Change: How to Make Big Things Happen by Damon Centola should be required reading for advocates. How do big shifts in behavior or beliefs happen? That’s our job and we’ve been missing the most important tools (unless you are a social network scientist). We’ve learned the lessons of sticky messages and nudges that make better…

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I’ve never dog-eared as many pages in a book as Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters by Deborah Stone. It’s very trendy to be “data-driven” and assert that “science matters” but what gets counted and how it’s defined make all the difference. Numbers and statistics are nice, but only if they represent…

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By Jonah Berger There are lots of books on persuasion. Most don’t add much to the last one. But The Catalyst is worth the time. Well-written — a high-value read. The author builds on newer science to break down how to change minds. Pushing and lecturing rarely work. First, figure out what people think now,…

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By Anne Case and Angus Deaton Reversing a century of progress, life expectancy has fallen for three years in a row but only in the US. Rising rates of suicide, drug overdoses and alcoholism are largely to blame. There were early media reports about the trend, but this detailed yet readable book goes much farther.…

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The pandemic has placed us all in a crash course on health claims, science and data – what we know and what we don’t know. It can be confusing and scary. The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data by David Spiegelhalter is here to help. The book describes how statistics and probability can…

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If you’ve sat next to me in a meeting this month, you probably already know I’m reading this book. I can’t stop talking about it. The author debunks the common myth that specialization is the key to success using detailed evidence explained so anyone can understand. The experts’ consensus is that you need to devote…

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As we get more and more information from new, untested sources, untrustworthy sources and fake news grow, undermining trust in media and politics. This short book offers real-world tips and resources to counter the trend. Chapters include how to read critically, using fact-checking sites, finding trustworthy sources and experts (and how to spot the fakers),…

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As the world moves toward data and analytics to evaluate progress (and it should), we need to be careful that the movement is meaningful. This must-read is full of cautionary tales, including a chapter on medicine, of mis-use of metrics to evaluate performance that ended up doing more harm than good and box-checking in place…

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New to the Book Club Why do our institutions and systems, including healthcare, seem to be getting more complex and more costly but not better? This fascinating book argues that we have lost practical wisdom – the ability to balance the need for reasonable rules and standards with doing the right thing. The law of…

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To save money in 2014 the state of Michigan switched Flint’s drinking water supply, with disastrous consequences. The latest addition to the CT Health Policy Project Book Club, What the Eyes Don’t See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, follows her journey as a pediatrician with a conscience fighting the state to protect Flint’s kids. Not an…

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