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This week we're tackling Steven Pinker's 900 page dissection of the reasons why violence, torture and war have declined over the last 10,000 years. Was it an indeterminate mixture of politics, economics, technology and serendipity?  Or did some European guys write some books that said murder was bad?Special thanks to Philip Dwyer, Eleanor Janega, David M. Perry and Doug Thompson for help researching and fact-checking this episode!Where to find us: Peter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:The Darker Angels of Our NatureGetting Medieval On Steven PinkerThe Decline of Violence in the West: From Cultural to Post-Cultural HistoryPinker’s (Mis)Representation of the Enlightenment and ViolenceHerding and Homicide: An Examination of the Nisbett-Reaves HypothesisPeace in Our TimeJohn Gray: Steven Pinker is wrong about violence and warThe business class doesn't understand the EnlightenmentDelusions Of PeacePinker And ProgressNorbert Elias and the History of ViolenceModernization, Self-Control And Lethal ViolenceExplaining Long Term Trends in Violent CrimeThe Enlightenment’s Dark Side Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The Art of the Deal

The Art of the Deal

2024-01-1152:2217

Before Donald Trump became America's most prominent politician and birth certificate inspector, he spent his days making everyone in New York City slightly uncomfortable. Michael and Peter discuss "The Art of the Deal," Trump’s 1987 bestseller chronicling his exploits as a celebrity slumlord. Where to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:When Donald Trump Took Down Holiday Inns The Lost City of Trump Who Runs New York Now? How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions Doer and Slumlord Both Donald Trump Gets What He WantsDonald Trump was a nightmare landlord in the 1980s Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
To hear the rest of the episode, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
The Identity Trap

The Identity Trap

2023-12-1401:47:0324

"There are two kinds of political scientists: The types who deal with noisy data and post on Twitter with a bunch of caveats. And then there are the types who write books about identity politics." Where to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:Sam  Huneke's "Yascha Mounk’s Woke Straw Man"Jacob T. Levy's "The Defense of Liberty Can’t Do Without Identity Politics"Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò's "Elite Capture"Aaron Huertas's "We Need to Talk About Reactionary Centrists"Mary Lin Elementary under federal investigationParents refute claims of segregation at Mary Lin Elementary SchoolSchool Segregation in Metropolitan Regions, 1970–200060 Years After BrownSchool choice and racial segregation in US schoolsStudent Population Has Significantly Diversified, But Many Schools Remain Divided Along Racial, Ethnic, and Economic LinesU.S. public school students often go to schools where at least half of their peers are the same race or ethnicityThe Return of Old-Fashioned Racism to White Americans’ Partisan PreferencesWhy The Democrats Have Shifted Left Over The Last 30 YearsWidespread misperceptions of long-term attitude changeTrump, the 2016 Election, and Expressions of SexismChanging Norms Following the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election: The Trump Effect on PrejudiceChanges in Americans’ prejudices during the presidency of Donald TrumpThe CDC slide presentationModel-informed COVID-19 vaccine prioritization strategies Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
To hear the rest of the episode, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
You stare, mouth agape, at the bookstore display. It’s a self-help book, but with curse words in the title?! This must be a revolutionary new framework, not simply the same dull, reactionary ideas repackaged as hip and new.Support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (Blog Post)Where A is Ordinary: The Evolution of American College and University Grading, 1940-2009We’ve Been Handing Out Participation Trophies for 100 YearsPositive Disintegration‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #@%!’ Review: A Blunt Philosophy Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The 48 Laws of Power

