The best 99 Culture books

Guns, Germs and Steel

Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond
The Fates Of Human Societies
4.2 (329 ratings)

What's Guns, Germs and Steel about?

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. 

Who should read Guns, Germs and Steel?

  • History buffs
  • Scientists
  • Anyone interested in the big picture of humanity’s development

This Naked Mind

This Naked Mind

Annie Grace
Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life
4.2 (131 ratings)

What's This Naked Mind about?

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.

Who should read This Naked Mind?

  • Party animals who want a permanent break
  • Mindful drinkers seeking balance
  • Curious cats who question cultural norms

Maps of Meaning

Maps of Meaning

Jordan B. Peterson
The Architecture of Belief
4.7 (406 ratings)

What's Maps of Meaning about?

Maps of Meaning (1999) argues that myths provide the key to understanding the human psyche and our shared culture. Combining classic psychoanalysis with psychology, social and historical analysis, Jordan B. Peterson reveals how myths convey morality and create meaning in our lives – and what we can learn from them to reach our individual potential.

Who should read Maps of Meaning?

  • Psychologists interested in ancient history, and historians interested in human nature
  • Jordan Peterson devotees who want to dive deeper into his system of thought
  • Skeptics who want to better understand the author’s controversial theories



Stephen Fry
A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece
4.7 (472 ratings)

What's Mythos about?

Mythos (2017) is a fabulous retelling of the Greek myths. It provides a great introduction to anyone interested in knowing more about the Greek gods and goddesses without any preknowledge or a classical education.

Who should read Mythos?

  • Lovers of Greek mythology
  • Anyone interested in creation stories from ancient cultures
  • Humans who want to understand their origin as seen by the ancient Greeks

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller
A Play About the Success and Disappointments of the American Dream

What's Death of a Salesman about?

Death of a Salesman (1949) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s greatest plays. A poignant critique of the promises and pitfalls of capitalism and the American Dream, it follows the salesman Willy Loman, his increasingly tense relationships with his family and colleagues, and his tragic, hallucinatory descent into fantasy and madness. 

Who should read Death of a Salesman?

  • Budding playwrights and theater enthusiasts
  • People curious about the dangers of unbridled capitalism
  • Anyone interested in modern drama

A Radical Awakening

A Radical Awakening

Shefali Tsabary
Turn Pain into Power, Embrace Your Truth, Live Free
4.1 (24 ratings)

What's A Radical Awakening about?

A Radical Awakening (2021) shows you how to heal by connecting to your authentic self – the person you were meant to be before society’s lies and conditioning morphed you into something else. It speaks from a woman’s point of view, but it doesn’t exclude men. Instead, it seeks to lift everyone from the pain of their past and into a higher consciousness.

Who should read A Radical Awakening?

  • Anyone who wants to heal from their past 
  • Women who’d like to discover their inner power
  • People who feel subjugated by society

Under the Banner of Heaven

Under the Banner of Heaven

Jon Krakauer
A Story of Violent Faith
3.4 (106 ratings)

What's Under the Banner of Heaven about?

Under the Banner of Heaven (2003) traces the roots of contemporary Mormon fundamentalism through the lens of a horrendous double murder. The devotion of the Lafferty brothers is a gateway into core tenets that include divine revelation, polygamy, blood atonement, and the way Mormons act in their unique role as God’s chosen.

Who should read Under the Banner of Heaven?

  • People curious about Mormon culture
  • Anyone trying to understand American fundamentalism
  • People interested in American history

Braving the Wilderness

Braving the Wilderness

Brené Brown
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
4.3 (332 ratings)

What's Braving the Wilderness about?

Braving The Wilderness (2017) challenges common notions about what it means to belong. It links feelings of unbelonging to feelings of anger and unrest, both in the United States and abroad. Brené Brown uses a potent combination of scientific research and storytelling to reveal what it means to truly belong. This includes remarkable tales of pain and suffering that show just how far people are willing to go to gain a sense of belonging.

