Reading list

Originally posted on Tue, 06/11/2013

Today I discussed my personal theology with my spiritual director. Here are several things that inform my thinking. The first one has an obvious and direct spiritual aspect. The others provide a landscape of ideas which inform my perspective. If you have time for just one book, I recommend Liars and Outliers. If you have one hour, watch the video.

A Google Tech Talk on mindfulness that informs my notion of the mind. I highly recommend it. It’s largely an exploration of the notion of mental health as being something more than an absence of mental illness, just as physical health is more than just a lack of physical illness. It is presented by Daniel J. Siegel, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute.

Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive is the latest and best book by Bruce Schneier, cryptographer and security expert. It reframes security from a sociological perspective, with game theory, economics, psychology, and evolutionary biology mixed in. It’s really an overview of a new interdisciplinary field. I read it feeling like I knew everything in it already, and yet I keep coming back to it.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The book that coined the term “meme.” The science holds up really well, despite being about as old as me. In fact, I kept thinking of recent discoveries that confirm hypotheses in the book.

The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch. A book of philosophy written by a physicist with a chip on his shoulder, with all the good (thoughtfulness, insight) and bad (arrogance, a desire to beat the crap out of straw man arguments) that entails.