The 48 Laws of Power

2023-11-0201:05:5614

In 1996, a frustrated screenwriter got a fellowship in Italy. Twenty years later, Beyoncé released "Lemonade." Content warning: This episode includes a mention of suicide.Support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:Rebecca Solnit’s “A Paradise Built in Hell”Kelly Link's "White Cat, Black Dog"The Half-Century in Bullshit: On Peter Bogdanovich’s “Paper Moon” and Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power”A Book of Anecdotes, 1957The Little Brown Book Of AnecdotesFear Nothing: Self-Fashioning and Social Mobility in 50 Cent’s The 50th LawThe fear of conflict leads people to systematically avoid potentially valuable zero-sum situationsThe Immigration DilemmaYou Can Win But I Can't LoseIf you rise, I fall: Equality is prevented by the misperception that it harms advantaged groupsZero-Sum Thinking and the Roots of U.S. Political DividesA Genesis of Conflict: The Zero-Sum MindsetForbes Winslow’s Physic and PhysiciansThe role of masculinity in men's help-seeking for depression: A systematic review The Strange, Sad Story of Joe Orton, His Lover, and 72 Stolen Library Books A Failure Of InitiativeNew Orleans reaches settlements for police shootings after Hurricane KatrinaPost-Katrina, White Vigilantes Shot African-Americans With Impunity Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
Retailers have been sounding the alarm about a shoplifting epidemic driven by organized criminal syndicates. In a shocking twist, it turns out that their story is mostly made up. Join us as Peter tries to figure out where this panic originated and as Mike finally comes clean about his criminal past.To hear the rest of the show, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
San Fransicko

San Fransicko

2023-10-1901:00:4314

This week we're tackling "San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities," a book that dares to ask: What if everything that experts think about homelessness is wrong, and everything that one crank on Twitter thinks about homelessness is right?Thanks to Ned Resnikoff for helping us with the research for this episode!Support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:Inflection Points in Community-level Homeless RatesHow Housing Costs Drive Levels of HomelessnessThe 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report To CongressThe California Statewide Study of People Experiencing HomelessnessSan Francisco Homelessness Benchmarking ReportHomelessness is a Housing ProblemA randomized trial of permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless persons with high use of publicly funded servicesSan Francisco Department of Public Health Update Report on Mental Health ReformCivil Commitment in the United States Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek

2023-09-2156:2526

Have you ever wanted to escape the grind and follow your dreams? This week we're discussing "The 4-Hour Workweek," which reveals that all you need is a plan, a willingness to take risks and a modestly sized fraud operation built on Third World labor.Support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:The Fraud and the Four-Hour WorkweekRevisiting "The 4-Hour Workweek"New! Improved! Shape Up Your Life!From Productivity to Psychedelics: Tim Ferriss Has Changed His Mind About Success Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
But her e-mails! Michael explains the non-scandal that captivated the mainstream media in 2016 while Peter attempts to sow the podcast with anti-Hillary sentiment.To hear the rest of the show, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
God And Man At Yale

God And Man At Yale

2023-09-0701:11:1713

Oops all grievance.Support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:No Ivory Tower : Mccarthyism And The UniversitiesThe Fire Is Upon UsThe Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945The Passion of William F. Buckley: Academic Freedom, Conspiratorial Conservatism, and the Rise of the Postwar RightWhy Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care?Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955Debunking a Longstanding Myth About William F. BuckleyHow William F. Buckley Jr.’s Right-Wing College Crusade Paved the Way for Ron DeSantisThe Right v. Higher Education: Change and ContinuityThe Buckleys: A Family ExaminedThe Academic Elite Goes to Washington, and to WarWhat About “God and Man”?The Attack on YaleThe academy on the firing line: William F. Buckley, Jr.'s God and Man at Yale and the modern conservative critique of higher educationConservatives charge that universities are hotbeds of liberalism. They’re wrong.  Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
For this month's bonus episode we dissected Harry Frankfurt's gloriously brief bestseller and applied the concept to our favorite op-ed page.  To hear the rest of the show, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
Liberal Fascism

