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Literature in the Age of STEM

Well, if this isn’t a “must read” in our age of STEM and “how will that degree get you a job” mentality toward college:  The Second Greatest Psychologist of All Time  by Michael Karson, Ph.D., J.D., who begins his article , “One of the main reasons I switched my major in college from English literature to psychology was that I was worried about making a living.”

So on my list of great psychologists, I would put George Eliot, Shakespeare, and Leo Tolstoy near the top. I would literally prefer that my students read Middlemarch, the great tragedies, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina than any psychology book, even my own (except Skinner’s Science and Human Behavior). The Magic Years by Selma Fraiberg is a wonderful professional book about childhood and its passing, but Stephen King’s It and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn are even better and they’re more fun to read. The list of important works on attachment theory is lengthy, and you ought to know it if you want to look credentialed, but if you really want to understand attachment, you won’t do any better than Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin. There’s a terrific corpus of work available on family dynamics, but as glad as I am that I’ve read some of it, I’ve gotten even more mileage in my consultation and therapy work out of reading Junichuro Tanazaki’s The Makioka Sisters.

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