Who should read Braving the Wilderness?

  • Readers interested in tales of courage, bravery, vulnerability and shame
  • Outsiders who feel like they don’t belong
  • Students of the social sciences

The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Next Door

Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
4.0 (332 ratings)

What's The Millionaire Next Door about?

Drawing from personal interviews, The Millionaire Next Door (1996) reveals that many millionaires’ daily lives are a far cry from the stereotype of luxury cars, mansions and private jets. Yet this book also disproves the belief that becoming a millionaire is difficult – anyone can learn not only how to become rich but also stay rich.

Who should read The Millionaire Next Door?

  • People who want to become wealthy
  • Millionaires struggling to hold on to their cash
  • Social scientists studying the habits of affluent people



Edith Hamilton
Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes
4.5 (150 ratings)

What's Mythology about?

In Mythology (1942), Edith Hamilton takes the reader on a swift journey through the classical annals, surveying the fascinating stories of Greek and Roman mythology. The power of these stories impacted art and literature for centuries. Here, you can learn their essence. From the creation of the world to the epic siege of Troy, Hamilton gives you the grounding you need.

Who should read Mythology?

  • Students of ancient history and classics
  • Any art lover who’s ever viewed a classical mythology-inspired painting with confusion
  • Dinner table conversationalists looking for a classical analogy to spice things up



Daniel H. Pink
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
4.4 (629 ratings)

What's Drive about?

In Drive, Daniel Pink describes the characteristics of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. He reveals that many companies rely on extrinsic motivation, even though this is often counterproductive. The book explains clearly how we can best motivate ourselves and others by understanding intrinsic motivation.

Who should read Drive?

  • Anyone who wants to learn about the components of human motivation
  • Anyone who wants to find out how to effectively motivate themselves and others



Mauro F. Guillén
How Today's Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything
4.2 (702 ratings)

What's 2030 about?

2030 (2020) isn’t a crystal ball – but it might be the next best thing. Drawing on current sociological trends, demographic trajectories, and technological advancements, it paints a convincing picture of the global changes we can expect to see and experience in the coming decade.

Who should read 2030?

  • Tech workers and marketing professionals keen to stay ahead of the curve
  • Eco-warriors looking for solutions to the climate crisis
  • Anyone curious to see what the future might hold



Nathaniel Philbrick
A Story of Courage, Community, and War
4.5 (19 ratings)

What's Mayflower about?

Mayflower (2006) tells the epic story of the 1620 voyage to establish a colony of religious separatists on North American shores, and the astonishing aftermath of their fateful trip. From life-or-death struggle to peaceful coexistence with native peoples to devastating war just a half century later, it tells the unvarnished truth of the people and politics that went on to shape a nation.

Who should read Mayflower?

  • History buffs looking for new insights into a little-known chapter of America’s past
  • Epic saga lovers who crave complex stories of survival, politics, and conflict
  • Anyone curious about the real facts behind all the feel-good myths, and how they went on to shape the future of a nation

Man and His Symbols

Man and His Symbols

Carl Jung
An explanation of Jung's theories about archetypes and the unconscious
4.5 (245 ratings)

What's Man and His Symbols about?

Man and His Symbols (1964) was the final work of the influential psychologist Carl Jung, and the only one written for a general audience. It breaks down some of Jung’s most complex ideas, such as his theories about archetypes and the unconscious, and it explores the vast expanse of symbols and stories that dwell within our minds.

Who should read Man and His Symbols?

  • Students of psychology and philosophy
  • People who want to understand their dreams better
  • Lovers of myths, legends, folk tales, and parables

Drive (New Version)

Drive (New Version)

Daniel Pink
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
4.6 (530 ratings)

What's Drive (New Version) about?

Drive (2009) points out that many organizations still follow a “carrot and stick” approach, using external incentives to motivate people. It explains why this is a bad idea and introduces a more effective solution: sparking engagement by catering to the psychology of intrinsic motivation.

