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Ori Brafman, author of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior (June 30-July 11)

Author Chat

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Jun 30, 2008, 11:53am Top

Join us here to talk to Ori Brafman, author of Sway. He'll be on LibraryThing to discuss his work and answer questions through July 11th.

Jul 7, 2008, 9:15pm Top

I liked Sway (see my review on Amazon and Library thing). It was an easy read and very accessible. Here's my question: What are your methods for putting together a non-fiction book? I'm aspiring non-fiction and fiction writer and I'd love any tips you may have. Thanks!

Jul 8, 2008, 1:07am Top

As a social psychologist, I can't wait to read your book. I applaud all new ways to get psychological information in the hands of the people! It's exciting to see the bookstore filled with actual scientific psychology. What do you think is prompting the relatively recent books on the subject of social cognition, such as Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point and Blink, as well as some earlier fare by Thomas Gilovich in How We Know What Isn't So, etc.? I might even add that some other science books have become fairly popular, such as Mary Roach's Bonk, Stiff, and Spook. Do you see this as unusual (as do I) and if so, why do you think this is happening now? Any particular zeitgeist?

Jul 9, 2008, 3:22am Top

Thanks for the messages.

First, about writing nonfiction, I think it's most important to find a topic that really fascinates you. What Rom and I try to do is look for connections between different disciplines, and then explore stories that highlight ideas.

I think this relates to the movement of nonfiction books that are very different than titles we saw, say, ten years ago. I think readers are more interested in a narrative and more curious about an counter-intuitive approach. Reading nonfiction these days is as interesting as reading a novel, and for me that's one of the most exciting thing happening in books.

Jul 10, 2008, 9:56am Top


Thanks! I appreciate your advice very much.

I agree, recent non-fiction has been so entertaining. I think it is a change for the better, as the information becomes more accessible to a wider audience.

I like your point about connections between disciplines - that's what we are striving toward also. Lately I've been fascinated by behavioral economics and how the discipline can help us understand generation Y's online lives. Much rumor and sensationalism surround parents who in turn limit teens' and children's access to tools and required skills. With my background in Psych and technology and my husband's in philosophy and college advising, we are hoping to put together a "counter-current-intuition" practical guide for parents. I'm also a fiction writer, so I'll be looking to use those skills to pull the reader in with narrative.

Thanks again. I look forward to reading more of your work.


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