My holiday reading list is back this year with new titles that I have personally found to be tremendously insightful.
Sapiens – A brief history of humankind (2014) by Yuval Harari
Sapiens takes the top spot. Harari discusses the development of human societies since the birth of our species and its many transitions: hunter-gatherer life, agriculture, industrialisation, religion, scientific exploration, technology and capitalism. This book is so important because the themes and insights that Harari draws out have dramatic implications for the future of our species. And, for how we might each find contentment in our own lives. Harari is a brilliant thinker and an engaging writer – Sapiens is a real tour-de-force.
Homo Deus – A brief history of tomorrow (2016) by Yuval Harari
Homo Deus is the sequel to Sapiens and I fear that I might be beginning to portray Harari more like a writer of thrillers rather than a historian. But, it’s fair to say that he his both! Building on the insights in Sapiens, Harari cautions against where we might be heading as a species, as we embrace artificial intelligence and rapid technological advancement. He shows how the very basis of modern societies, humanism and democracy may be at risk. Harari is truly one of the most important thinkers of our generation.
Thinking Fast and Slow (2011) by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow makes the list once again this year. Kahneman discusses his life’s work into cognitive biases and psychological tendencies. Tendencies that affect every aspect of our lives, from what we like and dislike to how we vote and manage our finances. Thinking fast and slow is a must read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the mind.
The Presence of the Past – Morphic resonance and the habits of nature (2009) by Rupert Sheldrake
Biologist Rupert Sheldrake talks through some of the mysteries of nature and the limits of our current scientific understanding. He discusses the idea that nature has a memory (morphic resonance) and how it might explain some of the anomalies that cannot be accounted for at a genetic and molecular level. Admittedly dense and a bit technical, this book is a must read for anyone seeking to understand more deeply the functioning of mind and its biological context.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas, and peace and contentment in 2018!
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