We face an overwhelming abundance of choices when it comes to what we eat. Should you opt for the local, grass-fed beef, or save time and money with cheap chicken nuggets? Organic asparagus shipped from Argentina, or kale picked from your neighbor’s garden? The Omnivore’s Dilemma examines how food in America is produced today and what alternatives to those production methods are available.
Manufacturing Consent (1988) takes a critical view of the mass media to ask why only a narrow range of opinions are favored whilst others are suppressed or ignored.
It formulates a propaganda model which shows how alternative and independent information is filtered out by various financial and political factors allowing the news agenda to be dominated by those working on behalf of the wealthy and powerful. Far from being a free press, the media in fact maintain our unequal and unfair society.
Alex Stone is a magic-enthusiastic and Ph.D. candidate in Physics at Columbia University. He's written for several magazines and newspapers. Fooling Houdini is his first bestselling book.
A Long Way Gone (2007) is a story of how, as a young boy in Sierra Leone, the author found himself caught in a civil war and recruited as a child soldier. You’ll travel alongside during his harrowing journey, eventual rescue and recovery guided through the kindness and grace of loving people.
Bourbon Empire (2015) takes you on an exciting journey through time, revealing the complex history of America’s famous corn-based whiskey. Learn how this tipple survived the dry period of Prohibition, numerous corruption scandals and competition from overseas spirits while making its mark in politics and society.
Rain (2015) tells the story of one of the most valued, destructive and inspiring natural forces on our planet. These blinks trace a journey from rain worship in ancient cultures to the use of weather forecasting throughout the ages – and even the scientific explanation behind raining frogs.
The Big Necessity (2008) takes a detailed look at the issues surrounding human excrement. Most people would rather ignore these issues – but turning a deaf ear is precisely what’s led to the sanitation crises plaguing the world today. Sanitation is too important to dismiss; a lack of it is causing thousands of needless deaths worldwide. Find out what can be done to help in these blinks.
The Triumph of Seeds (2015) tells the amazing story of the influence of seeds. Find out how plants have managed to endure and evolve over the course of Earth’s long history and how they manipulated both man and animal into doing their bidding.
Playing The Whore (2014) busts the myths still surrounding the topic of sex work and explores how and why society continues to shame the chosen profession of the sexually liberated. Unfortunately, society’s attitudes and laws often endanger, rather than protect, those who work in the sex industry. Discover why that is and why it’s time to change our perspective on one of the oldest professions in the world.
Napoleon’s Buttons (2004) is all about the molecules that have guided the course of human history in the unlikeliest of ways. These blinks explore how major geopolitical and social changes can be traced back to the simple bonding of atoms in a molecule.
The Story of Sushi (2007) takes a closer look at the classic Japanese dish that has taken the Western world by storm. Discover the secrets behind both the traditional and more modern ingredients of sushi – and find out what kind of rituals and techniques are used to make the perfect nigiri.
The Wellness Syndrome (2015) explains why a health craze that’s sweeping the world may not be all that healthy for you. These blinks get to the root of why we’re obsessed with making ourselves happier, healthier and harder-working – and who is reaping the benefits of this obsession.
The Rift (2015) is a revealing look at Africa’s emergence as a continent no longer defined by poverty, war, corruption and dependence on the West. Find out how modern farming methods, solar and mobile technologies and new leadership are creating a brighter future for Africa.
Narconomics (2016) gives us a tour of the business side of the $300-billion global narcotics industry. From human resources to PR to franchising and diversification, these blinks show how drug cartels run their operations not unlike highly successful businesses. By exploring the economic phenomena at work behind the world’s drug problem, the author presents new insights into how governments can defeat it.
Moody Bitches (2015) is your guide to the female body and brain. These blinks explain some of the reasons behind the emotions and fluctuating moods that women can experience and how they can better tune into themselves, embrace their feelings and their bodies.
Falling Upwards (2014) details the surprisingly rich history of hot-air balloons. It begins with the first successful human attempts to take to the air using balloons and goes on to chronicle their clandestine role in escape attempts and military ventures. From daring balloonists from the golden age of ballooning to the literature they inspired, it’s all covered here.
