Best Non-Fiction Books of 2016

Best Non-Fiction Books of 2016

Well written Non-Fiction Books can offer something of both fantasy and fact. A good memoir like Lab Girl will entertain whilst educating you. Grunt will teach you science whilst you laugh.

Reading a few non-fiction books outside our field should be on everyone’s to do list. The best breakthroughs come from cross-subject insights. Learn something in a new field today with our choice of the Best Non-Fiction books of 2016 so far.

1. Lab Girl – Hope Jahren

non-fiction books - Lab Girl
Women in science are still rare, but those that don a lab coat every day are pretty amazing. Lab Girl follows the life and work of Hope Jahren, a scientist with a love of plants. This scientific memoir takes us across America from Jahren’s upbringing in Minnesota to her cross country adventures to find weird and wonderful plants. However, the real focus of this book is Jahren’s friendship with her lab partner. There are touching moments between the two of them, and it ultimately shows how science opened the doors of friendship, adventure and plants. Lab Girl is a best seller and will inspire you to look at nature anew.

2. Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War – Mary Roach

non-fiction books - Grunt
War is science; a tricky science filled with tactics, plans and cockroaches. Grunt is a comical but no less factual book on how scientific testing is used in warfare. There are experiments on wedding gowns, the importance of ducks to the defence force and “why zippers on uniforms are problematic for snipers”. This book is full of the strangest stories and scientific facts you couldn’t find anywhere else. You will never look at the army the same again, and while war is a serious thing, the science behind some of the biggest killing machines is a little crazy at times. Roach is the queen of comedic writing, and you will get a laugh a minute out of this book.

3. Evicted: Poverty and Profit – Matthew Desmond

non-fiction books - Evicted
We all deserve a home but in America, the cost of housing is increasing. Evicted follows the story of eight poor families in Milwaukee and their struggle to have a home and keep their homes. With economic statistics as well as stories of real people this nonfiction book looks at the housing market and what the cost of this “human right” really is. Evicted is a pivotal read reminding us that a good, stable home is a key foundation for achievement.

4. When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

non-fiction books - When Breath Becomes Air
Neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi went from researching cures to fighting his inoperable lung cancer. When Breath Becomes Air is a sad but heart-warming story about what life means and how we can use the time we have to do something. Kalanithi looks at his role as a doctor, as a patient and as a new father. He challenges our concept of what a “good” life is and examines his life and loves. He died while writing this novel and what we are left with is an account of one man’s life and hope for the future and medicine.

5. Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel – Tom Wainright

non-fiction books - Narconomics
Drug cartels are a business and just like any big corporation they have economic plans and strategies and dirty dealings. Wainright also looks at how McDonald’s, Apple and other big businesses inspired the working of the cartels and how these business models are not that different. He shares a first-hand experience of what it takes to join the big boys and the economics behind it all. A great read for anyone interested in economics or the underground.

6. Kill ’em and Leave – James McBride

non-fiction books - Kill 'em and Leave
James Brown is synonymous with soul music and his bigger than life personality. But, as with every story, there is always more. Kill ‘em and Leave is the real story of James Brown. It chronicles his music career, his family life as well as some lesser known stories about this very complicated and misunderstood man. The book tries to piece together the life of story of Brown while giving us a glimpse into the world he lived in. McBride provides a well written and researched book that shows us why Brown earned himself the nickname “The Godfather of Soul” and how he inspired a whole genre of music.

7. Girls and Sex – Peggy Orenstein

non-fiction books - Girls and Sex
With Tinder, party drugs and issues of consent, the world that girls are maturing in is different from their parents. Girls and Sex examine how girls have sex, engage with their partners and what sex means to modern girls. Peggy Orenstein interviewed over seventy young women from high school age to college to get a first-hand experience of how they navigate and engage sex. There are important issues around rape, pregnancy, virginity and online dating. This book is a must-read for parents as well as anyone interested in the workings of the new ‘hook-up culture’.

