This site consists of a bi-weekly blog and podcast designed to keep you up to date on the best ideas in the world of new non-fiction books:

Every second week I choose what I consider to be the most interesting and/or important popular non-fiction book to be released during that 2 week period. I then read and study the book, and write an article wherein I summarize the main argument of the book and offer up some of the juicier details and anecdotes to be found therein.

When it comes to the books that I choose, I tend to lean towards science-based books that feature some attempt to make sense of ourselves and the world around us (books that live at the intersection of science and the humanities). The books that I choose are mostly top sellers, though I am willing to cover a more unsung title, if I feel that this is truly warranted. Topics that I am willing to tackle include the following: psychology & human behavior, economics & politics, technology & futurism, physics & cosmology, education & parenting, evolution & genetics, history & cultural commentary (By the way, I do take suggestions, so if you happen to come across a brand new book [or one that is soon to be released] along these lines that you would like to see summarized, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do).

Each article is meant to capture a distillation of the book’s main argument (to deliver the book in-a-nutshell, as it were). While I cannot hope to match the breadth of explanation and depth of details in the book itself, I do aim to gain in simplicity and concision (indeed most of the articles are roughly 10 to 15 pages in length, and represent approximately 2% to 5% of the total length of the book). My chief purpose is to provide the reader with a very good understanding of the thesis of the book, as well as the most important and interesting details in support of this thesis.

About the Podcast:

After writing each article, I then record the podcast, which consists in me explaining and discussing the book with my co-host Cristina. The podcasts do not contain as much information as is found in the articles, but they are designed to have a less formal, and more conversational feel.

About the Author:

My educational background includes an Honours Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from McGill University, a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Alberta, and a Bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Toronto. I live in Toronto, Canada.


About the Podcast Co-host:

By day Cristina Gardeazabal is an account executive at a downtown Toronto advertising agency, by night she is drawing/writing her own comic about a secret society of women trying to take over the world in 17th century England.

She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design with a BA in Design. Her field of study was advertising but she is a self-taught painter and illustrator. She intermittently shows off her creative skills around Toronto in group shows.

To see her work visit: guerillamilkshake.com

33 thoughts on “About

  1. Aaron – it would be great if you could write a summary on “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion” Thanks,


    • Hi Sidd. Thanks for the suggestion. I do indeed take recommendations, and I checked out this book on amazon.com and it is certainly the kind of book that I would consider reviewing. The only thing is that I’m fairly strict on covering only very new new books. For instance, I most often limit myself to choosing books that have been released in the prior two weeks. This is when the book is hottest and the market for a summary the biggest. This is not ideal, I know, as there is not necessarily a correlation between newness and goodness, but it is a limitation that I do feel the need to work within.

      I’ll tell you what, if you happen to come across a new book with a similar theme to this one (good topics tend to get re-done), let me know and I’ll be sure to consider it. In the meantime, I hope some of the other titles that I choose will be of interest to you.


  2. Hello Aaron.
    I’m interestd in using excerpts from you blog in my training programs to illustate principles of the books you summarize. What requirements do you have for such usage?
    Thank you.
    Less Osborne

    • Hi Less. Thanks for the note. Just a few requirements here, all very simple and straightforward. First, I ask that you cite the web address in the material that you use (newbooksinbrief.wordpress.com). Second, I ask that you cite the name of the book, the author’s name and the publishing company (all available at the top of each of my articles below the book cover icon). Finally, please ensure that all quotation marks are kept intact, as these are the exact words of the author. That’s it. By the way, just out of curiosity, what’s the training program that you run?

      The Book Reporter

  3. What a great site!!! I just discovered it today – it was mentioned in an Amazon review of “Abundance”. So many of the books you have reviewed are sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Can’t wait to read your summaries and figure out which book to tackle first. Thanks!!


    • Thanks for the kind words Amanda. I’m glad you like the site. I do aim to make the summaries comprehensive enough to give you a very good understanding of the main argument of each book, but I’m more than pleased if this whets your appetite to go on and read the book in full. If you do happen to do this, please let us know how the experience of reading the book compares with the summary. Oh, and by the way, you may wish to check out the podcasts, as they are intended to give an impression of what each book is about in an even briefer format, and in a more conversational way.