Built (2018) tells the story of some of society’s unsung heroes: structural engineers. Sadly, structural engineering tends only to enter the news when something goes wrong, like when a building falls or a bridge collapses. In Built, Agrawal gives a fuller picture of what it means to be an engineer, offering a range of stories and engaging tidbits about the structures of our world and the people who built them.
In We Are Displaced (2018), international activist Malala Yousafzai shares her story of becoming displaced from her homeland of Pakistan. She also shares the stories of some of the women and girls she has met while visiting refugee camps across the globe. With over 68.5 million people currently displaced from their homes worldwide, these stories are a vivid and important reminder of the individuality and humanity of each and every displaced person.
How to Change Your Mind (2018) is a fascinating account of one man’s exploration of the psychedelic drug world. Author Michael Pollan takes readers along for the ride as he learns first-hand about the positive aspects of psychedelic drugs, including the healing and restorative effects they can have on people suffering from depression and addiction. Readers will also hear from neuroscientists to learn exactly what is happening in the brain during a psychedelic trip.
Go Like Hell (2009) tells the remarkable story of a high point in automotive racing: the mid-60s rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, two very different car manufacturers that wanted to win at all costs. The pinnacle of this rivalry was the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most gruelling endurance race in the world as well as the most prestigious.
Written in History (2018) takes a look at some of the world’s most important letters. From love letters revealing the intimate sides of Mozart and Stalin to political statements which altered the course of history, these blinks guide you through the personal thoughts of many renowned figures of the past. As you’ll see, letters give us insight into historical events as well as remind us what it means to be human.
Touching the Rock (1990) is an account of one man’s understanding of blindness. Having lost his sight as a full-grown man, John M. Hull explores the daily psychological and physical experience of being blind, the tools that the blind use to navigate space and relationships, and the meaning of blindness in a sighted world.
The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth (2018) charts some of the most interesting and unpredictable events in the emergence of modern medicine. From tragic operations to bizarre cures, these blinks explore a history of medicine that most doctors would prefer to ignore.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy (2014) is the tale of how China and the United States ended two decades of diplomatic silence and antagonism. This breakthrough did not originate in embassies or politicians’ offices. Instead, it began at the ping-pong table. These blinks show how a sport shaped by a communist-leaning aristocrat changed politics forever.
Open (2020) traces the progress of ancient and modern human accomplishments, and reveals that behind all of our major advancements is a policy of openness, tolerance, and free trade. You’ll see how, from the Phoenicians to the Dutch East India Trading Company, the free flow of commerce and ideas has led to wealth, innovation, and problem-solving that would have never been possible otherwise.
Minor Feelings (2020) is poet Cathy Park Hong’s searing account of life as an Asian American. Drawing on her own experiences alongside penetrating insights, it paints a picture of the purgatorial status that Asian Americans still face.
The Light of Days (2021) tells the thrilling and harrowing story of the Jewish women in Nazi-occupied Poland who served as resistance fighters during World War II. These women took up arms in ghetto uprisings and served as important couriers on dangerous missions to transport guns and supplies across a hostile territory.
The Authoritarian Moment (2021) is a plea to preserve America’s foundational freedoms in an era of rising authoritarianism. Rejecting a culture of censorship and conformity, it urges readers to stand up against the intolerance endemic to many modern institutions.
Woke, Inc. (2021) explores how the ideology of wokeness has come to infect America’s corporate sphere. While paying lip service to various social-justice causes, major American companies are acting in ways that are anything but just – and generating major profit in the process. Aside from being a nefarious way for corporations to make money, this strategy is also doing lasting damage to American democracy in surprising ways, and it’s time to snuff it out.
The Extended Mind (2021) is an exploration of the power of thinking outside the confines of your brain. It shows that the path to greater intelligence is not locked within your skull. Rather, it's a path through your body, your environment and your relationships with others.
On the Fringe (2021) delves into what defines a pseudoscience along historical and philosophical lines. With the rise of climate-change deniers and anti-vaxxers, understanding the demarcation between science and pseudoscience has a newfound urgency. By exploring pseudosciences such as astrology, the flat-Earth model, and ESP, we can learn about the nature of science in both the past and the present.