8. The Gene– Siddhartha Mukherjee

non-fiction books - The Gene
Genetics is the future, yet we understand so little of it. Siddhartha Mukherjee gives us a very personal account of genetics in his family and how mental illness is still misunderstood. By looking back at the history of genetics and the scientist who pioneered the research Mukherjee tries to understand his family and in turn we learn things about our own. Are sexuality, sickness and weight affected by genetics? The Gene answers some of these questions and lets us look into the future. This bestselling novel is charming in the way that it combines science with heartfelt emotions.

9. Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution – Nathaniel Philbrick

non-fiction books - Valiant Ambition
The story of the Revolutionary War is well documented, but Valiant Ambition is not just a history book. It is about comradery and the relationship between George Washington and his commander Benedict Arnold. Written with two big personalities at the forefront it becomes clear that while the British were their enemy, there was already one within. Arnold, one of the most infamous names in America, is given a voice from beyond the grave as we learn about his motivation.This is a great read for anyone interested in riveting history or for anyone who likes a book full of better than fictional characters.

5 Science Books For General Interest

5 Science Books For General Interest

You may not have thought about reading science books since you have left school, yet we actually make countless science-based choices each day.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are increasingly recognized as critical skills for our country. STEM is the foundation of an innovative culture and can be found at the core of significant political decisions. It is also also important to our individual economic well-being and quality of life. In managing our healthy and well being, an understanding of science plays a key role. Science can also be found in history, geography, philosophy, physical education, the arts and other subject areas. Understanding time periods in history and societies, for example, involves learning about scientific innovations and technology used during those periods.

We are fortunate today that there are many ‘popular’ science books available on almost any subject. From the string theory to neuroscience, whales to forensics there is a science book to interest everyone.

Try these 5 Science Books for interest sake.

1. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life – Emily Nagoski PhD

Science BooksScience Books
Nagoski’s book is filled with solid scientific research on female sexuality, and presented in a lighthearted tone that it is accessible by even the most prudish. The book sheds light on how deeply ingrained cultural and gender stereotypes have greatly misinformed people when it comes to women and sex. This is an educational must-read for women (and men) to better understand their bodies and sex drives.

2. Forensics – Val McDermid

Science BooksScience Books
If you love mysteries and crime fiction, you will enjoy reading about the actual processes that inspired fiction writers. Having done extensive research for her novels, McDermid has become an almost expert in forensics. In this non-fiction volume, she details some of the odd and fascinating facts about the science of identifying the dead, and how it is used to solve crimes in the real world. You will come to realize that fiction is not so far from fact as you might think.

3. Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld the Truth beyond Blackfish – John Hargrove & Howard Chua-Eoan

Science BooksScience Books
Part factual exposition, part personal observations from his job at SeaWorld, Hargrove’s book will open your eyes to many ugly truths about the treatment of animals in captive. The author reveals the emotional roller coaster that those who have experienced working closely with animals go through.  From the initial joy of getting to work with animals to the disillusionment with their jobs. If you are an animal lover, this book will make you cringe at some of the horrifying treatments that animals are subjected to for the sake of profit and amusement.

4. Headstrong: 52 Women who Changed Science and the World – Rahchel Swaby

Science BooksScience Books
If there’s anyone who still doubt women’s place in science (hard to believe of anyone in the mid-2010s), give them a copy of this book to read. Within these pages are profiles of 52 amazing women who made contributions to science throughout history. Some of their stories will leave you in awe, while some will make you feel slightly infuriated at the injustice they faced. If you or a woman you know is aspiring towards a science career, ‘inspirational’ doesn’t even begin to describe Headstrong as an essential reading material.

5. Voices in the Ocean – Susan Casey

Science BooksScience Books
Casey’s book is a personal account of her personal spiritual connection to dolphins, from her experience of swimming with them to discovering how they are mistreated. Scientific information about dolphins is kept to the minimum, with focus given to the author’s individual journey. While a bit less on the science, Voices of the Ocean is still worth reading for those who enjoy human-animal bonding stories.

8 Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

8 Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

Certain areas of science can be too daunting to get into if you have not had much exposure to them in the past.

