There could be as many books written as opinions on which to read. This list is not at all exhaustive, but serves as a starting point for the inquisitive mind. These are all modern, easy to read books that don’t fill your brain with easily forgotten facts, but a way of thinking about the universe that makes you smarter.

Ranging from books based on science and new breakthroughs in psychological research, these books serve to awaken and enlighten you. If you’re only going to read 10 non fiction books, these books are all you need.

So, without further ado:

10 Easy To Read Books That Make You Smarter

1. Cosmos – Carl Sagan

books to get smarter

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, tells the story of 15 billion years of cosmic history like no one else can. This book shows how broad and deep Carl’s interests extend and draws the reader into a world of fascination. Although the book is primarily about how science has developed in our society, the book touches on subjects such as historyphilosophy, religion, and cultures. The book is written in simple terms and is understandable to those without a background in science.

2. Outliers: The Story Of Success – Malcolm Gladwell

books to get smarter

Outliers brings a crucial point that there is logic behind why some people become successful, and it has more to do with legacy and opportunity than high IQ. This important idea, shifts the concept of the smarter the better to point out what actually goes into making a successful person. Although Malcolm Gladwells methods have been brought into questioning in recent times, there’s no doubt that this book is a great starting point for anyone interested in evolutionary psychology.

3. A Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

books to get smarter

This is the greatest guide, to what we all should have learned in high school and beyond. Through one giant narrative, Bill Bryson takes the reader to the many physical quarks and wonders of our universe. As far as science books go, this one is a must read for anyone interested in how and why we are here.

4. The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are – Robert Wright

books to get smarter

Where do morals come from? Why do we do certain things?
These are the questions the book challenges from a new perspective. Taking the basic principle of evolution and finally applying it to the way we act as humans.

5. Thinking Fast And Slow – Daniel Kahneman

books to get smarter

Daniel Kahneman presents the brain as we have never seen it. The basis of the book is simple. In judging the world around us, we use two mental systems: Fast and Slow. The Fast system (System 1) is mostly unconscious and makes snap judgments based on our past experiences and emotions. When we use this system we are as likely to be wrong as right. The Slow system (System 2) is rational, conscious and slow. They work together to give us a view of the world around us.

6. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

books to get smarter

The lesson of this book is that we should be leery of trusting society’s or common wisdom. In other words, the book encourages us to keep our mind alert and break out of the mold in the way we see things. It introduces one of the most important topics which is differentiating correlation from causation.

7. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

books to get smarter

This is a great book about the power of habit and what we can do to change our habits in business, life, and society. The book is divided into three sections, first focusing on the individual, then companies, and finally societies.

8. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates Of Human Societies – Jared Diamond

books to get smarter

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Guns, Germs, and Steel is a brilliant work answering the question of why the people’s of certain continents succeeded in invading other continents and conquering or displacing their people’s. This book sheds light on why the Europeans advanced so much quicker than the rest of the world.

9. Six Easy Pieces: Essentials of Physics Explained by Its Most Brilliant Teacher – Richard P. Feynman

books to get smarter

Physics can often be wrongly marred with hatred for its complexity and day to day social application. No one will ever come close to describing the fundamentals of our universe quite like Richard Feynman can. He is able to make physics intuitive, unlocking the many beauties for everyone to appreciate.

10. This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking – John Brockman

books to get smarter

What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

This is the question John Brockman posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.