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Susan Gelman's Top Book Recommendations

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

In this theoretically rich exploration of ethnic and religious tensions, Janet McIntosh demonstrates how the relationship between two ethnic groups in the bustling Kenyan town of Malindi is reflected in and shaped by the different ways the two groups relate to Islam. While Swahili and Giriama peoples are historically interdependent, today Giriama find themselves literally and metaphorically on the margins, peering in at a Swahili life of greater social and economic privilege. Giriama are frustrated to find their ethnic identity disparaged and their versions of Islam sometimes rejected by... more
Recommended by Susan Gelman, and 1 others.

Susan GelmanThis is definitely the most challenging book on my list. It’s not an easy read. Janet McIntosh is a cultural-linguistic anthropologist and she did her fieldwork in a little town in Kenya where there are two ethnic groups that she looked at, the Swahili and the Giriama. What’s really cool about it is that she shows how essentialism works in a culture that’s really different from a middle-class,... (Source)

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"Engaging, evocative…[Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling." —Michael Washburn, NPR

Why is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and seamy, lofty and mundane, to reveal that our enjoyment of a given thing is determined not by what we can see and touch but by our beliefs about that...
Recommended by Susan Gelman, and 1 others.

Susan GelmanPaul is also an academic psychologist and we’ve co-authored a couple of papers together. He’s a world-class scientist, and he’s also very good at taking sophisticated scientific ideas and portraying them to a broad audience. This book is a wonderful example of that. He’s really interested in how pleasure works, and he says, upfront, that his view is rooted in essentialism. So he says that we like... (Source)

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The Bad Seed

Now reissued – William March's 1954 classic thriller that's as chilling, intelligent and timely as ever before. This paperback reissue includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested reading and more.

What happens to ordinary families into whose midst a child serial killer is born? This is the question at the center of William March's classic thriller. After its initial publication in 1954, the book went on to become a million–copy bestseller, a wildly successful Broadway show, and a Warner Brothers film. The spine–tingling tale of little Rhoda...
Recommended by Susan Gelman, and 1 others.

Susan GelmanI love this book. I have to confess that in high school I had the lead in a play that we put on of The Bad Seed. I was the evil girl. So I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. It’s really essentialism personified. What makes it essentialism is that this girl, who outwardly seems very sweet and innocent, in actuality is bad to the core. So there’s this appearance/reality distinction... (Source)

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The Mismeasure of Man

The definitive refutation to the argument of The Bell Curve.

How smart are you? If that question doesn't spark a dozen more questions in your mind (like "What do you mean by 'smart,'" "How do I measure it" and "Who's asking?"), then The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould's masterful demolition of the IQ industry, should be required reading. Gould's brilliant, funny, engaging prose dissects the motivations behind those who would judge intelligence, and hence worth, by cranial size, convolutions, or score on extremely narrow tests. How did scientists decide that...

Carol DweckI was raised in the heyday of the IQ craze. My sixth grade teacher seated us around the room in IQ order and assigned all privileges on the basis of IQ. This book made me realise the effect it had on us and I saw that my work could play a role in bringing that era to a close. (Source)

Jerry CoyneHe had this Marxist viewpoint towards biology which in the end made him almost reject natural selection. (Source)

Susan GelmanThis is a classic book. It was published in 1981 and got a lot of attention when it came out. Gould just does this beautiful job of laying out the ‘biology as destiny’ idea – and then ripping it to shreds. (Source)

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Now updated with new research — the book that has changed millions of lives.

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset — those who believe that abilities are fixed — are less likely to flourish than those with a growth...

Tony Robbins[Tony Robbins recommended this book on the podcast "The Tim Ferriss Show".] (Source)

Bill GatesOne of the reasons I loved Mindset is because it’s solutions-oriented. In the book’s final chapter, Dweck describes the workshop she and her colleagues have developed to shift students from a fixed to a growth mindset. These workshops demonstrate that ‘just learning about the growth mindset can cause a big shift in the way people think about themselves and their lives. (Source)

Dustin Moskovitz[Dustin Moskovitz recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

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