Dodging the Shark

Marshaling stories and studies, an expert advises us to stop worrying—to free our minds and conquer problems by approaching them from opposing angles.

It’s Not About the Shark: How to Solve Unsolvable Problems. David Niven. 240 pages. St. Martin’s Press.

Much Ado About Next to Nothing

An economist and a public affairs professor­ say that scarcity is more pervasive, troublesome and significant than previously thought.

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much. Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. 304 pages. Times Books.