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10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Don’t make this mistake

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Each book has a different purpose.

Some help you escape to fantasy worlds. Others leave you reflecting on life. Some might give you lessons that stick. Others teach you practical actions that will transform your life.

The following books are filled with insights that will enrich your mind and make you a better human. You’ll regret not giving them a chance.

Let’s not wait any further and get to these eye-opening books.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

A blast from the past!

Harari takes us to the very start of the universe, the Big Bang.

It happened 13.5 million years ago. This is the point when space, matter, atoms, and energy came into existence. Molecules combined and organisms were formed. They evolved. And humans came into being.

“A human handprint made about 30,000 years ago, on the wall of the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France. Somebody tried to say, ‘I was here!’”

The author then goes on to discuss different species of humans, their similarities and differences.

Initially, humans were hunter-gatherers. The author traces the movement of various sapiens and the eventual dominance of Homo Sapiens.

He informs us of the creation of society, order, religion, and more.

“Even today the vast majority of human communication — whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns — is gossip.”

The author also discusses things like gossip and happiness. We think buying this or doing that will make us happy. In reality, happiness is based on the neurochemicals in our brains.

This book not only teaches you history but also explores a myriad of themes intertwined with the progress of mankind.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Bridging the moral divide.

If you judge people on their political and social ideologies, this book is a must-read for you.

“If you really want to change someone’s mind on a moral or political matter, you’ll need to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.”

Many make simplistic statements like, ‘I will never befriend a Republican’ or ‘Liberals are vulgar.’

Haidt tells us to come down from our high horse of righteousness. He shows us that morality differs across cultures and ideologies.

“Empathy is an antidote to righteousness…”

The author tells us to listen to others with an open mind. Because our own beliefs are not the result of logic. In fact, we believe first and find supportive arguments later.

“People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.”

Using his Moral Foundations theory, Haidt shows us how different groups approach morality differently.

Honestly, it is an eye-opening book that will make you empathetic toward those who are different from you.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Insights that will never cease to amaze me.

Kahneman takes us inside the brain and its decision-making process.

Not only that, he tells us of many factors and influences that drive our choices.

For example, optimistic individuals are resilient to failure, take care of their health, remarry after divorce, and are more likely to live longer.


“If you were allowed 1 wish for your child, seriously consider wishing them optimism.”

Similarly, he tells how hearing or reading words from a certain category changes human behavior.

When researchers primed (exposed in a subtle way) a group of people to words related to old age, the subjects were more likely to walk slowly after that. The words didn’t include the word ‘old’. The list had words like forgetful, bald, wrinkle, etc.

This experiment and many like these show the effect of our environment on our subconscious.

“People tend to assess the relative importance of issues by the ease with which they’re retrieved from memory — and this is largely determined by the extent of coverage in the media.”

This book will make you humble. Why?

Because you’ll learn how fallible your brain is.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Fix your breathing, fix your life.

Reading this book will make you scared of breathing from your mouth.

Mouth breathing changes our body in negative ways. The soft tissues in the back of our mouth become loose. Breathing becomes more difficult. We start to mouth breath even more.

“It turns out that when breathing at a normal rate, our lungs will absorb only about a quarter of the available oxygen in the air.”

The book emphasizes the importance of breathing slowly and deeply through the nose.

As the author describes it, the perfect breath consists of 5.5 seconds of inhalation and 5.5 seconds of exhalation.

As I write this, I am trying it out. Man, it is work! Because we are so used to breathing fast and shallow.

“No matter what we eat, how much we exercise, how resilient our genes are, how skinny or young or wise we are — none of it will matter unless we’re breathing correctly.”

The message of this book is simple:

Do this one thing (breathing) right, and reap the benefits.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

An economist gone rouge.

The authors do a brilliant job of applying economic theory across all life aspects. They show us how incentives motivate people and how most of our decisions are irrational.

If you are too sure of yourself, this book might even offend you.

“…the Internet has accomplished what no consumer advocate could: it has vastly shrunk the gap between the experts and the public.”

The world operates on the asymmetry of knowledge. A seller doesn’t know what a real estate agent does. This benefits the agent. The same is the case in other industries.

