Fascinating business and psychology books for you to read

Here are a few business and psychology books to watch out for and read this year.


The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It … Every Time – by Maria Konnikova

Think you can spot a con a mile away?

Think again. You can be conned, just like anyone else. Cheats may be a dime a dozen and easy for most people to spot, but the Bernie Madoff’s of the world are much harder to recognize.

What makes them successful at it? How do they pull it off?

From schemes totaling millions of dollars to small scale fraud, Konnikova details the things all of them have in common.


Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business – by Charles Duhigg

Ever wonder why some people get so much more done?

Now you can understand and learn to apply the same principles to your own life.

This book draws from behavioral economics, neuroscience, psychology, and the experiences of CEOs, four-star generals, educational reformers, airplane pilots, FBI agents, and Broadway songwriters to show the difference between the busy and the genuinely productive.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – by Adam Grant

Grant explores how to buck the trend and create new policies, ideas, and practices without risking everything.

How to speak up and not be silenced; how to build allies and choose the time to act; how to battle self-doubt and fear; how leaders can build a culture which welcomes dissenting opinions; and how to help your children to find their originality.


The Mind Club: Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why it Matters – by Daniel M. Wegner & Kurt Gray

We know humans can think and feel, but what about animals? A computer? A corporation?

Minds are a matter of perception, according to the authors, which opens a whole treasure trove of new insights into fascinating human behaviors.

For example, why do we eat some animals and not others? And, how can cruelty come from otherwise good people?


On Being Human: Why Mind Matters – by Jerome Kagan

What do you know and why do you know it?

That’s the question from psychologist Jerome Kagan.

He deals with kinds of knowing, the meaning of words, the influences of social class, education, morality, and emotion, along with other complex issues of the human condition.


What Works: Gender Equality by Design – by Iris Bohnet

Unconscious bias can hold us back, and de-biasing people’s minds is a difficult and expensive task.

Diversity training is limited in its success, but by de-biasing organizations, rather than individual people, we can improve people’s lives and productivity.


Does Your Family Make You Smarter?: Nature, Nurture, and Human Autonomy – by James R. Flynn

Nature vs. Nurture is at the heart of this book.

It’s probably not much of a surprise that family environment can either be an advantage or disadvantage to intelligence levels.

But why? What about the concept of autonomy? How does that influence intelligence? Genetics and family aside, can we choose to develop our cognitive performance?


If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? – By Raj Raghunathan

If intelligence is supposed to help with making decisions, smart people should be better equipped to make good life choices.

So, why doesn’t that necessarily lead to happiness?

Raghunathan tries to answer that question.


Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions – by Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths

Ever wonder if computer algorithms could be applied to daily life?

Well, according to Christian and Griffiths, they can.

And they can help with questions like when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices, and much more.


Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise – by Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool

Do you think innate talent is needed to excel?

Most people would say so, but almost all humans have the seeds within to do so.

It’s a matter of reducing the process down to attainable goals and practices.

Peak offers advice on setting goals, identifying patterns, and motivating oneself and others.


The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence – by Dacher Keltner

Power is said to corrupt, but how does it change our behavior?

How is it that we so often lose our power, which was so hard-won?

Power which endures comes from empathy and giving. Power is given, which is often forgotten.

By misunderstanding where power comes from, we set ourselves up to lose power. We can only retain it by understanding it.


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Why do some succeed and some fail?

Grit, that special blend of perseverance and passion, is what makes the difference between success and failure, rather than genius.

But, most importantly, grit can be learned.


Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To – by Dean Burnett

What if I told you conspiracy theories are the result of a healthy brain?

Did you know memory is egotistical?

Brains are the seat of consciousness, but they are downright disorganized and fallible.

Humans have made many mistakes trying to understand the brain, but there is much to explore and celebrate.


Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior – by Jonah Berger

There are many subtle influences that affect the decisions we make, and the process by which we make them.

Everything from what we buy and what we eat, to which careers we choose are influenced by things we may not even recognize.

We are highly influenced by other peoples’ behavior, both in conforming to and diverging from that behavior.

When we understand social influence, we can know when to embrace it and when to resist it.

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