top of page
  • Writer's pictureNovel Nest

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

The truth about free will, economics, and lying

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Changing perceptions is hard, even painful.

It is still important though. We need change to grow and be the best version of ourselves.

I’ll ask you to keep an open mind as you read through today’s article. Because these books will challenge your perceptions and your worldview.

Once you read them though, you’ll come away wiser. You’ll be looking at the world in a whole new way.

Let’s go through them one by one!

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Master or puppet, who are we?

Harris is clear about his position. Free will is an illusion.

We think we are in charge of our actions. We do what we want to do. But the author tells us that we don’t know what takes place in our brain before we apparently decide to do something.

“We do not know what we intend to do until the intention itself arises.”

He gives his own example. Harris says that he starts each day with a cup of tea or coffee. Each day the choice is made as a result of ‘unconscious causes’. And he cannot know what choice he will make in the future.

But doesn’t he know what he is going to make?

The way Harris explains it is, that the intent to make something (tea or coffee) appears in the consciousness after it has been decided in the subconscious.

“My choices matter — and there are paths towards making wiser ones — but I cannot choose what I choose.”

Harris’s explanation of the nonexistence of free will leaves one in bewilderment.

Am I writing this right now because I want to? Or some unexplained phenomenon in my brain is making me do it?

This book will make you ponder on your own freedom.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Acquaint yourself with the various tastes of morality.

This book talks in detail about morality, how it comes to be, and why it is that people disagree about what’s right and what’s wrong.

Haidt makes us confront the reality of our beliefs. We believe first and find rationality for them later on.

Morality can be innate or socially learned, the author says.

“We’re born to be righteous, but we have to learn what, exactly, people like us should be righteous about.”

Using his Moral Foundation Theory, Haidt shows how different groups focus on different foundations or have different understandings of the same foundation. This is how they have different views of right and wrong.

For example, for conservatives, equality means everyone getting what they worked for. For liberals, it means everyone gets an equal share.

This book is the need of the hour. It builds bridges instead of walls.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Let’s have a new look at the old correlations.

If there is one book that will blow your mind, it will be this one.

This book explores many commonly accepted correlations. The authors give us data and insight that is generally missed.

Did you know that most drug dealers are poor? Only a few at the top are rich. Rest keep slaving. Some of them even die in gang wars.

“The problem with crack dealing is the same as in every other glamour profession: a lot of people are competing for a very few prizes.”

The book discusses the role of incentives in everyday life. The same is the case with criminals. The incentive to be a rich drug lord is too powerful to ignore.

Experts on various things like parenting are too sure of themselves. They vehemently defend their positions.

“An expert doesn’t so much argue the various sides of an issue as plant his flag firmly on one side. That’s because an expert whose argument reeks of restraint or nuance often doesn’t get much attention.”


Because nuance doesn’t win people over. Emotion does.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Are we hurting children by keeping them ‘safe’?

The importance of this book cannot be exaggerated.

The authors discuss important issues plaguing American society.

It’s no secret that the bar of offense has been considerably lowered in recent years.

Identity politics and respecting everyone’s ‘truth’ has taken the front and center.

“The culture on many college campuses has become more ideologically uniform, compromising the ability of scholars to seek truth, and of students to learn from a broad range of thinkers.”

But how did it all come to be?

Well, the authors trace this to parenting and teaching approaches. They argue that the aim has become to keep children ‘safe’.

And the culture of ‘safetyism’ has made adults who are incapable of handling ideological differences.

As a result, there are far-right and far-left extremists on college campuses. They cannot handle differences and operate on hate.

“By shielding children from every possible risk, we may lead them to react with exaggerated fear to situations that aren’t risky at all and isolate them from the adult skills that they will one day have to master.”

This book will make you think deeply for a long time.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

We have to be ready for the dawn of superintelligence.

AI poses a threat to mankind’s survival.

The author analyzes what good or bad a Superhuman level of machine intelligence would bring. He looks at the various scenarios for our future.

“Superintelligence is a challenge for which we are not ready now and will not be ready for a long time.”

Bostrom tells us to be prepared for whatever is to come.

Controlling a superintelligent system won’t be easy. We shouldn’t adopt the ‘whenever it happens, we’ll see’ approach to it. We should plan in advance.

“…the most appropriate attitude may be a bitter determination to be as competent as we can, much as if we were preparing for a difficult exam that will either realize our dreams or obliterate them.”

The author suggests making sure that the superintelligent machine’s goals are in line with the survival of mankind.

