Best Cultural Anthropology Books 2016

Best Cultural Anthropology Books 2016

Cultural Anthropology sounds difficult but is actually very interesting.  In the study of human kind, the cultural differences that make us who we are and what we are can be subtle or overwhelming.  These cultural anthropology books are some of the most popular in 2016.  They cover a wide range of topics, from the tragic story of Lia, a Hmong child in America; to elite athletes and learning to run.

Read these books and learn some cultural anthropology without trying too hard.  You’ll benefit in several areas from our list of 10 Reasons Why reading is important, including smarter, attractive, and self discovery.

1. Outliers: The Story of Success  – Malcolm Gladwell

Cultural Anthropology - Outliers
In this book, the author of Tipping Point and Blink, Malcom Gladwell writes about people who are exceptional. They are exceptional because they do not fit into normal understanding of achievement. These people are successful, smart and rich. So who are the outliers? Malcom Gladwell analyses lives and success of people like Bill Gates, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the popular band Beatles, among others.

There are reasons why outliers succeed. Why they become who they are? Gladwell goes beyond their intelligence and ambition to explain how and why these outliers become who they are. He shifts his focus from their career path and instead focuses on the environment they were born and grew up in. Gladwell sheds a different light on the way to the success and he is giving hope to all of us who want to succeed, because being an extremely intelligent person is not the most important thing for success. So if you want to learn another secret of success read Outliers: The Story of Success.

2. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging – Sebastian Junger

Cultural Anthropology - Tribe
People are social beings. But in this modernized world we live isolated lives which can lead to many problems. One of the problems is very noticeable among war veterans. Many of them commit suicide after they return home. Again, one of the reasons is because they feel isolated. According to the author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger, this problem can be resolved by learning from tribal societies.

What can the average person learn from tribal societies? We can learn about cooperation, inter-connection, inter-reliance and belonging. The tribal behavior, in our disconnected society, usually emerges when disaster strikes. In these situations people bond, they come together, they help one another. This has been seen over and over in major disasters like 9-11. This book is especially interesting because it explains how tribal behavior can be useful and how it can be achieved in our modern society.

3. Born to Run: A Hidden tribe, Superathletes – Christopher McDougall

Cultural Anthropology - Born To Run
To run a marathon is a dream of many runners, yet many runners are prone to injuries. In Born to Run: A Hidden tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen Christopher McDougall is unraveling the secrets of running. McDougall, a passionate runner himself, starts to do the research on members of the tribe Tarahumara. The tribe of Tarahumara is a Native Mexican tribe in the Copper Canyons in Mexico. They have amazing ability to run very long distances without getting hurt. In this book McDougall discovers and shares their secret of running.
Beside that McDougall promotes endurance running hypothesis. He tries to find the answer to why are humans the only species among primates that have developed a capacity for endurance running. This book should be read by all running enthusiasts, because it provides an answer to the question that bothers us the most; how to run and enjoy running without getting hurt.

4. The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell

Cultural Anthropology - Power of Myth
Myth is significant to human beings. It addresses the basic fundamental questions like who we are, and what the purpose of life is. It is deeply rooted in our lives and our cultures. The Power of Myth is a book that focus on the myth, its history, mythical heroes and everything else connected to the myth.

The Power of Myth is published as a companion book to PBS documentary: Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth. The book is based on the interviews between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers in the documentary. This is great source for all who want to learn more about  myths. Campbell & Moyers’ in-depth knowledge on the subject is amazing and encompassing. They approach the myth from different angles using different sources ranging from historical to popular culture.

5. The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down – Anne Fadiman

Cultural Anthropology - The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down
In this heartbreaking and engaging book Anne Fadiman brings a documentary story without heroes or villains. She brings a story about the clash of culture. On one side there is modern US medicine and on the other the Hmong family whose child, Lia, is brain dead.

There is so much to learn from this book. Beside the Lia’s story, this book provides an insight into American involvement in the war in Laos, Hmong culture, customs and history, immigration problems such as discrimination and assimilation. Furthermore The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down is a book about cultural and medical anthropology. It became a base for the argument for greater cultural competence in medicine. It was cited by many medical journals. In 1997 it won National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction. In today’s world when societies are more mixed and multicultural; and migration flows are huge; this book can be a good guide to learn how and why is important to understand those who come from different cultures.