Liberal Fascism

2023-07-2701:04:3324

Who poses the greatest threat to democracy? Is it the movement that openly identifies with the symbols, goals and policies of fascist governments? Or is it the median bureaucrat at the Department of Health and Human Services? In 2008, a National Review nepo-baby attempted to answer this vexing question.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:History News Network: A Symposium on Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal FascismThe Nature of FascismHow Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and ThemThe Anatomy of FascismMussolini and Fascism: The View From AmericaThe Return of Old-Fashioned Racism to White Americans’ Partisan Preferences in the Early Obama EraIdentity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of AmericaWhat Hillary Rodham Clinton Really Said About Children’s Rights and Child PolicyThe Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930A campus takeover that symbolized an era of change Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
In our "Rules" and "Game" episodes we didn't get a chance to dissect the phenomenon of online dating (i.e. describe our worst dates and read cringe profiles out loud to each other), so that is what we are doing on today's bonus episode.  To hear the rest of the show, support us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod
Lots of subscribers asked us to release last month's bonus episode in full so here it is! Share it with the conservatives, the boomers and the Satanists in your life.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPod Where to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseThanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The Rules

The Rules

2023-06-2901:09:0718

In 1995 a bestselling book proposed a simple dating strategy for women: Lose weight, wear bright colors and become a completely different person for the rest of your life.Thanks to Moira Donegan for helping us with this episode! Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth-Century America Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s essay, “Stuff Your ‘Rules’” The More Things Change: The Rules And Late Eighteenth‐Century Conduct Books For Women Shrinking Violets and Caspar Milquetoasts: Shyness and Heterosexuality from the Roles of the Fifties to "The Rules" of the Nineties From Mountain Peak to Total Woman: An Evolutionary History of Pre-feminist Dating Advice The Mating Game: How Gender Still Shapes How We Date by Ellen Lamont So Many Rules, So Little Time Abiding by The Rules: Instructing Women in Relationships What leads to romantic attraction: similarity, reciprocity, security, or beauty? Evidence from a speed-dating study "Playing Hard To Get": Understanding An Elusive Phenomenon Egalitarian Daters, Traditionalist Dates Aspirational pursuit of mates in online dating markets Disintermediating your friends: How online dating in the United States displaces other ways of meeting Playing Hard To Get  Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

2023-06-1501:01:0923

This week we're discussing "Atomic Habits," a book about how to use science (and also some stuff that’s definitely not science) to train yourself to be a more functional person.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:How 1% Performance Improvements Led to Olympic GoldFrom paupers to kings: The lottery-funded revolution Habit FormationImplementation Intentions to Reduce Smoking: A Systematic Review of the LiteratureEffectiveness of the use of implementation intentions on reduction of substance use: A meta-analysisWhen Intentions Go PublicEffect of Intensive Handwashing Promotion on Childhood Diarrhea in High-Risk Communities in Pakistan Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The World is Flat

The World is Flat

2023-06-0101:07:4116

Much has been said about globalization, but perhaps no one has said it worse than Thomas Friedman.Content Note: Discussions of xenophobic and racist content, especially toward the end of the episode.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:Why The World Isn't FlatThe World Is Still Not FlatDHL Global Connectedness Index 2022The Fallacies of FlatnessThe Sociopathy of Thomas Friedman: A CompendiumThomas Friedman sums up the Iraq War (YouTube) Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
The Nudgening.Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/IfBooksPodWhere to find us: TwitterPeter's other podcast, 5-4Mike's other podcast, Maintenance PhaseSources:David Gal's "Behavioral Winter"The i-frame and the s-frame: How focusing on individual-level solutions has led behavioral public policy astrayWhy Is Behavioral Economics So Popular?Applying Behavioral Insights To Intimate Partner ViolenceWhat Counts as a Nudge?The Power of Nudges, for Good and BadAllowing Patients to Waive the Right to Sue for Medical Malpractice: A Response to Thaler and SunsteinObama’s ObamaBehavioural Insights Applied to Policy - Country Overviews 2016The opioid crisis and nudge theoryOn the Supposed Evidence for Libertarian PaternalismThe effect of charter schools on charter students and public schoolsRe-election Strategy Is Tied to a Shift on SmogIs the White House delaying too many health and safety rules?Down the Regulatory Rabbit HoleWhy regulations are good — againCass Sunstein: The Obama Administration's Ambivalent Regulator Thanks to Mindseye for our theme song!
Comments (62)

Bagya Lakshmi

mind opening lol

Feb 24th
Reply

Paja Storec

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Jan 13th
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R Coldbreath

I love this podcast.

