Life is a never-ending learning process.
The moment you stop learning… you start dying.
Reading makes you smarter and better.
It’s the ideal form of brain exercise.
Want to gain greater control over yourself and develop the self-mastery and awareness required to think, act, and be an intelligent person?
Make reading a habit.
These thought-provoking books will shape your perception, worldview, and beliefs about life and living it. They will help you train your brain to work effortlessly in your favor.
In a 45 minute read, a former spy introduces two simple tools for thinking
A Spy’s Guide to Thinking by John Braddock
“That’s the chain of thinking: D-A-D-A. Getting data leads to analysis. Analysis leads to a decision. A decision leads to an action. Simple. That’s how thinking works.”
“We live in a fog of uncertainty. Good thinking removes some of the fog. Never all of it.”
“Without good analysis, we can’t make good decisions. Without good analysis, we can’t even figure out what our options are.”
“Notice the end: Action. If thinking doesn’t end with action, it’s useless. Taking action is why we think. If you’re thinking just to think, that’s useless, too.”
Thomas offers a guide to the fallacy of the obvious in everyday life
How We Know What Isn’t So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life by Thomas Gilovich
“A person’s conclusions can only be as solid as the information on which they are based. Thus, a person who is exposed to almost nothing but inaccurate information on a given subject almost inevitably develops an erroneous belief, a belief that can seem to be “an irresistible product” of the individual’s (secondhand) experience.”
“People will always prefer black-and-white over shades of grey, and so there will always be the temptation to hold overly-simplified beliefs and to hold them with excessive confidence”
This books is a collection of some of the most important ideas drawn from the works of great thinkers
Great Thinkers: Simple Tools from 60 Great Thinkers to Improve Your Life Today by The School of Life Press
“…simplicity is really an achievement — it follows from hard-won clarity about what matters.”
“Aristotle also observed that every virtue seems to be bang in the middle of two vices. It occupies what he termed ‘the golden mean’ between two extremes of character.”
“The primary thing we need to learn is not just maths or spelling, but how to be good: we need to learn about courage, self-control, reasonableness, independence and calm.”
This is an entirely new understanding of the hidden mental processes that secretly govern every aspect of our behaviour
Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do by John A. Bargh
“Acknowledging that you do not have complete free will, or complete conscious control, actually increases the amount of free will and control you truly have.”
“The unconscious evaluation of everything does appear to be a very old and primitive effect that existed long before we developed conscious and deliberate modes of thought.”
Renowned social psychologists take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
“History is written by the victors, but it’s victims who write the memoirs.”
“Most people, when directly confronted by evidence that they are wrong, do not change their point of view or course of action but justify it even more tenaciously. Even irrefutable evidence is rarely enough to pierce the mental armor of self-justification.”
“Prejudices emerge from the disposition of the human mind to perceive and process information in categories. “Categories” is a nicer, more neutral word than “stereotypes,” but it’s the same thing.”
When are people’s judgments prone to bias, and what is responsible for their biases?
Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases by Daniel Kahneman, Paul Slovic, and Amos Tversky
“Chance is commonly viewed as a self-correcting process in which a deviation in one direction induces a deviation in the opposite direction to restore the equilibrium. In fact, deviations are not “corrected” as a chance process unfolds, they are merely diluted.”
“Searching for wisdom in historic events requires an act of faith — a belief in the existence of recurrent patterns waiting to be discovered.”
This is the concept of ‘obliquity’: paradoxical as it sounds, many goals are more likely to be achieved when pursued indirectly
“No one will be buried with the epitaph ‘He maximised shareholder value”
“… the problem, and our understanding of it, changes as we tackle it.”
“We incline to see history through the lives of great men. That inclination blinds us to the real complexity …”
“The criteria that determine artistic success are ultimately determined by artists, not critics, and great art itself changes what these criteria are.”
This book offers insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global
Thinking in Systems: A Primer, by Donella H. Meadows
“Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.”
“self-organization is often sacrificed for purposes of short-term productivity and stability. Productivity and stability are the usual excuses for turning creative human beings into mechanical adjuncts to production processes. Or for narrowing the genetic variability of crop plants. Or for establishing bureaucracies and theories of knowledge that treat people as if they were only numbers.”
The practical and inspiring ways for you to become more successful through better thinking
The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger
“Fail nine times The next time you face a daunting challenge, think to yourself, “In order for me to resolve this issue, I will have to fail nine times, but on the tenth attempt, I will be successful.” This attitude frees you and allows you to think creatively without fear of failure, because you understand that learning from failure is a forward step toward success.
Take a risk and when you fail, no longer think, “Oh, no, what a frustrating waste of time and effort,” but instead extract a new insight from that misstep and correctly think, “Great: one down, nine to go — I’m making forward progress!”And indeed you are. After your first failure, think, “Terrific, I’m 10% done!”Mistakes, loss, and failure are all flashing lights clearly pointing the way to deeper understanding and creative solutions.”
How to get comfortable with uncertainty and make better decisions as a result
By shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, you’ll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision making. You’ll become more confident, calm, compassionate and successful in the long run.
What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of “I’m not sure.”
Nassim explains what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession and influence others
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“How much you truly “believe” in something can be manifested only through what you are willing to risk for it.”
“The curse of modernity is that we are increasingly populated by a class of people who are better at explaining than understanding, or better at explaining than doing.”
“What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing.”
An essential guide to making smart, confident decisions in the face of uncertainty
Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
“RISK: If risks are known, good decisions require logic and statistical thinking. UNCERTAINTY: If some risks are unknown, good decisions also require intuition and smart rules of thumb.”
“The quest for certainty is the biggest obstacle to becoming risk savvy. While there are things we can know, we must also be able to recognize when we cannot know something.”
What happens inside our brains when we think about money?
Your Money and Your Brain by Jason Zweig
“The market is a pendulum that forever swings between unsustainable optimism (which makes stocks too expensive) and unjustified pessimism (which makes them too cheap). The Intelligent Investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.”
“The alluring, long-shot chance of a huge gain is the grease that lubricates the machine of innovation.”
Originally published at medium.com