2022 brought a lot of new learning to the table. And although we love digging deep into peer-reviewed literature, there is nothing like a good non-fiction read to spark some curiosity and tie some adjacent fields into what we do. Here are our top 5 books from 2022 (not necessarily published in 2022) with some summaries to avoid biasing you too much ;). Click the images to head to their Goodreads pages.
1. The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World - written by physicist David Deutsch.
The Beginning of Infinity is one of those books that will change how you think and see the world forever. The main thesis posits that our search for good explanations is only beginning. Deutsch deeply explores the philosophy of knowledge creation, the importance of creativity, and the barriers we face that inhibit this process. It's a hard read, but it's worth taking the time if you identify as curious and science-motivated.
2. The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness - written by Mark Solms.
This book is solid if you've started to read more about theories of consciousness, predictive processing, and qualia. The thesis is a bold exploration of the hard problem of consciousness (explaining why we have phenomenal experiences), tying in psychological affect as a central player in the narrative. Ultimately, many will find this book thought-provoking. If you are anything like me, you will have to pause to let your mind wander around the many thought experiments the topics naturally lead you to explore.
3. How minds change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion - written by David McRaney.
Man,I found this just a fun read. Since the health industry is littered with egos and high levels of unwavering, confident beliefs, exploring how minds change and how we can be persuasive has intrigued me for a long while. McRaney discusses several techniques (e.g., street epistemology and deep canvassing) used for having meaningful conversations, the studies that have explored the strategies, and many fascinating anecdotes that will send you off into several rabbit holes.
A quote from Anthony Magnabosco from the book summarising one of the big take-home messages, "I want to live in a world where people believe true things. But I've realized that ridicule, being angry and telling people that they're mistaken, is not going to help them. We're all sort of in the same boat. We're just grasping for reasons to justify the views that we've already built. Once you know that, you begin to feel empathy, you really do. You begin to have epistemic humility about what you yourself believe"
4. Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away - written by Annie Duke
Quitting has a bad rap. In our culture, quitting is viewed as a weakness or an indication of failure - no hero in a story quits, right? This thesis argues that quitting and persisting are two sides of the same coin and that knowing when and how to quit will get you to where you want to go faster. There is also some interesting exploration of the status quo bias and sunk cost fallacy which is relevant to our field. This book is excellent for navigating your decision-making, particularly regarding your career. Well worth the read.
Two short quotes from the book, "In large part, we are what we do, and our identity is closely connected with whatever we're focused on, including our careers, relationships, projects, and hobbies. When we quit any of those things, we have to deal with the prospect of quitting part of our identity. And that is painful."
"Contrary to popular belief, winners quit a lot. That's how they win."
5. Sedated: How Modern Capitalism Created our Mental Health Crisis - written by James Davies
This one challenged many of my preconceived assumptions about mental health treatments and initiatives. This book is worth exploring if you work in mental health. I will leave you with one quote,
"I have asked them to pay attention to what they have just said. In particular to their use of the phrase "mental illness". While it is true, I continued, that people in deprived situations are likely to suffer a great deal more than those who are more affluent, on what grounds are we correct to use medical language to describe that suffering? Do we use it because we have simply been taught to use it or because we have objective that it is some how better to medicalise such suffering than it is to view it as many social scientists might as non-medical, non-pathological yet understandable human response to harmful social, relational, political and environmental conditions?"
And that's the top 5! If you decide to jump into one or more of these, let us know your thoughts. What were your top books for the year? Feel free to join our Facebook group for healthcare clinicians/researchers and share your ideas!