Jonathan Haidt unearths ten great theories of happiness discovered by the thinkers of the past, from Plato to Jesus to the Buddha, to reveal a surprising abundance of common tangents.

Full Spectrum Reading List: 7 Great Books by TED 2012 Speakers

Jonathan Haidt unearths ten great theories of happiness discovered by the thinkers of the past, from Plato to Jesus to the Buddha, to reveal a surprising abundance of common tangents.

This Explains Everything: 192 Thinkers on the Most Elegant Theory of How the World Works

This Explains Everything: 192 Thinkers on the Most Elegant Theory of How the World Works

This Explains Everything: 150 Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works / John Brockman

Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor, among other things, sheds light on how our species’ penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life.

The Science of “Chunking,” Working Memory, and How Pattern Recognition Fuels Creativity

Cambridge neuroscientist Daniel Bor, among other things, sheds light on how our species’ penchant for pattern-recognition is essential to consciousness and our entire experience of life.

Susan Cain dissects the anatomy of this socially-induced guilt and delves deep into one of psychology’s most enduring tenets — that the single most important defining aspect of personality is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum — to break through the “long and storied tradition” of neatly mapping this binary division onto others, like submission and leadership, loneliness and happiness, settling and success.

Full Spectrum Reading List: 7 Great Books by TED 2012 Speakers

Susan Cain dissects the anatomy of this socially-induced guilt and delves deep into one of psychology’s most enduring tenets — that the single most important defining aspect of personality is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum — to break through the “long and storied tradition” of neatly mapping this binary division onto others, like submission and leadership, loneliness and happiness, settling and success.

We’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.

Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness

We’ve created a culture crippled by the fear of failure, and the most important thing we can do to enhance our psychoemotional wellbeing is to embrace uncertainty.

British neuroscientist Tali Sharot makes in The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain — a fascinating yet accessible exploration of how and why our brains construct a positive outlook on life even in the direst of circumstances

Full Spectrum Reading List: 7 Great Books by TED 2012 Speakers

British neuroscientist Tali Sharot makes in The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain — a fascinating yet accessible exploration of how and why our brains construct a positive outlook on life even in the direst of circumstances

The tension between secularity and religion has endured for centuries, infusing academia and science with a strong and permeating undercurrent of atheism. But if we can divorce the medium from the message, there might be some powerful communication lessons secular movements could learn from religious ones.

Religion for Atheists: Alain de Botton on What Education and the Arts Can Learn from Faith

The tension between secularity and religion has endured for centuries, infusing academia and science with a strong and permeating undercurrent of atheism. But if we can divorce the medium from the message, there might be some powerful communication lessons secular movements could learn from religious ones.

‘Scientific’ psychology didn’t emerge as the fruit of a lucky discovery, a fortuitous invention, or by some ill-defined process of natural development. It was desired by its various promoters, and imagined on the model of the natural sciences.

The Freud Files: How Freud Engineered His Own Myth

‘Scientific’ psychology didn’t emerge as the fruit of a lucky discovery, a fortuitous invention, or by some ill-defined process of natural development. It was desired by its various promoters, and imagined on the model of the natural sciences.

With all the recent buzz about pitting a supercomputer against the sharpest human brains, it’s worth pausing and taking a moment of awe at the rare superhuman brains that serve as a reminder of mankind’s dormant potential.

Brainman: Inside the Mind of an Autistic Savant

With all the recent buzz about pitting a supercomputer against the sharpest human brains, it’s worth pausing and taking a moment of awe at the rare superhuman brains that serve as a reminder of mankind’s dormant potential.

Science is supposed to come from a rational source, a set of long equations or a series of dogged experiments. But the truth — to which some of history’s greatest scientists can attest — is far more irrational: Discovery is anarchy, inspiration is unexplainable, and getting that Nobel Prize might just be dumb luck.

Free Radicals: How Anarchy and Serendipity Fueled Science, from Newton to Tesla to Steve Jobs

Science is supposed to come from a rational source, a set of long equations or a series of dogged experiments. But the truth — to which some of history’s greatest scientists can attest — is far more irrational: Discovery is anarchy, inspiration is unexplainable, and getting that Nobel Prize might just be dumb luck.

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