Who should read Drive (New Version)?

  • Psychology buffs interested in human behavior
  • Executives who’d like to leverage the power of intrinsic motivation
  • Anyone who wants to find out how to effectively motivate themselves



Gaia Vince
How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time
4.2 (241 ratings)

What's Transcendence about?

Transcendence (2020) is a wide-ranging overview of humanity’s history, from its beginnings on the savannas of Africa to the globe-spanning civilization of today. This multifaceted exploration shows how fire, language, beauty, and time came to define our species.

Who should read Transcendence?

  • History buffs seeking a deep look at the past
  • Armchair anthropologists curious about the origins of human society
  • Anyone interested in what makes humans human



Hans Rosling
Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
4.3 (430 ratings)

What's Factfulness about?

Factfulness (2018) offers readers a wealth of statistics and cold, hard facts that reveal the world to be a far better place than it was just a couple generations ago. But, more than that, author Hans Rosling also offers readers a way to revise their thinking and fight against our instinct to focus on the bad and lose sight of the good.

Who should read Factfulness?

  • Readers concerned about the planet
  • Activists and environmentalists
  • People involved in public health

Sex for One

Sex for One

Betty Dodson
The Joy of Selfloving
4.3 (151 ratings)

What's Sex for One about?

Sex for One (1987) is a part-memoir, part-guidebook by Betty Dodson, a pioneering pro-sex feminist and masturbation advocate. Dodson recounts her own erotic journey and offers a step-by-step approach to embracing self-love.

Who should read Sex for One?

  • Anyone who masturbates
  • People interested in sexual politics and feminist history
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to embrace pleasure and sex positivity

The Art of Gathering

The Art of Gathering

Priya Parker
How We Meet and Why It Matters
4.4 (152 ratings)

What's The Art of Gathering about?

In The Art of Gathering (2018), Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives – from business meetings to dinner parties – are lackluster, routine and lacking in purpose. Parker sets out a bold new approach to gathering that focuses on distinctiveness, purpose and real human connection, and shows how simple steps can invigorate any gathering of people.

Who should read The Art of Gathering?

  • Anyone who’d like to create better, more impactful parties or events
  • People interested in how to use gatherings to make real human connections.

Enlightenment Now

Enlightenment Now

Steven Pinker
The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
4.0 (221 ratings)

What's Enlightenment Now about?

Enlightenment Now (2018) offers a refreshingly optimistic take on the state of the world today. With reams of data, charts and graphs, Steven Pinker shows how much progress we’ve made since the eighteenth century, when the Age of Reason, otherwise known as the Enlightenment, shifted society away from centuries of rule by superstition and paranoia.

Who should read Enlightenment Now?

  • Optimists and recovering pessimists
  • Students of economics and philosophy
  • Readers tired of negative news



Edward W. Said
Western Conceptions of the Orient
4.0 (140 ratings)

What's Orientalism about?

Orientalism (1978) shines a light on the often unquestioned assumptions about Eastern civilizations that are persistently prevalent in the West. By unearthing and analyzing the West’s biases, Edward Said aims to undermine Orientalism’s influence on how the West perceives and interacts with the East.

Who should read Orientalism?

  • Anyone fascinated by non-Western civilizations
  • Anyone curious about the origins of modern international politics
  • Anyone interested in the history of colonialism and its remaining traces today

Beyond Culture

Beyond Culture

Edward Hall
A Journey of self-discovery
4.2 (56 ratings)

What's Beyond Culture about?

Beyond Culture (1976) explores how people across cultures display such diverse patterns of behavior, from resolving conflict to perceiving the passage of time. These blinks highlight the contrasts among cultures, showing us why we need to look beyond our culture to better understand other people.

Who should read Beyond Culture?

