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These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

Learn about the human mind, body, death, and living forever through books

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

It’s time to get hooked!

All of these books will take you somewhere you have never been before. Whether it is with Anne Frank in her secret annex or the cancer cells of the body.

Such a journey is electrifying.

We cannot live everyone’s life in this world. But we can read their books.

Here is a solid collection that you are sure to love.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

It’s time to overcome hatred and divides.

Are our beliefs rational?

No, says Haidt. Using research, the author tells us that humans adopt beliefs intuitively and then reason serves those intuitions.

“We are selfish primates who long to be part of something larger and nobler than ourselves.”

Haidt determines the 6 foundations of morality. He applies them to various groups like conservatives and liberals and attempts to bridge the divides.

The goal of the author is simple. To make us see the reality of our supposed arguments and logic. He also wants us to give full consideration to those who think differently than us.

“We are all stuck here for a while so let’s try to work it out.”

Humans are more group-oriented than selfish, Haidt says.

This book is a fascinating look into human morals and a call for us to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

The science and history of cancer.

Mukherjee takes us along a historical ride, as he starts from the identification of cancer 4600 years ago. He also shares his experience as an oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to the author, this book is in reply to a patient who said, “I’m willing to go on fighting, but I need to know what it is that I’m battling.”

“Down to their innate molecular core, cancer cells are hyperactive, survival-endowed, scrappy, fecund, inventive copies of ourselves.”

The author tells us about the types of cancers and how cancer cells work.

He laments the widespread use of cigarettes in America.

“It remains an astonishing, disturbing fact that in America … one of the most potent and common carcinogens known to humans can be freely bought and sold at every corner store for a few dollars.”

Mukherjee’s writing influence can also be recognized by the fact that this book won various awards in 2010 and 2011.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

A mortician’s journey of accepting death.

Doughty runs a YouTube channel called ‘Ask a Mortician’. She has worked in the funeral industry for a long time and advocates death positivity.

“Death might appear to destroy the meaning in our lives, but in fact, it is the very source of our creativity.”

Doughty takes us behind the scenes of her work as a mortician. She tells us about the various corpses she has worked on, the lonely deaths that no one attends, and her journey of accepting death.

The author discusses various cultural approaches to death and funerals. She believes that North American culture focuses on denial and avoidance.

“A culture that denies death is a barrier to achieving a good death.”

Cultural differences aside, you can form your own thought process about death.

The author tells us about the Buddhist view on thoughts. They are like drops of water.

With continuous reinforcement, a new path of neurons is formed in the brain.

This book brings the reader face to face with one of the ultimate realities of life. D


These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

Who burned down the Los Angeles Central Public Library?

This book tells the story of the Los Angeles Central Public Library which burned down in 1986. This led to the library being closed for almost 7 years.

“Destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never lived.”

Investigators suspected arson but nothing has been proven. The writer explores the life of the main suspect of arson, a wanna-be actor, Harry Peak.

She discusses the damage done and the ‘Save the Books’ campaign launched in the wake of the fire.

“I have come to believe that books have souls — why else would I be so reluctant to throw one away?”

The writer also discusses the history of library fires and how they have been used to erase cultures.

This book is both a look at a sad reality and a poetic homage to the importance of books and libraries.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

No, you don’t have to stay busy all the time.

The solitude is evaporating from our lives.

Thanks to technological advancement and the hustle culture, we are losing out on calm and peace. The gig economy never lets us disconnect, says the author.

I feel the same. I can’t say I have done something big but honestly, keeping my phone on silent and limiting my social media apps has done wonders for my focus and family life.

“I suggest that we reimagine #FOMO as #NOMO — the necessity of missing out.”

Odell doesn’t tell us to cut ourselves from society entirely. She tells us to engage with local people and nature spaces.

The author’s message is to disengage and put our attention on what’s right in front of us.

“Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram act like dams that capitalize on our natural interest in others and an ageless need for community, hijacking and frustrating our most innate desires, and profiting from them.”