6. Seeing Like a State – James C Scott

Cultural Anthropology - Seeing Like A State
According to James C Scott, ideology of High Modernism is a bad thing especially when governments believe in them. High Modernism is an ideology that emphasizes technocratic and scientific rationality. i.e. It believes that for every situation there is one correct answer. But the universal generalization cannot be applied because each problem, situation, society and person is different.

Reading this book you will learn about State attempts to standardize society under the pretext of improvement.  According to the author, to date all States have failed in doing that.

This is an intriguing book that deals with the question about centralized planning and it argues that planning is not just risky, but it also can have unexpected outcome and effects on society. It is especially dangerous in the societies that are authoritarian and do not have developed civil society.

Seeing Like a State is provocative book that should be read in order to understand how exercise of centralized power and planned development can be very dangerous.

President Biographies and Election 2016 books

President Biographies and Election 2016 books

The 2016 US Presidential Election might still be a few months away, but the race to be the next President is hotting up.   Our list of US President biographies includes past, current and possible presidents.  Learn about the person who might be the next President.  How much do you know about past Presidents?

Reading about leaders is also highly recommended to develop leadership skills.  Leaders face challenges and set backs.  Reading about successful leaders can help us in similar situations.

Past President Biographies:

1. Washington: A life – Ron Chernow

President Biography - WashingtonPresident Biographies
Think you know all there is to know about America’s first president? Chernow’s biography of Washington goes beyond the formal portrait of President Washington, and introduces us to George Washington, the man. From this book, you will read about accounts that demonstrated all the qualities that made Washington a great leader, plus the other facets of his personality that are rarely found in other biographies. The author also spared no words at pointing out the president’s faults. It is a refreshing biography that brings to light the more human sides of America’s founding father in great detail – flaws and all.

2. John Adams – David McCullough

President Biography - AdamsPresident Biographies
John Adams was the 1st Vice President, and 2nd US President, succeeding George Washington in 1797. Relying mostly on correspondences through letters written between Adams and his wife Abigail, McCullough pieced together a vivid and compelling picture of American’s second president. This Pulitzer-winning biography skips the line-by-line history of America’s founding and focuses on Adams’s role in the journey. You will be quite delighted to read about Adams’s relationship with his wife and how she impacted his success.

3. Truman – David McCullough

President Biography - TrumanPresident Biographies
Truman was the 33rd President in office from 1945 to 1953. At a length of approximately 1000 pages, this is a big book. Fortunately, McCullough is a skilled biographer capable of making the life story of Harry S. Truman read like a novel. Filled with fascinating insights, great details and factually accurate, you will breeze through the 1000 pages on the life and times of one of America’s greatest presidents.

4. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris

President Biography - RooseveltPresident Biographies
26th President, 1901 – 1909 What makes a biography such an amazing read is when it zooms in on details of the subject’s life that are not already covered by history books. Roosevelt is considered one of the most venerated American presidents of the 20th century, but Morris choose to focus, not on his presidency, but the various aspects of his life – from childhood all the way to his presidential greatness. This is not your run-of-the-mill formal biography and all you can expect from a Pulitzer winning biographer.

5. Theodore Rex – Edmund Morris

President Biography - TheodorePresident Biographies
Unlike his previous book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt which offers a closer look at the president’s life, this follow-up volume covers his prolific presidency. Going beyond what history books already tell us, Morris also covers a great deal about Roosevelt’s relationship with family and contemporaries while in office. The author, while mostly on the president’s side, is also fairly critical of the Roosevelt’s unpopular choices. Both of Morris’s Roosevelt books are definitely recommended reads for anyone with a keen interest in 20th century American history.

Current President Biographies (2016)

6. Dreams from My Father – Barack Obama

President Biography - ObamaPresident Biographies - Obama
An autobiography written prior to his presidency, Dreams from My Father offers candid look into Obama’s backgrounds, personal life and his leadership aspirations. The book is simply filled with Obama’s intelligent, insightful and at times surprising observations of issues that are deeply personal to him. It is interesting to note that this book was written when the president was just out of law school, and was offered a publishing deal after being elected president of Harvard Law Review. Though not a new book, it is still an interesting read on America’s 44th president, in his own words.

7. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama – David Remnick

President Biography - Barack ObamaPresident Biographies - Barack Obama
Remnick’s book could not have been more perfectly times, especially as Obama reaches the end of his time as 44th President of the United States. It is arguably one of the few books written about Obama that goes beyond history and public portrait of the president, with inclusion of interviews with former acquaintances and colleagues of the president. The author also does a fantastic job of taking an unbiased stance. It is an excellent material to look back on the milestones in American civil rights history in past eight years of Obama being in office.

Possible President Biographies (2016)

8. HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton – Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes

President Biography - ClintonPresident Biographies - Clinton
Hilary Clinton may or may not be the next and 45th US president, but she has definitely made her mark as a political figure. There are several books written about Clinton, including her own memoir. This book by Allen and Parnes examine her seven-year tenure as Secretary of State. HRC is more political than personal, and may not be for everyone. However, if you have an interest in taking a closer look at Clinton’s role in the Obama administration, the book would be an interesting read.

9. The Truth About Trump – Michael D’Antonio

President Biography - TrumpPresident Biographies - Trump

With Trump’s election campaign roaring along, D’Antonio has updated his bestselling hardcover book  Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success (read our review of this book here) and released it in paperback with a new title.  This Pulitzer prize-winning reporter draws on extensive research and exclusive interviews.  Telling the whole story, from starting out in business, scandals, triumphs, successes and failures,  D’Anontio charts the path that made Trump. The Washington Post describes it as “a brisk and entertaining read”.  

10. The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America – Jonathan Tasini

Possible President Biography - SandersPresident Biographies - Sanders
This is an informative volume for supporters of Sanders who want a deeper understanding of his vision for the country. It compiles his speeches, public addresses and policy proposals – mostly in his own words – with commentary from the author. The chapters are short and easy to read, which makes it an ideal guide to Sanders as he makes his bid for the White House in 2016.

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club part 2

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club part 2

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO wanted to read an important book every two weeks last year.    It was his new years resolution.  Half way through, WTR reviewed the books to date on Mark Zuckerberg’s book club list for 2015.

Zuckerberg’s book club list was intended to emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies.  Something he felt important for everyone.  Something he felt could connect people, through discussion.

Its way past time we complete this list and help you broaden your reading. You can read about the first eleven books here.

Mark Zuckerberg Book Club – part 2

1. Why Nations Fail – Daren Acemoglu & James Robinson

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
#1 Best Seller in Comparative Politics
Understanding poverty and the factors that contribute to nations being rich or poor may seem a little over our heads. Why Nations Fail tries to pin down political, social and economic factors that are important in understanding the big WHY. Based on over fifteen years of research this really is a comprehensive study on what makes sister countries like South and North Korea so different. There are numerous examples stretching the globe and the book is written for the everyday reader. All in all, this book aims to give us an understanding of some globally challenging issues but in an easy to understand way.

2.The Rational Optimist – Matt Ridley

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
With climate change, overpopulation and bad politics, there seems to be nothing to look forward to in the future. Matt Ridley tries to show us that humans have in fact achieved a lot and that there is only one real way of going forward and that is to trade and trust one another. The book is a look into the economic future of the world and where we are headed as a civilization. The Rational Optimist aims to give us a silver lining to all the gloom and doom that we hear of daily. This is Ridley’s third best seller and he continues to charm with his wit and his economic thought is unparalleled.

3. Portfolios of the Poor – Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford & Orlanda Ruthven

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
It is pretty difficult (for most of us) to imagine living on $2 a day. How do you feed your family? educate your kids? save for a pension? Portfolios of the Poor gives us an insight into how the poorest live each day and how billions struggle to do some of the stuff we take for granted. The authors conducted interviews with some of the poorest people around the globe and have tried their best to bring together their stories and struggles in a ‘tell all book’. It is considered a pivotal text in the dialogue on poverty and understanding what it really means to be poor in a world that applauds the wealthy.

4. World Order – Henry Kissinger

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
Hendry Kissinger has an advisor to some of America’s most powerful people for many years. In his World Order, he brings together all of his experience in foreign policy, diplomacy, and thinking in order to look at what it really means to have world order. Can we ever get to ‘ world peace’ with all the conflicts that exist? This book tries to give us insight into the inner working of the world and why getting all our ducks in a row is not as simple as beauty pageants would have us think. Word Order is a valuable study and many are saying that this book ( published 2014) is Kissinger’s best book to date.

