Four Books I Highly Recommend

The time that I can devote to reading has soared over the past two years.  I spend much less time getting to and from meetings – typically zero.  Here are my four favorite books of the past two months.  I highly recommend them.

Top of the list is Andy Norman’s Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think (Harper, 2021).  How can we cope with misinformation and disinformation about politics, health, etc.?  Building on the thoughts of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume and, more recently, William James and C.S. Peirce, he crafts a philosophical and pragmatic prescription for cognitive inoculation.  Reading his book feels like taking a graduate course from a compelling instructor.  I hope I passed.

Next is Philipp Dettmer’s Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021).  This is an intriguing precursor to Norman’s treatise.  Why not understand the human’s physical immune system before wrestling with mental immunity?  He provides a fascinating tour.  This very thorough book provides another graduate course from a compelling instructor.

Arthur Brooks provides another wonderful piece to the mini curriculum with From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life (Penguin, 2022).  As our fluid intelligence wanes with age, our crystallized intelligence continues to grow.  Our former strengths are replaced by new strengths that can enable compelling new approaches to contributing to society, with significant less emphasis on resumes and bank accounts.

Rounding out the curriculum is Ro Khanna’s Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us (Simon & Schuster, 2022).  Khanna, a Member of Congress from Silicon Valley, addresses ways in which digital technologies can economically and socially benefit everyone, ranging from the skilled technical workforce to technology wizards and entrepreneurs.  I found that I was particularly interested in how a Member of Congress thinks these ideas could be successfully pursued and achieved.

Reading these four books can, in effect, provide you a graduate certificate in understanding and appreciating several of the profound challenges we all face today, and how new ways of thinking can enable tractable solutions to these problems.  I truly appreciate the fact that remote working provided me the time to immerse myself in these wonderful works and, albeit at a distance, get to know these insightful authors.

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