What does Rodney Like? Books

What does Rodney like?

Lawyers ask Rodney all the time what books he recommends. They know Rodney is always evolving his thinking based on the latest research in cognitive science, decision making, and psychology. Here are some of the most important books he recommends, described in Rodney’s own words:
Books
Rodney’s 2020 suggestions
Talking to Strangers
What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
Malcolm Gladwell

Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.
Get the Truth
Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Persuade Anyone to Tell All
Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero

Getting someone to tell the truth is an essential skill that very few people possess. Whether in deposition, in the courtroom, or in our own homes, every day we interact with others and try to get the truth from them. This book is a step-by-step guide that empowers readers to elicit the truth from others.
The Power of Moments
Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact
Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck, but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? This book shows us how to be the author of richer experiences, and how we can learn to create such extraordinary moments in our life and work.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love
Cal Newport

This eye-opening account debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice. Not only is the cliché flawed, but it can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping. What you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.
The Knowledge Illusion
Why We Never Think Alone
Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach

We all think we know more than we actually do. Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don’t even know how a pen or a toilet works. The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. This book contends that true genius can be found in the ways we create intelligence using the world around us.
The Enigma of Reason
Hugo Mercier & Dan Sperber

If reason is so useful, why didn’t it also evolve in other animals? If reason is so reliable, why do we produce so much thoroughly reasoned nonsense? The authors solve this double enigma, while showing why reason is biased in favor of what we already believe, why it may lead to terrible ideas and yet is indispensable to spreading good ones.
Denying to the Grave
Why We Ignore the Facts that Will Save Us

Sara E. Gorman, PHD, MPH & Jack M. Gorman, MDMorten T. Hansen

When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk everywhere. Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions.
Genius Foods
Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive
While Protecting Your Brain for Life

Max Lugavere

Discover the critical link between your brain and the food you eat and change the way your brain ages, in this practical guide to eliminating brain fog, optimizing brain health, and achieving peak mental performance. Weaving together pioneering research on dementia prevention and cognitive optimization, Lugavere distills groundbreaking science into actionable lifestyle changes.

Still in Rodney’s rotation
Great At Work
How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More
Morten T. Hansen

Why are some trial lawyers better at preparing for trial than others? Hansen, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by trial lawyers looking to maximize their time and performance.
Absolute Value
What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information
Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen

Going against the conventional wisdom about value, Absolute Value reveals the principles that really influence jurors and offers a new framework—the Influence Mix, a new way of thinking about juror decision making and about developing more effective trial strategies for damages.
Priceless
The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
William Poundstone

Behavioral economics focuses on the often crazy ways in which people and their concepts of money, value, and pricing interact. William Poundstone offers an accessible tour of this research and reveals the hidden psychology of value.
Before You Know It
The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do
John Bargh

Dr. Bargh has discovered how the unconscious guides our behavior, goals, and motivations. He reveals what science now knows about the pervasive influence of the unconscious mind in the decisions we all make, including the decisions jurors make.
A Field Guide to Lies
Critical Thinking in the Information Age
Daniel Levitin

It’s becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How can trial lawyers distinguish misinformation, distortions, and outright lies from reliable information? Levitin’s field guide identifies two categories—statistical information and faulty arguments—and explores the critical thinking principles that can illuminate the truth behind the lies.
It’s Not the How or the What but the Who
Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz

Surround yourself with the best, because it matters…in all aspects of your practice. In fact, getting the right people marks the difference between success and failure. To thrive, trial lawyers need to identify those with the highest potential, get them in your corner and on your team, and help them grow. Yet surprisingly very few trial lawyers can meet this challenge.
The Logic of Failure
Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations
Dietrich Dörner

This is THE BOOK that inspired me to develop my concepts of reverse planning and eventually backchaining. Dorner identifies particular patterns of thought that are disastrous for the complex world we live in today.
The Organized Mind
Thinking straight in the age of information overload
Daniel Levitin

This is THE BOOK that helps me stay sane by giving me insight into the science of thinking and how to organize all the information that overwhelms us every day.
Essentialism
The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Greg McKeown

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.
The Influential Mind
What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others
Tali Sharot

A cutting-edge, research-based inquiry into how we influence those around us and how understanding the brain can help us change minds for the better.
Contagious
Why Things Catch On
Jonah Berger

People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral? Contagious provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share.
Sidetracked
Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan
Francesca Gino

You may not realize it but simple, irrelevant factors can have profound consequences on your decisions and behavior, often diverting you from your original plans and desires. Sidetracked will help you identify and avoid these influences so the decisions you make do stick—and you finally reach your intended goals.
Focus
The Hidden Driver of Excellence
Daniel Goleman

Attention is a limited capacity. Being able to truly focus on what’s most important makes the difference between success and failure. Using cutting edge cognitive science, Goleman has aspecific approach to teach you how to focus on the kill shots.
Spy the Lie
Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception
Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero and Don Tennant

This book is invaluable for learning about the ways that defendants will lie. It will help you learn to find ways around their deceptive verbal behaviors, which will make a difference in your discovery, settlement discussions, and cross examination.