A Little History to Improve Your Brain

A Little History to Improve Your Brain

A little history on a topic is all you need to give you a broad idea of what happened. You dont always need to read about something in depth. WhyToRead believes a broad knowledge base is a great help to a great brain.

The series A Little History books do just that.  Give you a little history summary on a wide range of topics. Perfect.

1. A Little History of the World – E.H. Gombrich

A Little History of the World
A Little History of the World, written by Gombrich who has a doctorate in history, is focused on the human experience and not on the little events that a young mind might forget. From the Stone Age until the World War Two, he presents how humanity has changed and developed.

This book shows a simplified history and it is full of charm and humor, so it is not a book that only presents the dates, but is focused on the facts that changed history. In only 40 chapters, the author shows us what humanity has achieved and where it stalled. This is a great book to read if you want a little history to know how the world became as we know it today.

Read a bit more in depth with the general world history books.

2. A Little History of Philosophy – Nigel Warburton

A Little History of Philosophy
Nigel Warburton makes philosophy accessible to everyone with A Little History of Philosophy. He talks about all the major philosophers and their take on the world, from the metaphysics of Socrates to the realist Peter Singer. The author makes note of all the major philosophical currents and figures.

Warburton doesn’t write a history of philosophy with dates and a sterile presentation of the major trends. No, he relates little stories about the philosophers that sustain their thesis, giving them a little bit of life. This is a great book for everyone interested in philosophy and how the ideas changed in time.

Read more easy Philosophy books.

3. A Little History of the United States – James West Davidson

A Little History of the United States
James West Davidson takes to a journey of struggle and success of a country in A Little History of United States. He begins with the pre-Columbus era and walks us through all the major figures that dominated US history along with the struggles the society had at different times, until the current ones.

This is a fast paced book about the development of small communities, the struggle for freedom and equality and the threats the country had to face and overcome in order to become a world power. A Little History of the United States follows the social and political struggle that come from different ages.

Read more books about modern history.

4. A Little History of Economics – Niall Kishtainy

A Little History of Economics
Economics is a subject with difficult to understand words and concepts when is taught in schools. But A Little History of Economics is fortunately different. The author presents economics as the world progresses with fun and relate-able stories that will help you understand the concepts.

He also talks about the big changes that different economics figures brought to the world. The book covers subjects from barter to world economics while teaching us those hard to gasp concepts that make the world run. The light and humorous tone makes this little history book an enjoyable read.

5. A Little History of Literature – John Sutherland

A Little History of Literature
A Little History of Literature is a course taught by a chatty, funny and colloquial literature professor, or this is how we felt reading this book. John Sutherland talks about the importance of literature, the influences it has had, and how it reflects society. He also reviews the major currents from myths to contemporary fiction and the industry that literature sustains.

A Little History of Literature is the perfect book for everyone looking for a next educational read, for literature lovers and all history buffs. It is full of little tidbits about authors and their stories. The take on literature as a way of life makes this book an amazing read beyond its little history book scope.

6. A Little History of Science – William F. Bynum

A Little History of Science
A Little History of Science is, as you would expect from this series, a book about important inventions and how they changed the world. The book is written in a colloquial style and focuses on facts rather than heavy technical terms and dull dates. The author makes note of the major influences in the science community and how their ideas changed the way people looked at the world we live in. The medical field is vastly developed and all its paradigms are discussed.

William Bynum writes a compelling page turner book about the biggest world changing subject: science. The light tone makes this book easy to read.

For more great reading about science try this list.

7. A Little History of Religion – Richard Holloway

A Little History of Religion
Like all the books in this Little History series, the title describes what this book is about – it is about history of religion. It is written by a former bishop of the Anglican Church in Scotland. A man who stopped believed in God and became popular broadcaster and writer.

In A Little History of Religion Holloway paints a linear history of world’s religions. He writes about its growth and in some cases decline. At the same time he tries to answer why it is in human nature to seek religion and where the religion comes from. Why is religion so often associated with violence and intolerance. This is very interesting book that will make reader think. It is an easy read (being a little history book) so it can be read by anyone who is interested in an overview on the history of religion.