5. The Varieties Of Religious Experience: A Study In Human Nature – William James

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
Religion vs Science is and will continue to be a topic of universal debate. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, we find 20 different lectures concerning religion. All these lectures were given between 1901 and 1902 at the university of Edinburgh. This collection of lectures is still widely read and is considered a staple in many university courses today. The discussions try and pinpoint religion’s hold on people, how we individually experience religion and what it means to be religious in a world that is evolving in thought. Considered as one of those classic MUST READS, it is a text that defies time and holds essential arguments.

6. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari

Mark Zuckerberg Book ClubMark Zuckerberg Book Club
#1 Best Seller in Anthropology
What does it mean to be a human? Can we pin down that ONE factor? Well, we may not be able to but Yuval Noah Harari does his best. Sapiens tries to look at human evolution and what humans have achieved and how. Being a prolific historian, Harari is able to weave his knowledge of history with biology in order to give us an overview of how our species won the battle and survived. The book is a best seller and people have been charmed by the way in which the touchy topic of evolution is presented in an easy to read and well-researched way. Harari is an author to watch and this book should be read by both academics and the everyday curious global citizen.

What Is ISIS? – 3 Must Read Guides About ISIS

What Is ISIS? – 3 Must Read Guides About ISIS

What Is ISIS?

The self proclaimed Islamic State (IS),otherwise know as ISIS (Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) have been wreaking havoc in the middle east for a number of years but they have been getting much more attention in 2014 due to their rapid expansion across Iraq and Syria. They are now in control of vast sections of northern Iraq and eastern Syria. They have seized sophisticated weaponry and hundreds of millions of dollars in their rampage across Iraq, making them the richest terrorist organization in the world.

In our search to find out more about ISIS, we set out to find the best books to explain exactly who and what is ISIS.

What is ISIS? 3 Must Read Books ABout ISIS

1. Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore – Jay Sekulow and Jordan Sekulow

What Is ISIS

Jay Sekulow is an influencial attorney who has been following the rise of ISIS closely. This book is a riveting narrative by qualified experts. This is the definitive work on the subject of ISIS and the threat it poses to civilized society.

2. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria: The History of ISIS/ISIL – Charles River Editors

What Is ISIS

This book is a fast read about the rise of ISIS and exactly who they are. It will give you a good basic understanding of the terrorist group.

3. Radical Islam In The House: The Plan to Take America for the Global Islamic State – Michael S. Coffman Ph.D.

What Is ISIS

“The American mediocre mind is no match to 14 centuries of Islamic deception … “.

This quote from the author illustrates the theme of this introduction into Islam’s design on infiltrating the United States. Written in 2013, it gives an interesting explanation for the motives behind the radical elements of the so called Islamic State leaders.

For more books on Politics, check our Politics and Social Science section. What is isis?

Conspiracy Theory Book List: 6 Credible Conspiracy Theory Books Everyone Should Read

Conspiracy Theory Book List: 6 Credible Conspiracy Theory Books Everyone Should Read

Conspiracy Theory Book List

The reason we call certain theories about events that have happened a conspiracy is because  there is no official backing even though there may be a lot of credible evidence to support it. This makes it float in a purgatory of knowledge we call, conspiracies. There are conspiracy theories about hundreds of single events and entire movements. A conspiracy theory could be a plot by a government to take down another covertly, or it could be a UFO flying over a barn in Ohio. The books in this list are focused on the theories with the most evidence backing their claims; evidence from leading scientists and expert eye witnesses.

Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more you can increase your awareness of the world around you. There books are essential reading for everyone.

6 Credible Conspiracy Theory Books Everyone Should Read

1. 9/11: The Big Lie  Thierry Meyssan

Conspiracy Theory Book

Thierry Meyssan’s 11 Septembre: L’Effroyable Imposture went on France’s bestseller list in its second week and became the highest-grossing book in a single week in Europe ever.
He states in the Introduction to this 2002 book, “this official version does not stand up to critical analysis. We will demonstrate that it is nothing more than a cover-up. In some instances… our questions remain for the moment unanswered, but this is no reason to go on believing the lies put forward by officials.”

2. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth – John Allegro

Conspiracy Theory Book

Was Jesus of Nazareth a real historical person or a fictional character in a religious legend? What do the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal about the origins of Christianity? To call an entire religion a conspiracy theory is a big deal, but the revelations from the dead sea scrolls reveal a different story to the one put forward in the Bible.

3. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein

Conspiracy Theory Book

Klein’s book is a solid and invaluable study of “economic shock therapy” (sudden privatization removal of all trade barriers, accompanied by drastic reductions in taxes and social spending) over the past three decades. She concludes that economic shock therapy cannot be implemented without a preceding crisis eg. hyperinflation, weather disasters (eg. Katrina or the 2004 tsunami in South Asia), war (eg. 9/11, Iraq War II), or major political upset (eg. the Soviet Union after Gorbachev’s resignation), and requires suppression of dissent to succeed.

4. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade – Alfred W. McCoy

Conspiracy Theory Book

This is really the seminal work on the subject, it has incredible research over many years, but grounded in truly remarkable research in the beginning. It is disheartening when one realizes the same is happening in Afghanistan with opium.

5. Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America – Russ Baker

Conspiracy Theory Book

Russ Baker has done a marvelous job of tracking the connections. The connections – CIA – big money – oil money – with the Bushes sitting on one big fat strand of the web. He leaves little doubt that Bush the Elder was CIA all the way, from the fifties on. He goes far to unraveling the mystery of Little Bush’s business failures, and how he could move from failure to failure and continue to profit.

6. The Creature From Jekyll Island – G. Edward Griffin

Conspiracy Theory Book

This should open the eyes of anyone who believes the government can, or even has any interest in the economic well being of ordinary people. It makes clear how the secretly formed cabal between the federal government, the nation’s major banks, and the stealthy formed and secretive Federal Reserve continuously defraud American citizens.

5 of the Best Educational Books of 2014

5 of the Best Educational Books of 2014

Educational Books

For you non-fiction lovers who like to be tought directly as apposed to a lesson alluded to via a fictional story, this list is for you. With the latest and greatest educational books of 2014, ranked by sales and customer reviews, you will be updated with all you need to know about the current advancements in science, psychology and medicine.

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

The basis thesis of the book is simple. In judging the world around us, we use two mental systems: Fast and Slow. The Fast system 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 is rational, conscious and slow. They work together to provide us a view of the world around us.

2. How Children Succeed – Paul Tough

How Children Succeed - Paul Tough

In this book, Paul Tough sets out to identify the specific characteristics of successful children, regardless of their opportunities of backgrounds.

3. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch

A beloved professor sums up a lifetime of scholarship and teaching as he is heading out the door for the last time. The professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University was just 46, and this really was his last lecture — he was dying, and this book outlines his last lecture.

4. Mastery – Robert Greene

Mastery - Robert Greene

Mastery is a book that will stand the test of time. Robert Greene writes to instruct others how to achieve mastery in any field, told through a series of mini-biographies, life lessons, timeless quotes, and a modern understanding of psychology and human nature.

5. The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life Charles Murray

The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life - Charles Murray

In his book, Charles Murray explains, at senior levels of an organization there are curmudgeons everywhere, judging your every move. Yet it is their good opinion you need to win if you hope to get ahead.

Humanism: 5 Essential Humanism Books

Humanism: 5 Essential Humanism Books

What is Humanism?

Humanism is defined as:

“a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.”

Humanists are people who believe in the scientific method as a way of understanding the universe, and attach little significance to and theory or idea that is not based on scientific research. Reason, logic and morality are important to humanists, and to understand humanism in full, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 books on this area of philosophical thought.

5 Essential Humanism Books

1. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself –David McRaney

Humanism

This book is one that you will breeze through quickly, and after nearly every page, want to tell every single person you know what you have learned. It fully explains how the tenants of psychology apply to your life, even though you never realize it. Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart, and this book will tell you why.

2. Essays In Humanism Albert Einstein

Humanism

Albert Einstein was undoubtedly the most famous and revolutionary scientist of the 20th Century. But he also had wide-ranging beliefs about politics and social affairs. This book is a collection of 43 essays and talks that were written for specific occasions. They cover a variety of humanistic topics that interested him and in several cases provide useful lessons for our own time.

Humanism

This is a deep, thoughtful book for people who are interested in knowing the case against religion. In the second part of his book he presents an argument for Humanism, of which Grayling has a great deal to say.

“Humanism”, he says, “is the concern to draw the best from, and make the best of, human life in the span of the human lifetime, in the real world, and in sensible accord with the facts of humanity as these are shaped and constrained by the world. This entails that humanism rejects religious claims about the source of morality and value.”