  • Readers interested in the influence of culture on human behavior
  • Travelers or adventurers who want to learn more about cultural subtleties
  • Students eager to explore the work of famous anthropologist Edward Hall

The Wisdom of Insecurity

The Wisdom of Insecurity

Alan Watts
A Message for an Age of Anxiety
4.4 (307 ratings)

What's The Wisdom of Insecurity about?

In The Wisdom of Insecurity (1951), author Alan Watts discusses the paradoxical nature of modern life: we pursue goals and covet material goods that promise happiness, but which leave us feeling empty and more anxious than ever. As we indulge in unproductive thoughts about the future or the past, we tend to forget about what is most meaningful – the present moment.

Who should read The Wisdom of Insecurity?

  • Anyone feeling unfulfilled in life
  • Anxiety sufferers searching for the secrets to happiness
  • People interested in contemporary philosophy

The Aesthetic Brain

The Aesthetic Brain

Anjan Chatterjee
How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art
4.6 (37 ratings)

What's The Aesthetic Brain about?

The Aesthetic Brain (2014) explains how and why the human brain responds to beauty and art. These blinks break down the reasons why we instinctively prefer some faces to others, what art does to our brains and how we started making art in the first place.

Who should read The Aesthetic Brain?

  • Artists and art lovers
  • Students of psychology and anthropology
  • Curious readers interested in how beauty takes shape in the eye of the beholder

The Book of Humans

The Book of Humans

Adam Rutherford
A Brief History of Culture, Sex, War and the Evolution of Us
4.3 (192 ratings)

What's The Book of Humans about?

The Book of Humans (2018) is an accessible tour of evolutionary history. It illuminates both the many qualities we share with animals and the many others that set us apart. Incorporating the latest scientific discoveries from genetics and archaeology, it provides a thrilling compendium of the rich variety of life on Earth.

Who should read The Book of Humans?

  • People seeking a primer on evolutionary biology
  • Darwin enthusiasts
  • Animal lovers

The Moral Animal

The Moral Animal

Robert Wright
Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology
4.4 (158 ratings)

What's The Moral Animal about?

The Moral Animal (1994) delves into the fascinating – and occasionally controversial – field of evolutionary psychology to ask what really motivates human behavior. Drawing on the work of Darwin as well as a wealth of anthropological sources, Robert Wright sheds new light on a range of familiar everyday situations in the animal kingdom and our own societies.

Who should read The Moral Animal?

  • Psychologists and keen observers of human behavior
  • Biologists and other natural scientists
  • Anyone fascinated by the evolution of our species

Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life

Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life

Douglas T. Kenrick
A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity Are Revolutionizing Our View of Human Nature
3.9 (73 ratings)

What's Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life about?

Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life (2011) looks at the many ways in which our evolutionary survival and reproductive instincts influence our behavior in the modern world. From conspicuous consumption to cold-blooded murder, it often seems that humans will do just about anything to survive and reproduce, and these blinks takes a closer look at what drives these profound desires.

Who should read Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life?

  • People interested in a deeper understanding of human behavior
  • Students of social psychology
  • Men frightened by their own dark thoughts

Voodoo Histories

Voodoo Histories

David Aaronovitch
The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History
4.0 (23 ratings)

What's Voodoo Histories about?

Voodoo Histories (2009) is a fascinating look at why we love to create conspiracy theories. Why do we feel the need to create stories to explain tragic events, such as the Apollo 11 moon landing and the deaths of Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe? Read on and find out.

Who should read Voodoo Histories?

  • People curious about conspiracy theories
  • Skeptics wanting to debunk conspiracy theories
  • Activists interested in the Zeitgeist Movement and similar groups



Nur Masalha
A Four Thousand Year History
4.1 (162 ratings)

What's Palestine about?

Palestine (2015) chronicles the long history of the land straddling the eastern Mediterranean between modern-day Lebanon and Egypt. By compiling an impressive set of sources both ancient and modern, Nur Masalha presents a nuanced history of the region, from its roots in ancient Philistine civilization to the advent of modern Palestinian nationalism in the nineteenth century, and Israel’s founding in 1948.

