What We Are Reading Today: The Decadent Society

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Updated 16 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Decadent Society

Author: Ross Douthat

The Decadent Society : How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat looks at how the developed world has stagnated over the past few decades and become decadent.
Mark Lilla said in a review for The New York Times that the title “will mislead some potential readers into expecting a tired right-wing screed tracing all our sufferings back to a single cause, whether the Big Bang of the ‘60s or the modern liberalism that allegedly threatens civilization. Douthat is too curious about the world and its contradictions to settle into that mode.”
The review added that Douthat’s chapters on “stagnating innovation and institutional sclerosis as elements of our decadence are more conventional, though informative and well balanced. The least persuasive pages are devoted to pop culture, which he rightly sees as dull and repetitive, but whose significance he vastly overestimates.”
It added: “In the final chapter there is a lot about the need for hope and building a ‘ladder to the stars,’ both figuratively and literally.”


What We Are Reading Today: Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology

Updated 30 March 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology

Author: Keith Oatley

In Our Minds, Our Selves, distinguished psychologist and writer Keith Oatley provides an engaging, original, and authoritative history of modern psychology told through the stories of its most important breakthroughs and the men and women who made them.
The book traverses a fascinating terrain: conscious and unconscious knowledge, brain physiology, emotion, mental development, language, memory, mental illness, creativity, human cooperation, and much more.
Biographical sketches illuminate the thinkers behind key insights: Historical figures such as Darwin, Piaget, Skinner, and Turing; leading contemporaries such as Michael Tomasello and Tania Singer; and influential people from other fields, including Margaret Mead, Noam Chomsky, and Jane Goodall. Enhancing our understanding of ourselves and others, psychology holds the potential to create a better world. Our Minds, Our Selves tells the story of this most important of sciences in a new and appealing way.