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These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

Let the conflict enter your mind


These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

I wish the world was simple.


But it isn’t.


There are a variety of humans, circumstances, thoughts, and ideas. To be able to digest and understand this variety is a mark of someone with great wisdom.


You are never going to agree a hundred percent with every book. But each book teaches you something new.


Let’s have a look at these 10 polarizing books and find out the ideas they hold.



These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

Are we commanders or puppets?


In this book, the author makes a case against the existence of free will.


Just because we can choose to do something doesn’t mean we are doing it out of free will. Harris points towards various factors that determine our actions, where we were born, how we were raised, our emotions, and our personalities.


“You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm.”

The author determines that one can never be aware of all the factors determining a certain action, hence one is not free.


“Losing a belief in free will has not made me fatalistic — in fact, it has increased my feelings of freedom.”

Harris believes that by realizing free will doesn’t exist, we can have a more compassionate view of our fellow humans, even criminals. Maybe bad parents, bad genes, or bad experiences lie behind a person’s bad actions.


Harris admits that this doesn’t mean that we don’t need a criminal justice system.


Obviously, we do.


Just by realizing the true causes of actions, we can deal with such issues more effectively.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

Dumbing down of mankind.


This 1984 book laments the loss of thought in society.


The author blames commercial TV channels and shows. In contrast, he praises books and reading.


“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other.”

Reading makes one reflect and use his/her intellectual acumen. TV, however, just requires passive engagement.


I can’t help but agree with the author. Whatever he says makes sense to me.


Passive viewing dumbs us down. It leaves us unable to reflect and discuss.


“People will come to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think…”

I can’t help but wonder what Neil Postman would say, were he alive today. With eyes glued to phones, the socializing and intellectual discourse of humans has fallen even further.


“… reading is by its nature a serious business. It is also, of course, an essentially rational activity.”

This book draws attention to the need to revive the culture of reading and books instead of zombie-like TV viewing.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

Who is to be blamed for the generation of snowflakes?


To truly benefit from this book, you have to approach it with an open mind.


I find myself agreeing with the authors, way more than I disagree. But I understand everyone’s opinion will be different.


“Acknowledge where you agree with your critics and what you’ve learned from them.”

The authors make us realize that when parents want to keep their children ‘safe’ from every risk and threat, the children suffer. They grow up thinking that everything that hurts them will cause lasting damage.


In reality, failure and hurt make us stronger. It is necessary for the sound growth of a human.


“Human beings need physical and mental challenges and stressors or we deteriorate.”

What happens next?


The culture of ‘safetyism’ leads to college campus students who cannot bear to be challenged on ideological ideas. They protest and shut down speakers.


Whereas, knowledge cannot be learned without an open discourse.


This book provides the reasons for the intolerance that exists in America today.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

The concentration camps of the Soviet Union.


Gulag was a system of forced labor camps in the Soviet Union.


The author, a dissident of the Soviet Empire, writes about the inhumane conditions of the prisoners and the dismal penal system in the Soviet.


Solzhenitsyn wanted to get this book published in Russia first. But the KGB was hot on his heels. In 1973, this book was published first in Paris, France.


“At no time have governments been moralists.”

The writer himself was imprisoned in Gulag due to his comments against Stalin.


He describes the waves of arrests that happened in the 1920s and 1930s. The conditions in which prisoners were interrogated and then transported were horrific.


“Even a strong man had no way left him to fight the prison machine, except perhaps suicide. But is suicide really resistance? Isn’t it actually submission?”

The prisoners in the Gulag were used as cheap laborers for big infrastructure projects like roads. Many died due to overexertion and emaciation.


This book is based on three volumes and brings to light the plight of political prisoners in the Soviet Union.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

What joins the democratic and dictatorial leaders?


Those who come to power whether in democracy or leadership aim to keep themselves in power for as long as possible.


“Coming to office and staying in office are the most important things in politics.”

They do this by keeping the group of their supporters happy. This group of supporters can be a handful of military leadership as in the case of autocracies. Or this can be a larger group of people, as usually happens in democracy.


To keep the coalition happy, the leader needs a flow of money which usually comes from taxes.


“Democracies … attract survival-oriented leaders who understand that, given their dependence on many essentials, they can only come to and stay in power if they figure out the right basket of public goods to provide.”

The authors bluntly tell us the truth. Politics is never about public welfare.


But in the case of democracy, since leaders have to appease a large group of people, public welfare automatically becomes part of the equation.


The authors also discuss the steps that can be taken to make a switch from dictatorship to a democracy.


This book will enrich your political thinking.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

Without meaning, words are useless.


Approach this book with an open mind, and you’ll learn a lot.


“People who worry about microaggressions usually have never faced macroaggressions.”

Michael Knowles criticizes ‘political correctness’.


He makes the reader realize that the whole political correctness discourse rests on the vagueness of words. When it’s not clear what a word means, the party who uttered the words can shimmy its way out of any responsibility.


“There will never be a firm ‘wall of separation between church and state,’… because all laws invoke a moral order, and any moral order relies upon religious tenets.”

The author says that in the 1950s America canceled communism because of its barbarity. In today’s America anyone who says that a man is not a woman is canceled.


He criticizes right-wing leaders for being against ‘cancel culture’. Cancel culture has always existed, says the author. What matters is who is getting canceled and why.


This is a well-researched book that will stay with you long after you’ve read it.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

A new look at American current affairs.


The author of this book is known for his previous book ‘The Fourth Turning’ which came out in 1997. He wrote that with William Strauss.


Building on the idea of turning and saeculum as in the first book, the author elaborates on where America will be in the near future.


“One central purpose of this book is to make sense of these turnings by distilling them into a recognizable pattern.”

The ‘saeculum’ is a cycle of 100 years that repeats itself. Within each saeculum, there are four ‘turnings’ that describe the evolution of society and culture.


“The saeculum contributes to long-term progress only to the extent that it keeps society alive and adaptive. In this sense, its purpose resembles that of natural evolution…”

Earlier the authors predicted the crisis of the current saeculum to be around 2020. In this book, they tell us that America is in the 4th turning which is a crisis. The crisis is a time of upheaval and conflict.


But after this turning, a new saeculum will dawn. That will happen in the early 2030s.

The author’s view of periods in history might be a bit arbitrary but I find the proposition fascinating.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

We are all in debt.


Human society is built on the very concept of debt. You babysit your friend’s child. She owes you. She will return the favor by babysitting yours.


This is what the author opens our eyes to.


Debt doesn’t have to be financial. Many times it is social and moral.


“This is a great trap of the twentieth century…where we like to imagine we all start out as individuals who don’t owe each other anything.”

The author thinks that the formalization of debt through markets and governments is a form of state-sponsored violence.


The author relentlessly criticizes capitalism and suggests a way of everyday communism. He examines the communal living of people to elaborate.


“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 puts forth a new (or old) way of living and exchanging benefits. I wonder about the practicality of such an idea.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

The dos and don’ts of reaching the top.


This book will give you goosebumps.


When you read through this book, sometimes you’ll picture the author as a conniving villain. That’s because what this book says is a bit unnerving, especially when it teaches you how to manipulate people.


No wonder it is banned across many US prisons.


The book is divided into 48 laws that teach a person how to gain power and protect himself from other’s power as well.


“Re-create yourself by forging a new identity, one that commands attention and never bores the audience.”

If read with good intentions, I think this book can provide a toolkit to all of us. This toolkit can help us make sales, get a higher promotion, and improve our overall life.


For example Law 25 states, ‘Re-Create Yourself’. The author tells us not to accept the role that society has locked us in. Instead, he tells us to recreate ourselves.


I mean, this is inspiring, right?


“Many a serious thinker has been produced in prisons, where we have nothing to do but think.”

An interesting book that should be kept away from the wrong hands.




These 10 Red Books will Flip Your Worldview Upside Down

We are killing our planet.


Wake up! We cannot lose any more time.


Kolbert tells us that humans are reversing geological history by burning coal and oil.

The carbon from the earth is entering into the atmosphere.


We are also causing acidification of the oceans through acid rain, all thanks to CO2 emissions.


“If warming were held to a minimum, the team estimated that between 22 and 31 percent of the species would be “committed to extinction” by 2050.”

Because we are increasing the atmospheric temperature, the future of the many inhabitants of Earth seems grim.


The author tells us about the five mass extinction events that have happened in history.

She makes us realize that the culprit of the 6th one will be humans.


“We’re seeing right now that a mass extinction can be caused by human beings.”

This book indeed is a wake-up call for us to do better for Mother Earth and our fellow creatures.



 

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