Top Safety Books for Christmas 2019

(editors note: Try “Real Risk” and “Fallibility and Risk” by Dr Rob Long – they are free to download here: )

imageIt’s that time of year again when we start thinking of Christmas, holidays and relaxing on a beach with a cool drink and a book to read. Here are my top 20 suggestions of books for safety people that I have found helpful in reading this year. As usual I suggest not buying any book with the word ‘safety’ in the title. The best way to learn about safety (and how people make decisions) is to NOT to read orthodox safety texts.

For those contemplating doing a Masters in 2020 at Federation University in the Social Psychology of Risk (, these are the kinds of books you will need to read to better understand risk.

*indicates ‘easy to read’, ** indicates academic in nature.

** Brown, V., Harris, J., and Waltner-Toews, D., (eds.) (2019) Independent Thinking in an Uncertain World, A Mind of One’s Own. Routledge, London. (great work on transdiciplinarity)

*Claxton, G., (2016) Intelligence in the Flesh. Yale Uni Press. New Haven. (Buddhist educator and author of The Wayward Mind, another must read, also out starting text in 2020 for the SPoR Book Club)

** Erdozain, D., (2016) The Soul of Doubt, The Religious Roots of Unbelief from Luther to Marx. Oxford University Press. London. (wonderful account of religious ideology and history)

** Forgas, J., Williams, K., and Laham, S., (eds.) (2005) Social Motivation, Conscious and Unconscious Processes. Cambridge. London.

** Fuchs, T., (2018) ecology of the brain., the phenomenology and biology of the embodied mind. Oxford University Press. London. (just brilliant, perhaps the best book I have read in the last few years)

** Gill, D., and Lovekin, D., (eds.) (2018) Political Illusion and Reality, Engaging the Prophetic Insights of Jacques Ellul. Pickwick Publications. Eugene. (radical political thinking in understanding the nature of justice)

*** Hong, H., (ed.) (2000) The Essential Kierkegaard. Princeton Universty Press. Princeton. (reread this often but not for the faint hearted)

*Kuenkel, P., (2016) The Art of Leading Collectively, Co-Creating a Sustainable, Socially Just Future. Chelsea Green Publishing. Vermont. (well written and easy to understand on the nature of leadership)

** Lakoff, G., and Johnson, M., (1980) Metaphors We Live By. Chicago University Press. Chicago. (essential reading for anyone interested in the how language creates culture)

** Lotman, Y., (2000) Universe of the Mind, A Semiotic Theory of Culture. Indiana University Press. Bloomington. (Simply brilliant, will turn on your head any of the nonsense definitions of culture you read about in safety)

** Lotman, Y., (2010) The Unpredictable Workings of Culture. TLU Press. Talinn. (for those who want to better understand culture outside of the STEM straightjacket)

*Michael, D., (1973) Learning to Plan and Planning to Learn. Miles River Press. Alexandria. (often re-read this work, by far the best text on strategy and learning ever).

*Nichols, T., (2017) The Death of Expertise, The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters. Oxford University Press. London. (helps understand why dumb down is attractive in the age of ‘google think’)

*Noe, A., (2009) Out of Our Heads, Why you are not your brain, and other lessons from the biology of consciousness. Hill and Wang, New York. (very easy read about the reality of how humans make decisions)

*Ostwalt, C., (2012) Secular Steeples, Popular Culture and the Religious Imagination. Bloomsbury, London. (wonderful understanding of the sacred and secular in modern society, particularly looking at movies, Netflix and film culture)

*Pascoe, B., (2014) Dark Emu, Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture. Magabala Books. Broome. (for those who want to learn about investigation, historiography and the nature of evidence)

*Ravven, H., (2013) The Self Beyond Itself, An Alternative History of Ethics, the New Brain Sciences and the Myth of Free Will. The New Press. New York. (great discussion about the dialectic between free will and determinism)

** Ryall, E., Russell, W., and MacLean, M., (eds.) (2013) The Philosophy of Play. Routledge. London. (an excellent text on how humans learn through play)

*Susskind, R and Susskind, D., (2015) The Future of the Professions. How technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts. Oxford University Press. London. (deconstruction of the professionalization myth)

*Varela, F., Thompson, E., and Rosch, E. (1991) The Embodied Mind, Cognitive Science and Human Experience. MIT Press. London. (foundational text on embodied decision making)

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

8 Replies to “Top Safety Books for Christmas 2019”

    1. Of course Safety misreads Pope ‘to err is human’, not likely to get much sophisticated literary analysis, philosophy or poetics from STEM. Without a taste for politics or ethics I guess Pope is a brand of washing machine or mower.

    1. Of course Safety misreads Pope ‘to err is human’, not likely to get much sophisticated literary analysis, philosophy or poetics from STEM. Without a taste for politics or ethics I guess Pope is a brand of washing machine or mower.

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