The Soul of a Woman (2021) is an honest and personal meditation on life, feminism, and what it means to be a woman. Drawing on experiences from the author’s life, it explores issues around women’s oppression, love, ambition, aging, and abuse. It is at once the story of one woman and the story of all women.
Wanting (2021) provides a riveting, philosophical answer to the question Why do we want the things we want? Drawing on theories originally developed by the celebrated polymath René Girard, it reveals an uncomfortable truth: that our desires are all ultimately a product of other people’s desires. The point isn’t to eliminate them, but rather to choose, carefully and consciously, which ones we should actually strive for.
Disability Visibility (2020) is a compilation of original essays by people with disabilities. There are too few stories about what it’s like to be a disabled person navigating environments designed for the nondisabled. This collection brings visibility to some of these diverse experiences, and shows how limiting our ideas about disability really are.
This Is Your Mind on Plants (2021) is a vivid, intricate probe into the history, chemistry, and effects of three plant-derived drugs: opium, caffeine, and mescaline. These substances – a sedative, a stimulant, and a hallucinogen – represent a large part of the human experience with drugs. It’s time to shed new light on how they’ve shaped our histories, cultures, and minds.
The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine (2020) is a detailed and rigorous look at one of the most misunderstood regions of the world. This timely text chronicles Palestinian history from the perspective of Palestinians.
Nice Racism (2021) challenges everything we think we know about racism. Most racists don’t belong to the far right, and they don’t consciously support white supremacy. Instead, they’re “nice” progressive white people who commit daily microaggressions because they’ve never properly confronted their own biases. By abandoning niceness and becoming accountable instead, white people can develop into better allies in the fight for racial justice.
How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997) melds literary biography with a self-help structure to argue that reading the work of twentieth-century French author Marcel Proust is not only culturally enriching, but potentially life-enhancing. Botton’s close reading of Proust’s masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, offers up surprising and delightful insights into how to live better.
You Are Your Best Thing (2021) is an anthology of original essays that explore Black experiences of living, loving, and parenting in America today. It examines concepts like vulnerability and shame, and shows that the key to personal healing lies in confronting white supremacy and the racist systems that make Black people feel unsafe in their communities.
Hunter Gatherers (2021) explores the mismatch between our evolutionary tendencies and our modern environments. It outlines how seemingly innocuous aspects of contemporary living are harming us, and stifling our true nature and potential.
How to be a Conservative (2014) presents the case for traditional conservatism in a world that seems inhospitable to its existence. In this short volume, English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton lays out the case for the nation-state, a free market, and a more sensible approach to multiculturalism and human rights.
A Room of One's Own (1929) is a perceptive rumination on gender and self-expression. This extended essay explores the social and structural barriers women face when creating art.
No Cure for Being Human (2021) is the thoughtful chronicle of Kate Bowler’s attempts to make the most of her life after a brutal cancer diagnosis at only 35. Part memoir, part critique of the widespread obsession with positivity, No Cure for Being Human is a poignant dispatch from the fragile border between life and death.
The Quick Fix (2021) is a skeptical study of recent trends in behavioral psychology. Academic studies and TED talks may appear to make a convincing case for the power of positive thinking or the impact of implicit bias, but sometimes the evidence just isn’t there. In a complex world, the explanations for human behavior are often more nuanced than some modern psychologists would have you believe.
The Dawn of Everything (2021) is a reimagining of the history of humanity, based on new discoveries in the worlds of anthropology and archeology. According to the authors, new findings challenge what we thought we knew about hierarchies, inequality, property, and the state.
Cinema Speculation (2022) is part personal history, part movie criticism, and part film reporting. It takes a look at several key 1970s movies from director Quentin Tarantino’s perspective. While he discusses each movie, he sometimes also indulges in a few what-ifs.
Dominion (2021) is a grandiose look at the impact Christianity has had on the development of the Western mind. From its roots in antiquity to the pop singles of the twentieth century, the story follows the dramatic development of Christian thought over three thousand years.
The Forgotten 500 (2007) tells the story of Allied airmen who were trapped behind enemy lines in World War II and the courageous citizens of Yugoslavia who risked everything to help them get home. For political reasons, the story remained classified for decades until the 1980s. But now, the events leading to the largest rescue operation of the war are available to us all.