Who should read Palestine?

  • Students of history or politics
  • Supporters of both Israel and Palestine looking to inform themselves on the region
  • Palestinians who’d like to learn more about the complex historical tapestry of their land

Who We Are and How We Got Here

Who We Are and How We Got Here

David Reich
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
4.3 (134 ratings)

What's Who We Are and How We Got Here about?

Who We Are and How We Got Here (2018) takes readers on a journey through the world’s anthropological history, demonstrating that people have continually migrated and mixed over time. Recent scientific advances are allowing scientists to study human DNA from the distant past and compare it to that of those alive today. The insights about humans’ origins are both fascinating and revealing.

Who should read Who We Are and How We Got Here?

  • Scientists with burgeoning interests in anthropology and languages
  • Ethno-nationalists looking to have their views challenged
  • Genealogists looking for the bigger picture

The Strange Order of Things

The Strange Order of Things

Antonio Damasio
Life, Feeling, and the Making of Cultures
4.3 (83 ratings)

What's The Strange Order of Things about?

The Strange Order of Things (2018) takes us through the history of human cultural development while focusing on a motivating factor that often gets overlooked: our feelings. When accounting for the major innovations and developments of the past, we often credit human intelligence more than emotions and feelings. But as author Antonio Damasio argues, it’s our feelings that push us forward, inspire our creative accomplishments and define who we are.

Who should read The Strange Order of Things?

  • Neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists, physicians and psychologists
  • Curious minds interested in the emergence of human culture
  • Anyone interested in the power of emotions

Grand Transitions

Grand Transitions

Vaclav Smil
How the Modern World Was Made
4.3 (225 ratings)

What's Grand Transitions about?

Grand Transitions (2020) offers a sweeping overview of global transitions, from population growth to environmental changes. It examines the ways that we’ve shaped the world, for better or worse, and looks at the challenges facing humanity in the decades to come.

Who should read Grand Transitions?

  • People who want to understand world history, and how we got where we are today
  • Environmentalists, and anyone interested in the state of the planet
  • Realists looking for a future forecast based on facts

This Is Your Mind on Plants

This Is Your Mind on Plants

Michael Pollan
Examining the Human Attraction to Consciousness Altering Plants
4.3 (279 ratings)

What's This Is Your Mind on Plants about?

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.

Who should read This Is Your Mind on Plants?

  • Psychonauts and introspective thinkers
  • Botanists, plant lovers, and science geeks
  • Anyone interested in the history of the US war on drugs and its effects

Born to Run

Born to Run

Christopher McDougall
A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
4.3 (153 ratings)

What's Born to Run about?

Born to Run (2009) delves into the human capacity for long-distance running. First-hand accounts, an encounter with a secretive ultra-running tribe and cutting-edge research combine to argue for the idea that we may well be born to run.

Who should read Born to Run?

  • Runners and anyone training for a marathon
  • Armchair athletes
  • Health-conscious people

Going Solo

Going Solo

Eric Klinenberg
The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone
3.5 (175 ratings)

What's Going Solo about?

Going Solo (2012) explains the sociological factors that have led so many adults to live on their own. These blinks detail the history of solo living, describe the benefits of choosing such a lifestyle and explore the different conditions under which solo adults live.

Who should read Going Solo?

  • Sociology students
  • Newly single people
  • Bachelors and bachelorettes everywhere

Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems

Donella H. Meadows
A Primer
4.3 (180 ratings)

What's Thinking in Systems about?

Thinking in Systems (2008) is an introduction to systems thinking. These blinks will teach you how to see the world in terms of interconnected networks while detailing how different elements, relationships and goals make any given structure run.

Who should read Thinking in Systems?

  • Anyone interested in how systems function
  • People who want to improve their problem-solving skills in everything from personal issues to global trade

The Secret Life of Sleep

The Secret Life of Sleep

Kat Duff
An exploration of what happens after we close our eyes
4.1 (113 ratings)

What's The Secret Life of Sleep about?

