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10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

It’s time to reimagine what you know about this world


10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Get ready to be uncomfortable.


We all have our predispositions about how the world works. We think we hold the right view. But what if we are wrong?


That’s why we must challenge our beliefs regardless of how uncomfortable that might get.


Today’s booklist will help you do just that!



10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Are we really free?


The free will debate dominates the philosophical realm.


Do humans have free will? Do we take actions of our own accord?


Sam Harris says no.


“Free will is an illusion.”

He says that before we do something, we don’t know about it. We become aware of that only after it has been decided.


If we go by Sam Harris’ proposed theory, it brings us to a bit of a conundrum. Wouldn’t this cause anarchy if we all let go of the understanding that we are responsible for our actions?


“You can do what you decide to do — but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.”

Harris puts forth a very interesting experience. He says his ethics have improved by recognizing that free will doesn’t exist.


How?


He has more compassion and forgiveness for the transgressions of others. And he is humble in the face of his own achievements. Since he knows he is not to be credited for them.


This book gives a very interesting viewpoint. Whether you think free will exists or not, Sam Harris makes you think long and hard about it.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

The complex relationship between the brain and decisions.


My attire choices have changed over the course of the past few years. But whenever I see someone wearing the attire I used to wear, I automatically feel a sense of belonging and trust.


“Familiarity breeds liking.”

It’s my assumption. Kahneman calls these assumptions ‘heuristics’.


In this book, he discusses several of them. These assumptions overshadow our logical thinking.


Sure, the judgments that we make in an instant help us in our lives. But we need to be wary of the pitfalls.


“We are prone to blame decision makers for good decisions that worked out badly and to give them too little credit for successful moves that appear obvious only after the fact.”

Our self-control is depleted when we are tired, hungry, or stressed. At that time, we allow our heuristics to blind us from reality.


For example: I have always felt that I am snappy while hungry. My mind exaggerates the negative actions of others and I end up doing something which I regret later on.


This book will bring you face-to-face with the drivers in your brain.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

This book will make you give up lying.


No, no, I don’t tell lies. I just don’t want to hurt XYZ.


The above is the sort of excuse we give ourselves when we choose to be deceitful with people around us.


Sam Harris discusses it all.


“Lying is, almost by definition, a refusal to cooperate with others.”

He says that by lying you deny others your view of the world. And this in turn affects their decision making.


Lying exposes the ‘lack of trust and trustworthiness’.


Sam Harris approaches his crusade against lying from a variety of angles. He shares personal stories of people harmed by lies that were told in good faith. For example, not knowing that your loved one had cancer.


“Honest people are a refuge…”

He also tells us how honesty is welcomed. Others know that this person means what he is saying. There are no ambiguities.


All in all, I think Harris makes a pretty solid case. If you read the book, you’ll learn a lot more.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Originality is a fad.


Austin Kleon is a writer and an artist.


In this up close and personal book, he makes a big revelation.


Nothing is original. Everything is based on something that came before it.

If you think about it, it makes sense.


“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.”

My father taught me how to draw a flower. One with 4 heart-shaped petals. Later on, I started drawing other types.


But each of them came from somewhere. Maybe I saw them in a book or a photo.


Maybe I saw them in nature outside or encountered a photo on social media.


My ideas or drawings didn’t come from nothing.


The author gives a lot of advice to aspiring creatives. He tells us to think like the people we admire. He also tells us to surround ourselves with books.


The funniest advice is when he tells us to google everything.


“Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems.”

Never thought I’d read something like that in a book.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

A bundle of hope and positivity.


News used to make me sick. Humanity is at its lowest, I used to think.


That is until I came across this book.


We are used to being so scared of the world ending, the pandemics spreading, and the radicals taking over, that we don’t realize that reality is almost entirely the opposite.


The world has been becoming better, thanks to a progress-oriented species: Humans.


“Beware of exceptional examples used to make a point about a whole group.”

Hans Rosling tackles the widespread misconceptions about today’s world through facts.


People in the US and Sweden were asked how much of the world population lives in low-income countries. The average answer was 59%. The correct figure? 9%.


“Only 9 percent of the world lives in low-income countries.”

Why do we think that things are so bad if they aren’t?


The author tells us about the human instincts that exaggerate the world around us. As a result, things seem scarier than they are.


For example: ‘The size instinct’ makes us frightened of something huge. Let’s say someone says 1000 people died. It is frightening to hear about. But if we ask, over how much time and from how much of the total population, the figure will come into perspective.


We have to look into the proportions in order to calculate the real risk.


I can’t recommend this book enough. It will make you hopeful for humanity’s future.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Pointless jobs are taking away from our humanity.


Graeber says that a lot of work that is done in society is pointless. He calls them ‘bullshit’ jobs.


