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10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Your thoughts about power, money and nature are about to change.


10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

These books are not for the faint of heart.

They will make your view take a 180-degree turn. Some might be afraid of that but it is good to see things differently. It opens up your mind to other possibilities. The possibilities that you didn’t know existed.

Get ready to change your worldview with today’s booklist.

Let’s dive in!


10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Democracy is a lie.

For all the democracy supporters out there, this book will change everything.

The authors are political scientists who have put forth a theory of power.

“Our starting point is the realization that any leader worth her salt wants as much power as she can get, and to keep it for as long as possible.”

They tell us that politicians aim to come into power, stay in power, and keep control of the money. Public welfare is never on the agenda. Surprise! Surprise!

And how does a politician or a dictator achieve that goal?

They rely on a concentrated group of people which the authors call the ‘winning coalition’. In dictatorships, the winning coalition can be very small. In the case of democracies, the leaders have to appeal to a larger number of people.

“The three most important characteristics of a coalition are: (1) Loyalty; (2) Loyalty; (3) Loyalty. Successful leaders surround themselves with trusted friends and family, and rid themselves of any ambitious supporters.”

These leaders take money out of their opponents’ pockets and put it in the pockets of their supporters. As long as they keep doing that, they’ll stay in power.

Democrats want to tax the Republicans and Republicans want to tax the Democrats.

From the US government and Pope’s Palace to FIFA and financial corporations, the power operates the same way.

The book is worth a read. It will show you the reality of power dynamics at play in the whole world.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

The role of mountains and seas in wars and conflicts.

In today’s world, where we can fly almost anywhere, we forget the importance of the boundaries drawn on earth by sea and mountains.

But these boundaries are important. And they matter more than we can think.

“It is the freedom to concentrate military equipment in key locations around the world that has preserved American military might.”

Kaplan tells us about Russia. Why is the Russian approach aggressive? It doesn’t have a direct and easy connection to the sea. That leaves it unable to affect sea trade routes. Similarly, Kaplan points toward the spread of religions like Islam and Christianity. After taking root in larger populations, they spread along the trade routes.

It took time for them to reach areas that were difficult to access.

“The historian John Keegan explains that America and Britain could champion freedom only because the sea protected them “from the landbound enemies of liberty.”

The author argues that a rise in nationalism and populism is due to mass migration to cities. There are wealth disparities and people are unhappy so they find meaning in life by believing in radical ideologies.

This book is a must-read for those interested in the history and future of world affairs.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

A book banned in US prisons!

The ‘power’ of this book can be ascertained by the fact that it is banned in many US prison libraries.

Robert Greene tells us tips that he calls laws. These can be used to attain power and also to save ourselves from the power of others.

While some of these laws sound like manipulation techniques, others make interesting points.

“Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses.”

A few examples from the laws given in the book are ‘Never Appear Too Perfect’, ‘Conceal Your Intentions’, and ‘Court Attention at All Costs.’

The writer’s thoughts are interesting. Some of his suggestions can be applied in a non-harmful way to everyday life.

The following quote is profound.

“Never be distracted by people’s glamorous portraits of themselves and their lives; search and dig for what really imprisons them.”

We get impressed by the superficial. The showbiz stars, the glamor models, and Ivy League graduates. In reality, everyone is just as human as me and you.

There are good things in this book. Just don’t use it for evil!



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Connecting with plants.

Sweetgrass is native to the US and Canada.

Using the connection of indigenous people to this herb, the writer, a botanist explores the human connection to nature, and the need to revive it.

“…I made my daughters learn to garden — so they would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone.”

As much as this is a story of human-nature connection, this is also a story of the author. She eventually learns how to weave sweetgrass baskets.

“When a language dies, so much more than words are lost.”

The author even tries to learn her native language, Potawatomi, whose grammar treats more objects as alive as compared to English. The author believes that by viewing other things as living, we would be more opposed to destroying them.

“Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit.”

This book is a call to all of us. A call to respect our culture, language, and the flora and fauna of our geographical homes.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Learn to live life by enjoying the present.

Thanks to the book ‘The Secret Pulse of Time’ , I have started to be mindful of the present moment instead of glancing at the clock again and again.

‘The Power of Now’ reminds us to do the same albeit with a spiritual lens. As the name tells us, the lesson is to focus on ‘now’.


“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.”

We lose a lot of things when we keep dwelling on the past or being frightful of the future.