As many book lovers and lovers of knowledge who frequent WhytoRead.com have asked for some good non-fiction books, we’ve come up with some straightforward science books to read to make you smarter. By reading well researched and well sourced non-fiction books from credible authors, you gain a better understanding of the world around you and this knowledge gives you more power over yourself and your life.

These are the greatest and most straightforward science books to read to make you smarter.

8 Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

1. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

(As featured in 10 Books That Will Broaden Your Life Perspective)

This book manages to explain the context of science in a way that is relevant to the average person, filled with one revelation after another.

2. Cosmos – Carl Sagan

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

As one of the great astronomer-writers of the Twentieth Century, Carl Sagan was extraordinarily communicative with the non-scientific public, able and willing to take the time and trouble to break down the mysteries of the universe into straightforward fragments.

The purpose of this book is to explain what we know about the universe from a cosmological perspective and why we need to know more about it.

3. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

The Selfish Gene is explicitly directed at the layman, and absolutely no knowledge of biology is required to understand it. The colorful metaphors Dawkins uses throughout the book do much to keep the reading engrossing and entertaining.

4. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Richard P. Feynman

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

(As featured in 10 Winners of the Royal Society for Science Books)

Richard Feynman was a physicist, a Nobel prize winner, a participant of the Manhattan project and the founder of quantum mechanics. He is the scientist who breaks the stereotype of the lab-coat physicist who wears thick, taped up glasses.

He is an incredible ability to make complicated scientific knowledge very easy to understand by using anecdotes and simple analogies. This book is a must read and after reading, you’ll be much smarter than when you started without feeling any pain.

5. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory – Brian Greene

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

Brian Greene proves himself to be truly exceptional in at least three ways: by his thorough comprehension of the origins and direction of theoretical physics up through the emergence of superstring theory, by his monumental contributions to that theory in identifying its components and extending its reach, and, thirdly, in explaining this subject in a way that allows the “layman” to gain an appreciation and intuitive understanding of it.

6. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid – Douglas R. Hofstadter

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

(As featured in 8 Books That Will Enrich Your Vocabulary And Train Your Thinking Mind)

This book really teaches you about logical thinking and logical vocabulary in an entertaining way. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid debates, beautifully, the question of consciousness and the possibility of artificial intelligence. It is a book that attempts to discover the true meaning of “self.”

7. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

(As featured in 8 Essential Psychology Books That Everyone Should Read)

The man who mistook his wife for a hat is probably the most interesting clinical psychology books ever written. It is utterly fascinating to know that, as a result of a neurological condition, a man can actually mistake his wife for a hat and not realize it. In reading this book, you come to respect and appreciate the human brain as well as those who are struggling to deal with one of the conditions which Sacks explores.

8. Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Straighforward Science Books To Read That Make You Smarter

In Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, Tyson sees the universe not as a collection of objects, theories, and phenomena, but as a vast stage of actors driven by intricate twists of story line and plot.

Tyson comes across as having an excellent grasp of it all and he conveys his knowledge clearly to the nonspecialist, often doing so with ingratiating humor and wit.

Psychology Books: 8 Essential Psychology Books That Everyone Should Read

Psychology Books: 8 Essential Psychology Books That Everyone Should Read

Psychology Books

A good understanding of the fundamentals of psychology is essential to living a happy and successful life. As an introduction to psychology and neuroscience, we’ve compiled 8 books which are recommended as a primer to all modern psychological research.

These books cover everything from clinical psychology to consumer psychology, and everything in between. The study of the functions of the brain is fascinating and illuminating for anyone interested in why we do what we do.

8 Essential Psychology Books That Everyone Should Read

1. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales – Oliver Sacks

Psychology Books

The man who mistook his wife for a hat is probably the most interesting clinical psychology books ever written. It is utterly fascinating to know that, as a result of a neurological condition, a man can actually mistake his wife for a hat and not realize it. In reading this book, you come to respect and appreciate the human brain as well as those who are struggling to deal with one of the conditions which Sacks explores.

2. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature – Steven Pinker

Psychology Books

This book deals with evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics. Its probably most interesting from a Freudian perspective as it deals deals with many of our unconscious instincts.

3. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely

Psychology Books

A great psychology book which covers unconscious decision-making, behavioral economics, and consumer psychology. A fun read.