  4. I recently read Peter Schiff’s book, and found your podcast. I found the comparison of Krugman vs Schiff very interesting, the same values as Keynes vs. Smith. However, you omitted what I think was crucial information in your podcast regarding the debt. While our government is at 17 Trillion in debt, and Krugman swears that doesn’t matter 🙂 you omitted the information about the states’ debts, the personal debt (mortgages and credit cards) along w/ the school loan debt. I think it’s very important to understand the immense amount of debt we Americans are in, as well as our country’s obligations.
    I looking forward to hearing your other podcasts, thanks!

    • Thanks Julie. As for my omission, I agree that the point of personal debt is an important one. In hindsight, I agree with you that I probably should have included a discussion of it in the podcast. My only excuse for having left it out is that I try to keep these discussions as bare bones as possible, in order to keep them to a reasonable time length. My articles do include quite a bit more information than the podcasts, and I do include a mention of the issue in question in my articles on both books. In general, then, if you wish to delve deeper into the topics discussed in the podcasts, you may wish to check out the articles. Having said that, I’m really glad you did find some value in the podcast, and do hope you come back for more. I just released a new one this evening, in fact, and plan to publish a new one every second week from here on in. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.


      • Thanks for the note Aaron! I do understand the time constraints you may have, it was just the key part of the book that baffled my brain. Everyone talks about the national debt, but no one seems to understand the depth of debt we as Americans are in. I am very grateful to have found your podcasts and intend to be a follower! Thanks for the intelligent conversations. Julie

  5. Hi,

    Recently I found your blog and had a feeling as if found a treasure trove. Would you be writing a brief of – In Digital War, Patents Are The Weapon Of Choice?


    • Hi Ruchi. I’m happy you’re enjoying the site. As far as I can tell, the title you mentioned still exists only as an article by Charles Duhigg. It’s one of a series of articles Duhigg has been writing for the New York Times on the ieconomy. I listened to an interview with Duhigg recently on NPR’s Fresh Air and it’s certainly a very interesting topic. I have a feeling that Duhigg will eventually compile his research on the ieconomy into a book, in which case I would certainly be interested in covering it (as you may know, I summarized his most recent book ‘The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business’ and it’s been one of my most popular articles).


  6. Hi Aaron. Very helpful blog. May I please pitch you on my book “Which One Am I?” It is a hybrid memoir about my husband Darrell’s life growing up with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) which is to say he has multiple personalities. It is designed to be an adjunct text and as such we trace the history of DID research and how these changes have been portrayed in the media over time. Of course we also get into the workings of the brain as it applies to DID. If this sounds ilke something up your alley, tell me how to proceed. http://www.WhichOneAmI.net

    • Hi Tom. I checked out your husband’s book on Amazon.com and it looks very interesting. Also, I’m honored that you would offer the book up for my interpretation. However, I’m afraid the book is just a little beyond what I am able to cover here on the website. The reason for this is that the book contains an important personal element, that I would simply be unable to do justice to. In other words, I think this book resists impersonal translation, and would be much better read in the original. I wish you and your husband luck in promoting and selling the book, and continued good fortune in your efforts to manage and rise above your husband’s difficult condition.


  7. Aaron, thank you! I very much appreciate the work you do – it is not possible for me to read all of the books I would like to read and still keep up with my responsibilities. What a joy to stumble across this very helpful resource to identify the books I would like to read in full and to have learn about those topics that don’t rise to the top of my list. You do excellent work in what is a very tricky proposition – choosing what to report on and what to leave out. Well done!

    • Thanks Mariana, I appreciate the accolades. I’m glad you like the website, and are benefiting from the articles. I do often fret over just what to include and what to leave out, so I’m happy that you appreciate my efforts.


