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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

psychology

Outliers

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Author: Malcolm Gladwell

The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell sets out to explain society’s own “Outliers”; people who have risen to great success, effectively separating themselves from the masses. It explains how these outliers came to be, using examples such as why Asians are so good at math (hint; it comes from their culture!), and analyzing situations such as how Bill Gates came to be so successful. It also presents concepts such as the 10,000 hour rule, meaning that you have to do any specific thing for 10,000 hours in order to truly have mastered it.

This book illustrates the importance of cultural legacy, opportunity, and ambition in success, and stresses that “success” is not something that can just be brought about by any intrinsic personality trait. It takes many different variables to be successful. It is definitely a recommended read if you are interested in psychology as well as nonfiction that can be applied to your own life.

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Author: Martha Stout

 Explores the prevalence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, popularly known in its most extreme form as multiple personality disorder. Dr. Stout, a psychological trauma specialist, conveys how small things we interpret as distraction, spacing out, or situational fatigue are physiologically and behaviorally not different from an abused individual’s experience of dissociation or hypnotic trance. Events in our life that we may not quantify as abusive or traumatic affect us; our brains catalog traumatic experiences and trigger "dissociative" coping strategies even for things we may label as insignificant. The “severity” of an event is irrelevant; the presence of fear, for whatever reason, and a desire to escape it causes our brain to develop coping mechanisms. Future feelings of fear that our brain processes as similar trigger those mechanisms and, consequently, end those feelings. Stout’s explanation and accounts of this idea are fascinating reading.

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Author: Jon Ronson

In The Psychopath Test, journalist and filmmaker Jon Ronson delves into the definition of insanity, eventually coming to question the methods that are currently utilized for diagnosing psychopaths –- methods which, in many cases, require nothing more than a score of 30 or more on a 20-point checklist of characteristics common to psychopaths: things like glib and superficial charm, grandiosity, manipulative behavior, and lack of remorse. When Ronson is interviewing a psychopathy researcher, as she expounds on psychopathic characteristics he asks her if there is anything she wants to be sure is shared with his readers. “Tell them,” she says, “if now you are sitting there worried that maybe you are a psychopath, that means you aren’t.” I had been worried!

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