The author says that the tasks done in these jobs do not make the world a better place. The employees who are doing these tasks feel they are worthless.


“Bullshit jobs regularly induce feelings of hopelessness, depression, and self-loathing. They are forms of spiritual violence directed at the essence of what it means to be a human being.”

The author suggests that instead of pointless tasks, time should instead be spent on creative pursuits.


I find the author’s proposition fascinating. But I find it hard to agree with him.


“Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at.”

The solution he proposes is like a fairytale. Graeber says that the jobs we should focus on are the ones that align with the natural human work cycle like farmers, fishers, warriors, and novelists.


He also proposes a universal basic income.


Sure, I’d love that but is there any way the above can be practically implemented?




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Debt and social institutions, what’s the relation?


When we think of debt, we think of an amount of money taken to be given back at a certain point in time.


Rarely do we think that debt doesn’t always involve money.


But that is precisely the case. When you give a friend a birthday gift, there is an automatic expectation that you’ll get one back. Let’s take it even lower. What about a birthday wish?


See! Human relations are based on the social and moral concept of debt.


“Economic language has always been — and still is — fundamentally moral, even when it insists that it is not… and a genuine economic history must therefore also be a history of morality.”

Graeber goes into economic history, starting from the clay tablets of ancient Mesopotamia. They show humanity’s first attempts at accounting and keeping records of credit.


The author goes on to show us the evolution of economic systems and their connection with the military and religion.


“The very fact that we don’t know what debt is, the very flexibility of the concept, is the basis of its power.”

An amazing book that will have you rethink human social relations as well as financial institutions.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

The culture of ‘safety’ is anything but safe.


If you are like me, you are getting a little bit annoyed at the abundance of trigger warnings in today’s world. Trigger warning: food. I mean seriously?


What is the result?


We are raising coddled people who cannot bear disagreements and ideological arguments. They akin emotional discomfort to physical harm.


“Avoiding triggers is a symptom of PTSD, not a treatment for it.”

The book looks at this issue from a variety of angles, starting from childhood.

Children need risk to thrive. By keeping them ‘safe’ we are interfering with their healthy development.


“Free speech and the ability to tolerate offense are the hallmarks of a free and open society.”

The authors offer mind-blowing figures and insights. I loved the following information provided in the book.


There are only two children’s activities that correlate significantly with depression and suicide-related outcomes.


  1. Electronic device use

  2. Watching TV


Alternatively, there are five activities that reduce depression:


  1. Sports and other forms of exercise

  2. Attending religious services

  3. Reading books and other print media

  4. In-person social interactions

  5. Doing homework


I think, just this list only provides a perfect guide to parents on how to raise emotionally and psychologically well-balanced kids.


This book will show you what the ‘helicopter’ parents are missing.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

Is humanity headed toward an apocalypse?


Things do seem a bit uncertain when we see how fast Artificial Intelligence is taking over. We can generate text, images, and much more.


Will our jobs be replaced? If yes, how soon?


This is the question that every person seems to be asking themselves.

The author phrases it as follows:


“We find ourselves in a thicket of strategic complexity, surrounded by a dense mist of uncertainty.”

Although the future is uncertain, knowledgeable people like Nick Bostrom have combined a plethora of information for us.


In this book, the author gives us a rundown of everything related to AI. Its history, benefits, and threats.


“Before the prospect of an intelligence explosion, we humans are like small children playing with a bomb.”

He compares human fascination with AI to children playing with a bomb. We don’t know what it will do but we badly want to find out. We need to act sensibly, the author suggests.


This is a well-rounded book jam-packed with just the right information.




10 Books That will Shatter Your Worldview (But You’ll be Glad You Read Them)

When science turns bad!


In the 1950s the Tobacco companies knew about the harmful effects of smoking. What did they do? They hired a top PR firm, Hill and Knowlton.


By 1979, they even started funding top universities and hiring scientists. The reason for their actions is obvious. They didn’t want to lose out on profits.


Science is not certain, the author admits.


However, it is based on the culmination of the experts’ analysis.


“History shows us clearly that science does not provide certainty… It only provides the consensus of experts, based on the organized accumulation and scrutiny of evidence.”

Oreskes tells us that the ‘Bad Science Strategy’ is used to cast doubt on scientific consensus.


This Bad Science Strategy is like a vicious circle. This is how it works.


Write complaints in op-ed pieces and letters to the editor. Write articles in journals using your own ‘facts’. Then quote what you wrote as if it was legitimate.


“Nobody can publish an article in a scientific journal claiming the Sun orbits the Earth, and for the same reason, you can’t publish an article in a peer-reviewed journal claiming there’s no global warming.”

This is exactly the kind of approach that was adopted by the collusion of scientists and corporations who wanted to discredit the harmful effects of tobacco or DDT.


This book will show you the greed that hides behind public campaigns.



 

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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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