Reading List – Essential Reading

Essential Reading.

Here we present a list of books that The Zeitgeist Movement believes to be essential reading for those wanting to align with the values we advocate.

The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing a New Train of Thought

TZM Members

The Zeitgeist Movement Defined is the official representative text of the global, non-profit sustainability advocacy organization known as The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM).

This tediously sourced and highly detailed work argues for a large-scale change in human culture, specifically in the context of economic practice.

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The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

Kate Pickett, Richard Wilkinson

Inequality has been called a "social pollutant", as the ill-effects of a strong disparate relationship between the richest and the poorest of a nation adversely affect everything one may consider valuable in the social fabric: in more unequal societies, prison populations rise, as do infant mortalities and drug addiction rates. Life expectancy drops in more unequal societies, as does the rate of innovation. And it's not just the poorest that suffer these setbacks. These negative correlations affect the richer strata too. We are not the 99%. We are the 100%, and the bill for living inequitably hits us all. This version responds to some of the criticisms made since the book's first publication; criticisms which emanated from a right-wing thinktank, it is worth noting.

Preventing Violence

James Gilligan

James Gilligan spent many years working in prisons, amongst others the Massachussettes Prison System. Amongst other advocations in this book are a formal end to capital punishment, calling instead for the thoughtful psychological treatment of the most dangerous prisoners. Gilligan, amongst many others, is one of the leaders in the field of study known as "structural violence", which outlines the inherent and subtle forms of violence which radiate from social structures onto individuals in ways other than traditional physical violence.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Carl Sagan

Sagan's most complete work on the practical benefits of adopting a scientific worldview. Aliens, magic, special powers, pseudoscientific treatments and nostrums; nothing is spared the critical yet jovial treatment of Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit". Being "Open Minded" is not to be equated with a willing credulity for any old hocus-pocus. This work is both an incitement to learn for the individual, and a clarion call to arms for any society wishing to immunize itself against the fallible and flawed biases which humans have inherited as a result of our evolutionary journey.

Free Will

Sam Harris

This short book is a great debunker of the most dominant conception of free will in our society -- that human beings possess contra-causal free will, or the ability to make choices free from all constraints.

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

Sam Harris

Harris presents a scientific framework for thinking about morality and moral questions, dispelling the dominant moral frameworks of our time as unscientific, outdated and potentially dangerous.

Bad Science

Ben Goldacre

A great book criticizing the mainstream media’s reporting on health and science issues, attempting to teach the lay reader how to evaluate scientific claims.

How to Read a Paper: The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine

Trisha Greenhalgh

This is a great introduction to those who want a briefer on how to interpret the scientific literature when researching for a topic. It describes the various kinds of studies, their strengths, their weaknesses, when they are more useful, and so forth. Relevant for both the layman and the more advanced medical researcher, this is an invaluable contribution to those frequently referencing the literature.

Amazon Link

Merchants of Doubt

Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

The book demonstrates how contrarian scientists are hired by conservative political think tanks and private corporations to obscure the scientific consensus. Using several case examples, such as tobacco smoking, climate change, acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer, the book presents a very clear picture of what big business will do to manufacture doubt amongst the public for their own profit-seeking enterprises when a scientific reality threatens their markets.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

Jeremy Rifkin

In The Zero Marginal Cost Society, Jeremy Rifkin describes how the emerging Internet of Things is speeding us to an era of nearly free goods and services, precipitating the meteoric rise of a global Collaborative Commons and the eclipse of capitalism.

This insightful, surprising, and practical book helps us understand how the emerging Internet of Things is driving extreme productivity, the rush to a near zero marginal cost society, and the rise of a new economic paradigm. Rifkin solves the puzzle of what companies, nonprofit organizations, and governments need to do to reposition themselves on the new Collaborative Commons.

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