The Secret Life of Sleep (2014) takes an enlightening look at what exactly sleep is. Using cutting-edge scientific research and examples from cultures around the world, Kat Duff explores why and how we sleep, and what makes some Western sleeping patterns particularly unhealthy.

Who should read The Secret Life of Sleep?

  • Anyone interested in sleep and different states of consciousness
  • Anyone interested in improving their cognitive abilities

The Road to Character

The Road to Character

David Brooks
Learn how to make yourself whole
3.8 (137 ratings)

What's The Road to Character about?

The Road to Character (2015) explains how society’s focus on fame, wealth and status eclipses moral virtues and internal struggles. These blinks will show you how to reclaim qualities such as kindness, bravery, honesty and commitment.

Who should read The Road to Character?

  • Anyone who has achieved their goals but still feels like something is missing
  • People wanting deeper insight into modern culture’s obsession with “me”

The 1619 Project

The 1619 Project

Nikole Hannah-Jones
A New Origin Story
4.1 (501 ratings)

What's The 1619 Project about?

The 1619 Project (2021) is an anthology of essays investigating the origins of the slave trade in America, and how it has shaped what the country would become. It’s also an exploration of how we create history, and how these stories shape our political present. The essays are accompanied by fictional excerpts and poetry, bringing to life the experiences of enslaved people in America.

Who should read The 1619 Project?

  • History-lovers interested in learning more about cutting-edge research from the 1619 Project. 
  • Americans wanting to learn about how the slave trade has shaped their country.
  • Anyone wanting to understand the roots of institutional racism, and how to fight white supremacy.



Matthieu Ricard
The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World
4.3 (187 ratings)

What's Altruism about?

Altruism (2015) examines our need to care for others, a compulsion that is essential in both humans and animals. These blinks explain how and why caregivers do what they do through the lens of philosophy, economics and evolutionary theory.

Who should read Altruism?

  • Professional caregivers or anyone who spends time caring for others
  • Psychologists, family counselors and therapists
  • People interested in social justice

The Art of Travel

The Art of Travel

Alain De Botton
Learn how to get the most out of your next travel adventure
4.0 (78 ratings)

What's The Art of Travel about?

The Art of Travel (2002) is an unorthodox guide to traveling. Unlike conventional travel guides, Alain de Botton’s book is more of a philosophical globe-trotter’s handbook, exploring the reasons behind our urge to discover new places and offering some general tips for making travel more enjoyable.

Who should read The Art of Travel?

  • Avid travelers
  • Culture vultures
  • Aspiring authors and freelance journalists eager to work while on the move

Woke, Inc.

Woke, Inc.

Vivek Ramaswamy
Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam
4.0 (160 ratings)

What's Woke, Inc. about?

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.

Who should read Woke, Inc.?

  • Conservatives and centrists worried about the excesses of progressivism
  • Liberals who want to hear the other side’s perspective
  • Anyone interested in American social ills



Leidy Klotz
The Untapped Science of Less
4.2 (1,239 ratings)

What's Subtract about?

Subtract (2021) explores subtraction as a way to make positive change. It examines the human love affair with adding and having “more” – and it explains how our brains and environments work against subtraction. 

Who should read Subtract?

  • Design professionals looking for a fresh perspective
  • Psychology buffs wanting new insights
  • Anthropology enthusiasts

Pleasure Activism

Pleasure Activism

adrienne maree brown
The Politics of Feeling Good
3.2 (145 ratings)

What's Pleasure Activism about?

Pleasure Activism (2019) offers an introduction to the politics of pleasure. It explores the ways in which we can break free of repression and marginalization – and instead embrace the feelings of freedom. It offers ways in which we can gain a better understanding of past traumas and move forward with a deeper connection to our bodies and our communities.

Who should read Pleasure Activism?