The author says that dwelling on the past gives rise to resentment, guilt, and sadness. Focusing on the future causes feelings of anxiety and stress.

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.”

Einstein called time an illusion. Do you need anything more than the words of the most famous physicist in the world?

The writer also gives us strategies to start living in the present. By not judging our thoughts but just observing them.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion.”

This book will help you enjoy life by living every second of it.




10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Is progress always a good thing?

‘Civilized’ always consider themselves better than the ‘savages’. But are they?

This is the question that Christopher Ryan asks.

He shares various studies to support his claim that modern civilization is doing worse.

“Civilization is like a hole our clever species dug and then promptly fell into.”

For example, a dentist who studied tribal people. He observed that wherever people stuck to a traditional diet, these teeth were perfect.

When they transitioned to a modern diet, oral problems and resistance to diseases were common.

“Upon his first encounters with the native people he “discovered” in the West Indies, Columbus was struck by their kindness, generosity, and physical beauty.”

He also references Columbus’ letters and diaries about the native people. And how he thought they’d make the perfect slaves.

Overall I think the author has made a strong case. But I do have slight disagreements because there are good things that progress has brought us like the decrease in childhood mortality rate.


10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

How can traumatized people heal?

Kolk brings us fascinating insights about ‘trauma’ and its effects on the body.

The past cannot be undone, the author says. But we can manage the effects of trauma on the mind and body.

“Neuroscience research shows that the only way we can change the way we feel is by becoming aware of our inner experience and learning to befriend what is going inside ourselves.”

According to the author, becoming aware and befriending inner body experiences is exactly what trauma victims have to do in order to heal.

Again, there is an increased focus on living in ‘now’ instead of the past. Even when the danger of the past is gone, the body doesn’t realize that, due to which it doesn’t relax.

“Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.”

This book is important for psychologists, mentors, teachers, and other people who are in a guiding and/or caring role.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

The power of incentives and knowledge disparity.

From childhood, we are incentivized to finish our veggies and to do schoolwork. As adults, the fear of being ostracized by society or going to jail keeps us from doing nasty stuff.

This book discusses the three types of incentives i.e. moral, economic, and social. These incentives drive our behaviors.

“Information is the currency of the Internet. … The Internet has accomplished what even the most fervent consumer advocates usually cannot: it has vastly shrunk the gap between the experts and the public.”

The authors also discuss the asymmetry in knowledge. For example, real estate agents sell your house for cheaper by selling it quickly but they keep their own houses on the market longer.

Why?

To get a bigger offer on your house, they have to wait longer which means the ratio of commission to time decreases. They will earn less per day if they wait. Instead, they can sell yours and move on to the next and earn more.

This information disparity exists everywhere. The Internet has closed this knowledge gap by a lot.

The authors also clear out misconceptions about causation vs correlation by giving real-life examples.

This book is an important read for everyone. It will make you think deeper about the world around you.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

A heartbreaking story of childhood stolen away.

The author, Dave, had a traumatic childhood. It was filled with abuse at the hands of his mother.

Initially, she was a doting but controlling mother. The author describes their trips and picnics.

“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”

Later on, her control turned to abuse.

The horrendous abuse is difficult to read about. Dave details his feelings after suffering brutal torture one day, ‘That day I wished Mother would have mercy and kill me quickly.’ This continued till Dave was in grade 5 when he was eventually rescued, thanks to a bunch of concerned school staff who saw bruises on his body. From then on, he grew up in foster care.

In the epilogue, the author discusses overcoming his trauma and building a good life for himself.

“It is important for people to know that no matter what lies in their past, they can overcome the dark side and press on to a brighter world.”

The author’s account is confirmed by his brother Richard Pelzer, who also wrote a book, ‘A Brother’s Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse’.



10 Books That Ripped Apart My Worldview (But I'm Glad I Read Them)

Discover the mindset for attaining riches.

The author contrasts the approach of his father (poor dad) and his friend’s father (rich dad).

He teaches us about how money works. It’s not about how much you earn. It’s about how much you can keep.

“Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and can begin building wealth.”

The most important thing about rich vs poor is that the rich make the money work for them, while the poor work for the money.

Rich people buy assets while poor and middle-class people buy liabilities which take even more money out of their pocket.

You can be broke, the author said. But being broke is temporary. Building the right mindset is necessary so you can become rich.

“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”

The main lesson of this book is to build money-generating assets.



 

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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog- https://www.thenovelnest.com/blog


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