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  • Navya Sharan

Fresh off ASCoR’s shelves: Five must-reads for 2022

If you are anything like me, this is probably the time of the year when your new year’s resolutions have taken a back seat and your vision board for the new year is buried under piles of to-do lists. If you are truly like me, you probably stopped making resolutions around five lockdowns ago because time is simply a construct at this point, isn't it? Regardless of what your reasons are, fret not, because the PhD researchers at ASCoR have just the thing to get you back on track! So, give your new year’s resolutions list a new lease on life by adding these books to it.

1. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Recommender: Navya Sharan

This first book is an all-time personal favourite of mine. With Everybody Lies, you come for insights into human behaviour on the internet, and stay for Stephens-Davidowitz’s wit and humour. There is something for everyone in this book. Stephens-Davidowitz strikes the perfect balance between presenting the key elements of his research and tying that into real-world examples, all in an easy-to-read language.

2. The End of Average

By Todd Rose

Recommender: Tim Verbeij

This second book delves deeper into the world of everyday statistics. Tim recommends this book because, “it explains very clearly (with excellent examples) why only focusing on the average effects (or the average person) may lead to invalid conclusions.” If you are a behavioural scientist or a researcher from the (social) sciences, this book will help you rethink your approach to interpreting data.

3. Love People Use Things Because The Opposite Never Works

By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Recommender: Rebecca Wald

Our editor Rebecca recommends a book about understanding and cultivating a minimalistic lifestyle. Rebecca refers to the following quote from the book, “we mistakenly let our possessions shape our identity”. This resonates with her because “even though the academic bubble is filled with competitiveness, we should never define ourselves by our work output only. Next to titles, publications, citations and so forth… we are so much more than our work! Keeping an eye on the things and thoughts we let into our lives can help to distinguish the meaningful from the harmful, the value from the facade, and the I am from the I should be.”

4. Humankind: A Hopeful History

By Rutger Bregman

Recommender: Song Duimel

You have probably all seen this book at your local bookstore and considered reading it, but never quite made the leap. Well, Song is here to convince you why you should: “In today’s world, unfortunately, we fall prey to thinking the worst about people's intentions, which has made us suspicious towards each other. Bregman shows us that the opposite seems to be true and portrays humanity in an optimistic light.”

5. The Anthropocene Reviewed

By John Green

Recommender: Navya Sharan

This final book is also from my personal collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a collection of essays about the different facets of our world. The essay format makes this book perfect to pick up or put aside without disrupting your reading flow. Having followed Green’s work for almost a decade now, I can safely say that if you are looking for a beautifully written book that makes you fall back in love with the world, look no further.

There you have it – our five must-read books for 2022. We hope that you connect with these books just as deeply as we have, and maybe one of these books will end up becoming your lifelong favourite!

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