  • Anyone dealing with past trauma or oppression 
  • People interested in the politics of pleasure and sexuality
  • Marginalized people looking for tools of empowerment

At Home

At Home

Bill Bryson
A Short History of Private Life
3.9 (97 ratings)

What's At Home about?

At Home (2010) offers an in-depth look at the history of the home. These blinks walk you through stories that each “take place” in a different room in a house, explaining the history of spaces such as a bathroom or kitchen. Interestingly, you’ll explore how each space evolved into the rooms we live in today.

Who should read At Home?

  • Students of sociology, anthropology and history
  • People with an interest in the history of domestic life

Why I Am a Hindu

Why I Am a Hindu

Shashi Tharoor
An insider’s guide to the history of Hinduism
3.5 (148 ratings)

What's Why I Am a Hindu about?

Why I Am a Hindu (2018) is a meditation on religion and national identity from the perspective of one of India’s leading politicians, Shashi Tharoor. Written with an eye to the rise of Hindu fundamentalism, it unpacks the 4,000-year-old history of his faith and argues that today’s Hindutva movement is perverting an ancient tradition of tolerance and diversity. If Indians want to see their country flourish, Tharoor concludes, they’ll have to reject the ruling party’s chauvinism and embrace that great cultural legacy.

Who should read Why I Am a Hindu?

  • Politics buffs and history students
  • Anyone fascinated by one of the world’s largest religions
  • Champions of multiculturalism and tolerance

The War For Kindness

The War For Kindness

Jamil Zaki
Building Empathy in a Fractured World
4.5 (207 ratings)

What's The War For Kindness about?

It can often seem like tribalism and cruelty have our modern world in a vice-grip. But The War for Kindness (2019) shows us that not all hope is lost: together, we can fight the trend toward isolation and hatred through the incredible power of empathy. 

Who should read The War For Kindness?

  • Psychology buffs who want to delve deeper into the science of empathy
  • Caregivers dealing with burnout
  • Anyone having trouble empathizing with those who have opposing views

Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island

Bill Bryson
An Affectionate Portrait of Britain
4.2 (66 ratings)

What's Notes from a Small Island about?

Notes from a Small Island (1995) was written by American-born author Bill Bryson as he was preparing to leave the small Yorkshire village in which he’d lived for 20 years, and head back to the United States. Before departing, he decided to bid a fond adieu to his adopted island, Great Britain. This travelogue documents his farewell tour of Britain’s landscape, culture, mores and wonderful eccentricities, which he’d come to love so dearly.

Who should read Notes from a Small Island?

  • Brits looking for a humorous depiction of their own culture
  • Non-Brits curious about this eccentric island
  • Lovers of travelogues and memoirs

The Culture Map

The Culture Map

Erin Meyer
Breaking through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
4.5 (128 ratings)

What's The Culture Map about?

The Culture Map provides a framework for handling intercultural differences in business and illustrates how different cultures perceive the world. It helps us understand these differences, and in doing so improves our ability to react to certain behaviors that might have once seemed strange. With this knowledge, we can avoid misunderstandings and maintain conflict-free communication, regardless of where we are in the world.

Who should read The Culture Map?

  • Anyone who’s interested in understanding cultural differences at work
  • Anyone who wants to improve his or her communications skills
  • Anyone who is leading an international team and is facing culture clashes

Born Liars

Born Liars

Ian Leslie
Why We Can’t Live Without Deceit
4.2 (68 ratings)

What's Born Liars about?

Born Liars (2011) uncovers the truth about lying and the important role it plays in our lives. Far from being some undesirable glitch in the human system, lying has not only made us smarter but saved many lives and become an essential ingredient to our overall well-being. In these blinks, you’ll learn all about the history and neuroscience of fibbing, why it might be impossible to detect every lie and how central mendacity truly is to being human.

Who should read Born Liars?

  • Anyone working with advertising
  • Armchair psychologists and philosophers
  • Cultural anthropologists

In Praise of Slowness

In Praise of Slowness

Carl Honoré
Challenging the Cult Of Speed
4.2 (115 ratings)

What's In Praise of Slowness about?

