What We Are Reading Today: Not Born Yesterday by Hugo Mercier

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Updated 26 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Not Born Yesterday by Hugo Mercier

Not Born Yesterday explains how we decide who we can trust and what we should believe — and argues that we’re pretty good at making these decisions. 

In this lively and provocative book, Hugo Mercier demonstrates how virtually all attempts at mass persuasion — whether by religious leaders, politicians, or advertisers — fail miserably, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

Drawing on recent findings from political science and other fields ranging from history to anthropology, Mercier shows that the narrative of widespread gullibility, in which a credulous public is easily misled by demagogues and charlatans, is simply wrong.

Why is mass persuasion so difficult? Mercier uses the latest findings from experimental psychology to show how each of us is endowed with sophisticated cognitive mechanisms of open vigilance. 

Computing a variety of cues, these mechanisms enable us to be on guard against harmful beliefs, while being open enough to change our minds when presented with the right evidence.


What We Are Reading Today: Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand

Updated 28 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand

Authors: Dylan Van Winkel, Marleen Baling, and Rod Hitchmough

With more than 400 extraordinary color photographs and richly informative text, Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand is the definitive field guide to all of the country’s tuatara, geckos, skinks, frogs, marine turtles, and marine snakes.

From the ancient tuatara, the sole surviving member of its order, to the world’s largest collection of long-lived and live-bearing lizards, New Zealand’s reptiles and amphibians represent an extraordinary part of the country’s biodiversity. 

The only field guide to cover all of New Zealand’s 123 currently recognized species, the book features authoritative and up-to-date species accounts, including names and description, as well as information on distribution, variation and similar species, habitat, and natural history.

The book also provides a general introduction to these species, offering an overview of evolution, conservation, observing and collecting, ecosystems, and geographic history.

It contains more than 400 stunning new color photographs.