5 Most Reviewed Philosophy Books 2015

5 Most Reviewed Philosophy Books 2015

Books that get reviewed a lot have either engaged or provoked the reader.  We want to read these books to see what the fuss is about.  This list ranges from cult-like books to an inspirational classic.

So put these on your 2016 philosophy book list today!  (You do keep lists of books to read dont you?  By genre? Or we letting our OCD out too much here).

5 Most Reviewed Philosophy Books 2015

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – Marie Kondo

Most Reviewed Philosophy BooksMost Reviewed Philosophy Books

If you have a lot of clutter to organize, Kondo’s book offers a unique out-of-the-box philosophy to clearing the mess. The underlying concept is to love and care for your belongings as if they are “real”. This will make them last longer and you will feel better taking good care of the things you use every day. While the idea of anthropomorphizing your possessions may seem strange initially, just approach the idea with an open mind and you will have clutter under control in no time. Rapidly reaching cult status, this book not only teaches you how to organize clutter, but also cultivate habits that promote neatness.

2. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Most Reviewed Philosophy BooksMost Reviewed Philosophy Books

What influences our judgment and decision making? Kahneman presents a breakthrough approach to understanding the intricate workings of the human mind by introducing two mental systems. The first system is quick to work, making snap decisions based on emotions and past experiences, while the second system involves taking time to consider facts. Both ways of thinking have their pros and cons. For those with a general interest in philosophy, Kahneman’s book is a fascinating look at what makes us decide to do the things we do.

3.Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig

Most Reviewed Philosophy BooksMost Reviewed Philosophy Books

Once in a while, there comes a book that is in a league of its own and Pirsig’s book is one such work. Original, engaging and thought-provoking, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is Pirsig’s attempt to create practical philosophy by drawing on actual experience from a motorcycle road trip. If you are new to philosophy books, this one may just prompt your interest in the subject.

4. As a Man Thinketh – James Allen

Most Reviewed Philosophy BooksMost Reviewed Philosophy Books

What you achieve is the result of your own thought – that is the simple unifying message in this excellent compilation of essays by Allen on succeeding in life. Allen basically highlights what is commonly known, yet rarely acknowledged or practiced; that we are all responsible for creating our own lot in life with our thoughts, decisions and actions. This highly inspirational and classic philosophy book is worth reading as a reminder of our own power to change and improve any area of our life.

5. Anthem – Ayn Rand

Most Reviewed Philosophy BooksMost Reviewed Philosophy Books

Set in a dystopian world where each human being is reduced to numbers, devoid of individuality or freedom to make decisions, Rand’s novel tackles the theme of individual freedom. Like her other works, Anthem introduces Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, in this case, as it pertains to the individual. The novel is short and easy to read, but will have you thinking for hours on end after turning the last page.

Top 10 Modern Philosophy Books of 2015

Top 10 Modern Philosophy Books of 2015

This list of top 10 selling modern philosophy books may seem a little random at times.

Its been said you dont read philosophy books, you delve into them to help you answer questions about life, reality, knowledge, values, reason and more. So this varied list of the top selling modern philosophy books in 2015 simply reflects our collective curiosity about all aspects of life from sexuality to architecture.

Modern Philosophy covers roughly, 17th to 20th century thinkers, originating in Western Europe.  It followed the  well know renaissance period, and in turn, is followed by post modernity philosophy.  Key figures in modern philosophy typically fall into one of two groups – the “rationalists” arguing all knowledge begins from innate ideas, and included many famous people such as Descartes – famous for his philosophy quote “I think, therefore I am”, and Leibniz.  The “empiricists” who argued knowledge begins with sensory experience, such as John Locke and David Hume, are perhaps lesser known. Later modern philosophers include Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Delve into this top selling list and reap the benefits of reading widely to improve your thinking skills.

1. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety – Alan Watts

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books
As humans, we crave some sort of psychological security – whether we are aware of it or not. Watts examines our efforts to find the needed answers to quell our spiritual and intellectual uncertainties, and why it is important to live in the present moment. This book will challenge your habitual ways of thinking and perceptions, providing food for thought in more than a few ways. What if there really is no such thing as certainty or stability, but only a present moment that infinitely unfolds?

