Kevin Simler

Kevin Simler

Looking for people with DIY worldviews: let's think together. Book: https://t.co/jkilITFklr

20+ Book Recommendations by Kevin Simler

  • The Strategy of Conflict

    Thomas C. Schelling

    Analyzes the nature of international disagreements and conflict resolution in terms of game theory and non-zero-sum games.

    @JaycelAdkins It’s a great book and very accessible; I generally recommend it. But it’s not primarily about Schelling points. IIRC they’re the focus of maybe 10 percent of the book? And not in too much depth, either.

  • Over 200,000 copies in print! A must-have guide for anyone who lives or works with young kids, with an introduction by Adele Faber, coauthor of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, the international mega-bestseller The Boston Globe dubbed “The Parenting Bible.” For nearly forty years, parents have turned to How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk for its respectful and effective solutions to the unending challenges of raising children. Now, in response to growing demand, Adele’s daughter, Joanna Faber, along with Julie King, tailor How to Talk’s powerful communication skills to parents of children ages two to seven. Faber and King, each a parenting expert in her own right, share their wisdom accumulated over years of conducting How To Talk workshops with parents, teachers, and pediatricians. With a lively combination of storytelling, cartoons, and observations from their workshops, they provide concrete tools and tips that will transform your relationship with the children in your life. What do you do with a little kid who…won’t brush her teeth…screams in his car seat…pinches the baby...refuses to eat vegetables…throws books in the library...runs rampant in the supermarket? Organized by common challenges and conflicts, this book is an essential manual of communication strategies, including a chapter that addresses the special needs of children with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders. This user-friendly guide will empower parents and caregivers of young children to forge rewarding, joyful relationships with terrible two-year-olds, truculent three-year-olds, ferocious four-year-olds, foolhardy five-year-olds, self-centered six-year-olds, and the occasional semi-civilized seven-year-old. And, it will help little kids grow into self-reliant big kids who are cooperative and connected to their parents, teachers, siblings, and peers.

    @diviacaroline Have you read “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk”? HT: @Altimor. The sentiment in your tweet is kinda the premise of the book. I think it’s good (but what do I know!)

  • Impro

    Keith Johnstone

    First published in 1987. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

    @markojak_ Impro by Keith Johnstone. A classic!

  • Against the Grain

    James C. Scott

    @julienchien @devonzuegel “Against the Grain” by James C. Scott

  • The concluding volume--following Mao's Great Famine and The Tragedy of Liberation--in Frank Dikötter's award-winning trilogy chronicling the Communist revolution in China. After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958–1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The Cultural Revolution's goal was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalistic elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. Young students formed the Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semiautomatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962–1976 draws for the first time on hundreds of previously classified party documents, from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party's ideology. By showing how economic reform from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, The Cultural Revolution casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light.

    Great summary of “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History” Book by Frank Dikötter Review by @gwern HT @sonyaellenmann https://t.co/gzQkhBaxKE https://t.co/8fXVxKT3x2

  • The Selfish Gene

    Richard Dawkins

    With a new epilogue to the 40th anniversary edition.

    @CrashBand7 I haven’t read him unfortunately. I came up on Richard Dawkins’s “The Selfish Gene” and Dan Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” both of which are excellent. Sorry I don’t have an opinion on Gould

  • DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA

    Daniel C. Dennett

    Offers a wider perspective on Darwin's scientific theory of natural selection, explaining how it extends beyond biology, analyzing current controversies over the origins of life and inherent biases, and challenging popular philosophies

    @CrashBand7 I haven’t read him unfortunately. I came up on Richard Dawkins’s “The Selfish Gene” and Dan Dennett’s “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” both of which are excellent. Sorry I don’t have an opinion on Gould

  • Why Information Grows

    César Hidalgo

    @verbine and https://t.co/0rK8y0n8ml but I'm sure there are many other, more focused/foundational texts that I'm just not aware of!

  • A tour of modern economics as reflected by Paul Romer's new growth theory describes Adam Smith's presentation of a challenging economic puzzle more than two hundred years ago, various efforts and tools that were applied to its solution, and the applications of Romer's solution by some of today's top companies. Reprint.

