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10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Illuminating the world, one book at a time…

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)
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I don’t agree with everything I read.

But everything I read provides my worldview with richness and maturity. It makes me look at things in a way that I have never looked at before.

These books will do the same for you. After reading them, you will look at the world with more nuance, empathy, and maturity.

Let’s go through a summary of each!

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Don’t be fooled by comfort!

A couch potato is comfortable, but not healthy.

This is the best analogy I could come up with to explain this book in one line.

Michael Easter is from the fitness industry. He puts forward a very important analysis.

He tells us how our lives have increasingly become comfortable.

We drive comfortable cars, eat ready-made food, and sleep in soft beds. Our interaction with nature is highly limited.

“Studies around an emerging theory called the hygiene hypothesis have strongly linked the rise in these diseases and others to our supersanitized lives. Even mood, metabolism, and immunity are affected.”

On the other hand, our ancestors had little to no comfort in their lives. They had to build shelters. They also had to forage and hunt for food. On top of that, they had to keep themselves safe.

Regardless of how hard our ancestors’ life was, we are the ones stuck with mental and emotional issues.

“Research backs solitude’s healthy properties. It’s been shown to improve productivity, creativity, empathy, and happiness, and decrease self-consciousness.”

The author makes us realize the importance of exercising, especially out in nature. The same is the case for spending alone time in nature.

This book will push you to connect with your primal self and kick off addictions in a healthy way.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Do we exploit psychopaths?

Jon Ronson is an adventurous writer known for his humor. He explores the mental health industry and the concept of psychopathy in this book.

“I wondered if sometimes the difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor and a psychopath on Wall Street was the luck of being born into a stable, rich family.”

The author takes a psychopath-spotting course. In the days after that, he realizes how he has started reducing human beings to monsters.

He also meets the psychologist, Robert D. Hare. He is the one behind the famous Hare checklist, a test for psychopathy.

“We journalists love writing about eccentrics. We hate writing about impenetrable, boring people.”

Ronson asks the right questions.

Perhaps we have started judging people from their maddest edges? Are those capitalizing on psychopaths any different from them? Is the only difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor and the one in Wall Street is their financial background?

He also questions the exploitation of the concept of psychopathy by journalists. It’s because people don’t read boring things, he says.

This book will leave you disillusioned with the criminal psychology industry. It will also make you confront your own stance on psychopaths.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

The ugly reality of politics.

Be it a dictator or a democratic leader, all are concerned with coming into power and staying in power. The authors don’t sugarcoat anything as they deliver this truth to us.

“Paying supporters, not good governance or representing the general will, is the essence of ruling.”

How is that achieved?

Mesquita and Smith tell us how the cycle of politics works. Each leader makes sure their coalition is happy. A coalition is a group of people loyal to that leader.

In the case of dictatorships, the coalition is smaller. For example, it can be the army generals. In the case of democracies, the coalition is a bit bigger.

Taxes are one way of taking money from outside and feeding it to the coalition. Another way is borrowing.

The leaders are not interested in spending on those who can’t or won’t vote like infants and young children.

“Borrowing is a wonderful thing for leaders. They get to spend the money to make their supporters happy today, and, if they are sensible, set some aside for themselves.”

This book will lift the curtain on what really goes on in politics.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Language makes cults.

I am a self-proclaimed cult expert. I have watched almost all the documentaries on cults available on Netflix, devoured countless web pages, and read a lot of survivor stories.

This book simplifies the working of cults to one thing… ‘language’.

“Without language, there are no ‘cults’.”

What we speak changes us, says the author. Language creates us. This concept is called the theory of performativity.

Even totalitarian leaders use language to psychologically influence their followers. As to why religion encourages prayer… because of language. Language strengthens our belief.

I can’t help but think back to what my mom used to say. She used to say that what you watch, think, or speak has an effect on you. She was right.

“Ghafari points out that when an online guru uses too much “absolutist language,” that’s New Age scammer red flag number one.”

The author tells us to look at the language being used, in order to find out whether a group or organization is a cult.

If reading and understanding cults is your thing (like me) then this book is right up your alley.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

An up-close look at trauma.

Bessel van der Kolk explores the ins and outs of trauma.

The author tells us about trauma patients. They cannot feel safe in their own body. They stay in a hyper-alert mode.

“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know.”

