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Books have always been an integral part of my life. It’s almost impossible for me to imagine life without them. Books are one of the reasons I started this blog. After all, writing without reading is like trying to paint without colors.

There is just something about reading that seems irreplaceable even today. Think about it, writing was invented almost 5500 years ago.1 In between numerous occasions came when people believed reading would go extinct.

When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, many thought it would replace reading. When the Internet emerged, people again assumed books would become irrelevant. But here we are in 2024, and reading is still thriving. I have written before how reading is one of those essential elements that one must include in life to unleash new potential and enrich our minds.

I have always been proactive in sharing the inspiration behind my thoughts and ideas. In fact, I would even say that you can’t truly know a person if you don’t get a sense of how or where he gets his inspiration.

Just like in the past, I will continue sharing books that inspired me and challenged me to think from a different perspective. Below are some books that have made a significant impression on me so far in 2024.

The Disappearing Spoon
All image credits goes to my wife

As a Science enthusiast and Chemist, what more can you ask if there is a book discovery and history of elements of the periodic table. The periodic table itself is so fascinating, it is obvious the history of making it is filled with enthralling stories.

Writing a book on any form of science is always challenging. The content needs to strike a balance, appealing to both the general audience and experts. Too much scientific jargon can make it difficult for laymen to read while compromising too much on technicality can make it less scientific. Sam Kean has excelled in achieving this balance.

You must read this book not just because you have a scientific interest but because you would be fascinated to know how today’s modern world is built by the discovery of numerous elements which has fascinating stories behind them.

Shallow book

This book was written in 2010 but you would be surprised to find how relevant and timely this book still is. The primary content of the book revolves around how the internet is changing our brains. As more and more people are using the internet, people’s brains are getting wired accordingly.

But is this wiring good or bad for us in the long term? What are the prominent effects of using the Internet?

I loved the premise of the book. It takes the reader on a journey of various knowledge mediums throughout humankind and how each medium shaped us. I love books that talk about history and how the present is intimately connected to the past.

As a user of the Internet, you should read this book to know the broader impact of the Internet on your life and how people used to think about the Internet in the past. I have written a full-fledged article on this topic. I only wish the book would have more on how to combat the negative effects of the internet.

Why do people make stupid decisions and how can we improve decision making?

This is the core of this wonderful book. There has been an upsurge of books in the last decade on behavioral economics after the Nobel Prize was given to Daniel Kahneman in 2002.

If you have read ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman, you know that people make poor decisions because they rely on their Automatic System, the source of gut reactions, and often have weak reliance on the Reflective System, the thinking system.

Nudge Theory combines psychological factors and conventional economics to develop ideas which can help people make better decisions.

Phantoms in the Brain

There isn’t anything more enigmatic than the human brain. The more you know about the human brain, the more you will be in awe of it. VS Ramachandran, a famous neuroscientist has written about some marvelous phenomenon of the brain in his book.

Have you seen people who have no leg or hand but they still feel that they have their leg or hand intact?

The brain makes them feel so.

But what in the brain is responsible for such phenomena?

I am sure you will feel more captivated by your brain after reading this book.

Cathedrals of Science

Another book on the history of science that I loved reading. This one specifically talks about Chemists who built modern Chemistry. As a Chemist, my interest was natural but if you like reading about the lives of scientists and the stories behind their discoveries, you will love this book.

Unlike many books, this one is more exhaustive in describing scientific events. Often, people view the lives of scientists solely through the lens of their discoveries. However, in reality, a scientist’s life is influenced by many factors, both directly and indirectly. Reading this will reveal the other dimensions of their lives that shape their work and contributions.

Outlive

I have not read a book on health and longevity as detailed as this one. It’s an excellent choice if you want to learn scientific ways to improve and know about your health and longevity. Many books in this category compromise on scientific evidence to sound more appealing and lure readers, but this book maintains its scientific integrity.

You will feel on every page that the book is backed by sound scientific evidence. Instead of its scientific content, it never feels heavy or boring. You will enjoy it throughout.

The Scout Mindset

Julia Galef, the author of this book describes Scout Mindset as ‘the motivation to see things as they are, not as you wish they were.’

Judgment is one of the crucial parts of life. There are two types of thinking when it comes to judgment ‘Can I believe it?’ Vs ‘Must I believe it?’. Often we make a judgment not because it is the truth but out of our motivated reasoning.

To see things clearly, we must ask ‘Is it true?‘. This is where the scout mindset becomes useful. We should see things as they are not as wish they were.

To improve your judgment, this is a thought-provoking book.

Biocentrism

One of those books that can alter your view of the world. This book is written around Physics and Philosophy. The fundamental hypothesis of this book is that life and consciousness must be understood as not being merely emergent phenomena in a universe built of physics, but something fundamental that the physical universe depends on.

If you have heard about Advait Vedanta (Hindu Philosophy), this book’s hypothesis might sound similar to it. Consciousness is probably the hardest existing problem in science. If you like reading about the Universe, its existence, Physics, and how consciousness is related to it, you will find this book a good read.

Whether you are with the concepts or not, you will gain a different perspective for sure.

The Tyranny of Merit

I hadn’t read books on political science before 2024 (probably I was not mature enough). I was surprised to find how engrossing books on political science could be. This book raises questions about the meritocratic system in the West (equally applicable elsewhere).

The arguments are not on how to improve meritocracy but that the idea of meritocracy itself is flawed. A society built on complete meritocracy is less likely to be compassionate and caring. I truly found the ideas in this book engaging and important. If you feel meritocracy is the ultimate best thing for a society, you must read this book.

The Good Life

When I was 24 years old, I watched a TED talk by Robert Waldinger. He asked a question at the beginning of his talk ‘What is the most important thing to live a good life?

You might think of achievements, prestige, money, or something else. However, the world’s longest-running longitudinal research study on how adults develop has shown that the key to a good life is to cultivate good relationships. I was so happy to find that they came up with a book on this subject.

If you want to explore why relationships are crucial for a good life, this is the book to get answers (not just philosophically but scientifically).

Do you have books in mind that you loved reading?

Let me know in the comment section.

Reference

  1. Did Humans Start Writing 10000 years earlier than we thought? ↩︎

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