    @verbine Thanks for the info and the podcast link. I know there are many angles on this thing! IIRC the economists have also been studying it (not too surprising), but I'm not too familiar with the literature. I think these two books touch on it: https://t.co/vpjMv9cDkC

  • Reinventing Discovery

    Michael Nielsen

    In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than 300 years. This change is being driven by powerful new cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly accelerating scientific discovery. There are many books about how the internet is changing business or the workplace or government. But this is the first book about something much more fundamental: how the internet is transforming the nature of our collective intelligence and how we understand the world. Reinventing Discovery tells the exciting story of an unprecedented new era of networked science. We learn, for example, how mathematicians in the Polymath Project are spontaneously coming together to collaborate online, tackling and rapidly demolishing previously unsolved problems. We learn how 250,000 amateur astronomers are working together in a project called Galaxy Zoo to understand the large-scale structure of the Universe, and how they are making astonishing discoveries, including an entirely new kind of galaxy. These efforts are just a small part of the larger story told in this book--the story of how scientists are using the internet to dramatically expand our problem-solving ability and increase our combined brainpower. This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the online world is revolutionizing scientific discovery today--and why the revolution is just beginning.

    @FllwConspirator @kevinakwok Any particular angle you're interested in James? Related to knowledge and science, I'd tentatively recommend Michael Nielsen's book "Reinventing Discovery" or Cesar Hidalgo's "Why Information Grows."

  • @FllwConspirator @kevinakwok Any particular angle you're interested in James? Related to knowledge and science, I'd tentatively recommend Michael Nielsen's book "Reinventing Discovery" or Cesar Hidalgo's "Why Information Grows."

  • 人間は競争に勝つために、他人をあざむくだけでなく自分をもあざむく。AIと予測市場理論の気鋭研究者が不可思議な動機の正体を解明

    hey @robinhanson I think this is our book in Japanese :D https://t.co/XoGFUlPBMz https://t.co/MtzvbbV87V

  • Democracy in America

    Alexis de Tocqueville

    Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59) came to America in 1831 to see what a great republic was like. What struck him most was the country's equality of conditions, its democracy. The book he wrote on his return to France, Democracy in America, is both the best ever written on democracy and the best ever written on America. It remains the most often quoted book about the United States, not only because it has something to interest and please everyone, but also because it has something to teach everyone. When it was published in 2000, Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop's new translation of Democracy in America—only the third since the original two-volume work was published in 1835 and 1840—was lauded in all quarters as the finest and most definitive edition of Tocqueville's classic thus far. Mansfield and Winthrop have restored the nuances of Tocqueville's language, with the expressed goal "to convey Tocqueville's thought as he held it rather than to restate it in comparable terms of today." The result is a translation with minimal interpretation, but with impeccable annotations of unfamiliar references and a masterful introduction placing the work and its author in the broader contexts of political philosophy and statesmanship.

    @borismus it may be generally better to read the full book but i’m wondering about exceptions (and exceptionally good summaries) i also hope to read Democracy in America someday... :)

  • Class

    Paul Fussell

    This book describes the living-room artifacts, clothing styles, and intellectual proclivities of American classes from top to bottom

    @_TamaraWinter Great question! Impro, The Lessons of History, The Tao of Philosophy, and Class by Fussell It’s not that they’re my very favorite books (although they’re all up there), but also that they’re mercifully short, so as not to be a burden on people.

  • Impro

    Keith Johnstone

    First published in 1987. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

    @_TamaraWinter Great question! Impro, The Lessons of History, The Tao of Philosophy, and Class by Fussell It’s not that they’re my very favorite books (although they’re all up there), but also that they’re mercifully short, so as not to be a burden on people.

  • @_TamaraWinter Great question! Impro, The Lessons of History, The Tao of Philosophy, and Class by Fussell It’s not that they’re my very favorite books (although they’re all up there), but also that they’re mercifully short, so as not to be a burden on people.

  • Featuring the edited transcripts of eight lectures delivered by Alan Watts from 1960 to 1973. The Tao of Philosophy offers a rich introduction to the wit and wisdom of one of the foremost philosophers of the twentieth century.

