Interesting question, which I’ve had to consider for a while.
One of the joys of my work is I get to read a whole slew of interesting research and information in areas as varied as biblical research, social work, history, psychology, and the law—and people pay me for it (well, after I translate or edit it, of course).
So if I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be one of the books that I’ve translated that was on a fascinating topic and taught me a great deal. The following three are very compelling candidates:
- Roman Elections in the Age of Cicero: Society, Government, and Voting by Rachel Feig-Vishnia: a fascinating account of how Roman leaders competed with each other to get elected in all ranks from magistrate to Consul. Makes you realise that the Founding Fathers of the U.S.A. modelled their entire political system on that of the Roman Republic.
- From Two Kingdoms to One Nation: Israel and Judah, by Shamai Gelander: a detailed and highly researched description of the two nations were obliged to merge into one by political circumstances—but whose religious and cultural differences are still detectable to this day.
- New Horizons: Pioneers of Israeli Modern Art, by Gila Ballas: a comprehensive description of the birth and first decades of modern art in Israel in the twentieth century.
But on balance, for sheer number of insights into human psychology as well as information about how it can be (and is being) harnessed in legislation and the law in the U.S., U.K., and other countries, the book Behavioral Law & Economics by Eyal Zamir and Doron Teichman (in press) wins overall. I’ve entered more excerpts from this book into my GoodToKnow file than from any other, and warmly recommend it to anyone—especially anyone involved in legislation, government, or management of large organisations.