Behavioral Science Books to Look Out for in the First Half of 2016

2016books_main1a

 

If you’ve ever doubted the extent to which the psychological and behavioral sciences touch all aspects of your life, look no further than the books set to be released in the first half of 2016—from Maria Konnikova’s discourse on the art of the con to Adam Grant’s glimpse into originality, Angela Duckworth’s treatise on grit and Frans de Waal wondering if we’re smart enough to know how smart animals are. Then there’s Anders Ericsson on peak performance, while Dacher Keltner takes on power. Add in discussions of policy—incentives and gender equality, animal intelligence, honor, artificial intelligence, and L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers’ look at sports, including that arena favorite the T-shirt cannon, and there’s your evidence. Keep your eye out for these titles set to be released January through June 2016.

Any others you think we should consider adding to the list? Let us know at editor@thepsychreport.com.

 

January

THE CONFIDENCE GAME: WHY WE FALL FOR IT . . . EVERY TIME

Maria Konnikova

Viking

From the publisher: While cheats and swindlers may be a dime a dozen, true conmen—the Bernie Madoffs, the Jim Bakkers, the Lance Armstrongs—are elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. How do they do it? Why are they successful? And what keeps us falling for it, over and over again? Read More

Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer for The New Yorker, where she writes about psychology and culture. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University.

A NATURAL HISTORY OF HUMAN MORALITY

Michael Tomasello

Harvard University Press

From the publisher: A Natural History of Human Morality offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on extensive experimental data comparing great apes and human children, Michael Tomasello reconstructs how early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species. Read More

Michael Tomasello is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

February

ORIGINALS: HOW NON-CONFORMISTS MOVE THE WORLD

Adam Grant

Viking

From the publisher: Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent. Read More

Adam Grant is a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania. His first book Give and Take was a New York Times best seller and has been translated into 27 languages.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SPORTS: THE SCIENCE OF UNDERDOGS, THE VALUE OF RIVALRY, AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THE T-SHIRT CANNON

L. Jon Wertheim & Sam Sommers

Crown Archetype

From the publisher:  This is Your Brain on Sports is an entertaining and thought-provoking journey into how psychology and behavioral science collide with the universe of wins-and-losses, coaching changes, underdogs, and rivalry games. Read More

L. Jon Wertheim is the executive editor of Sports Illustrated. Sam Sommers is an experimental psychologist at Tufts University.

March

WHAT WORKS: GENDER EQUALITY BY DESIGN

Iris Bohnet

Belknap Press

From the publisher: Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back. Presenting research-based solutions, Iris Bohnet hands us the tools we need to move the needle in classrooms and boardrooms, in hiring and promotion, benefiting businesses, governments, and the lives of millions. Read More

Iris Bohnet is professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the director of its Women and Public Policy Program as well as the co-chair of the Behavioral Insights Group.

SMARTER FASTER BETTER: THE SECRETS OF BEING PRODUCTIVE IN LIFE AND BUSINESS

Charles Duhigg

Random House

From the publisher: Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. Read More

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter for the New York Times and the author of The Power of Habit.

THE MIND CLUB: WHO THINKS, WHAT FEELS, AND WHY IT MATTERS

Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray

Viking

From the publisher: It’s easy to assume other humans can think and feel, but what about a cow, a computer, a corporation? What kinds of mind do they have? The Mind Club explains why we love some animals and eat others, why people debate the existence of God so intensely, how good people can be so cruel, and why robots make such poor lovers. Read More

Daniel M. Wegner was a professor of psychology at Harvard. Kurt Gray is a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina.

ON BEING HUMAN: WHY MIND MATTERS

Jerome Kagan

Yale University Press

From the publisher: In this thought-provoking book, psychologist Jerome Kagan ponders a series of important nodes of debate while challenging us to examine what we know and why we know it. Most critically he presents an elegant argument for functions of mind that cannot be replaced with sentences about brains while acknowledging that mind emerges from brain activity. Read More

Jerome Kagan is emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University.

April

PEAK: SECRETS FROM THE NEW SCIENCE OF EXPERTISE

Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool

Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

From the publisher: Expert performance guru Anders Ericsson has made a career studying chess champions, violin virtuosos, star athletes, and memory mavens. Peak condenses three decades of original research to introduce an incredibly powerful approach to learning that is fundamentally different from the way people traditionally think about acquiring a skill. Read More

Anders Ericsson is a professor of psychology at Florida State University. Robert Pool is science writer and author.

ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY: THE COMPUTER SCIENCE OF HUMAN DECISIONS

Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

Henry Holt and Co.

From the publisher: All our lives are constrained by limited space and time. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such problems for decades. And the solutions they’ve found have much to teach us. Read More

Brian Christian is the author of the The Most Human Human (2011). Tom Griffiths is a psychologist and cognitive scientist at UC Berkeley.

ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW HOW SMART ANIMALS ARE?

