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These Books will Upend Your Worldview

Embrace the ideological shift

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

You’ll never be the same again.

That’s the thing about knowledge. It leaves you different from how it found you.

Humans are drawn to what’s familiar and comforting. That gives us tunnel vision. We only see what we want to see.

The following books will make you see the world in a new light. It won’t be easy. Your mind will resist. But it’s better than living in a tunnel.

Let’s have a look at these books that can make your view turn upside down.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

Humans, the source of all evil.

British philosopher John Gray’s book will make you feel bad for being human.

While we know that we are the cause of carbon emissions and climate change, Gray takes it further. He likens mankind to cancer and the plague.

Okay, Gray. A bit too harsh buddy.

Maybe harshness is all we need. So we can correct our ways.

The book is divided into various essays which discuss Gray’s thoughts.

“Humans think they are free, conscious beings, when in truth they are deluded animals.”

He tells us that humanism is the issue. Humans think they are something more than animals. But they are not. They are just another product of Darwinian evolution


He also concludes that humanism has descended from the Christian faith. Humanists believe in the progress of mankind just like Christians believe in salvation for all.

Gray has no faith in human advancements or their rationality.

“It is a strange fancy to suppose that science can bring reason to an irrational world, when all it can ever do is give another twist to a normal madness.”

Even if you don’t share the author’s level of pessimism, this book will blow the rose-colored glasses off your face.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

The mystery behind the human takeover of the world.

Ah! Finally, my kind of book.

Despite the global temperature rising and humans killing each other, I refuse to believe that we are doomed.

There is good to be found everywhere. Matt Ridley makes the same observation.

“Random violence makes the news precisely because it is so rare, routine kindness does not make the news precisely because it is so commonplace.”

Ridley puts forth an argument that trade is a natural result of human biology. He starts from the historical records of trade, tracing it to the modern capitalist global economy.

Ridley points out that animals do not indulge in the exchange of goods like humans.

Nor did our ancestors, Homo erectus. This led to their downfall.

The writer also discusses the exchange that took place between a male and a female in hunter-gatherer communities.

Men were hunters and brought home protein. Women and children gathered, bringing home carbs. And the combination of the two provided a well-balanced meal for both.

“It is my proposition that the human race has become a collective problem-solving machine and it solves problems by changing its ways.”

The writer believes in the problem-solving skills of humans. I mean, we did reverse the ozone layer hole.

This is a hopeful book, filled with amazing insights.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

Too much positivity is bad for us.

Byung-Chul Han is a Korean philosopher. In this book, he discusses the negative effects of neoliberalism on humans.

The writer tells us that today there are no limits or negatives. Due to an excess of positivity, humans think they can achieve anything. This in turn puts extreme pressure on an individual to perform his best.

Contrary to common belief, such an unbalanced environment does not give rise to happiness. We are unhappy and stressed out.

Han blames the modern lifestyle for the spread of ailments like ADHD and depression.

“From a pathological standpoint, the incipient twenty-first century is determined neither by bacteria nor by viruses, but by neurons.”

Society is suffering from burnout.

To solve this issue, a major cultural and economic shift is needed.

We need to build a society where we are not obsessed with 24/7 productivity. The human mind needs time to contemplate and reflect.

Today’s culture does not allow that.

If you think boredom is a bad thing, think again!

“If sleep represents the high point of bodily relaxation, deep boredom is the peak of mental relaxation.”

Seeing the state of the world today, I find myself agreeing with the author’s analysis.

Han’s words will make you think. Perhaps, they will make you kick your smartphone addiction to the curb.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

Forget resilient, become antifragile.

Helicopter parents are my pet peeve.

Recently, watching the newly released ‘Leo’ on Netflix, I saw the literal interpretation of helicopter parents.

There is a kid who is followed around with a drone, ALL THE FREAKING time.

I mean, it was only a movie. But such parents exist. ‘Don’t touch the mud’, ‘don’t climb the monkey bar.’

I mean what do you want your kids to do instead?

These parents are not doing right by the kids. By protecting their kids too much, they are hindering the kids’ development.

“This is the tragedy of modernity: as with neurotically overprotective parents, those trying to help are often hurting us the most.”

This is exactly what Taleb wants us to think of.

You have to experience the negative to grow stronger. This is ‘antifragility’.

The immune system develops when exposed to pathogens. Working out is stressful, but it makes our muscles grow stronger.

The writer wants individuals, institutions, and society to become antifragile.

“Remember that food would not have a taste if it weren’t for hunger; results are meaningless without effort, joy without sadness, convictions without uncertainty, and an ethical life isn’t so when stripped of personal risks.”

I find Taleb’s proposal enticing.

Hence, I recommend this book to everyone. Especially those who are sick of over-protectiveness.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

Don’t fall for these fallacies.

Thomas Sowell is an economist and author.

He has written a much-needed book that challenges some of the widely held economic views.

If you are someone who believes in government intervention, you might find the author’s analysis a bit outrageous.

As I said, challenging the views that we hold isn’t easy. But it is worth it.

“Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true. But many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly — and repetition has been accepted as a substitute for evidence.”

Sowell invites us to think about whether the widely held truths are considered true because they are true. Or they are repeated so much that we have just accepted them as true.

The author discusses various fallacies. For example, the zero-sum fallacy, the fallacy of composition, and the chess-piece fallacy.

The zero-sum view states that for everyone who gains something positive, there is someone who is at a loss.

“…many once-poor places like Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore achieved prosperity through freer international trade and investment…”

Such a view assumes that poor countries are at a loss when they trade with richer countries. The book counters this view. Some countries pulled themselves out of poverty, thanks to free trade.

Another example is rent control. The belief is that since the landlord is benefiting financially from it, the renter is at a loss.

However, too much government intervention means the landlords will stop renting. This will cause problems for those looking for a rental place.

The view presented by Thomas Sowell is fascinating. One that everyone should give some thought to.

These Books will Upend Your Worldview

The widening gap between decision-makers and consequence-sufferers.

Thomas Sowell has served as an economist in government, corporations, and academics. This makes him uniquely skilled at approaching issues from a wide variety of angles.

This book of his won the Law and Economics Center Prize in 1980.

Sowell compares and contrasts how decisions are made in government and the markets. He discusses the different regulation processes and their effects.

In a market, consumers and producers communicate to set the price. Government intervention disrupts that process.

“The government is indeed an institution, but “the market” is nothing more than an option for each individual to chose among numerous existing institutions, or to fashion new arrangements suited to his own situation and taste.”

He calls into question the role of government agencies. Agencies like NIH (National Institute of Health) and EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency).

They pass more laws than Congress despite not being democratically elected.

There is an increased disparity between the people who make regulations (decisions) and those who suffer the consequences. (knowledge)

“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”

I’m not gonna lie, this book is a dense read. But it is a good one.

It will give you an inside view of how government, society, and market forces interact with each other.


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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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