Ever since I’ve found my love for reading again, I’ve been gobbling up knowledge by reading non-fiction. For some reason I always plough through non-fiction at a much faster pace than non-fiction. I think this is because I’m a real science nut and have less trouble reading about theories, than I have trying to visualize a story. Although the latter has been going better and better lately. Anyway, I digress. Non-fiction is one of my favourite genres of books, because I love learning, gaining new insights, and enriching my life with knowledge and wisdom. From philosophical works, to science books, to biographies, I love non-fiction! In this article I would like to recommend you three of my most beloved non-fiction reads, although I’m sure I’ll come with more recommendations over time. 😉
Factfulness: Ten Reason We’re Wrong about the World (and why things are better than you think) — Hans Rosling
Last year when I went to Ireland I picked this book up at the airport. I started reading it in the airplane and finished it in its entirety during the trip. What a wonderful and wholesome book this is! The book starts with a simple multiple choice questionnaire about various statistics regarding global issues. Even though I scored only slightly above average, I still was astonished to find out how wrong I was about several things. This book is all about how we tend to have a more negative view of the world than we really should have. Factulness tries to explain why we are wrong about these things and how we can condition ourselves to be more critical thinkers. We’re all just a bunch of biased messes and acknowledging this is half the start.
One of the analogies used in this book that really spoke to me was that you can compare the Earth to a baby in an incubator. Surely, there’s a whole lot wrong, but things are getting better. What made me quite sad about this book was that it was the life work of Hans Rosling and he wasn’t able to see his own book being released, because he died close before that. This book is his legacy and the team of people that continued his work are all awesome for giving us this wonderful, information packed book!
Why I recommend this book?
Well, it’s almost like a feel-good book, but it’s all based on facts and research! This book has really changed my world view to be less negative. The book also gives you a bunch of tools you can use to be more critical when you view news articles, or whenever someone makes bold claims about certain global subjects. Being able to give people some hope, or perspective whenever they’re feeling like the world is going to shit is a nice added bonus, too.
The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake — Steven Novella
Probably one of the greatest books I was ever given by someone! This was a gift from my girlfriend, although I think there may have been some points during my read through where she may have regretted giving it to me. According to her I was perhaps becoming a bit too skeptical. Having said that, I was blown away by this thicc bad boy! The book contains all the tools you need to become a true skeptic! From understanding how our brains often mislead us, to arming yourself against fake news, it’s all in this book. The first and by far largest part of the book is all about these different types of tools at your disposal. The last part of the book contains several examples of real life situations where one has to be well versed in the art of being a true skeptic, to counter, and even disarm people (verbally) who believe in things such as pseudoscience (like homeopathy), or flat earth theory.
Why I recommend this book?
If it wasn’t already clear from the rest of my text, this book can give you all the tools you need to become more skeptical. Skepticism may have a bit of a bad rep among people, but all it really is is critical thinking. It invites you to stop believing everything you hear, unless someone can back it up with irrefutable proof. Most of all it’s about science and the scientific method, which I think is one of the best things in life we have to move ourselves forward.
Letters from a Stoic — Seneca
I love philosophy. I never really knew I did, until a friend of mine recommend that I read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. It was a wonderful read and before I knew it, I had bought a whole slew of other books by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. Letters from a Stoic is a wonderful book containing, as you might have guessed, letters from Seneca. While it’s still unclear who the recipient of the letters was, it’s great that we can read them now. Even in this day and age they are filled with wisdom that is still applicable to some degree to our lives. I really love the stoic stance in life, and try to live my life in a somewhat stoic way.
Why I recommend this book?
Seneca was someone who seemed to have his shit together, but he was also very well aware that he was a mortal. The stoic approach to life is great in many ways and can really help you to not care so much about what others think of you, and just do what you think you should be doing. It’s all about knowing that you cannot influence anything outside your own body and mind, so you should find peace knowing this is an impossibility. There’s a lot of great advice in the book, and seeing as they’re letters you can just read one or two every day and finish the book at a nice, leisurely pace.
I hope you liked my recommendations! It was fun putting this small list together and I’m sure more will follow! If you’re ever looking for more book tips, or if you have some for me, please let me know!