A recurring segment on Resources Radio is “Top of the Stack,” when podcast hosts Daniel Raimi and Kristin Hayes ask each guest what is on the top of their literal or metaphorical reading stack. See if some of their book recommendations can carry you safely through this year’s election cycle and our first COVID-19/flu season.
Uninformed by Arthur Lupia
“If listeners would like to be enlightened about how to think differently and more deeply about the American public and its opinions and involvement in politics, I recommend this book. It’s an intriguing and powerful treatise that gives insight into the psychological, political science, and economics perspectives on the question of whether Americans actually know enough to keep the democracy boat floating and directed in good ways.”
Jon A. Krosnick, Professor, Stanford University & University Fellow, Resources for the Future
The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann
“This book forces me to take a historical look at the tension between environmental policymakers and advocates. How do you engage with the environment from various levels: social, practical, regulatory, policy, and scientific? How do you find engineering and technological solutions to some of our environmental challenges? I like it because we tend to think about our time today as being particularly divisive, but I like to think about the tension between the advocacy and scientific communities as being a potentially positive force, if we can only try and figure out how to direct it in that way.”
Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Vice President and Director, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Energy and National Security Program
Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway
“The book explores the links between the tobacco industry and the oil industry, laying out the ways in which science denial across both of those industries was constructed with the same strategies and sometimes even by the same people. It’s been really formative in how I’ve thought about climate policy in recent years.
“One especially striking thing is the repeated pattern of industry successfully framing attempts to protect the collective good as affronts to individual freedom and, in turn, as affronts to American values. We’re seeing that conflict play out in real time now, with the way COVID is being handled. I think it’s an important dynamic to be aware of when creating policy that deals with externalities. If you don’t feel like you have enough to be mad about already, Merchants of Doubt is a must-read, in my view.”
Eva Lyubich, PhD Student and Researcher, University of California, Berkeley, and the Energy Institute at Haas