2. On Inequality – Harry Frankfurt

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

Is equal distribution of wealth and income the answer we need to irradicate economic inequality? Not really, according to Frankfurt. In this book, he hypothesizes that we are morally obligated to eliminate poverty, rather than concern over egalitarian principles. In the fight against poverty, Frankfurt argues that it is more important for people to have sufficient of what they need for a decent quality of life. Unlike other books that are more theoretical, On Inequality cuts to the chase of the age-old argument regarding the injustices surrounding income disparity. The author even proposes some original solutions that could create a more balance society.

3. The History of Sexuality – Michel Foucault

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

Think you know all there is to know about sex? You may not be so sure after reading Foucault’s three-volume study of sexuality in the western world. The French historian and philosopher presents a fascinating study into how historical trends have molded our contemporary interpretation of sexuality. This is a work that is not to be missed by anyone interested in gender studies, and it may even compel you to confront deeply held personal assumptions about gender and sexuality.

4. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison – Michael Foucault

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

The prison system exists so that wrongdoers can be punished by the law; or at least that’s the simple principle. In this enlightening book, Foucault makes a compelling argument that disciplinary measures are not exclusive to prisons, but have been pervasive in our daily lives. He builds a strong case by tracing the history of penal systems, from 17th century corporal punishment to modern juvenile delinquent rehabilitation. After reading this book, you will not look at school detentions and surveillance cameras the same way again.

5. Bruce Lee Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

Bruce Lee was a multifaceted man – martial artist, actor, and thinker – whose life was cut short by tragedy. Striking Thoughts is a comprehensive compilation of Lee’s wisdom that made him such a success. This easy-to-read book covers 72 topics and 825 aphorisms, ranging from spirituality and physical training to family life and filmmaking, all of which the great master was known to live by. If you are looking for a daily dose of inspiration and philosophy from an extraordinary mind, this book is the way to go.

6. The Poetics of Space – Gaston Bachelard

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

What makes a house a home? According to French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, our memories and thoughts have an impression on the physical space in which we live, giving it a unique character of its own. Applying the principles of phenomenology to architecture, the author gives an in-depth examination of details in houses and the metaphors they serve. His observations are nicely balanced out with rational explanations. Some readers may argue that the author’s observations and conclusions are entirely subjective, since the meaning of features in houses differs with each individual’s perception. Nonetheless, this book is an interesting read, especially for architecture students and home decoration enthusiasts.

7. Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One – Friedrich Nietzsche

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

Considered by many to be Nietzsche’s most influential work, this philosophical novel tells the tale of ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra emerging from his solitude to tell the world that God is dead. The narrative is simple, but filled with metaphors that present readers with the challenge to decipher its deeper meaning. It is not the easiest philosophy book to read, but it is worth reading. It is one of those books that will leave you with ideas to think about for hours after you put it down.

8. The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Seventh Edition – Robert L. Heilbroner

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

What makes the modern economy so different from that of the olden times? This book wonderfully traces and summarizes how economic thoughts have evolved over the last 200 years. Heilbroner looks into the schools of thought from various thinkers throughout history. He also touches on the lives of economic philosophers to see if there is a link between their life experiences and their writings. The Worldly Philosophers draws on history to help us understand our own times, making it an enlightening read.

9. The Human Condition – Hannah Arendt

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

Although it was first published in 1858, the issues presented in The Human Condition have become much more relevant now than before. Arendt takes readers on a crash course of human and philosophical history, demonstrating how the past has a hand in shaping our modern way of life and the way we see ourselves. Original, thought-provoking and broad in its scope, this book is a masterpiece way ahead of its time that delves into the unending question of what it means to be human.

10. Phenomenology of Spirit – GWF Hegel

10 Top selling Modern Philosophy books

If you are unfamiliar with metaphysical concepts, do not expect to understand this book the first time you read it. Hegel’s basic argument is that human existence is more than the physical form, and that we will ultimately move towards transcending our primitive animalistic nature, into beings of pure reason. Phenomenology of Spirit is not for the faint-hearted reader; it is 600 pages long, and may require plenty of re-reading, thinking and studying to truly grasp its contents. However, it is one of the most masterful, comprehensive and profound works in Western philosophy.