recommended reading list on the abelard site
latest changes & additions at abelard.org link to document abstracts latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone      link to short briefings documents quotations at abelard.org, with source document where relevant interesting site links at abelard's news and comment zone about abelard and abelard.org
    France zone at abelard.org - another France economics and money zone at abelard.org - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net   technology zone at abelard.org: how to survive and thrive on the web Energy - beyond fossil fuels    




RECOMMENDED READING

index of book reviews by abelard

back to abelard's front page    



site map


click for more headlines

Custom Search

INDEX

introduction
human and other animal behaviour
the future of society
social chaos and what to do about it
social skills/relationship training
communication
economics
psychology

there is a common snobbery that an information source has to be badly written in an obscure journal for it to be authoritive or useful. this is not so and many popular sources of information are popular just because they are coherently and concisely written by scientists who have taught themselves to write and by journalists who have learnt to research.

you will find no concession in this reading list to snobbery or political correctness; just useful, readable sources of information and ideas. the books are laid out in the format of book, author, date, publisher and/or isbn and then any comments.
normally, though, the isbn is all you will need to order a book from a library, bookshop or web book trader; but when a book is out of print more information can be useful to help track down the book.

 

 


advertising
disclaimer

 

 


advertising
disclaimer

human and other animal behaviourreturn to index

There are a growing number of popularising books on what is called socio-biology. The logic in these books is usually rather circular. Animals behave this or thus because behaving this or thus enables them to increase and multiply, therefore evolution selected them to increase and multiply, or some such. I do not regard this logic as entirely satisfactory.

Evolution is a useful and effective way of categorising our knowledge of the living’ world.

With this caution in mind, I recommend the following for general reading and orientation:

Ardrey, Robert
The Territorial Imperative
(pbk, 1997, Kodansha International, 1568361440)
$14.40 [amazon.com] / £9.50 [amazon.co.uk]

Baker, Robin
Sperm Wars

(pbk, reprint 2000, Pan, 0330390775)
£5.59 [amazon.co.uk]
a realistic summary of human sexual behaviour.

The Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsDawkins, Richard 
The Selfish Gene
Oxford University Press, 2006, 3rd rev. edn, 0199291152, pbk
$9.98 [amazon.com] / 5.39 [amazon.co.uk]

A useful popularisation of modern ideas concerning the propagation and survival of genes. The second edition is more tightly written than the first. Dawkins’ Climbing Mount Improbable is a useful adjunct. I would advise reading both these books in context, with other books in this section and Axlerod’s Evolution of Co-operation (details in next section). It is very easy to draw too simplistic an understanding of the evolutionary model.
See also
memes.

Dawkins, Richard
Climbing Mount Improbable
$13.45 [amazon.com] 1997; W.W. Norton & Company; 0393316823; pbk
£7.19 [amazon.co.uk] 1997; Penguin Books; 0140179186; pbk

 

Ridley, Matt
Genome: The autobiography of a species in 23 chapters
[1st edn: 1999]
This is a useful general read, outlining current thinking and progress in understanding of the gene.
image credit: amazon.com $11.20 [amazon.com] 2000,
HarperCollins, 0060932902; pbk
  image credit: amazon.co.uk £7.19 [amazon.co.uk] 2000,
Fourth Estate, 185702835X; pbk
  image credit: amazon.co.uk 26.00 [amazon.co.uk] 2000,
HarperCollins, 006019497; hbk


De Waal, Frans
Good Natured: the Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals
(pbk, reprint 1997, Harvard Univ Press, 0674356616) £9.50 [amazon.co.uk]

A very thoughtful and well-balanced analysis of behaviour in the context of evolution.

Goodall, Jane
In the Shadow of Man

First-class, ground-breaking study of some of our nearest neighbours by a worker who has devoted her life to studying them in the field. Everything she writes and everything she says is of interest, both then and since.

In the shadow of mzn by Jane Goodall

In the Shadow of Man
by Jane Goodall

$10.20 [amazon.com]

Mariner Books, pbk, 2000
ISBN-10: 0618056769
ISBN-13: 978-0618056767

 

£6.99 [amazon.co.uk]

Phoenix, pbk, 1999
ISBN-10: 0753809478
ISBN-13: 978-0753809471

In the shadow of mzn by Jane Goodall

 

Lorenz, Konrad
On Aggression

$11.70 [amazon.com]; Harcourt Brace; ISBN: 0156687410; pbk
$7.98 [amazon.com] 1997; Fine Communications; 1567311075; hbk

£15.99 [amazon.co.uk] 1968 Routledge; ;0415136598; pbk; but probably o/p

Lorenz, Konrad
King Soloman's Ring

Reissue 1997; Plume; 0452011752; pbk
$11.95 [amazon.com] / £7.89 [amazon.co.uk] (is on back order from US)
Important and fundamental classics on the study of animal behaviour.


