15 Mind-Bending Books Guaranteed To Make You Feel Smarter

Old books lined on a bookshelf
Unsplash / Daniel Alvarez Sanchez

Found on Ask Reddit

1. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Amazon

According to Amazon, Bill Bryson takes on “everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization,” so you can say there’s a lot to learn.

2. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan

Amazon

In his book, Sagan takes the time to debunk popular pseudoscientific myths, including some you might have fallen pray to. This particular passage seems relevant today:

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.

3. Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, And Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre

Amazon

Goldacre bluntly bashes journalists, nutritionists, homeopaths, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies as he makes a point of exposing fake news we probably all grew up believing.

4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Amazon

Winner of the National Academy of Sciences Best Book Award in 2012, Kahneman’s book explores the mind and breaks down the two systems that drive the way we think. This book won’t only help you understand others better, but also yourself.

5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Amazon

Meditations is one of the world’s most influential books, and for a good reason. This will make you examine of the philosophy behind virtue, pleasure, and tranquility above happiness — an old lesson that still holds true today.

6. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

Amazon

An Eternal Golden Braid is a meditation human thought and creativity that intertwines itself with the mathematics of Gödel, the artwork of Escher, and the music of Bach. It also delves into AI and the future of technology, a real-life look into the future that all Black Mirror fans will appreciate.

7. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Amazon

Hesse’s novel follows Siddhartha, a man on a journey of self-discovery during the time of the first Buddha. He leaves his family home to gain spiritual illumination, and while following his journey, readers gain it, too.

8. The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

Amazon

This New York Times bestseller is full of indignation and dark humor as he chronicles the the root of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. You’ll laugh a lot and you’ll learn a lot, too.

9. Sophie’s World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder

Barnes and Noble

In this novel, 14-year-old Sophie is sent a note that makes her consider two questions: who is she, and where does she come from? Sophie sets out to find the answer by enrolling in a correspondence course that covers the biggest philosophers over time, all the while receiving strange notes addressed to someone else. Sophie’s World is more than just a mystery novel — it’s an in-depth look at philosophy and self-awareness.

10. How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

Amazon

You’d be surprised how often numbers are sensationalized, inflated, and oversimplified to influence your decisions and actions, but Huff is sure to lay it out for you in an easy-to-understand format. It’ll change the way you look at numbers and media, but in the best way possible.

11. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Amazon

Carnegie’s advice will help you get the job, win over the friends, and change people without making them hate you for it — trust me, it’s stood the test of time for a reason.

12. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt

Amazon

Dubner and Levitt ask a lot of strange questions in this book, like “Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?” or “What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?” But they have a point, I swear. The pair decide to take a crack at the riddles of everyday life, using economics as the key to all the answers.

13. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Goodreads

Acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson wants you to love science just as much as he does, so he put together this easy-to-consume book about the cosmos that will leave you absolutely speechless. You’ll be one step closer to comprehending the universe.

14. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

Amazon

Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time, and for good reason. Sagan not only makes his readers take a good, long look at themselves, but also the world around them and the universe they have only yet to conceptualize.

15. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Amazon

Sun Tzu was a military general and adviser to the king of the southern Chinese state of Wu 2,500 years ago, and his book — full of small pieces of sage advice — takes a close look at strategy based on Chinese warfare and military thought. These lessons are still useful in politics, business, and everyday life, and they’ll change the way you take on the world. TC mark

Callie Byrnes

Callie is a professional Thought Catalog blogger by day and an amateur Tumblr blogger by night.

This is me letting you go

If there’s one thing we all need to stop doing, it’s waiting around for someone else to show up and change our lives. Just be the person you’ve been waiting for.

At the end of the day, you have two choices in love – one is to accept someone just as they are and the other is to walk away.

We owe it to ourselves to live the greatest life that we’re capable of living, even if that means that we have to be alone for a very long time.

“Everyone could use a book like this at some point in their life.” – Heather
Let go now
Powered by Revcontent

Hi! Here’s Some Amazing Poetry For You

“I hope your learn how to love yourself the way you love others — unconditionally and without hesitation; deeply, and from the softest parts of who you are. Because isn’t it a shame, that we are so quick to forgive the humanness in someone else’s soul, but we often forget to forgive ourselves. Isn’t it a shame, that we fight for others, we believe in them with such intensity, and such hope, but we often forget to fight for ourselves.” — Bianca Sparacino ✨

“Seeds Planted in Concrete is a very empowering read. It reminds you that you should love yourself first before anyone else.” — Alyssa

Click Here
15 Mind-Bending Books Guaranteed To Make You Feel Smarter is cataloged in , , , , ,

More From Thought Catalog