The Internet however has made this information gap smaller.

Here is a statistic mentioned in the book that will blow your mind. A swimming pool is more likely to kill a child than a gun. But why is it that people are more against guns?

“So why is a swimming pool less frightening than a gun?”

Because a gun creates a gruesome image in our mind whereas a swimming pool doesn’t.

This book will challenge many of your beliefs and assumptions, forcing you to look at common observations in a new way.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Let’s look for hope in times of despair.

We all suffer from “the negativity instinct”, the author says.

This is why our mind focuses on the negative even when the world is getting better. Statistics are manipulated by the media to show us a bad side.

“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.”

Here is an example: In 2016, 4.2 million infants didn’t survive till their first birthday.

The number is of course horrifying. But here is another fact, the percentage rate of infants dying before they are one has fallen from 15% to 3% over more than 60 years.

Now, that’s hope.

The author encourages us to look for facts and data instead of following our emotions.

“How can we help our brains realize that things are getting better when everything is screaming at us that things are getting worse?”

He also gives us 9 other instincts that distort our reality. Learning about them will help you navigate the world more rationally.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Are we stealing the homes of sea animals?

This book won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 2015.

The author draws our attention to many issues created by humans, such as CO2 levels in our atmosphere.

“In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is… sawing off the limb on which it perches.”

Carbon dioxide levels are dangerously high. What is the result?

Not only the air is polluted but the oceans are being acidified. Water reacts with carbon dioxide to form Carbonic acid which in turn releases Hydrogen ions.

While the side effects of ocean acidification are many, one group of marine animals severely affected is calcifiers. These are animals that produce calcium cells. Acidification wears away their cells.

The author likens this to “trying to build a house while someone keeps stealing your bricks.”

All of the human activities are damaging natural habitats and killing off the flora and fauna of the earth. As a result, there is an extinction taking place.

“Life is extremely resilient but not infinitely so.”

The purpose of this book is to make us realize how the survival of humans and other species is dependent on our actions.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Deep over shallow!

We live in a world of distractions.

When working, many times I find myself exploring news websites just because.

This is exactly what Newport warns us against. In order to produce good quality stuff, you need to practice ‘deep work’.

“High-Quality Work Produced = (Time Spent) x (Intensity of Focus)”

What is deep work?

This is when you work with concentration and without distractions. Such work pushes your mental abilities to their full potential.

The author calls this a skill that is increasingly rare but holds great value.

Meanwhile, shallow work is such that it doesn’t demand cognitive focus. It can be replicated easily and doesn’t add value to the world.

“The ability to concentrate is a skill that gets valuable things done.”

You might remember this from your childhood. ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’

I am glad Newport thinks the same. He says resting your brain increases your cognitive performance.

In short, when you are working, work with focus, when you are done, don’t think about work.

“When you work, work hard. When you’re done, be done.”

I can’t stress the importance of this book enough.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

The key to surviving the worst is in your hands.

Life is nothing without meaning. This is the point that the author makes.

“As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Evermore people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

And if we find meaning, we can survive the worst just like Frankl did.

Victor E Frankl is a psychiatrist who was sent off to concentration camps by the Nazis. His family members were killed or died.

This book chronicles his experiences at the camps. He shares that the prisoners who survived were those who had a purpose.

“If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering.”

Frankl tells us to accept suffering as a part of life. He says that human life cannot be complete without it.

This book will help you face the dark times in your life.

10 Books I Regret Putting Off for So Long Because They Were Worth the Hype

Reframing our view of death.

Using her experience as a mortician, Doughty acquaints the readers with death.

“A culture that denies death is a barrier to achieving a good death.”

The author wants us to accept death and its role in driving our life. All our pursuits are because of it, she says.

“Looking mortality straight in the eye is no easy feat.”

Doughty encourages us to expose children to the realities of love and death. As someone who grew up knowing death, I can’t agree more.

Looking back, I can never think of a time when I denied or ignored death. Our moral upbringing as kids revolved around this very concept. Do good because we have to die and answer God!

“Exposing a young child to the realities of love and death is far less dangerous than exposing them to the lie of the happy ending…”

Filled with many reflections, this book is a fascinating look at the career of a mortician.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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