4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini

Psychology Books

This is the most popular psychology book covering the science of persuasion. Its popular among business professionals and entrepreneurs.

5. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships – Daniel Goleman

Psychology Books

From the author of Emotional Intelligence, we get his follow up psychology book, Social Intelligence. It covers social neuroscience, mirror neurons and empathy. Its mainly packed with practical content mixed with easy to understand science.

6. Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind – V. S. Ramachandran

Psychology Books

This is an easy to read book with some very helpful illustrations. Ramachandran has written a book that is both valuable to his peers and fascinating to everyone. This is a psychology book which will catch you up on all the major advances in neuroscience in the last 30 years.

7. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science – Norman Doidge M.D.

Psychology Books

This book covers neuro-plasticity which explains how experience shapes our brains. It includes some really remarkable case studies that make you wonder how powerful our brains really are.

8. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy – David D., M.D. Burns

Psychology Books

This book is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of the most prominent evidence-based treatments for psychological disturbances ranging from low self-esteem to schizophrenia.

6 Must Read And Easy To Understand Science Books

6 Must Read And Easy To Understand Science Books

Science Books

Science can be a daunting subject to tackle, and if you’re not someone with a scientific background but you’re interested in the specifics of how the universe functions, the books below are for you.

They are written by leading scientists in their field, who not only the best people in their area of expertise, but they are expert communicators who are able to get the message across to you without too much fluff.

Without further ado, here are:

6 Easy To Understand Science Books For Everyone

1. Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Easy To Understand Science Books

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History, where he serves at its world-famous Hayden Planetarium. In this book, he sets out to explain the popular account of the evolution of the universe: its past, present, and future–from its beginning with a big bang to its ending with a whimper. Its easy to understand and uses a story-line narrative to keep you engaged.

2. A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing – Lawrence M. Krauss

Easy To Understand Science Books

A Universe from Nothing” is the fascinating book about how our universe came from nothing. Using the latest in scientific knowledge, his expertise and the innate ability to explain very complex topics in accessible manner earns this book a place on this list.

3. Cosmos Paperback – Carl Sagan

Easy To Understand Science Books

As one of the great astronomer-writers of the Twentieth Century, Carl Sagan had a great communication style which was easy to understand for the non-scientific public. He sets out to explain the universe from a cosmological perspective and to show us why its important for us to know about it.

4. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory – Brian Greene

Easy To Understand Science Books

If you don’t know anything about string theory, general relativity or quantum mechanics, this book is for you. This book is a phenomenal introduction for anyone who is profoundly interested in the mysterious physics of the universe but lacks the mathematical background to understand the raw data.

5. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Richard P. Feynman

Easy To Understand Science Books
Richard Feynman was not your typical science teacher. He was no ordinary physicist and no ordinary citizen, but instead a rebel who could not be forced to behave like many around him. This introduction to science is indeed a book that anyone interested in science with a touch of good humour MUST read.

6. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Easy To Understand Science Books

No Easy To Understand Science Books list would be complete without this Bill Bryson classic bestseller. The book manages to explain the context of science in a way that is relevant to the average person, filled with one revelation after another.

4 Books That Will Make You A Smart-Arse

4 Books That Will Make You A Smart-Arse

These books will make you see everyday subjects and issues in a whole new light, so you can go on and share them with your friends and become the insufferable smart-arse of the group. You’re welcome.

4 Books That Will Make You A Smart-Arse

1. Should You Judge This Book By Its Cover? – Julian Baggini

books to make you smarter

Another rapid-fire selection of short, stimulating and entertaining capsules of philosophy from the master of the genre. Baggini analyses old truisms, first telling you where they come from, and then deciding whether they are even true or not.

2. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors – Nicholas Wade

books to make you smarter

Nicholas Wade’s articles are a major reason why the science section has become the most popular, nationwide, in the New York Times. Before the dawn takes our understanding of prehistoric humans and uses the human genome to separate fact from guessing.