the future of society

image credit: amazon.co.uk

 

Axelrod, Robert
The Evolution of Cooperation

(pbk, 1985, Basic Books, 0465021212
$21 [amazon.com] / £16.99 [amazon.co.uk]
essential reading for all libertarians.
For more recent work and related links, see
  game theory section at  useful links

advertising
disclaimer
courtsey of amazon Hayek, F.A.
The Road to Serfdom
(pbk, 1994, Univ of Chicago Pr,0226320618)
$9.48 [amazon.com]
(pbk, Routledge/Taylor & Francis Books, 0415253896)
£9.99 [amazon.co.uk]
essential reading for all socialists

Science-fiction has been widely used to explore potential social arrangements.
Here are some of the best:

Asimov, Isaac
Profession
Now available on this site.
An allegorical description of the manner in which education currently functions in our primitive western societies. Although it may not have been Asimov's intention, I have included this story as a warning of the weakness of Western education. For a better understanding of my context you may wish to examine my documents,
why Aristotelian logic does not work and a citizenship curriculum

Banks, Iain M.
Player of Games
(pbk, 1997, HarperCollins, 0061053562) $10.40 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1992, Orbit, 1857231465)
£5.59 [amazon.co.uk]
Banks writes on ‘the culture’. A culture that embraces high technology in all its aspects. His books can be gratuitously violent. I regard this book as the most readable and an adequate explication of his ideas.

Heinlein, Robert
Starship Troopers
(pbk, 1987, Berkley Pub Group, 0441783589) $5.20 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1975, New English Library, 0450025764) 2.25 [amazon.co.uk]

Heinlein, Robert
Stranger in a Strange Land
(pbk, reprint 1991, Ace Books, 0441788386)
$13.56
[amazon.com]

Heinlein, Robert
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
(pbk, reprint 1997, St. Martin's Press, 03128635510) $13.99 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1969, New English Library, 0450002314) £4.79 [amazon.co.uk]
Heinlein’s writing is concerned with individual responsibility. These are, by far, his three most important books.

Russell, Eric Frank
And Then There Were None
Now available on this site.
Anarchy in action – an excellent model of an anarchist or free society.

Stephenson, Neal
Snowcrash

(pbk, Spectra Books, 0553562614)
$5.59 [amazon.com]
A chaotic and nasty future society, a warning if we do not learn.

Van Vogt, A.E.
Pawns of Null-A

(pbk, 1990, Ariel Press, 0898041546)
$8.95 [amazon.com]
A fictionalised introduction to Korzybski; see also first two links under Logic, and much else at the abelard.org site. There are useful quotes from Korzybski at the head of each chapter of this book. Van Vogt was a strong fan of Korzybski.


social chaos and what to do about itreturn to index

Davies, Nick
Dark Heart, The Shocking Truth About Hidden Britain

(pbk, 1998, Vintage, 0099583011)
£6.39 [amazon.co.uk]

Garber, Howard L. 
The Milwaukee Project: Preventing Mental Ret. in Children at Risk

(hbk, 1998, Amer Assn Mental Retardation, 0940898160)
$12 [amazon.com]

Huston (editor)
Children In Poverty

(reprint 1994, Cambridge UP, 0521477565)
$21.95 [amazon.com] / £17.95 [amazon.co.uk]

Johnson & Reed
Two Nations? The Inheritance of Poverty and Affluence
1-873357-53-2

C. S. Fischer et al.
Inequality by Design

( 1996, Princeton University Press, 0-691-02898-2)
While I cannot fully recommend this book, it gives a very useful ‘steam through’ analysis of the contribution of inequity to social failure. Click for more comment.


social skills/relationship trainingreturn to index

There is very little that is both well written and technically accurate in this field at present. As the need is pressing, I have listed the best of which I currently know.

Most of the best work comes from America, as does a bunch of unmitigated crap, there is a plethora of ‘Woolworth’s’ ‘psychology’, which does more harm than good. A good crap detector is an important essential even with the best work.

A little knowledge is dangerous, it is advised that you read around the subject. Media, talk shows and soaps are riddled with idiocy but are a major source for much of our society’s received ‘wisdom’.
 

Qualifications and Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools
Curriculum Authority, London, 1998
(Final report of the Advisory Group on Citizenship, 22 Sept 1998)

A must read for teachers and those concerned with a free society. To get your free copy, phone 0 (0 44) 207 884444.

Wishnie, Howard
The Impulsive Personality: Understanding people with destructive personality disorders
(1997, Plenum Pub Corp, 0306309734) out of print
Recommended without reserve. Solid, well written, technically aimed.

