18 Novels That’ll Make You Smarter and More Engaged in the World

If you’re looking for books that will make you smarter, look no further! In this blog post, we will discuss 18 novels that will help you engage with the world in a more meaningful way. From historical fiction to books about science and mathematics, these novels are sure to get your brain working. Reading is one of the best ways to learn new things and increase your knowledge base. So if you’re looking for a way to boost your intelligence, start reading!

Sapiens

“In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?” (via Goodreads) 

Thinking Fast and Slow

“In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.” (via Goodreads) 

The Power of Habit

“A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.” (via Goodreads) 

A Short History of Nearly Everything

“In Bryson’s biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.” (via Goodreads) 

This Will Make You Smarter

“What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit? This is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org, posed to the world’s most influential thinkers. Their visionary answers flow from the frontiers of psychology, philosophy, economics, physics, sociology, and more. Surprising and enlightening, these insights will revolutionize the way you think about yourself and the world.” (via Goodreads) 

Ishmael

“The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. “You are the teacher?” he asks incredulously. “I am the teacher,” the gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. It is a story that extends backward and forward over the lifespan of the earth from the birth of time to a future there is still time save. Like all great teachers, Ishmael refuses to make the lesson easy; he demands the final illumination to come from within ourselves. Is it man’s destiny to rule the world? Or is it a higher destiny possible for him– one more wonderful than he has ever imagined?” (via Goodreads) 

Lies My Teacher Told Me

“James W. Loewen, a sociology professor and distinguished critic of history education, puts 12 popular textbooks under the microscope-and what he discovers will surprise you. In his opinion, every one of these texts fails to make its subject interesting or memorable. Worse still is the proliferation of blind patriotism, mindless optimism and misinformation filling the pages.” (via Goodreads) 

Freakonomics

“Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? What kind of impact did Roe v. Wade have on violent crime? Freakonomics will literally redefine the way we view the modern world.” (via Goodreads) 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

“You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you! Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplehas sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.” (via Goodreads) 

A Mind of Numbers

“Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a higher level of math competency, A Mind for Numbersoffers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating but inescapable field. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley knows firsthand how it feels to struggle with math. She flunked her way through high school math and science courses, before enlisting in the army immediately after graduation. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical savvy severely limited her options—both to rise in the military and to explore other careers—she returned to school with a newfound determination to re-tool her brain to master the very subjects that had given her so much trouble throughout her entire life.” (via Goodreads) 

101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think

“Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.” (via Goodreads)

A Minute to ThInk

“Meet the powerful guide that will help you regain control in your overloaded, caffeinated, inbox-worshiping work day. An efficiency expert explains how to liberate your talent, reduce waste, and help teams do more meaningful work by incorporating strategic pauses—what she calls “white space”—into your workdays and personal life.” (via Goodreads) 

The Art of Thinking Clearly

“In engaging prose and with practical examples and anecdotes, an eye-opening look at human reasoning and essential reading for anyone with important decisions to make.” (via Goodreads) 

Bad Science

“Full of spleen, this is a hilarious, invigorating and informative journey through the world of Bad Science. When Dr Ben Goldacre saw someone on daytime TV dipping her feet in an ‘Aqua Detox’ footbath, releasing her toxins into the water, turning it brown, he thought he’d try the same at home. ‘Like some kind of Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General’, using his girlfriend’s Barbie doll, he gently passed an electrical current through the warm salt water. It turned brown. In his words: ‘before my very eyes, the world’s first Detox Barbie was sat, with her feet in a pool of brown sludge, purged of a weekend’s immorality.’ Dr Ben Goldacre is the author of the Bad Science column in the Guardian. His book is about all the ‘bad science’ we are constantly bombarded with in the media and in advertising. At a time when science is used to prove everything and nothing, everyone has their own ‘bad science’ moments from the useless pie-chart on the back of cereal packets to the use of the word ‘visibly’ in cosmetics ads.” (via Goodreads) 

The Pig That Wants to be Eaten

“Julian Baggini presents 100 of the most interesting thought experiments: short scenarios which pose a problem in a vivid and concrete way, and invites the reader to think about possible answers for him/herself. Experiments cover identity, religion, art, ethics, language, knowledge and many more.” ((via Google Books)

The Believing Brain

“In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world’s best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.” (via Goodreads) 

The Rich Employee

“Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Many of us are happy to have a job, we just want a better job, one that fulfills us, makes us wealthy, and brings us satisfaction. Still, income is now permanently going down versus inflation for the average employee. Industry, knowledge, and management are all being outsourced cheaply to other countries or to technology. The solution is to become a rich employee with the mindset and techniques described in this book. This is the first book ever to detail how one can become a rich employee in our times. And there is more: companies in this new century will only succeed if they encourage their employees to develop The Rich Employee mindset. ” (via Goodreads) 

How to Win Every Argument

“This is the book your friends will wish you hadn’t read, a witty and infectious guide to arguing successfully. Each entry deals with one fallacy, explaining what the fallacy is, giving and analysing an example, outlining when/where/why the particular fallacy tends to occur and finally showing how you can perpetrate the fallacy on other people in order to win an argument. Originally published to great acclaim in 1985 as “The Book of Fallacy”, this is a classic brought up-to-date for a whole new generation.” (via Goodreads) 

books to read that make you smarter - A collection of 18 novels that will make you smarter and more engaged in the world.

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