Books can open our minds. They can change the way we see the world and thoroughly enrich us with the knowledge we never knew we could gain. Sometimes, they do this even when we come to them rigid and stiff. Slowly, with well-crafted sentences, beautiful prose, enjoyable narration, and poignant information, our mind begins to free up. We gently let go of all the baggage we came to the book with. By the turn of the last page, we know we've been changed. Some non-fiction books have that effect. They take us into a niche of the world and batter us with a barrage of information so easily communicated that we agree with whatever argument they're making.
In an online platform, users share some of the non-fiction books that had this effect on them. Here are some books they listed.
1. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
The language of this illuminating book is poetic. Author Peter Wohlleben dives deep into the roots of forests to reveal facts about their lives that confirm that they are indeed social networks. With groundbreaking scientific facts, he reveals the wonders of how trees communicate amongst themselves, care for each tree in their network, and nurture their young. Also, listening to the book on audio unlocks another level of enjoyment because narrator Mike Grady does a fantastic job.
2. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Worlds by Merlin Sheldrake
Described as “A brilliant and entrancing journey into the hidden lives of fungi” by The Guardian, Entangled Life shows us how we are connected with the unseen world of fungi. As tiny as these organisms are, they belong to a kingdom that is so large and diverse they shape not just the Earth but us, too. Merlin Sheldrake shows us that by understanding fungi, we can understand the planet and ourselves.
3. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
Through professor and astronomer Carl Sagan's picturesque writing, empathy for the human species, and engaging style, readers explore science, the Earth, and the universe. In this magnificent book, known as one of the best-selling science books published in the English language, readers would fall in love with the universe and the elegance with which everything moves.
4. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
This moving and fascinating book looks at the relationship between humans and the Earth. It provides insights into how we can live in a world with environmental concerns and depleting natural resources. It shows how indigenous knowledge of plants mustn't be dismissed but can exist alongside mainstream scientific practice. Reading this book will surely change your worldview about nature.
5. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
This collection of ten letters challenges notions of loneliness, art, and writing. The letters, written to a student in a military academy by celebrated Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, touch on life. They also give profound messages on how to approach art and solitude. The collection is part of the poet's creative genius and is studied by students and admirers alike. “Go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows,” says Rilke in a profound line.
6. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Written by an American author and mountaineer, Into Thin Air is a personal account of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster in which eight climbers were killed and others were stranded by a storm. The book is profound in how it describes the incidents that led up to the disaster. It generated a lot of buzz during its release. But, ultimately, many of its claims were refuted by other participants of the climb and fellow mountaineers. Still, it is an interesting read.
7. How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
Michael Polan's book on consciousness, addiction, death, depression, and transcendence takes readers through the mind-altering experiments of the author. It touches on the effects of drugs like psilocybin and LSD and how they're being used to help people suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. This book will fill you with wonder about the nature of consciousness and the mind.
8. An Immense World by Ed Yong
Ed Yong has a way of communicating science and the natural world that is simple, humorous, and profound at the same time. In An Immense World, he takes us on a journey that leads outside our five senses and into the perception of turtles that track the Earth's magnetic field, fish that fill the water with electrical messages, and the sonar of bats. The reach of the book is immense, brimming with exciting details about the natural world and sentences that sing. Going into this book would change your perception of our immense world.
9. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens has been polarizing since its release in 2011. Lots of people love its broad and sweeping approach to the history of humanity, covering the dawn of our civilization and our present lives in the 21st century. Some others have debated the facts it presents and argue that they, to a large extent, are inaccurate. Still, the book makes for a fascinating read. The voice of Harari through the pages, sometimes cynical, sometimes optimistic, is undeniably brilliant.
10. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The number 1 New York Times bestselling book, named winner of the 2011 National Academies Communication Award, shines a light on the forgotten life of African American Henrietta Lacks. As profound and valuable as Henrietta's cells have been to the advancement of science, she was dead for decades without her family receiving any compensation. Rebecca Skloot's work centers Henrietta and brings the attention of the world to the extraordinary feats she has helped science achieve.
11. The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
This profound book was one of the first to explain the nature of neuroplasticity. The 2007 book by psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, M.D., showed that the centuries-long belief that the brain is immutable is wrong. In language that's accessible and easy to grasp, The Brain That Changes Itself engages and changes our own minds.
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