    @_TamaraWinter Great question! Impro, The Lessons of History, The Tao of Philosophy, and Class by Fussell It’s not that they’re my very favorite books (although they’re all up there), but also that they’re mercifully short, so as not to be a burden on people.

  • Emphasizing reader expectations, this composition text provides an insightful guide to writing clearly and effectively. Reflecting on the author's decades of experience as an international writing consultant, writer, and instructor, The Sense of Structure teaches writing from the perspective of readers. This text demonstrates that readers have relatively fixed expectations of where certain words or grammatical constructions will appear in a unit of discourse. By bringing these intuitive reading processes to conscious thought, this text provides students with tools for understanding how readers interact with the structure of writing, from punctuation marks to sentences to paragraphs, and how meaning and purpose are communicated through structure.

    @visakanv +100 my favorite writing book (maybe the only writing book i've ever seriously learned from) works primarily by teaching you what's going on in your mind as you read a passage https://t.co/sdf2fvlcaR

  • Hive Mind

    Garett Jones

    Over the last few decades, economists and psychologists have quietly documented the many ways in which a person's IQ matters. But, research suggests that a nation's IQ matters so much more. As Garett Jones argues in Hive Mind, modest differences in national IQ can explain most cross-country inequalities. Whereas IQ scores do a moderately good job of predicting individual wages, information processing power, and brain size, a country's average score is a much stronger bellwether of its overall prosperity. Drawing on an expansive array of research from psychology, economics, management, and political science, Jones argues that intelligence and cognitive skill are significantly more important on a national level than on an individual one because they have "positive spillovers." On average, people who do better on standardized tests are more patient, more cooperative, and have better memories. As a result, these qualities—and others necessary to take on the complexity of a modern economy—become more prevalent in a society as national test scores rise. What's more, when we are surrounded by slightly more patient, informed, and cooperative neighbors we take on these qualities a bit more ourselves. In other words, the worker bees in every nation create a "hive mind" with a power all its own. Once the hive is established, each individual has only a tiny impact on his or her own life. Jones makes the case that, through better nutrition and schooling, we can raise IQ, thereby fostering higher savings rates, more productive teams, and more effective bureaucracies. After demonstrating how test scores that matter little for individuals can mean a world of difference for nations, the book leaves readers with policy-oriented conclusions and hopeful speculation: Whether we lift up the bottom through changing the nature of work, institutional improvements, or freer immigration, it is possible that this period of massive global inequality will be a short season by the standards of human history if we raise our global IQ.

    @amasad Yeah I also sense that our culture has cultlike reverence for IQ out of proportion to its value (esp. relative to other traits). But then I haven’t read Hive Mind, which I imagine makes a good case for IQ....

  • Millions of years ago, humans just happened. Accidents of environment and genetics contributed to the emergence of sentient beings like us. Today, however, people no longer "just happen"; they are created by the voluntary acts of other people. This book examines several questions about the ethics of human existence. Is it a good thing, for humans, that humans "happened"? Is it ethical to keep making new humans, now that reproduction is under our control? And given that a person exists (through no fault or choice of his own), is it immoral or irrational for him to refuse to live out his natural lifespan? Sarah Perry answers these questions in the negative--not out of misanthropy, but out of empathy for human suffering and respect for human autonomy. "Every Cradle Is a Grave undertakes a difficult task-to write on discomforting matters from a perspective that is socially unsanctioned. Strange as it may seem to some of us, there are scads of volumes that praise the abuses we endure in our lives. Such works have always been well thumbed, though they are only prayer-books for the purpose of worshiping misery. Sarah Perry is more honest and less perverse on the subject of suffering, treating pain as both a philosophical and a practical problem to which, it is admitted, there is no ultimate solution. Nonetheless, in her view there still remains intelligence and compassion as a means for confronting the insoluble. That is what makes this book as much a necessity as it is a rarity." --Thomas Ligotti, author of The Conspiracy against the Human Race Meaning. Value. Birth. Death. Sanctity. These subjects and others are reexamined through the lens of suicide rights and procreation ethics in Sarah Perry's Every Cradle Is a Grave. If you're at all fond of asking the truly Big Questions, this is the read you've been waiting for. Why are we here, and why do we stay? Prepare to have your assumptions dissected and turned on their heads. It's a bumpy ride, but then, so is this little journey we're on as we spin aimlessly around a sun that's destined to burn out, just as surely as each individual life will one day fall back down into the mud from which all life arises. Asking the hard questions is one thing, but hearing answers that might shake us to the core can be something else again. --Jim Crawford, author of Confessions of an Antinatalist "In this eminently rational, clear and serious book, Sarah Perry is courageous and strong enough to confront the forbidden truths of human life. Every Cradle Is a Grave should be mandatory reading for anyone who plans to have children." -Mikita Brottman, author of Thirteen Girls

