fish to extinction. Next is the story of a sinking Louisiana … Read report
- How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates 2021. This is a thorough book, with facts and references, covering all known issues and potential solutions for mitigating Climate Change by 2050. Read report
- The Last Winter by Porter Fox 2021. Porter Fox is an adventurer, author and ski buff. For this book, he toured Northwestern U.S. Maine, European Alps, Antarctica and Greenland, making sure to meet with experts in each region. As he travels, he writes what he is seeing, and laments what the future may bring. Read report
- Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 2015. Who are we? How did we get to where we are? Where are we going? Questions answered by a sensible interpretation of Human History from about 500,000 years ago to the present (2015).There is a LOT covered in this New York Times Best Seller. Read report
- Homo Deus - A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari 2017. Here, the historian elaborates where he thinks humankind may be headed. Making clear that these are only possible projections and that circumstances often pop up to divert our course. Read report
- 2084 -Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity by John C. Lennox 2020. The author is a professor of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, but also is a proclaimed Christian and pastoral advisor at Green Templeton College, Oxford. He discusses Artificial Intelligence from a strong reliance on Christianity as a guide. It is not quite what I expected. Read report
- How Civil Wars Start - and How to Stop Them by Barbara F. Walter 2022. The author is a professor of International Relations at the University of California and has been studying Civil Wars globally since 1990. This book is also about how tyrants amass power. Read report
- The History of Physics by Issac Asimov, 1966. Asimov (a college professor in chemistry) tells the story of our understanding of science from ancient times to about 1966. This is a story of fragmented (and often mistaken) knowledge and about how developments in one area (say chemistry) influence advancements in others (like electricity). Full Report coming soon!
- This Way to the Universe by Michael Dine, 2022. Michael Dine is a theoretical physicist at UCSC. As a book for the general population, this book is necessarily vague in details but the current status is fairly well covered. The author made a very useful decision to compare many features of the universe using an understandable powers of ten (see the Powers of Ten Video). Read report
- The Foundation Series: Truly Sci-Fi masterpieces by Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), books published in the 1950's.
Though each book is a story in itself it is suggested, for continuity, to read these in order: Prelude to foundation, Forward the foundation, Foundation, Foundation and empire, Second foundation, Foundation's edge, Foundation and earth.
- Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2015.
Kim Stanley Robinson is a modern day "Asimov". His stories tend to follow technological practice, which makes them more believable. Also worth reading (in order)are his "Mars" series: Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars.
• Recommended by Roman Krznaric in his book The Good Ancestor. Aurora is actually quite factual as to scientific trends in Climate Change and particularly in elaborating our human nature and our fragilities (both mental and biological). Read report
- New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2017 is about a plausible future 120 years from now. This Sci-Fi is firmly based around scientific facts and on human nature. Although 613 pages long, every episode was so riveting that it was hard to put the book down! Read report
- The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2021. This book is technically science fiction, but is so much based on fact that it becomes a projection into the near future. The multi-award winning author is famous for adhering to current science and for his understanding of the political mind. With this book he projects history forward in a very plausible way. Read report
Enjoy! Ray Herrmann