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Ellen de Bruin's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Ellen de Bruin recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Ellen de Bruin's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Encyclopedia of Stupidity

Matthijs van Boxsel believes that no one is intelligent enough to understand their own stupidity. In The Encyclopædia of Stupidity he shows how stupidity manifests itself in all areas, in everyone, at all times, proposing that stupidity is the foundation of our civilization.

In short sections with such titles as ‘The Blunderers’ Club’, ‘Fools in Hell’, ‘Genealogy of Idiots’, and ‘The Aesthetics of the Empty Gesture’, stupidity is analysed on the basis of fairy tales, cartoons, triumphal arches, garden architecture, Baroque ceilings, jokes, flimsy excuses and science fiction....
Recommended by Ellen de Bruin, and 1 others.

Ellen de BruinIt’s actually about people in general. Matthijs van Boxsel has been working on a long-term project, which is an encyclopaedia of stupidity. He lists all the ways in which people are stupid. His main theory is that, unlike other animals, people are self-destructive by nature. If you are self-destructive, you need to evolve some kind of ability to overcome all the bad things that you do to yourself... (Source)

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On Blondes

Number of natural blondes in America: 1 in 20. Number of American females who dye their hair blonde: 1 in 3.

Blondeness became a prejudice in the Dark Ages, an obsession in the Renaissance, a mystique in Elizabethan England, a mythical fear in the nineteenth century, an ideology in the 1930s, a sexual invitation in the 1950s, and a doctrine of faith by the end of the twentieth century. With its powerful imagery of wealth, light, youth, and vitality, built up over thousands of years, it has woven itself into the most popular materials of the imagination. In art and literature, in...
Recommended by Ellen de Bruin, and 1 others.

Ellen de BruinIt’s such a wonderful story. It’s a form of self-stereotyping. There is all kinds of research on this. If you tell women that women are, on average, worse at maths than men, then women will perform worse on a maths test. This is something like that. Joanna Pitman dyed her hair blonde, and was very conscious of it, and looked at herself in the mirror all the way home. She had this image of herself... (Source)

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Stylish, convincing, wise, funny–and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live.

French women don’t get fat, but they do eat bread and pastry, drink wine, and regularly enjoy three-course meals. In her delightful tale, Mireille Guiliano unlocks the simple secrets of this “French paradox”–how to enjoy food and stay slim and healthy. Hers is a charming, sensible, and powerfully life-affirming view of health and eating for our times.

As a typically slender French girl, Mireille (Meer-ray) went to America as an exchange...
Recommended by Ellen de Bruin, and 1 others.

Ellen de BruinI listed this book because it was an inspiration. We had so much fun with the idea of French women not getting fat, because obviously you can go to France and see fat women there. Maybe the percentage is lower than in the US or the Netherlands, but it’s just not true that French women don’t get fat. The book is full of little tricks so you don’t eat too much. For example, you should always carry... (Source)

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Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage...

Oprah WinfreyYou don’t hear me say this word often, but this book is a masterpiece ... It’s an epic family saga—it’s got everything—sex and love, even rock n’ roll, and everything you want in a book. (Source)

Ken PowellCEO of General Mills, , is into a different genre of books, the novel kind with great life lessons. “Freedom” is one of those books. (Source)

Ellen de BruinI had a theory about that, but I looked it up and it turned out to be wrong. Jonathan Franzen said in an interview why he called it Freedom, that he gave the title to the publisher because he really, really wanted to be free. My theory was rather different. In the book, some people explore their own freedom in relationships with others – there is the boy Joey, Patty’s son, who behaves very badly.... (Source)

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