The Science of Happiness

Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile Author: Daniel Nettle Genre: Popular Science Happiness is an interesting concept – we spend much of our lives chasing it, yet very few people define themselves as being 100 percent happy, no matter the level of their material wealth. Actually, there is a reason for that, and the ideaContinue reading “The Science of Happiness”

The Book of Illusions

The Book of Illusions Author: Paul Auster Genre: Fiction I actually don’t like Paul Auster’s books too much. Acclaimed literary wunderkind or not, I generally find his writing overly artificial (this impression based on having read the New York Trilogy and The Music of Chance, which may be too small a sample to judge him).Continue reading “The Book of Illusions”

Talking to Your Television

The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media Like Real People and Places Authors: Byron Reeves & Clifford Nass Genre: Academic Readability: Good Two researchers, Reeves & Nass, did an interesting thing: they took a number of established theories from the social sciences and tested them on computers. Or rather, they testedContinue reading “Talking to Your Television”

Great Introduction to Good Design

Title: The Design of Everyday Things Author: Donald E. Norman Genre: Business/design bible This book is an excellent introduction to the idea behind usability design – or, in plainer words, designing things so that humans find them intuitive to use. As Norman shows, using lots of examples, it is relevant in almost everything we do;Continue reading “Great Introduction to Good Design”

Game Theory in the Real World

Title: Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction Author: Colin F. Camerer Genre: Academic/game theory Readability: Scientific Game theory is the formalised study of strategic interaction, and was first started back in the 1960s – one of the better known theorists within the field is John Nash, who is portrayed in the movie A BeautifulContinue reading “Game Theory in the Real World”

The Selfish Gene – A Classic

Title: The Selfish Gene Author: Richard Dawkins Genre: Popular Science/evolutionary biology and genetics Readability: Excellent Approximately ten years ago, The Selfish Gene started me off on a voyage of intellectual discovery into a field that I am still fascinated with, namely evolutionary biology. It is the perfect popular science introduction to the subject of genes,Continue reading “The Selfish Gene – A Classic”

Influence and Manipulation

Influence: Science and Practice Author: Robert Cialdini Genre: Popular Science/Psychology Readability: Excellent A highly interesting book on the subject of influence (or, if you prefer, manipulation). Cialdini sums up a lot of research on the subject of how to influence people’s behaviour, and presents it in an accessible and entertaining way (one of my favoriteContinue reading “Influence and Manipulation”

Linked + Six Degrees – two books on networks

Titles: Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life and Six Degrees: The New Science of Networks Authors: Albert-Lászlo Barabási (Linked) and Duncan Watts (Six Degrees) Genre: Popular Science/sociology/networks Readability: Linked is very easy to digest, Six Degrees is at times more academic. Two recentContinue reading “Linked + Six Degrees – two books on networks”