3. What a Wonderful World: One Man’s Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff – Marcus Chown

books to make you smarter

Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? Does time really exist? How do computers work? How did humans get to dominate the Earth? Why is theresomething rather than nothing? Tackle the big-stuff and learn how to shut down any incoherent debate in seconds, with the knowledge in this book.

4. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking –  Jordan Ellenberg

books to make you smarter

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. Let acclaimed mathematician Ellenburg show you how math touches everything you do, and how you can use the rules to your advantage.

The Brain: 4 Books About The Astonishing Power Of The Human Brain

The Brain: 4 Books About The Astonishing Power Of The Human Brain

The field of neuroscience is at the forefront of scientific study, encapsulating the  brain, AI, robotics, psychology, psychiatry and any area which deals with the structure or function of the nervous system and the brain.

With 100 billion nerve cells, the complexity is mind-boggling. The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and perhaps the most remarkable organism in the universe. Our brains form a million new connections for every second of our lives. It is in these changing connections that memories are stored, habits learned and personalities shaped, by reinforcing certain patterns of brain activity, and losing others.

To help you understand the complexity of your brain and why you do what you do, we have compiled the 4 best and most acclaimed books on the brain, to upgrade your understanding and to astound you.

4 Books About The Astonishing Power Of The Human Brain

1. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science – Norman Doidge

the brain

Scientists used to believe that the brain was relatively fixed and unchanging — some of them still believe that — but recent research shows that the brain is much more mutable than biologists, psychologists, physicians (and any other scientists who studied the human brain) had ever thought.

2. The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind – Michio Kaku

the brain

Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist with a knack for explaining difficult concepts with simple analogies and clear descriptions. The bulk of the remainder of The Future of the Mind is focused on how the increase in brain-technology will affect the world, including discussions of telepathy, telekinesis, memory implants, memory recording, potential mental illness cures, brain enhancement, and mind reading.

3. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

the brain

A WhytoRead.com favourite, the basis of Thinking Fast and Slow is that 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 provide us a view of the world around us.

4. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey – Jill Bolte Taylor

the brain

This book is a first-person description of stroke by a scientifically sophisticated person. The author describes a range of experiences that make sense given our knowledge of localization of function. As well as describing her stroke and her recovery, she takes us on a tour of the ‘mystical’ right side of her brain which little is known about and whose capabilities in today’s world seem to be dismissed.

If you haven’t seen the authors top 5 most popular TED talks, check it out here.

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.

5 Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winning Must Read Books

5 Non-Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winning Must Read Books

Pulitzer Prize Winners

The Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction is one of the seven Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded. They have been awarding the prize since 1917, and below we have compiled the best of the non-fiction winners that we believe are a must read for anyone who is interested in politcal science and the current affairs of the world.

These books are about our history, both as humans and as civilizations, as well as charting some of the most serious issues that we have had to deal with as a global society in the previous 50 years.

5 Pulitzer Prize Winning Books To Read Before You Die

1. 1998 Pulitzer Prize Winner:

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

Pulitzer Prize

Jared Diamonds book on the history of the worlds civilizations is not an easy read, but for such a vast subject matter, it takes time and a lot of detail to show how the world became the way it is now, and how certain civilizations thrived while others were destroyed by either guns, germs or steel.

2. 1992 Pulitzer Prize Winner:

The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power – Daniel Yergin

Pulitzer Prize

Deemed “the best history of oil ever written” by Business Week, Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize–winning account of the global pursuit of oil, money, and power has been extensively updated to address the current energy crisis.

3. 1978 Pulitzer Prize Winner:

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence – Carl Sagan

Pulitzer Prize

Carl Sagan really does a great job of going step by step, through the brain, explaining the processes, and giving a clear understanding to the reader of how we can see the evolution of our brains from those of lowly worms, to fish, reptiles, mammals, and eventually us.

4. 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winner:

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer – Siddhartha Mukherjee

Pulitzer Prize

This is a very interesting study of the history of cancer treatment and research.

5. 2007 Pulitzer Prize Winner:

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 – Lawrence Wright

Pulitzer Prize

A gripping narrative that spans five decades, The Looming Tower explains in unprecedented detail the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence failures that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

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