Free Speech (2022) traces the history of this world-defining idea. It provides a soapbox for some of free speech’s greatest proponents and highlights key events that pushed the idea forward from ancient times to the present. Offering an evenhanded treatment of the costs and benefits of free speech throughout history, it’s a powerful retort to all those forces that threaten to erode free speech today.
Dear America (2021) is a call to action for Americans. It implores them to unite despite differences – and preserve their nation before it’s too late.
Rogues (2022) is a compilation of veteran journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s most famous profiles for the New Yorker Magazine. Keefe delves into the lives of notorious criminals and con artists, exploring their complex motivations. He examines the societies that made them and the systems we have for bringing people to justice.
Nomad Century (2022) proposes a radical solution to the looming climate apocalypse, one that’s as practical as it is controversial. To tackle the effects of climate change, we need to migrate and be more tolerant of those who’ve been forced to move.
The Myth of American Inequality (2022) corrects widespread misconceptions about inequality in the United States. Taking aim at misleading official statistics, it shows that poverty has all but disappeared in today’s America and that the gap between rich and “poor” isn’t nearly as large as many people assume.
Walk the Blue Line (2023) is a collection of real-life stories from police and law enforcement officers working across the United States. Their experiences detail the good, the bad, the gory, and the lasting influence these events have on their lives.
Faith Still Moves Mountains (2022) is a collection of inspiring real-life stories that reveal God’s presence in our lives. Drawing on the testimonies of people who have triumphed against the odds, it shows that prayer is more than a ritual – it’s an essential spiritual strategy in a world filled with hardships.
The Myth of Normal (2022) unpacks why chronic disease and mental illness are on the rise. Western medicine focuses on individual pathologies, but what if the key actually lies in our culture? Things we consider normal – like stress, adversity, and trauma – are often toxic and breed disease. The pathway back to health rests in identifying and addressing these underlying conditions.
“You Just Need to Lose Weight” (2023) takes a deep dive into some of society’s most harmful myths about fat people. By revealing the facts behind these common misconceptions, Aubrey Gordon gives readers the tools to analyze their own internal biases, combat anti-fat discrimination, and support the goal of social acceptance for people of all sizes.
Live Wire (2022) is a compilation of humorous essays by actor and talk show host Kelly Ripa. She opens up about her 30 years in showbiz and shares the challenges and joys of getting ahead in a male-dominated industry while raising a family.
Little Women (1868-1869) tells the story of the four March sisters, and the struggles and day-to-day obstacles they faced while becoming young adults. While the story takes place in the American Northeast, it’s a universal coming-of-age story that has been appreciated around the world.
Picasso’s War (2022) reveals the fascinating story behind America’s rocky relationship with modern art. It shows how a small group of individuals were able to overcome ridicule and accusations of “degenerate art” in order to turn the country into a haven for the world’s most progressive artists.
Real Self-Care (2023) exposes the dark side of the global self-care industry by connecting the systemic inequality faced by marginalized groups like women and people of color, and the stress, burnout and chronic illness faced by so many. It offers a science-based alternative and cognitive strategies for living with ease and purpose.
Becoming Supernatural (2017) explores how everyday people can become supernatural. It references breakthrough studies, ongoing research, and incredible stories from regular people that show how anyone can create incredible mental and physical changes within themselves and others by connecting to the unseen energies of the world.
This Naked Mind (2015) challenges our culture's love affair with alcohol. It offers matter-of-fact, actionable insights that help free drinkers from its perceived hold.
The Ethical Slut (1997) has long been the trusted handbook for anyone exploring sex, romance, and intimacy outside the constraints of monogamy. An updated 2017 edition combines time-tested strategies for navigating polyamory with advice on how to embrace an even greater diversity of orientations and relationship configurations.
I Am the Storm (2023) is an inspiring dive into what it takes to stand as a David against a Goliath. From a single gymnast who took on a whole abusive system, to a grieving mother who chose to tackle the US opioid epidemic head on, it shows that anyone can make a stand for what they believe in, no matter how big their opponent may seem.
Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997) is a short history of humanity over the last 13,000 years. The question it poses is as simple to state as it is hard to answer: Why did some parts of the world develop advanced technologies while others didn’t? It rejects explanations that rely on assumptions about the relative intelligence of different peoples. Instead, it argues that the divergence of human societies is best explained by natural factors such as climate, biology, and geology.
Saving Time (2023) takes a deep dive into the complicated concepts surrounding time and the multitude of ways it can be experienced. Combining historical research, philosophical ideas, and social commentary, it offers new approaches to perceiving time that can help us learn to truly live in the present while looking toward a more hopeful future.
The Harvard Psychedelic Club (2010) tells the remarkable story of four individuals, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Huston Smith, and Andrew Weil. Each of these men crossed paths at Harvard University in the early 1960s, where experiments were ongoing involving the consciousness-expanding effects of psychedelic substances. Each went on to explore different paths during the counterculture movement that followed.
Myths of Strategy (2022) responds to the oversimplified generalizations of modern business gurus and consultants by debunking assertions about strategy. Using peer-reviewed research, the book holds advice on business strategy to the same stringent standards as other scientific and sociological fields of study.
The Comfort Zone (2023) busts the age-old myth that growth only happens outside the comfort zone, and offers an alternative vision for achieving goals with ease and flow instead of stress and burnout.
Prosperity (2018) examines how business thinking has led to our current state of social, political, and environmental disaster. Drawing on historical, legal, and economic knowledge, it presents a radical new framework in which both corporations and the broader community can flourish together.
Siddhartha (1922) is the beloved classic novel about a pampered prince who goes on a spiritual journey of self-discovery. Through the depths of asceticism to the heights of worldly success, the novel traces one seeker’s path to enlightenment taking the road less traveled.
Poverty, by America (2023) delves into the paradoxical issue of poverty in the abundant country of the United States. It explores potential solutions to this pervasive issue, based on extensive research.
Snow Crash (1992) is a cyberpunk sci-fi novel starring katana-wielding, pizza-delivering hacker Hiro Protagonist and his partner, spunky teen skateboarder Y.T. It features a virus called Snow Crash which pervades both the physical world and the virtual world, also known as the Metaverse. But it soon becomes apparent that Snow Crash is more than just a virus – as Hiro delves deeper, he discovers a conspiracy that has its roots in ancient Sumerian legends and poses a dire threat to humanity.
Kybalion (1908) is an occult classic of the New Thought movement that claims that mind and thought are the ultimate powers of the universe, and human beings can harness those primal forces – like thought, rhythm, and polarities – for health, wealth, and influence.
Quit Like a Woman (2019) encourages women to reconsider their relationship with alcohol, uncovering the misogynist underpinnings of how alcohol is packaged and marketed to women and proposing a new, feminist road map to sobriety. Through personal anecdotes, insights, and research, the narrative provides a road map for individuals seeking a path to sobriety that aligns more closely with their own experiences and identities.
The Unemployed Millionaire (2009) takes you on a transformative journey from financial despair to self-made prosperity. It provides actionable insights and strategies for aspiring entrepreneurs, emphasizing the significance of mindset, persistence, and smart decisions in achieving financial freedom. Through a blend of personal anecdotes and practical advice, it offers a roadmap to success even in challenging circumstances.
More Than Two (2014) is a guide to ethical polyamory that delves into the complexities of building and maintaining relationships with multiple partners. Through a combination of real-life examples and thoughtful analysis, it explores some of the possibilities of polyamorous relationships, provides practical advice on navigating common challenges, and offers insights into fostering open and honest communication.
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide (2011) is the definitive manual for psychedelic voyagers and those who guide them. Combining original research, personal reports, and shamanistic tradition, it teaches how to create safe and successful psychedelic experiences that facilitate healing, self-discovery, and creativity.
Travel Light (2023) is a refreshing take on the practice and philosophy of minimalism. Rather than focusing on streamlining physical possessions, it suggests that true minimalism begins from within, with the streamlining of beliefs and desires.
What They Teach You at Harvard Business School (2008) is a candid insider's view into one of the world’s most prestigious business schools, providing insights into its curriculum, culture, and impact on students' lives. Through case studies, math, and unsolicited advice, it follows one unlikely student’s memorable experience obtaining this coveted MBA, revealing both the strengths and shortcomings of the HBS education along the way.