These books challenge almost everything you think you know about humanity.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
This is one of the most important books written in the last few years. Harari takes us on a trip through history to answer one question: how did Homo Sapiens become the dominant species on Earth? Covering topics ranging from anthropology to science to economics, he paints a fairly comprehensive picture. It may well change the way you think about being human.
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Diamond is a long-time professor at UCLA, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. The premise of his work is to understand the cause of the imbalance in power between different human societies. He argues that environmental factors have significantly influenced outcome over many millennia. The reasons behind his insights are interesting. It’s a very original book.
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett
This is another Pulitzer Prize-nominated book. It focuses on the effects of the theory of evolution. Dennett breaks down how the idea has influenced modern thought and how it might continue to do so in the future. It very much puts in context everything we think we know about how the world works. It’s not an easy read, but it asks some pretty big and important questions.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn is considered one of the most influential historians of science, and the ideas in this book should be required reading for everyone. It explores his theory of how scientific thought evolves and also the different ways in which science has its own biases. It provides an incredibly valuable model for thinking about life beyond just how it relates to the natural world.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Cosmos is arguably one of the most famous science books in print, and Sagan is one of the most revered modern science educators. This book will take you into the depths of what we know about our place in the universe. It’s beautiful, humbling, and at times, mind-blowing. Sagan will surprise you, inform you, and challenge you, but he will never bore you.