Robb, Jean & Letts, Hilary
Creating Kids who can concentrate: proven strategies for beating A.D.D. without drugs

(0340682019)
Authoritarian in parts, avoids difficult cases, but a useful primer concerning child management written in accessible language.

Bolton, Robert   
People Skills: How to assert yourself, listen to others, and resolve conflicts

(pbk, 1986, Simon & Schuster, 067162248X)
$11.99 [amazon.com] / £6.36 [amazon.co.uk]
Will repay study by any non-specialist. It is calm and accurate.

Hendrix, Harville
Getting the love you want: A guide for couples

(pbk, reissue 1990, Harperperennial Library, 0060972920) $11.20 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1993, Pocket Books, 0671715291) £4.79 [amazon.co.uk]
How to make your close relationships work. Recommended without reserve. Do not be distracted by the brain model or the vaunting of ‘marriage’. This book is highly technically accurate and hardly ever misses a beat.

The heart of parenting by John GottmanGottman, John, with Declare, Joan
The Heart of Parenting: How to raise an emotionally intelligent child
(1997, Bloomsbury; 0747532818) amazon.co.uk
how to train children to handle their emotions and relationships. Not bad, not marvellous.

It takes a village by Hilary Rodman ClintonClinton, Hilary
It takes a village : and other lessons children teach us

Simon & Schuster; 10 Anv edition, 2006, hbk, ISBN-10: 1416540644
ISBN-13: 978-1416540649
$16.50 / amazon.co.uk
Written by the close friend of a famous American. Surprisingly, she clearly knows her subject with great thoroughness. She was a child law advocate before going into politics. The maudlin ‘religious’ asides may be ignored.
A best seller in the USA, but tends to require ordering in the UK. Now out of print except for 10th anniversary hardback copy.


The myth of repressed memory by Elizabeth LoftusLoftus, Dr. Elizabeth & Ketcham, Katherine
The myth of repressed memory

1996, St. Martin's Press, pbk: ISBN-10: 0312141238, ISBN-13: 978-0312141233
$11.59 [amazon.com / £11.03 [amazon.co.uk] / 11.90 € [amazon.fr]
An antidote to the hysteria and accompanying irrational and dishonest literature that has been sweeping Anglo-Saxon society of recent years. Technically oriented. Loftus is a specialist in the functioning of human memory.


communicationreturn to index

Hagerstrand, Torsten
Innovation Diffusion as a Spatial Process

0-226-31261-5,  Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967 - out of print


economicsreturn to index

Mankiw, N. Gregory
Principles of Economics

(hbk, 1997,Dryden Press, 0030982383)
$100.50 [amazon.com] / £23.95 [amazon.co.uk]
This is the best standard text of which I am aware.

Waldrop, M.Mitchell
Complexity; The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos

(pbk, 1993, Touchstone Books, 0671872346) $10.40 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1994, Penguin Books, 0140179682) £7.19 [amazon.co.uk]

Keynes, John Maynard
Essays in Persuasion

(pbk, 1991, W W Norton & Co, 0393001903)
$14.95 [amazon.com / £9.40 [amazon.co.uk]
Keynes is one of the great masters of the twentieth century. He's often misrepresented under the heading of Keynesianism, for which see a useful review referenced in the EMU document. Keynes has a clear-headed understanding of both money and politics, and understands the difference; this is rare indeed. Keynes is a pragmatist par excellence. Any person wishing to gain a down-to-earth grasp of the political implications of economic factors, would be well advised to read into this collection of essays any time that they start to become confused by theory detached from reality. Keynes may even increase your sanity.

 

psychologyreturn to index

Myers, David G.
Psychology

(hbk, 1994, Worth Publishing,  0879016442) $65.95 [amazon.com]
(hbk, 1998, Worth Publishers,1572595906) £21.95 [amazon.co.uk]
(pbk, 1997, Worth Publishers, 1572592087) £11.95 [amazon.co.uk]
I see many comments in various media on matters psychological that amount to old wives' tales and superstition. There are several basic students' primers on the subject available for £20 - 25 each. I have examined around a dozen of them, none of which are wholy adequate. This is hardly suprising in a new and radically different form of science. Every media correspondent or other person who wishes to avoid making an utter arse of themselves would be wise to have one of these primers available for reference, and to check them before sailing into print.
The tidiest of the primers that I have reviewed is Myers.

Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

(pbk,1984, Bantam Classic and Loveswept, 0553212788) $3.16 [amazon.com]
(pbk, 1995, Everyman Paperbacks, 0460876295) £2.39 [amazon.co.uk]
For a more realistic understanding of human society. A must read for any aware individual.

click to return to the index on recommended reading


email abelard at abelard.org

© abelard, 1998
revision 1.0.2



all rights reserved

the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/reading/rec-hi.htm

960 words
prints as 7 A4 pages (on my printer and set-up)