As usual, PSCers have been busy gobbling up all kinds of reading material to inform our work, stretch our minds and feed our inner geeks. Below are a few of the books and articles that have captured our imaginations and, perhaps, will capture yours as well. They don’t represent the views of the company – just fodder we use as individuals to challenge our assumptions and spark spirited discussions.

If you want to join us in a conversation about our recommendations, simply click on our names and shoot us an email. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these wide‐​ranging topics.

Happy reading!


Jeff Guilfoyle, Vice President

“The Signal and Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t” by Nate Silver

Nate Silver, originally from East Lansing, takes a great look at the accomplishments and shortcomings of forecasting. It appeals to my inner geek on so many levels. Silver’s discussions of the problems associated with economic forecasting, as well as the sections on computer chess and poker playing, are particularly enjoyable. Although it’s not a short read, it’s a really good one that is well worth the time.

Linda Headley, Senior Communications Fellow

“Word for Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries” by Kory Stamper

If you love language even a little bit, then you’ll love this book, which reads more like a novel than nonfiction. Stamper takes a deep and entertaining dive into the world of lexicography, describing the challenges she and her colleagues at Merriam‐​Webster encounter when deciding what words make it into the dictionary, how difficult and time‐​consuming it is to write definitions and the frustrations that come with ever‐​changing word usage (issues that PSCers, especially our editors, are all too familiar with).

Rachel Kuntzsch, Senior Vice President

“Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone” by Brené Brown 

Our inherent drive to belong — to each other, to a place or to a culture — is hard wired, but we can lose ourselves if belonging becomes just about fitting in. It can also create divisive factions and loneliness. Brown makes the case that we find true freedom when we have the courage to step out from the shadow of self‐​preservation to belong first to ourselves.

Becky McKendry, Senior Editor

“Hurricane Harvey’s Public‐​Health Nightmare” by Vann R. Newkirk II (The Atlantic)

It’s fascinating to consider just how many past and future public policy decisions are at play through the lens of a natural disaster: everything from infrastructure development and funding of local emergency services to environmental regulations and climate change response. This article discusses a few of those health‐ and funding‐​related decisions and outlines how challenging the intersection of natural disaster and public health truly is.

Eric Pardini, Senior Consultant

“The Wall: The real costs of a barrier between the United States and Mexico” by Vanda Felbab‐​Brown (Brookings)

Whatever your politics or ideological take on immigration, we can all agree that building a wall on our southern border would be a major undertaking. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering what the impacts would be and whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Brookings does a tremendous job of presenting the costs of a border wall across different parameters and displays the information in an interesting and interactive way.