For healing, it is imperative that the trauma victim feels the sensations in his/her own body. It includes not suppressing their emotions.

Kolk tells us about the importance of a healthy social circle.

“Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

He also discusses various techniques for healing. These include trauma processing, neurofeedback, EMDR, and yoga.

Kolk’s book is a dense but informed resource on trauma’s origin and its treatment.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

The Internet is wrecking our brains.

This revelation doesn’t surprise me.

It’s like our brains have started to become high on the constant flow of information. Be it images, texts, or videos.

This book is from 2010 so the phenomenon of reels and shorts wasn’t here yet. Just imagine what the current form of the internet must be doing to our heads.

“What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.”

The author contrasts internet use with book reading. He makes us see the numerous benefits that reading offers. Whether it is in terms of concentration or deep thinking, all of it is beneficial for our cognitive development.

“In the quiet spaces opened up by the prolonged, undistracted reading of a book, people made their own associations, drew their own inferences and analogies, fostered their own ideas. They thought deeply as they read deeply.”

The author also warns us of the doom looming on culture. Instead of storing it in the brains of the members, we are reducing it to a binary code and uploading it to the internet.

“Culture is sustained in our synapses.”

And the age-old advice that most books give is here also. Leave the internet and go out in nature.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Making decisions can be easier.

Having more to choose from is a curse. It overwhelms us.

This is the lesson of this book.

“As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates.”

The author teaches us to limit our choices and to make decisions easier for ourselves.

We learn about Satisficers and Maximisers.

Maximisers want to make the best decision out there. That is obviously not humanly possible. This leaves them in the limbo of ‘what if’. What if the other choice was better?

What if I picked the wrong one?

Whereas Satisficers are satisfied with good enough. This is the way to stay happy with your decisions and move on.

“Focus on what makes you happy, and do what gives meaning to your life”

The author also tells us about research on customers. Creating a psychological burden by giving them too many choices is bound to turn them away.

This book will help you make better decisions and be happy about them.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Progress might not be an all-around good thing.

Traditional life was better than modern life. That is Christopher Ryan’s proposal.

To back it up, he tells us about the people from modern civilization running off to join the natives. We learn about the perfect teeth of people who eat traditional diets. We also learn of the concentration problems caused by TV.

To me, most of it makes sense.

Let me tell you why I don’t say ‘all’.

In the following quote, the author claims that the subjugation of women didn’t exist among the foragers.

“Once we accept that all human beings are, in fact, equally human, it becomes clear that human nature offers little to help explain systematic cruelties common to civilizations but rare or nonexistent among foragers (subjugation of women, slavery, extreme disparities in wealth, and so on).”

I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. It almost sounds too good to be true.

The author makes us realize that by apparently ‘civilizing’ society, we have ended up in a myriad of problems.

“Poverty… is a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilization.”

This book offers some very interesting reflections which will leave you thinking for a long time.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Secrets of the rich.

Why is it that people from roughly the same backgrounds end up on opposite ends of the financial spectrum?

This is what Kiyosaki discusses in his book.

We learn about being financially informed. The author tells us the importance of building assets and investing.

If our aim is to stay stuck at an okay but secure job, we won’t be able to achieve financial success. Sure, the risk is there.

But losing is a part of life. It’s a part of the journey of success. And winners are not afraid to lose.

“People who avoid failure also avoid success.”

This book discusses different mindsets that people have with money. The author encourages a healthy relationship with wealth.

“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.”

This book has sold over 40 million copies since its release. Perhaps it’s time to find out why, by reading it.

10 Books That Threw My Worldview Out the Window (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

The secret doorway to the kingdom of the powerful.

My initial brush with this book made me uncomfortable.

This book reads like a guidebook for manipulators. Or perhaps, Greene has written in ink the truth that we all are too scared to admit.

Regardless of what we are, and where we are, we all apply a few of these techniques to exert control over others.

“Person who cannot control his words shows that he cannot control himself, and is unworthy of respect.”

Some of the reflections of the author make total sense. For example his view of the power that a tongue holds and the importance of words.

The author calls the human tongue a beast. He says it needs to be tamed otherwise it can cause a lot of problems.

The author’s advice about friends and work rings true to me based on my personal experiences.

“Keep your friends for friendship, but work with the skilled and competent.”

I have understood that friends do not necessarily make good work partners be it a business or any other professional transaction.

This book is interesting but scary.


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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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