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These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Learn fascinating things about humans and plants

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

What makes a great book?

A great book not only teaches you things but also leaves new possibilities open. It provides you with a sense of awe and wonder, which is good for your physical and emotional health.

Today’s booklist is here to do just that.

Let’s go!

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Advice from the ancients.

This book was published in 1997. It became a bestseller after Oprah Winfrey endorsed it on her show.

Over six chapters, the author discusses spiritual wisdom from the Toltec civilization. The Toltec culture was prominent in the area of Tula, Mexico from 950 to 1150 CE.

The book aims for the reader to discover happiness and freedom.

“Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.”

The author discusses 4 agreements. They are:

  1. Be impeccable with your words.

  2. Don’t take anything personally.

  3. Don’t make assumptions.

  4. Always do your best.

In describing these rules for life, the author gives us a lot to reflect on. For example: in the 4th disagreement, he also tells us to accept ourselves as we are alongside working to the best of our ability.

“We judge others according to our image of perfection as well, and naturally they fall short of our expectations.”

Regardless of where you are in life, this book has something beneficial to offer to everyone.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Let’s explore the wonders of the human body.

Bill Bryson has written an amazing book that shares countless awe-inspiring facts about the human body.

If you are anything like me, you will get lost in this book.

The author covers everything. Human body parts, their functions, and fascinating studies.

Did you know that cancer cells are formed in our body every day?

“Every day, it has been estimated, between one and five of your cells turn cancerous, and your immune system captures and kills them.”

Citing a study from 2016, Bryson tells us how the kindness of doctors leads to better outcomes for their patients.

The book sheds light on the function of our most important organ, the brain. The writer tells how sleep helps our brain clear out waste. And while it’s doing that, our neurons fire randomly, making us dream.

“Dreaming may simply be a by-product of this nightly cerebral housecleaning.”

Another interesting fact from the book is that each of our organs has its own clock. This is how different hormones are released at different times of the day.

“We have body clocks not just in the brain but all over …. and these operate to their own timetables, dictating when hormones are released or organs are busiest or most relaxed.”

A mind-blowing book which I’d recommend to all anatomy lovers. Yup, this book will make you get up and dance. (while marveling about your body.)

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Get to know the science of trauma.

The author teaches us everything there is to know about trauma.

Kolk tells us that trauma affects a person’s ability to think and form perceptions. Even long after the event is gone, the body remains in a state of alertness.

“We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body.”

What is the solution?

While Kolk discusses many treatments for trauma and the relatively new ones as well, he focuses on one important thing.

Trauma victims have to befriend the sensations in their bodies.

“Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

The writer is a psychiatric doctor himself. He asks his patients to note and describe the feelings in their bodies. The aim is to teach people the skills to understand and manage their feelings.

This is a very comprehensive book that informs the reader about trauma, its effects, and its treatment.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

The ups and downs of the plant-human relationship.

Michael Pollan does a great job of bringing human desire and plant evolution together. He discusses 4 different plants and how they relate to human longings.

  1. Apple — Sweetness

  2. Tulip — Beauty

  3. Marijuana — Intoxication

  4. Potato — Control

There is a certain desire for sweetness in humans.

Sweetness stands as a metaphor for perfection. People used to call the best land, sweet. We also use terms like sweetheart and sweetie to describe the people we love.

Sugar wasn’t common in the eighteenth century. Before sugar was cheap, apples provided the required sweetness for the American people.

“Sweetness is a desire that starts on the tongue with the sense of taste but doesn’t end there.”

Pollan discusses the tulip flower, its symmetry, and its rise to popularity in Holland.

The author tells us a very interesting fact. Did you know that indifference to flowers is regarded as a symptom of clinical depression?

“It is possible to be indifferent to flowers — possible but not very likely.”

Because of human desire, we have genetically altered these plants to our liking. In doing so, we have also reduced the diversity that was originally available.

Pollan warns us that if we don’t plant a variety of seeds, a single pest can eliminate all the crops as happened to the potatoes in Ireland.

This book sheds a unique light on the human-plant relationship which you are sure to enjoy.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Science can be hilarious if you pick up the right book.

Care for some fiction? This book is here to be your guilty pleasure.

This book is a science-comedy novel. This is the first one in the series written by the author.