Frans de Waal

W.W. Norton & Company

From the publisher: People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Read More

Frans de Waal is a professor of psychology at Emory University. He has been named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

EVOLVING INSIGHT: HOW IT IS WE CAN THINK ABOUT WHY THINGS HAPPEN

Richard W. Byrne

Oxford University Press

From the publisher: Coming 30 years after publication of Richard Byrne’s seminal book The Thinking Ape, Evolving Insight develops a new theory of the evolutionary origins of human abilities to understand the world of objects and other people. Defining mental representation and computation as ‘insight’, it reviews the evidence for insight in the cognition of animals. Read More

Richard W. Byrne is a professor at the University of St. Andrews, where he studies the evolution of cognitive and social behavior.

DOES YOUR FAMILY MAKE YOU SMARTER?: NATURE, NURTURE, AND HUMAN AUTONOMY

James R. Flynn

Cambridge University Press

From the publisher: Flynn presents an exciting new method for estimating the effects of family on a range of cognitive abilities. Rather than using twin and adoption studies, he analyses IQ tables that have been hidden in manuals over the last 65 years, and shows that family environment can confer a significant advantage or disadvantage to your level of intelligence. Read More

James R. Flynn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is the author of 12 books, including What Is Intelligence?.

IF YOU’RE SO SMART, WHY AREN’T YOU HAPPY?

Raj Raghunathan 

Portfolio

From the publisher: Fifteen years after Raj Raghunathan completed his MBA, he checked in on his old classmates and noticed something strange: many of those who had achieved the highest levels of  success were among the most dissatisfied in life. No matter how successful they were at work, they were prone to be unhappy and out of shape. Why were so many of his brightest friends so unhappy? Read More

Raj Raghunathan is a professor of marketing at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

May

GRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERANCE

Angela Duckworth

Scribner

From the publisher: Why do some people succeed and others fail? Sharing new insights from her landmark research on grit, MacArthur “genius” Angela Duckworth explains why talent is hardly a guarantor of success. Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference. Read More

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she leads the Character Lab.

THE POWER PARADOX: HOW WE GAIN AND LOSE INFLUENCE

Dacher Keltner

Penguin Press

From the publisher: Above all, power is given to us by other people. This is what all-too-often we forget, and what Dr. Keltner sets straight. Power isn’t the capacity to act in cruel and uncaring ways; it is the ability to do good for others, expressed in daily life, and itself a good a thing. Read More

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center.

THE MORAL ECONOMY: WHY GOOD INCENTIVES ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GOOD CITIZENS

Samuel Bowles

Yale University Press

From the publisher: Should the idea of economic man—amoral and self-interested—determine how we expect people to respond to monetary rewards, punishments, and other incentives? Bowles answers with a resounding “no.” He shows how well-designed incentives can crowd in the civic motives on which good governance depends. Read More

Samuel Bowles directs the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute.

HONOR BOUND: HOW A CULTURAL IDEAL HAS SHAPED THE AMERICAN PSYCHE

Ryan P. Brown

Oxford University Press

From the publisher: The United States is particularly well-known for having a deeply rooted culture of honor, especially in the American south and west. In Honor Bound, social psychologist Ryan P. Brown integrates social science research, current events, and personal stories to explore and explain how honor underpins nearly every aspect of our lives. Read More

Ryan P. Brown is a professor of social psychology at The University of Oklahoma.

STRANGER IN THE MIRROR: THE SCIENTIFIC SEARCH FOR THE SELF

Robert V. Levine

Princeton University Press 

From the publisher: Levine offers a provocative and entertaining scientific exploration of the most personal and important of all landscapes: the physical and psychological entity we call our self. Who are we? Where is the boundary between us and everything else? Are we all multiple personalities? And how can we control who we become? Read More

Robert V. Levine is a professor of psychology at California State University, Fresno.

June

INVISIBLE INFLUENCE: THE HIDDEN FORCES THAT SHAPE BEHAVIOR

Jonah Berger

Simon & Schuster

From the publisher: Jonah Berger integrates thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior. Read More

Jonah Berger is a professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

IDIOT BRAIN: WHAT YOUR HEAD IS REALLY UP TO

Dean Burnett

W.W. Norton & Company 

From the publisher: Burnett celebrates blind spots, blackouts, insomnia, and all the other downright laughable things our minds do to us, while also exposing the many mistakes we’ve made in our quest to understand how our brains actually work. This is the best kind of popular science―lucid, funny, and whip-smart. Read More

Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist at the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University and is the author of the Guardian’s most-read science blog, Brain Flapping.

Any others you think we should consider adding to the list? Let us know at editor@thepsychreport.com.

Disclosure: Angela Duckworth serves on The Psych Report’s Advisory Board, and Co-founder Evan Nesterak currently works as a researcher in her lab. Co-founder Max Nesterak assisted her on her book before moving to NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>