Bostrom’s book is a very comprehensive look at AI’s past and future. Technology buffs will love it.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

An atheist argues his position.

I believe in God.

But I appreciate what Dawkins offers in terms of science and philosophy.

To be honest, I agree with some of the things Dawkins says about religion. For example:

  • We are most likely to follow our parents’ religion.

  • Rulers use religion.

  • We are all atheists about ancient Gods.

True. True. And true.

“If you are religious at all it is overwhelmingly probable that your religion is that of your parents.”

Even if your religious identity is important to you, reading this book will make you more open to those who hold a different belief.

Dawkins makes us realize that if we were born in another religion, we would’ve followed that one and considered that true.

“If you were born in Arkansas and you think Christianity is true and Islam false, knowing full well that you would think the opposite if you had been born in Afghanistan, you are the victim of childhood indoctrination.”

Where I disagree is that Dawkins holds non-fundamentalist religion also responsible for extremism.

Hey, some people are gonna be extremists about something no matter what. If it’s not religion, it would be a political ideology or a social movement.

This book has interesting arguments that will broaden your thinking for sure.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

An unconventional look at debt.

Where I live it is customary to send neighbors plates of food once in a while. Others send food in return.

There is a definite give and take.

Obviously, there is no written legal or religious rule on returning this favor. But there is a definite social understanding.

This is a clear-cut example of debt. When someone sends me food, I owe them. So, I send some back.

“In this sense, the value of a unit of currency is not the measure of the value of an object, but the measure of one’s trust in other human beings.”

This book explores different examples of debt. Debt is not in the case of money only, says the author.

Our language, thoughts, ideas, habits, and knowledge are learned from other people.

Even the ideas of going against the flow and rebelling against culture were formed by those before us. We owe them.

“After all, we do owe everything we are to others.”

This book traces debt, money, and more. It will provide you with important insights which you are sure to appreciate.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Industry profits vs science, a war that benefits no one.

This book exposes how corporations’ greed prioritizes money over public health. I mean, we know it already but seeing it spelled out like this…

Man! It is life-changing.

“The stories …in this book involve the creation of doubt and the spread of disinformation by individuals and groups attempting to prevent regulation of tobacco, CFCs, pollution from coal-fired power plants, and greenhouse gases.”

The tobacco industry cast doubt on science when the harmful effects of smoking started to emerge. Companies that made DDT pesticides started a smear campaign against the woman who warned about DDT’s side effects.

Similarly, climate change was made controversial.

“This divergence between the state of the science and how it was presented in the major media helped make it easy for our government to do nothing about global warming.”

The author exposes the handful of scientists that were in cahoots with the industry tycoons.

This book will make you wanna question everyone’s motives for selling something.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Global warming, ocean acidification…. extinction.

This book will make you sad.

Our planet is warming up at an alarming rate. Why?

Because of human activities.

“Ocean acidification is sometimes referred to as global warming’s “equally evil twin.”

We release CO2 and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. One-third of the Carbon dioxide released has been absorbed by the oceans.

Acidification of oceans is leading to disastrous results for marine life.

“If we continue the way we are, without making dramatic changes to our carbon emissions immediately, I think we’re looking at a situation where, in the future, what we’ve got at best is remnant patches of corals.”

We are also affecting the flora and fauna of the planet by taking animal and plant species across continents. This has its own effects on biodiversity.

All of this is causing a mass extinction. The culprit is mankind.

Kolbert’s research is sure to jolt you from your slumber and make you afraid for the future of this planet.

10 Books That Tore Apart My Worldview (But I’m Glad I Read Them)

Truth might hurt but it is still better than lies.

The author makes a strong case in favor of honesty.

He shows us the importance of being truthful through multiple examples including his own. The author had a friend who wrote a script.

“I have a friend who is a very successful writer. Early in his career, he wrote a script that I thought was terrible, and I told him so.”

The author was honest to him about it and told him it was bad. The result? The friend trusts Harris’s opinion. He knows that Harris doesn’t lie.

Harris calls lies, ‘toxic waste’. They harm everyone, he says.

“Honesty is a gift we can give to others. It is also a source of power and an engine of simplicity.”

Honestly, even before I read this book, I rarely ever lied. And I know the benefits of being truthful. People trust me.

But I have yet to reach the level of honesty where I tell my friends that they are fat or whatever.

The book, although, motivates us to be honest, no matter what. (apart from life and death situations)


If you found this article useful and want to support NovelNest, join my email list below to get notified whenever I publish something new.

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

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.


bottom of page