I heart books – how they smell: a musty mix of mold and dust, leather, ink. Next to sleep, they are the easiest way to lose track of time and location. I’ve definitely missed metro stops with my nose in a book and stayed up all night to read “just one more chapter.” But I’m not opposed to e-books; I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy on my Android.
Books can be powerful and life-altering; they can also be plain crap or lighthearted fluff. For example, I enjoy Dirk Pitt novels and admit to reading the Twighlight series — neither of which will ever win a Pulitzer. In the spirit of appreciating book recommendations from friends, I thought I’d pass this list of suggestions along.
A Reddit.com user posed the question to Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?” Below, you will find the book list offered up by the astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, and popularizer of science. Where possible, they have included links to free versions of the books.
“The one-line comment after each book is not a review but a statement about how the book’s content influenced the behavior of people who shaped the western world. So, for example, it does no good to say what the Bible “really” meant, if its actual influence on human behavior is something else.” -NDTyson
1.) The Bible (eBook) – “to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”
2.) The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”
Tyson concludes by saying: “If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”
This piece is courtesy of Open Culture.