This book is a call for us to miss out on fluff to focus on what’s important.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

The mind and money, understand the interaction.

This book will help you renovate your understanding of money.

Trust me, after reading this book you will be a changed person.

“Luck and risk are siblings. They are both the reality that every outcome in life is guided by forces other than individual effort.”

Housel tells us the role of chance and luck in monetary success. Ironically, this puts the reader at ease. It tells us to not take failures personally.

The author also warns us of greed. If we don’t stop, we might lose what we have.

“The hardest financial skill is getting the goalpost to stop moving.”

He also differentiates between being rich and wealthy. Being rich is obvious like fancy cars and clothes. Being wealthy is invisible. Wealth allows you to get something at a future date.

Once you pick up this book, you’ll learn all about your emotional biases, the role of your experiences, and the importance of compounding when it comes to money.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

The climb to character.

Brooks is a cultural commentator. He laments the loss of character in society.

What is character?

Living life for others instead of only focusing on individual pursuits.

“…good character is a by-product of giving yourself away.”

The author gives us a metaphor of two mountains. The first one is about achieving materialistic success. It involves our ego.

The second one is about forming connections with others and experiencing moral joy.

According to Brooks, the craving to climb the second mountain comes as a result of experience and wisdom.

The issue with Western society in the eyes of the author is the extensive focus on the first mountain. It leads to the breakdown of society.

“On the first mountain you tend to be ambitious, strategic, and independent. On the second mountain you tend to be relational, intimate, and relentless.”

This book looks at the importance of building character through a socio-cultural and philosophical lens.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

How does democracy really work?

You might not be voting for the reasons you think.

‘Folk theory’ of democracy presents the idea that on average, politicians present the thoughts of their supporters.

The authors challenge this idea. They bring forth data to support their claims.

The average voter is not informed enough about the policies, politics, or the economic environment. People are even misinformed about their personal economic well-being.

“The problem is not that voters are necessarily irrational, but that most voters have very little real information, even about crucially important aspects of national political life.”

What is the basis of votes being cast?

Group identities.

Whether they are based on religion, gender, caste, or others, group identities influence the decision of an average voter.

The authors also discuss the role of the elite and other interest groups. They impress the need for extensive research on these factors as they are the ones driving the vehicle of democracy.

This book is insightful and will make you think long and hard.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

Dreams cut short, a life taken by war.

‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ is quite literally a ‘diary’ written by a ‘girl’.

But this girl’s life was different from the childhood you and I spent. Being Jewish, she and her family were hiding in the Netherlands from the Nazis.

In 1942, Anne got a diary as a gift for her 13th birthday. A few days later, they had to go into hiding.

“I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want!”

Her diary details her school, her crushes, her struggles of living a hidden life, and her search for one ‘true friend’ with whom she would be able to share everything.

Anne dreamed of being something more than a housewife. She wanted to be a journalist.

“I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to!”

Sadly, Anne died while in a concentration camp presumably from a viral illness.

Otto Frank, father of Anne, published her diary after he was freed in 1944. He was the only surviving member of the family.

These Books are So Good, You Won’t Put Them Down

The shell that holds us.

In most religious beliefs the soul is separate from the body it is in.

When we die, our soul flies but our body remains. What happens to that body? How can it be used in crash tests and scientific research? How do we decompose?

Mary Roach is a science author who aims to answer these questions and much more in her book.

“We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.”

Roach thinks that people who make elaborate requests regarding their remains are those who are not at peace with the idea of not existing. They refuse to accept that they will not be able to be in control.

She also touches on the subject of organ donation. She tells us about H, whose organs saved 3 lives.

That kind of life-saving can’t be done when alive.

“H has no heart but heartless is the last thing you’d call her.”

While some find the subject matter and discussion of corpses macabre, I think it is fascinating to learn about our inevitable future.

We all have to die one day.


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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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