Never in human history have we had the opportunity to read such a wide variety of books. No longer do we have to go to the library or bookstore and reserve a bestseller with a three mile long waitlist, or spend hours searching fruitlessly for a rare copy of a book about an esoteric topic. With the advent of e-readers and online bookshops, the entire world of literature is at our fingertips.
It’s easy to fall into reading our same favorite authors or genres but the era of technology practically begs the reader to expand his or her bookshelves to include titles that you might never have come across before. Here are ten great finds that will expand not only your bookshelves, but your mind as well:
1. From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present
Master historian Jacques Barzun uses is unique literary style to weave a tale about the whole of Western culture since 1500. This inspiring saga, based on Barzun’s discoveries and conclusions of his historical studies, will change the way you look at what is an often agreed upon view of history.
2. Uncommon Sense: The Strangest Ideas from the Smartest Philosophers
In a way that both enlightens and entertains, Andrew Pessin examines the minds of history’s greatest philosophers. From Ancient Greeks to modern thinkers, Pessin intelligently explores ideas that seemed strange at their time. Entertaining while enlightening, Uncommon Sense delights for all eighteen of its chapters.
3. The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires
In a frighteningly realistic take on the cycles of media history, Tim Wu asks: is the internal doomed to the same fate as its predecessors? Master switch uncovers a time-honored cycle of invention and industry.
4. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure)
Together with five of his colleagues, Christopher Alexander introduces Pattern Language, one in a series of three books. Together with the other two, The Timeless Way of Building and The Oregon Experiment, this series makes a major statement as the authors say it will “lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely.”
5. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
In a voice that reads the same on either end of the political spectrum, Jonathan Haidt challenges traditional thinking on morality, politics and religion. The Righteous Mind explores both human cooperation and conflict in the culmination of twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology.
6. This Will Make You Smarter by John Brockman
If you’re looking for a cutting-edge way to improve your decision making skills, This Will Make You Smarter can help with that. This collection of wisdom of some of today’s leading thinkers, was brought together and edited by John Brockman. The list of contributors, including great minds such as Richard Dawkins and Brian Eno, are presented to create better thinkers of the leaders of tomorrow.
7. Metaphors We Live By
Metaphors, author George Lakoff explains, are a fundamental mechanism of mind that can shape our perceptions and actions. The now-classic Metaphors We Live By changed our understanding of metaphors of how they structure our most basic understanding and experience.
8. Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis
More than forty years and five million copies produced after it was originally introduced, Games People Play is still as astonishing and relevant as ever. Eric Berne’s classic examines the games people play in the various aspects of their lives and what he discovered remains true and eye-opening to this day. The anniversary edition even comes with a new introduction by Dr. James R. Allen, president of the International Transactional Analysis Association, and Kurt Vonnegut’s brilliantLife magazine review from 1965.
9. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
We are in the midst of an unprecedented time in history in which the world’s tribes are being forced to share space. Award winning teacher and scientist Dr. Joshua Greene offers a set of maxims for navigating the modern moral terrain.
10. Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
Sex at Dawn wastes no time in challenging the conventional wisdom on sex and love. The controversial book challenges everything you know about sex, marriage and monogamy by tracing its prehistoric origins. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha presents an interesting read that could change the way you think about love and marriage.