Monday, June 28, 2021

Top ten books of everyday social anthropology

Gillian Tett is chair of the US editorial board at the Financial Times and the author of books including Fool's Gold (2009) and Anthro-Vision: A New Way to See in Business and Life (2021).

"[W]hile culture is hard to define," she argues, "nobody can ignore it – certainly not in a world that is so globalised and dangerously polarised that we clearly need to gain empathy for others."

At the Guardian Tett tagged ten "books that help explain why culture – and anthropology – matter so much today." One title on the list:
The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous by Joseph Henrich

One of my favourite books of the last year. Henrich trained as an aeronautical engineer but then became an evolutionary anthropologist-cum-biologist and this renaissance background enables him to write brilliantly on the peculiarities of WEIRD – western, educated, industrialised, rich and democratic – societies today. He stresses what an aberration WEIRD culture is. You will never look at psychology experiments in the same way again after reading this; or ignore how literacy and individual identity affect our thoughts.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue