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These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)
Pexel Photo by Radu Florin

Imagine you open the usual bestseller book when a thought crosses your mind.

“Is this book actually changing how I think?”

Listen, we’ve all been in the cozy clutches of a good story.

But how often do these reads shake our cerebral core?

Enter this list of seven game-changing books. Not your grandma’s book club, folks. This is for those who want to flex those mental muscles.

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

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

When Common Sense Fails Us

Let’s talk about common sense. We all think we have it, right?

But Duncan J. Watts flips that idea on its head in “Everything is Obvious.” He says what we call “common sense” often leads us down the wrong path.

Take a business decision I had to make. Looked like a no-brainer to me. Then I read this book.

Watts showed me how my “easy” decision had lots of hidden twists and turns. Market trends, what my team thinks, how people see my brand — all these things matter.

And guess what? My “common sense” wasn’t thinking about any of that.

But Watts doesn’t just tell you what’s wrong. He gives you new tools to think better. He uses cool ideas from sociology and network science to help you see things in a new way. So, the next time you think, “I got this, it’s common sense,” pause.

This book will teach you that your gut feeling might not be as smart as you think. You’ll start questioning your ‘obvious’ choices, and that’s a good thing. It’ll make you a better problem solver, no doubt.

On Amazon

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

The World Isn’t Falling Apart, You’re Just Not Counting Right

Bad news loves company. Everywhere you look, it seems like the world is going to pot. But hold on a second.

“Factfulness” by Hans Rosling and his equally brilliant kin, Ola and Anna, give you a reality check. They tell you the world isn’t as bad as you think.

Remember when I thought my company was hitting a slump? Sales down, employees stressed, you name it.

But then, “Factfulness” slapped me out of that doom and gloom. Rosling and Co. say, “Hey, look at the data, not just the headlines!”

So I did. I pulled up every metric, every spreadsheet I could get my hands on. And would you believe it?

Things weren’t as bad as they seemed. Sure, we had challenges, but the data also showed untapped opportunities and areas of growth I was blind to.

The Roslings use global stats like life expectancy, income, and disease rates to show you the bigger picture. They teach you to think like a fact-checker, not an alarmist. It’s not about ignoring problems; it’s about understanding them better.

By the time you’re done with “Factfulness,” you’ll be that person in the room who says, “Actually, let’s look at the data first.”

And let me tell you, it’s a game-changing way to tackle problems, whether you’re running a company or just trying to make sense of the world.

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

Your Brain Has Two Speeds, So Choose Wisely

If you think you’ve got decision-making all figured out, Daniel Kahneman is here to say, “Not so fast…or slow.”

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” it’s like having a personal brain trainer. You learn you’ve got two thinking modes: one’s quick and instinctive, the other’s deliberate and careful.

I was a guy who wore his ‘gut instincts’ like a badge of honor. “I just know this is the right move,” I’d say.

Then Kahneman’s book strolled into my life and made me realize I wasn’t the smart cookie I thought I was. Turns out, my fast thinking was skipping over a lot of important details.

Now, when I face a big decision, I pause.

Kahneman taught me that. Is this a fast-think or a slow-think moment?

Do I need to go with my gut, or should I pull out a pros and cons list?

It’s like having a mental gearbox, and now I know when to shift.

Kahneman uses real-world examples and experiments to show you how both fast and slow thinking serve a purpose. The quick, emotional system is great for instinctive moves. But the slow, logical system helps you when things get complex.

Read this book, and you won’t just make decisions — you’ll understand why you’re making them. You’ll be more aware, more deliberate.

Whether you’re hiring an employee, investing in stock, or even just picking a place for dinner, you’ll start using the right kind of thinking for the job. And that is how you level up your decision-making game.

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

Buckle Up, We’re Going Way Back — And Forward

If you think history is a dull parade of names and dates, Yuval Noah Harari will turn that notion on its head.

His book “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” is an exhilarating journey. It’s like a rollercoaster ride, propelling you from the Stone Age to your smartphone.

Sure, we all know humans are special.

But why?

Is it because we can text and chimps can’t?

Harari pushes you past the easy answers. It’s not just our thumbs or our brains — it’s also about the stories we tell, the myths we believe, and the systems we build. These things have ignited cultural, economic, and social revolutions that make us who we are today.

This book got under my skin in the best way. It made me think about my place in this vast timeline.

Am I just a cog in the machine, or can I be a spark for change?

Harari helps you realize you’re part of something much larger, a truly humbling and empowering perspective.

So, if you pick up “Sapiens,” get ready for a wild ride. You’ll hop from hunter-gatherers to empires, from money to politics, and from science to what the future might hold.

It’s not just a history book; it’s a book that makes you question what you know about history — and yourself. By the time you close that last page, trust me, you won’t look at the world — or your role in it — the same way again.

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

The Stuff You Don’t See Coming

Nassim Taleb is one smart cookie. He wrote “The Black Swan” to tell us about super-rare events. You know, the ones that come out of nowhere and turn your world upside down.

So, what’s a Black Swan?

It’s that rare event you never saw coming like a pandemic. Read this book before 2020, and you’ll have felt like a prophet. But even now, it’s like a survival manual for the unknown.

I thought I was good at risk assessment. Then Taleb showed up. He says it’s not just about the risks, you know. It’s about the ones you don’t even think about. The game-changers. The Black Swans.

After reading this, you’ll see risk differently. You won’t just plan for what you know. You’ll also make room for what you can’t imagine.

That shift? It takes your risk game to a whole new level. No joke, this book makes you a risk boss.

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

Why Your Phone Owns You and How to Take Back Control

Ever lose track of time because of your phone?

Yeah, we’ve all been there. Adam Alter’s “Irresistible” digs into why our gadgets are so darn addictive. It’s not by accident; it’s by design.

You’d think the folks who make these gadgets would be proud.

But guess what?

Some tech bigwigs don’t even let their own kids use the stuff they make. That’s a wake-up call if I’ve ever heard one.

When I read this book, it hit me hard. I thought about my daily routine. Email, social media, repeat. Was I in control? Nope. So, I started a digital detox. Less screen, more life. Alter gives you the science but also the solution. He helps you see the hooks and how to dodge them.

This book is a game-changer if you want to take back your time and attention. Don’t just read it — use it. Your future self will thank you.

These 7 Books Will Make Your Brain Do Cartwheels (No, I'm Not Kidding)

Why Your Brain Lies to You and How to Outsmart It

So, you fancy yourself a logical person?

David McRaney’s “You Are Not So Smart” might just burst your bubble. The book reads like a montage of moments when you thought you were clever, but you were actually outsmarted by your own brain.

Take the “sunk cost fallacy,” for example.

Have you ever stuck with a bad movie because you paid for the ticket?

Or did you hold onto a lousy stock because you didn’t want to admit defeat?

McRaney shows you how your brain tricks you into making bad calls.

This book was a kick in the pants for me. I looked at my life and thought, “What am I clinging to that I should let go?” It was like a personal audit of my choices and habits. Some of them needed to go pronto.

Don’t let the book’s blog-post style fool you. It’s packed with insights backed by psychology. McRaney isn’t just pointing out your flaws; he’s giving you a roadmap to be better.

Reading “You Are Not So Smart” is like having a candid chat with your brain. You learn its tricks, its flaws, and how to make it work better for you. Trust me, by the end, you’ll be smarter about not being so smart.

Mic Drop Moment

Mic drop, folks. These seven books? They’re not just page-turners; they’re mind-benders. They’re like that jolt you get from a triple-shot espresso but for your brain.

If you want to shake up how you see the world, these are your go-to guides. They don’t just make you question things; they make you question everything. And in a world that’s always changing, that’s a skill worth having.

So grab one, or all seven, and get ready for a mental workout. You won’t just be passing the time; you’ll be upgrading your mind. And who doesn’t want that?


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