  8. Your site is so helpful to me. I want to stay in touch with the latest books….but sometimes don’t have the time….THANK YOU

    • Thanks Richard. I checked out ‘Why the West Rules… For Now’ on Amazon.com and it’s exactly the kind of book that I would be willing to cover here on the site. The only thing is that the book is a couple of years old now, which is somewhat out of my range. I’m trying to limit myself to just brand, brand new books. Having said that, if you happen to come across a new book that you’d like to see covered, let me know and I’ll certainly see what I can do.


  9. This is an amazing blog. Thank you so much for doing this. As an educator in the field of psychology, I have wanted (needed) this type of resource for a long time. The particular book selection you have curated is frankly, uncanny for my particular tastes and needs. Thank you again. I will be a frequent user, and I will definitely send traffic (students, friends etc.) your way.

    Warm regards,


  10. If you’re taking requests, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gliek is great read and, in my opinion, an excellent candidate for you sight. I’d rank it as one of 2012s best (non fiction, science) releases and I’d say it is pretty relevant to your other titles.

    • You’re right, this is an excellent book for the site. I remember when the book first came out, and I seriously considered covering it. However, it was just beaten out by ‘The Power of Habit,’ which I simply had to cover, given how enormously popular it was (and it’s also a very good book). If you come across any new books you’d really like to see covered, though, be sure to send them along, and I’ll certainly see what I can do.


  11. Aaron,

    I’m in absolute love with your site. I stumbled across it when reading your Amazon forum comment for the book “The Power of Habit”. My question, a bit different than what is usually asked on your site, is advice on how to become a better writer. I too would like to read, study, and then write about books that I’ve read in order to internalize them and to practice communicating clearly. I’m curious if you could “teach” or break down how you go about summarizing these books and writing such a clear analysis. My 2013 project is to really work on communicating well. I’m 28 years old and eager to improve on my writing. I’d love to hear your advice.

    Happy Holidays,

    • Hi James. Thanks for the note. I’m glad you’re liking the site. When I started out, I really had the same goal as you: I just wanted to be able to retain what I was reading better, and to be able to explain it in a coherent way. I found that writing a summary of what I read was a good way to do this. I can give you a few general tips here, but I’m sure you’ll find that you’ll want to tailor it to how you operate (plus, these tips will be useless without practice, practice, practice).

      Here’s what I can tell you about what I do: First, I highlight the text and take notes as I read. I find that highlighting and taking notes requires a lot more critical thinking, since I’m not only reading, but have to be thinking about what exactly is important enough to highlight, or take note of (plus, I’ve then got a whole bunch of notes I can refer to later). This is harder than just plain reading, but I find that it leads to much better understanding.

      When it comes to planning, I start by way of identifying the main argument of the book. I then think about the important details (and only the most important ones) that need to be outlined in order to make the argument coherent. Then I think about how to organize all the details. I’m aiming for logical flow here. Every idea should naturally lead into the next (and I try to make this explicit in my writing through transition sentences), and I find it’s best to start with the basics. This often requires that I change the ordering from that found in the book. I try to tailor my writing to a bright person that knows nothing about the subject, but is curious: what does this person NEED to know at every step in order that they can most easily follow the argument (this is painstaking, but essential).

      When it comes to the actual writing, there’s not much I can say here: it’s going to be different for everyone. I just start with an idea, jot out the first sentence that comes to mind, and refine, refine, refine. Hope that helps. Good luck with your endeavor, and let me know how it goes.


  12. Aaron,
    It’s an amazing blog that I subscribed the posts at once when I finished the excellent summary of ‘How to create a mind’! I’m a neuroscience lover from China, eager to read the fresh books on brains but restricted by the time and English reading skill. You are a sophisticated reader and could you share reading skills with us ? I’m curious about how long does it take for you to finish a book and your reading steps.

    Happy new year!

    • Hi Tong. Thanks for the compliments. Happy New Year to you too!! For the website, I dedicate 1 week to read a book, and 1 week to write about it. As for how I read, really the only thing that I do that is out of the ordinary is that I make sure I highlight the text and take detailed notes as I read. I’ve included some info on how I write in a reply that I made just above this one. Hope that helps.


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