4. What Is Secular Humanism? Paul Kurtz

Humanism

There are few American philosophers better qualified to write on secular humanism than Paul Kurtz, and his What Is Secular Humanism? This small book, which is actually the text of an article Kurtz wrote for the New Encyclopedia of Unbelief, is a very good primer on the conceptual structure of secular humanism. Perhaps because he’s a philosopher, Kurtz doesn’t merely offer assertions and descriptions. Instead, he seeks to provide arguments that defend humanism’s basic conclusions.

5. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark – Carl Sagan

Humanism

Demons, UFO’s, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, fairies and the like are all investigated in this incredible non-fiction book by the late Carl Sagan. Pseudoscience, and those who perpetuate it, find their place in today’s society among those who want to believe in the impossible. However, science today has not been able to prove that such things exist.

As the book states, “the siren song of unreason is not just a cultural wrong but a dangerous plunge into darkness that threatens our most basic freedoms.”

This book challenges the reader to critically scrutinize information professed by supposed experts, and be more of a skeptic. By using the scientific method combined with a little bit of logic and common sense, one should find that it is much more difficult to be mentally taken advantage of by pseudoscience “experts.”

For more information about Humanism, check out some of the links below:

The British Humanis Association

American Humanist Association

10 Non Fiction Books To Improve Your Reality and Make You Smarter

10 Non Fiction Books To Improve Your Reality and Make You Smarter

The non fiction books here are a mix of different genres, but what they all have in common is that they are thought provoking, reality changing, motivating, and inspiring. These non fiction books are in this list because they are filled with knowledge that everyone should know.

Here are: 10 Non Fiction Books To Improve Your Reality and Make You Smarter

1. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man John Perkins

Non Fiction Books

It is often the personal stories that tell the bigger truths. As with Barbara Ehrenreich‘s intensely personal Nickel and Dimed, Perkins’ story illuminates a larger picture in a way that more scholarly treatises cannot match. I value the perspective I get from Noam Chomsky and Chalmers Johnson and many others who have written about our modern empire. None of these works, though, explains it from the ground up. Perkins does that.

2. Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free Ellen Hodgson Brown

Non Fiction Books

This book is just fantastic. It’s worth reading for the history of the monetary system alone. Money itself is the sublime exemplar of this fact. This odd measure of value. It is so ubiquitous in our culture, so fundamental to how we all live, yet we rarely sit and contemplate what it really “is.” Where it comes from, what it does, and who (in the final analysis) really controls it. Most of us spend most of our waking hours chasing it, without really understanding what it really is we are doing.

Ellen Brown has given us all an opportunity to change that

3. The God Delusion Richard Dawkins

Non Fiction Books

The antireligion wars started by Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris will heat up even more with this salvo from celebrated Oxford biologist Dawkins. For a scientist who criticizes religion for its intolerance, Dawkins has written a surprisingly intolerant book, full of scorn for religion and those who believe.

4. Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both – Laura Sessions Stepp

Non Fiction Books

From the front lines of today’s sexual battlefield comes an eye-opening examination of the hookup culture, seen through the personal experiences of the teenage girls and young women who live it-and who are left unprepared for its consequences. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author presents a disturbing and enlightening indictment of the hookup culture, the social forces that contribute to it, and what can be done to change it.

5. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell 

Non Fiction Books

This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in some time. The book centers on the concept of how fast we really do make judgments, called “thin slicing”, and how deeper analysis can sometimes provide less information than more. It is all about cognitive speed.

6. The 4-Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferriss

Non Fiction Books

This book is a well-written and humorous account of how the author, Tim Ferris, completely disregarded how we have been told to live. Tim breaks the “conventional” mold of leaving his crappy 9-5 job, playing to his strengths, and being resourceful enough to make an amazing life for himself…on his own terms.

7. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond

Non Fiction Books

In one compelling volume, the famous biologist Jared Diamond tackles the most important question of global history: Why did Europeans come to dominate the New World? A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history.

8. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media Edward S. Herman, Noam Chomsky

Non Fiction Books

Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s 1988 analysis of press censorship in America, is an insightful look at the ways public opinion and choices can be molded by dominating interests in a free society. Its value lies in the model Herman and Chomsky develop and test to account for this censorship; while they limit their investigation to a few specific cases — three 1980s Central American elections, the alleged 1981 KGB-Bulgarian plot to kill the Pope, and the Indochina Wars — their model is testable and can be applied and modified to a variety of events.

