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10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Facts, emotions, and myths about the feminine

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)
Image: Shutterstock/ Edited in Photoshop By Author

The wise old man on the internet who tells you to clean up your room.

Despite your appreciation, you butt heads with him on his takes about politics and the way he tweets. The same kind of disagreements that you have with your dad.

I am referring to Jordan B Peterson.

Although his recent ‘Give ’em hell’ tweet has me floored, I still appreciate his knowledge and wisdom.

Here is a list of books suggested by him that you are bound to enjoy.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The key to improving this world is spending in the right areas.

This book offers a very interesting solution to all that plagues the world today.

It details the work done in the Copenhagen Consensus 2012 project.

In the project, more than 50 economists worked on around 40 investment proposals. Their work was presented to a panel of 5 top economists that included 4 Nobel Prize laureates.

The experts’ findings concluded that $75 billion will go a long way in reducing the issues that the world faces today. $75 billion is just a 15% increase from current global aid spending.

They identified 16 areas that are of the utmost importance.

The most interesting thing is that the first four are related to childhood health.

The first one is the need to combat malnutrition and the need to provide micronutrients to children. The second and third focus on treatment for malaria and childhood immunization. The fourth one is to deworm school-age children.

When kids are physically healthy, it leads to cognitive development. They stay longer in school and turn out to be well-rounded adults which in turn contribute to the economy.

I wonder though, how can these findings be practically applied.

Nevertheless, this book will teach you a lot.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Homo Sapiens have big brains — thanks to fire.

Wrangham argues that our evolution happened because we discovered fire.

When our ancestors started cooking food, it allowed them to chew less, and absorb more nutrients.

“I believe the transformative moment that gave rise to the genus Homo, one of the great transitions in the history of life, stemmed from the control of fire and the advent of cooked meals.”

This led to smaller guts and bigger brains.

Fire provided safety as well. It protected our ancestors from danger. As a result, they no longer had to sleep on trees and started living on the ground.

And that’s how we became the dominant species on Earth.

“Our small mouths, teeth, and guts fit well with the softness, high caloric density, low fiber content, and high digestibility of cooked food.”

Another interesting aspect of fire discovery and cooking is the sex-based division of labor. Males hunted which required time so the females cooked. Males also had to protect females if someone tried to steal food.

I found this analysis fascinating because we still see the provider-homemaker dynamics in men and women around us.

This book is a compelling take on mankind’s relation with one of its most important discoveries, fire.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Scientific arguments for God’s existence.

Despite my misgivings about organized religion, I’d still like to think there is someone up there.

Without belief in that entity, I feel lost.

This book is a perfect read for people like me.

Meyer tells us that the idea that religion and science are incompatible emerged at the start of the 19th century. Initially, the scientists were predominantly theists and saw no such contradiction.

“For Newton, as for Boyle and Descartes, there were laws of nature only because there had been a [Divine] Legislator.”

The author presents three arguments for the existence of a Divine.

  1. The Big Bang

  2. Fine-tuning of the universe

  3. Information in DNA

Who is that God?

Meyer discusses Pantheism, Deism, and Theism as possible solutions.

As the God that created the universe should transcend time and space he takes Pantheism off the table. The world, to Meyer, suggests that God still intervenes in its working, so Deism can’t be it.

“The laws of nature… reflected the past action of a divine creator who established the conditions necessary for orderly and regular natural processes, … laws of nature also depend upon the ongoing and sustaining activity of a divine legislator.”

Hence there is a God who created the world and runs it. (Theism)

To be honest, I am somewhere between Deism and Theism. The horrors in this world make me feel like God isn’t interfering. The miracles we see make me feel like He must still be at the wheel.

This book is a great exploration of Creationism and would serve those interested in religion and philosophy alike.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Can we find meaning in suffering?

This is a 1946 book written by Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl.

He recounts his experiences in concentration camps and how they shaped his approach to life.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In the face of evil and confinement, a person still has control over his behavior. I think this is the biggest takeaway from what Frankl writes.

The author tells us that we can survive the unthinkable if we become okay with dying. Among the prisoners who did well in concentration camps, there was a certain apathy to whatever was happening. Paradoxically, being okay with dying helps you live.

Frankl also tells us that to live, everyone needs meaning.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”

This meaning can vary across people and life’s moments. Frankl found meaning by thinking of his wife.

Frankl is a psychiatrist. He also developed logotherapy that focuses on the human desire to find meaning in life.

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked.”

This is a must-read for all those who love to reflect on life and its purpose.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

Under the right circumstances, you will become a killer.

1942 to 1943 was the most bloody time in World War 2.

The Jews faced mass killings at the hands of Nazis.

Reserve Police Battalion 101 (RPB 101) in Poland, was given the command to round up Jews and kill them or take them to concentration camps.

Most of the killed were women, children, and old. The able men were taken to camps.

“Controlling the manner in which people interpret their world is one way to control behavior…”

The members of the police force weren’t hardline Nazis. They faced a moral dilemma.

Still, most of them followed orders.


That is exactly what this book attempts to explain. A combination of factors such as obeying authority, and peer pressure, these men became ruthless killers.

As the author states, under the right circumstances, anyone can become a killer. But this doesn’t justify the wrong actions.

“Explaining is not excusing; understanding is not forgiving.”

We can explain and understand human behavior but we cannot take away responsibility from the perpetrators.

It’s a heartbreaking account but will leave you pondering about humans and their psyche.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

A doctor’s lament on the loss of culture.

Dalrymple is sad and perhaps angry at the loss of the cultural values of Britain.

This book is a compilation of 26 essays on various topics written by the author. He tackles topics like drug legislation, Muslim immigrants, and literature.

Dalrymple is a doctor which allows him to interact with people from a variety of backgrounds. Along with that, he has also worked in prison.

“In the psychotherapeutic worldview to which all good liberals subscribe, there is no evil, only victimhood.”

The evil he sees makes him angry, more so at the authorities. The liberal left allowed this to happen, he says.

One criticism that I would offer, without undermining his experiences, is that anecdotal experiences might not show the whole picture.

I agree with him though when he says:

“In my experience, devout Muslims expect and demand a freedom to criticize, often with perspicacity, the doctrines and customs of others, while demanding an exaggerated degree of respect and freedom from criticism for their own doctrines and customs.”

The puritanical approach to Islam as followed by devout Muslims is criticized by the likes of Khaled Abou El Fadhl, who is a Muslim scholar.

An enlightening read, for anyone from the West or the East.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

What does a vase have to do with femininity?

Of course, there is a book about archetypes.

The first time I heard the word ‘archetype’ was from Peterson. He is fascinated by the Jungian archetypes and routinely embeds them in his lectures.

This book is Erich Neumann’s attempt at explaining the Jungian archetype, the Great Mother.

“For [the Mother Goddess,] loving, dying, and being emasculated are the same thing.”

Neumann explores the feminine archetype across cultures, arts, religions, and mythologies. From Goddesses to the shape of a vessel, the feminine archetype is everywhere.

The female archetype is the vessel of life. Feminine body curves can be seen in the shape of a vase. The wider parts allude to hips and breasts.

Ennuman’s words remind me of Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code.’

“..the Great Round includes “positive and negative, male and female, elements of consciousness, elements hostile to consciousness, and uncosciousness elements”…”

Some, though, might feel that the author overgeneralizes. Nevertheless, it is still an intriguing compilation of what feminine means across the world and history.

This book is an interesting exploration. You are bound to enjoy it especially if you are into Carl Jung’s theories.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The world is becoming better, not worse.

Honestly, the data on world hunger, wars, and more gives me hope when news gets me down.

“You can’t fix what is wrong in the world if you don’t know what’s actually happening.”

The author uses hard facts, graphs, and charts to help us see that circumstances have gotten better and are becoming better.

The world is safer. More countries are democratic and global tree canopy has increased.

“The chance of a person dying in a natural catastrophe — earthquake, flood, drought, storm, wildfire, landslide, or epidemic — has declined by nearly 99 percent since the 1920s and 1930s”

Bad things still happen. We see them being reported. But the overall likelihood of such events has fallen significantly.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

It’ll help you spread hope the next time someone calls this world a dumpster fire.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

The scientific roots behind our tears and laughter.

‘Affective Neuroscience’ is a term coined by the author. This combines neuroscience and psychology. Before this, cognitive neuroscience only focused on psychology that excluded emotions and memory.

“Skepticism is certainly a beneficial tool … but at present it is too commonly an attitude, a well-cultivated academic pretense, that leads to the neglect of important problems.”

The author gives us deep knowledge of the brain and neural pathways that form the basis of emotions in all mammals.

This book has various chapters that explore emotions in a wide variety of scenarios. This includes sleep, rage, arousal, socializing, and play.

He argues that emotions are a combination of innate and learned tendencies. There is no credible way to separate nature from nurture.

This quote from the book is like music to my ears:

“When children play, they exercise their senses, their intellect, their emotions, their imagination — keenly and energetically.… To play is to explore, to discover and to experiment.”

When parents mention children playing negatively, it almost makes me furious. I mean, should they be solving advanced arithmetics?

This book will help you see emotions in a different light.

10 Eye-Opening Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson — Prepare to Be Blown Away (Like I Was)

A dying chimpanzee’s heartfelt goodbye.

Do animals have feelings?

I say yes.

Seems like not everyone agrees. Those are the ones that de Waal criticizes.

Anthropomorphism is the idea that we assign human attributes to other species. De Waal calls it denial.

“Emotions…are like organs. Each one of them is vital and we share them with all other mammals. What this boils down to is a reversal of the burden of proof.”

It can be seen in grief in elephants, pranking in chimpanzees, and tickling in rats.

The book starts by detailing a viral encounter between Mama, an old chimpanzee on the deathbed, and Dutch biologist Jan van Hooff. They had known each other for 40 years.

“We show our emotions, but we talk about our feelings.”

Mama’s behavior was emotional to watch.

De Waal has studied the chimpanzee colony at Burgers Zoo in the Netherlands. He had great appreciation for Mama who was the matriarch of the colony. He says “I had never sensed such wisdom and poise in any species other than my own.”

“…emotions are everywhere in the animal kingdom, from fish to birds to insects and even in brainy mollusks such as the octopus.”

If you are an animal lover, this book should be on your shelf.


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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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