As the 2019 started out, and with a personal desire to continue satisfying my natural curiosity, I posted on social media inviting others to provide their ideas for “brain-food books.” We got over 80 submissions, and as promised, the results are below:
Interestingly, the vast majority of the suggestions were non-fiction:
Secondly, I was surprised by the long tail of the suggestions with only 11 of the 65 book suggestions receiving more than one vote!
Yuval Noah Harari was the most suggested author with seven different submissions across his various books with Sapiens and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century each receiving three votes each (the most overlap of the whole list).
The Top 11 (with more than one vote) were:
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (3)
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari (3)
Educated (A Memoir) by Tara Westover (2)
Enlightment Now:The case for reason, science, humanism and progress
by Steven Pinker (2)
Made to Stick by Chip Heath (2)
Scale — universal laws of growth by Geoffrey West(2)
Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2)
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (2)
Other notable inclusions were Pickety’s Capital in the 21st Century, Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, Lawrence Levy’s To Pixar and Beyond linked closely to the auto-biography Who is Michael Ovitz and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’s Not in God’s Name and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.
I have posted the full list here.
I also started creating an Amazon Idea List here to track these and to allow others to continue contributing ideas.
Having browsed through the description of as many of them as possible, I would summarise the list as a broad swath as:
a) trying to understand ourselves as humans
b) trying to understand the historical and cultural context of the world we are now in
c) trying to comprehend what the world might look like, influenced by technology and geopolitics
d) Seeking to understand and redefine the concept of money and capitalism
e) how companies, societies, organisms “scale”
f) trying to escape this world with some science-fiction.
Thank you all for your contributions… my bedside table is certainly going to get a bit busier in the coming days, and hopefully my brain, and my world perspective, a bit more expansive.