9. On Politics: A History of Political Thought: From Herodotus to the Present – Alan Ryan

Non Fiction Books

The book presents the thoughts and arguments of the best Western thinkers of the past 2,500 years. The author first sets each thinker in their historical context, then goes into their major thoughts and conclusions. This is a superb book, engaging and beautifully written. A delight.

10. The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth M. Scott Peck 

Non Fiction Books

The book opens with the words “Life is difficult.” Once you accept that, it becomes a lot easier!
Peck’s insights into spirituality (not to be confused with religion) had a far more profound, immediate and direct effect on my adult spirituality than did my strict religious upbringing and my entire education at private religious schools (without disparaging the lessons of my childhood rearing).

The Best Books: 14 Best Books For Understanding The World, Your Brain, and Zen Philosophy

The Best Books: 14 Best Books For Understanding The World, Your Brain, and Zen Philosophy

Knowledge is power and to read books from a different variety will inevitably expand your understanding of the world around you. The books below have been chosen because they are the leaders in their genre and they are written by qualified professionals in their field. The best books for understanding the world, your brain and zen philosophy are below:

The Best Books series continues and this post is all about understanding the modern world, how to make better decisions and control your emotions.

Here are the Top 14 Best Books:

1. The Lonely Crowd – David Riesman

Best Books

This is the best sociology book ever and the key argument is that fitting into a large group is a relatively new phenomenon and it has changed the way human beings interact.

2. The Power Elite – C. Wright Mills

Best Books

The first book to dive deep into the privileged class of American corporations and politics. Mills makes an overwhelming case that there was a caste system running the US and the vestiges still remain. The important point is that its changing and understanding how it works is very interesting.

3. The American Myth of Success – Richard Weiss

Best Books

The evolution of American culture as seen through self help books. Weiss starts around the Civil War and goes up to the 1050s. What we read reflected who we were and where we are going.

4. The Managed Heart – Arlie Russell Hochschild

Best Books

Hochschild was given significant access to stewardesses working at Delta Airlines in the 1960s. She chronicles the deadening pain they felt as they were forced to bring cheerfulness and emotion to work each day. This was a breakthrough on the study of human emotions.

5. Stone Age Economics – Marshall Sahlins

Best Books

Despite the clever title, this book is actually about how primitive cultures worked. One key takeaway is that hunter-gatherers were the idle rich. They worked about three hours a day and spent the rest of the day resting.

6. Life Inc – Douglas Rushkoff

Best Books

Doug is at the cutting edge of recognizing the collision between corporate values and human values. Most of the book is fairly pessimistic, and it argues that money has pushed people apart from each other. His point is that barter and community exchange do more for commerce.

7. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism – Max Weber

Best Books

Largely misunderstood, this book is considered a giant achievement in sociology. Weber tries to understand the relationship between religious and commercial values, particularly as they led to the success of the United States.

8. Weapons of Mass Instruction – John Taylor Gatto

Best Books

John Taylor Gatto has seen the worst that schools can do. He understands the history and that it is a victim of bureaucracy. It would be beneficial if every school board member, administrator, teacher, and parent could read a ten-page excerpt from this book.

9. Honest Signals – Alex Pentland

Best Books

Pentland is a professor at MIT, and this is ostensibly a book about some amazing technology he’s putting together that measures the interactions people have all day. This is about the incredible power of nonverbal communication and tribal hierarchies in the way we interact.

10. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Best Books

Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless.

11. Don’t Bite the Hook – Pema Chodron

Best Books

Pema, a Buddhist nun who converted later in life from American roots, is a great teacher. She is able to simply and clearly connect with listeners and readers about a few powerful insights. In this book she talks about shenpa, the cycle of anxiety we buy into whenever confronted with a stressful situation.

12. Awakening the Buddha Within – Lama Surya Das

Best Books

There are countless books for Westeners in search of the simple insights of Buddhism. This book is quite detailed and serious.

13. Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity – High Macleod

Best Books

There are a million books about creativity. There are very few books that challenge the resistance so directly and effectively. This book eliminates the excuses that have been holding you back from being creative.

14. Presentation Zen – Garr Reynolds

Best Books

A collection of effective tactics that are available to anyone who has made the choice to be more productive.

10 Easy To Read Books That Make You Smarter

10 Easy To Read Books That Make You Smarter

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.