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Resources for Never Again

All further reading recommendations

These are the further reading recommendations as they were given at the end of each chapter. Click the title to get to the article or the Amazon site of the book.

Chapter 1

Chris Masi: The Theory of Moral Duality

The Theory of Moral Duality develops the ideas we will use throughout this book, creating a framework that allows us to discover, analyze, and understand destructive political ideas.

Chapter 2

Caroll Tavris & Elliot Aronson: Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

One of the best books on the problems of our conceptions. Tavris and Aronson provide an insightful and entertaining look at mental biases such as cognitive dissonance that trick us into always confirming our beliefs.

Chapter 3

Rolf Dobelli: The Art of Thinking Clearly

Dobelli explains 50 forms of faulty logic that can lead to bad decisions. Understanding the flaws and limitations of our mental process is an important step towards avoiding destructive political ideas, and Dobelli’s book is a great tool for achieving this goal.

Sigmund Freud: Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego

Freud’s take on mass psychology agrees with the premise that any division into groups will inevitably lead to a devaluation of the other group. A great read for anyone who wants a thorough introduction to the psychological mechanisms behind groups dynamics.

Chapter 4

Jonathan Haidt: The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

Haidt explains why we often feel as if most of us live in different moral worlds. Why do ‘freedom’ and ‘fairness’ means such different things to different people? A great read to learn about the scientific studies that prove the unreliability of our moral compass.

Chapter 5

John Eldredge: Wild at Heart

John Eldredge’s insightful book on the desire for adventure and wildness. A great read for anyone – regardless of man or woman, person of faith or atheist.

Chapter 6

Karl Popper – The Open Society and Its Enemies

Popper’s now legendary attack on the philosophies of Plato, Hegel and Marx helps us understand the inherent flaws of destructive political ideas and the dangerous dynamics they develop. An absolute must-read for everyone who wants to understand the value of freedom – for ourselves and people with different opinions.

Chapter 7

Jason Stanley: How Propaganda Works

Stanley examines how propaganda operates subtly, how it undermines democracy – particularly the ideals of democratic deliberation and equality – and how it has damaged democracies of the past.

Chapter 8

Rolf Dobelli: The Art of Acting Clearly

Similar to Dobelli’s first book (mentioned in chapter 3), The Art of Acting Clearly details more examples of faulty logic and how we can avoid them.

Mikael Krogerus: The Decision Book

A good book full of strategies that help us understand what we want and which actions fit our needs.

Chapter 9

Steven Tadelis: Game Theory: An Introduction

Understanding game theory helps us understand many aspects of our lives. Tadelis delivers a great introduction to the topic, combining rigor with accessibility. Ideal for everyone who wants to improve the decision making.

Edward C. Rosenthal: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Game Theory

This book offers a great introduction to game theory based on down-to-earth examples, charts, and illustrations. A great read for everyone who wants to learn more about the topic without having to study complex literature.

Chapter 10

Mark R. Leary: The Curse of the Self. Self-Awareness, Egotism, and the Quality of Human Life

Leary provides an insightful look into the human mind, arguing that our egotism decreases the quality of our lives significantly. A good book for everyone who wants to understand the processes that trick us into generalizing our personal moral judgments and wanting to force others to comply with them.

Chapter 11

Carl Jung: The Undiscovered Self: The Dilemma of the Individual in Modern Society

Jung argues that the future of civilization depends on our individual ability to resist the collective forces of society. Awareness of our unconscious minds helps us overcome the threat of fanaticism, but requires us to face our dark sides – our own capacity for evil. A great read for anyone who wants to expand on the theories of this chapter.

Chapter 12

Max Weber: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: and Other Writings

Max Weber’s book can be difficult to find in the United States. This one is available on Amazon and offers a good introduction to Weber’s thoughts, including his idea that Protestant work ethic was the driving force behind the rise of capitalism.

Chapter 13

Cass R. Sunstein & Reid Hastie – Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter

Leading decision-making scholar Hastie and Nudge co-author Sunstein team up to provide an interesting look at how group decisions go wrong and how we can do things better. Their conclusion: groups often amplify individual errors because they suffer from cascade effects, become polarized, and emphasize what they believe to be common knowledge over critical information provided by a few. A great read for anyone who wants to understand the dynamics behind destructive ideas.

Chapter 14

Michael Shermer: The Believing Brain: From Spiritual Faiths to Political Convictions – How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

Shermer explains why our beliefs come first, our explanations second. Based on thirty years of research, Shermer shows that our moral judgements are mere justifications for our intuitive moral guidelines.

Chapter 15

Milton Mayer: They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

Originally published in 1955, Mayer analyzes a group of ten Nazis that “were not men of distinction,” wondering what drove them to support the regime. In his analysis, he shows how a blind trust in Hitler caused them to justify even the most questionable decision.

Chapter 16

Ali Almossawi: An illustrated book of bad arguments

Almossawi delivers an entertaining guide to surviving heated political debates online and at the Thanksgiving table. With funny illustrations and poignant explanations, he shows how understanding the most common fallacies of reasoning can help us make better decisions in our daily lives. These lessons also apply to political arguments and voting choices.

George Orwell: 1984

Orwell’s classic novel depicts the consequences of a government controlled language, among other dangerous threats. A great dystopian novel for everyone who wants to understand why the current system might be imperfect but still significantly better than all totalitarian alternatives.

Chapter 17

Hannah Arendt: The Origins of Totalitarianism

Hannah Arendt, a German Jew, wrote the standard work on totalitarianism. Beginning with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1800s, Arendt analyzes how the ideas behind the crimes of the Third Reich formed and points out why Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were two sides of the same coin.

Chapter 19

Walter Kaufmann: Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre

A great collection of existentialist thinkers, and an informative read for anyone looking for a thorough introduction to the topic.

Jean-Paul Sartre: Existentialism is a Humanism

This text is the published version a lecture Sartre held in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Because Sartre presents his argument that existentialism is a form of humanism in an elegant, easily understandable way, this text made him a superstar of philosophy.

Søren Kierkegaard: Either/Or: A Fragment of Life

Kierkegaard’s masterpiece and one of the essential works of existentialism. Analyzing all aspects of life from the perspective of ethics and aesthetics. A great read for anyone.

Additional resources

A great collection of stories about how the Nazi regime caused neighbors, friends, and families to turn on each other. A touching warning to never repeat these events and an intriguing look at the horrific consequences destructive ideas cause.