Jan 10th
Reply

Raymond Safdeye

Waaaa! 😭 you can almost hear the tears fall as they cry through an episode.... If podcast can breath this one would commit suicide

Jan 8th
Reply

Elizabeth Barclay

oh no!! you are so #1

Jan 6th
Reply

Torben Sangild

I really appreciate this critique of one of the most hyped books of the current millennium.

Dec 17th
Reply

ID19619055

Thank you for pointing out the issues with expecting trans people to be able to do all of advocacy and education. There just aren’t that many of us who feel safe and secure with what might happen if we did. Thank you for being a strong ally. strong ally.

Dec 15th
Reply

Milky Way

cursing like a bitch

Nov 30th
Reply

ID36642122

😃

Nov 27th
Reply

adhdbrain

wow. this book is glorifying weaponized incompetence in men and putting the onus of accountability solely on women. absolute sexist, misogynist garbage.

Nov 20th
Reply

adhdbrain

oh, I *want* y'all to rag on these books. I appreciate the 'finding the good' tidbits throughout, because some of these books do have grains of goodness, but make no mistake... I'm here for the shameless annihilation, the "dunk fest" on these trashy novels. which, btw... if you haven't looked at the garbage fire that is Tillie Cole's novellas, specifically Darkness Embraced, do it. and tear it a new one. it's a triple-k romance story, to give you an idea.

Nov 20th
Reply

Nicole Walawender

you guys are the best lol 😂I love your sense of humor and your points are right on . keep up with good work

Nov 13th
Reply

Maureen A

The county-wide library system for which I work buys at least 12 copies of The 48 Laws each year, because they are 1) extremely popular, and 2) routinely stolen. It's a conundrum.

Nov 3rd
Reply

Aakash Amanat

I've been an avid reader for years, and 'If Books Could Kill' is like a hidden gem for book lovers like me. The concept of exploring the dark and mysterious side of literature is utterly fascinating. The hosts dive deep into the worlds of classic and contemporary literature, revealing intriguing stories and secrets that lie beneath the pages. It's not just a podcast about books; it's a journey into the enigmatic side of the written word. https://www.cleansway.com/brooklyn-ny/business/nyc-packaging-solution The hosts' passion for literature is palpable, and their storytelling skills are exceptional. Each episode is a delightful mix of literary analysis, historical context, and a touch of mystery that keeps me eagerly awaiting the next installment. If you're a book enthusiast, this podcast is a must-listen. It's both educational and entertaining, making it a perfect companion for long drives or quiet evenings with a good book. https://businesslistingplus.com/business-listings/nyc-packag

Nov 3rd
Reply

Sabina Stefanova

I like this podcast but episodes are coming out more than two weeks apart a lot of the time :/ AND after a two week/20 day wait, sometimes you'd just get a 20 min teaser from their Patreon, instead of a full episode.

Oct 5th
Reply (1)

Sarah Gilmore

It's so funny to hear that he was an FBI informant. This whole book sounds like he is just tatteling.

Sep 29th
Reply

Anne Bode

This is a great podcast if you want to delve really deep into books, and economy and politics / philosophy are your thing. I started listening because they covered books like The Secret and Game, which are a bit more popular culture and more interesting in material. The later episodes appear to all be solidly politics or economy and most of them I have never heard of. Fine if that floats your boat, Michael and Peter are clearly invested in it, but just not up my alley. I prefer the book episodes of their other podcasts, so will stick to those and pause on this one. They are both great hosts though so recommend for people who are invested in the topics at hand!

Sep 7th
Reply (1)

Nathan Amata

Bb b b x D a beautiful w

Aug 30th
Reply

Catherine Prickett

So that's why Driftglass refers to Brooks as "Bobo the Clown".

Aug 30th
Reply

Yolanda Quintanilla

@Michael and @Peter, I would like to hear a podcast about why you think these bestsellers have such immense appeal to the masses. What the secret recipe is. Obviously, it's not the insight or the great literary style that they contain. is it maybe the cover design?

Jul 19th
Reply
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