Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

So many, and I wish I could write a long paragraph on each, but I'm unfortunately short on time. I'm posting any in case just one person who hasn't heard of those checks them out and gets value:

-Godel, Escher, Bach (Douglas Hosfstadter)

-The Mindbody Prescription (John E. Sarno, completely cured my long-term crippling RSI that kept me from using computers and was ruining my life)

-Feeling Good (Dr. Burns, cognitive therapy mostly centered on depression, but I want to learn about this before I have depression so that I can avoid it and do 'maintenance' on myself)

-The 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman, made me understand a lot more about how people express and receive love, and the problems that arise from mismatched languages in relationships)

-Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman (you guys probably already know this)

-The Blank Slate (Steven Pinker)

-The Snowball (Warren Buffett biography)

-Influence (Robert B. Cialdini)

-Your Money or Your Life (Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin)

-When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace (Le Ly Hayslip)

-The Halo Effect (Phil Rosenzweig)

-The LessWrong.com sequences on rationality

I can't believe this is the only post with Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman! Such a fun, creative book. Parts that stuck with me: lock picking, finding safety hazards at Oak Ridge, playing drums, working intensely.

I developed bad RSI starting about 5 months ago. It's manageable now (mostly from stretches and nerve glides my physical therapist taught me, and using an ergo keyboard and foot pedals) but was scary there for a bit. I've read about a third of the way through The Mindbody Presciption (after seeing it mentioned on HN) but I feel like he just keeps repeating himself and hasn't actually told me anything useful yet. I know I need to finish it but I'm curious what your experience was.

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out Hofstadter's other two works in the same mould (it's kinda a series) as GEB:



Also - you might enjoy Kevin Kelly's book, "Out of Control":


Oh - and in a similar vein, Marvin Minsky's book "Society of Mind":


The problem with so many of these books is that there's been a lot of criticism and praise for all of them, tear downs, rebuttals, critiques, etc; not to mention various kinds of "evidence" both in support and against the various theories involved. The history of the ideas is long and convoluted, and is almost impossible to sort out today without a long and concerted effort on the part of the reader.

I prefer to take the information as more a "tour de force" - information to inspire my thinking, and where it seems to be relevant (or has supporting evidence of efficacy), application of it to problems at hand.

I hope that makes sense...

Yes, I second "The 5 Love Languages". Very good lessons for how to strenghten important relationships in my life. Before, I didn't realize how much more I prefered one kind of love language over some others.

I forgot to include:

-Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins)

The 5 Love Languages is not supported by any scientific research, basically, it's a load of bollocks. It's just the latest self help book to be in vogue.

Does it make scientific claims? It can be a useful mental model even if it's not neurologically based - and seems to be, to many people.

Lots of things that work aren't supported by scientific research (yet?). It's your choice not to use it, but to claim that something is bollocks probably means that you will never follow what most people tell you about lots of things (where are all the double-blind peer-reviewed studies about how to bake a good cake or write a good novel?).

Yes, but claims about a "good cake" are not making generalized claims about human behavior. The only downside of a "bad cake" recipe is someone trying it and it's not a great cake.

There are massive consequences for releasing a book claiming to be a factual model for how human brains work and how people should behave towards each other based on this model. If the book becomes popular, this sort of model can become the defacto truth to most people and live on in public consciousness for years as pop psychology.

As an example, look at things like Meiers Briggs (ISTP, ENFJ etc), "Type A vs Type B personalities", DISC personality testing, etc. ALl of these are based on old, flawed, and straight up bad research. Yet companies across America (and the world) are still giving people training and hiring people based on these studies. Note, DISC, for example was based on William Moulton Marston's work, a guy who DIED in 1947. The "research" which became DISC is from 1928! Businesses are still dressing up this old and flawed research and selling it to businesses for huge profits.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact