On Being Certain (2008)


41uzxb1krfl-_ac_us160_Click here for 8 pages of quotes from this terrific book. on-being-certain-quotes

This book is a good antidote to the know-it-all, imperative, pontificating folk who say, “I know what I know! Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

It’s a deep book about epistemology, the “feeling of knowing,” and how the brain works. I’m not savvy enough to grapple with Burton’s claims but I found them so compelling I lifted my favorite quotes for your reading enjoyment. I am almost certain you’re going to enjoy this book.



The Will To Believe (1896) by William James


essays in pragmatismThis essay is not about why having religious beliefs is good; it’s about why having religious beliefs isn’t bad. That, and some cool dating advice.

It’s one of seven essays in the book, Essays in Pragmatism by William James (The Hafner Library of Classics, 1948).

In our day of resurgent atheism it’s rare to come across a philosopher who argues for the legitimacy of religious belief. As one who aspires to be a person of faith I was delighted to read The Will To Believe by American philosopher William James. Too bad it’s 119 years old.

This dandy 21 page lecture—he calls it a sermon—given in 1896 to the Philosophical Clubs at Yale and Brown Universities inspires me. His outline includes ten sections which he didn’t name. For convenience sake I’ve given each section a descriptive title.

Click here for a 6 page summary. The Will To Believe


Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman


Thinking Fast and Slow cover

Those interested in recent developments in cognitive science, behavioral economics, and books by Nobel Prize winners will appreciate this book summary. I’ve boiled down a nearly 500 page book to sixteen pages! It was hard going since I’m a novice in these fields but I want to think clearly and that’s the theme of this book. Kahneman identifies over 40 biases we bring to our decisions that will trip us up if we’re not aware of them. (7/4/17 NOTE: Alert reader Luc found an error regarding the Peak End heuristic. It’s now been corrected. Thank you, Luc).

Click here for a free summary of Thinking Fast and Slow Book Summary