    @MagnusVinding @robinhanson fwiw, I've engaged a little with these ideas, mostly by reading Sarah Perry's book "Every Cradle is a Grave." I still happen to think human life/consciousness is subjectively good, broadly and on net, but that book made me a lot less certain about it.

  • Against the Grain

    James C. Scott

    An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today's states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family--all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction. Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the "barbarians" who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

    @fmd4cp I just bought James C. Scott's "Against the Grain," so be prepared for those analogies to flow soon :) https://t.co/9csJHLgwub

  • Offering an answer to the anti-rationalist argument that all rational theory rests on an irrational commitment, this book also provides a case study of modern Protestant theology. The author contends that Western philosophical traditions are authoritarian in structure.

    @C_Harwick Cool. This reminds me of W. W. Bartley III's "The Retreat to Commitment" — one of my favorite books (but pretty obscure). It's kind of like a book-length version of your post: a rejection of the "tu quoque" argument against rationalism.

  • The Dictator's Handbook

    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

    All in all, I highly recommended The Dictator's Handbook. It does what too many works of social science utterly fail to do, i.e., TAKE INCENTIVES SERIOUSLY. It also pairs nicely with The Elephant in the Brain 😉 (esp. the chapter on politics). Now some quotes and takeaways...

  • "This book exposes our unconscious selfish motives, those we're reluctant to discuss or even think about. These motives drive our body language, laughter, and conversation, as well as venerated institutions like art, school, charity, medicine, politics, and religion"--

    All in all, I highly recommended The Dictator's Handbook. It does what too many works of social science utterly fail to do, i.e., TAKE INCENTIVES SERIOUSLY. It also pairs nicely with The Elephant in the Brain 😉 (esp. the chapter on politics). Now some quotes and takeaways...

  • The Dictator's Handbook

    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

    "The three most important characteristics of a coalition are: (1) Loyalty; (2) Loyalty; (3) Loyalty." — The Dictator's Handbook

  • "This book exposes our unconscious selfish motives, those we're reluctant to discuss or even think about. These motives drive our body language, laughter, and conversation, as well as venerated institutions like art, school, charity, medicine, politics, and religion"--

    The book officially launches today, and to mark the occasion I give you a listicle: 10 Reasons to Read "The Elephant in the Brain" (cc: @robinhanson) https://t.co/mQ4gfCyDjs

  • Strangers to Ourselves

    Timothy D. Wilson

    A tour of the human unconsciousness as defined by contemporary psychology explains that it is comprised of sophisticated mental processes, identifying a gap between self-knowledge and reality, and warning about the dangers of too much introspection. (Psychology & Self-Help)

    @limbic Thanks for the kind words Jonathan. Really enjoyed "Strangers to Ourselves" — such a counterintuitive but important set of ideas.

  • "This book exposes our unconscious selfish motives, those we're reluctant to discuss or even think about. These motives drive our body language, laughter, and conversation, as well as venerated institutions like art, school, charity, medicine, politics, and religion"--

    Apparently my book with @robinhanson, "The Elephant in the Brain," is now available on Kindle! https://t.co/zTTsKKgcK0 Hardcover doesn't come out until January. Attached: some things I like about this book (that you might like too). https://t.co/bi4pIRXrpq

  • @BecomingCritter @eigenrobot Impro is the other book in my rec list that produces the same revelatory reaction in nearly everyone who reads it. I think those two really stand out. But would love to hear other ppl’s recs!