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

This book explores the adventure of a human named Arthur Dent and his alien friend, Ford Perfect.

The novel is named after the name of the guide that Ford gives to Arthur.

Spoiler Alert!

Vogons destroy the earth while Arthur and Ford escape. They hitch rides and get thrown into a ‘total vacuum of space’. They also meet the President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and his girlfriend.

Through fictional characters, the book makes fun of many aspects of human life like bureaucracy, religion, etc.

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is.”

If you want to travel in space, this book will take you there.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

Adler is here to give you the key to happiness.

Alfred Adler is one of the greatest psychology scholars of the 20th century.

In this book, the authors share the Adlerian theory with the world in the form of a dialogue between a young person and an old philosopher.

Instead of terminologies and definitions, the dialogue makes it easy to follow the ideas and their application.

“Adlerian psychology is a psychology of courage. Your unhappiness cannot be blamed on your past or your environment.”

Today’s world focuses on blaming others. ‘They offended/triggered me’.

This book however focuses on directing all responsibility inward. We all need to hear that at different times in our lives. That is so we can pick ourselves up, instead of going deeper in our downward spiral.

“A lot of people think that the more friends you have the better, but I’m not so sure about that. There’s no value at all in the number of friends or acquaintances you have”

There is a lot of beneficial advice in this book that can be applied in day-to-day life.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

We need to start respecting nature before we lose it.

This is the story of a botanist who explores her indigenous roots and their connection to nature.

The author is a botanist. She is from the Potawatomi tribe. She brings us the Native American way of respecting nature.

“We need acts of restoration, not only for polluted waters and degraded lands, but also for our relationship to the world.”

In times of climate change, there is a lot that traditional cultures can teach us.

The author also learns her traditional language. She claims that Potawatomi grammar refers to many of the things in nature as living things. This helps people be mindful of how they are treating their surroundings.

“Language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world.”

Kimmerer tells us to be grateful and reciprocate the gifts that Mother Nature offers us.

This is the way of her tribe. For example, planting the seeds again after eating the fruit.

This book is an emotional and intimate look at humans and their treatment of nature.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

What are we if not for our minds?

Oliver Sacks is a British neurologist.

He discusses his clinical cases in this book which was published in 1985.

“To live on a day-to-day basis is insufficient for human beings … We need hope, the sense of a future.”

He acquaints us with his patients who are suffering from disorders of the mind. He shares how some of them have found workarounds to function in daily life.

“Speech is part of thought.”

The name of the book is taken from the case study of a man who was suffering from visual agnosia. It left him unable to recognize faces and shapes. He used to grab at his wife’s face thinking it was his hat.

“Music, uniquely among the arts, is both completely abstract and profoundly emotional.”

Sacks shows a deep understanding of neurology and medical theories. He also poses philosophical questions about humans and life to the reader.

This is an interesting book. Although some terminologies are tough, the book is overall accessible to readers of all backgrounds.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

He was about to die so he wrote a book.

Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Faced with his own mortality, he started writing his memoir.

Paul and his wife also became parents after his diagnosis.

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.”

This book is the story of a remarkable young man. You see his journey from doctor to patient unfold as he comes to grips with his new reality.

“Doctors, it turns out, need hope, too.”

He reflects on his life starting from his childhood. Throughout the book, there are philosophical thoughts and literary prose which tell us about Paul’s wide-ranging interests.

“Death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”

Sadly, the author died before the book was published. The foreword is written by his wife Lucy Kalanithi.

These Books are So Great — They Will Make You Do a Happy Dance

From the mountains of Idaho to a college campus in England, an unlikely journey.

This story will tug at your heartstrings.

Most of us might not understand the childhood experience of those who grew up isolated or under radical parents.

Tara Westover was born into a family of Mormon survivalists. They believed the end of time was near and were skeptical of hospitals, schools, and the government.

“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you…”

Seeing her brother Tyler study, Tara took the same path. She worked hard by herself and got a scholarship.

She told the college authorities that she was homeschooled. Her first year of formal education was tough but she adjusted.

“Not knowing for certain, but refusing to give way to those who claim certainty, was a privilege I had never allowed myself.”

Tara tells us about the evolution of her relationship with her family and how it might break off completely.

This book is a fascinating look into the childhood of people who were brought up with an extreme view of the world.


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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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