In Praise of Slowness (2005) offers both an indictment of and an alternative to the high-speed lifestyle that plagues many people today. It examines how the rat race impacts our minds, bodies and souls – and offers concrete tips on how to slow things down.

Who should read In Praise of Slowness?

  • Ambitious parents who push their children to have a very busy schedule
  • Anyone who eats at their desk
  • People who feel like they are always in a rush



James Wallman
Living More with Less
4.3 (77 ratings)

What's Stuffocation about?

Stuffocation (2013) explains how having too much stuff not only places an unnecessary burden on us, but is even leading to health issues. Our lives have become oversaturated with things, and a new value is emerging: the importance of experience over material possessions.

Who should read Stuffocation?

  • Anyone interested in what happens after the age of materialism
  • Anyone feeling overwhelmed by having too much stuff



Ingrid Fetell Lee
The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness
4.0 (68 ratings)

What's Joyful about?

Joyful (2018) embraces aspects of color, shape, playfulness and whimsy that surround us in everyday life. These blinks make a positive case for the role that design and architecture can play in making lives more happy and joyful.

Who should read Joyful?

  • Designers 
  • DIY enthusiasts
  • New homeowners or renters



Jared Diamond
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
4.3 (102 ratings)

What's Collapse about?

Collapse explains how societies fall. It explains the reasons behind the disintegration of once mighty civilizations like the Mayans in Central America or the Vikings in Greenland. Their stories provide us with harsh lessons on the possible consequences of our own environmental and societal mismanagement.

Who should read Collapse?

  • Anyone who cares about the environment
  • Anybody who stares in wonder at the monuments of ancient civilizations
  • Anyone who is worried about the future of our society

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Tom Standage
How your favorite drinks changed the world
4.3 (200 ratings)

What's A History of the World in 6 Glasses about?

A History of the World in 6 Glasses (2006) is a look at human history through an unusual lens: our favorite drinks. These blinks outline the global rise of beer, wine, alcoholic spirits, tea, coffee and soda, and how they each played into major historical developments as they spread around the world.

Who should read A History of the World in 6 Glasses?

  • Beer lovers, wine enthusiasts, spirits connoisseurs, coffee addicts and Coca-Cola devotees
  • Anyone interested in the lesser-known details of human history or global power politics

The Gift of Failure

The Gift of Failure

Jessica Lahey
How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
4.6 (45 ratings)

What's The Gift of Failure about?

In The Gift of Failure (2015), Lahey offers compelling reasons for caregivers to relinquish control over their children and let them fail. By taking this approach, Lahey argues, it will give children an important opportunity to learn about their values and skills, while strengthening their confidence, autonomy and sense of responsibility.

Who should read The Gift of Failure?

  • Parents and caregivers
  • Teachers
  • Anyone working with children

China's Second Continent

China's Second Continent

Howard French
How a Million Migrants are Building a New Empire in Africa
3.9 (85 ratings)

What's China's Second Continent about?

China's Second Continent (2014) is about the mass wave of Chinese migrants who have relocated to Africa in the last few decades. These blinks trace the origins of this migration and outline the profound impact it has on both regions, Chinese-African relations and the world at large.

Who should read China's Second Continent?

  • Students of Chinese or African politics
  • Anyone interested in international relations
  • Anyone curious about the long-term influence of mass migration

We Are All Weird

We Are All Weird

Seth Godin
The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal
4.4 (176 ratings)

What's We Are All Weird about?

We Are All Weird (2011) takes aim at the one-size-fits-all mentality that underlies much of our culture. For too long, marketers, manufacturers, and the media have approached the world as if all people were the same. With this perceptive manifesto, Seth Godin unravels the myth of the mass market, arguing that humanity is much more diverse, eccentric, and weird than it seems.  

Who should read We Are All Weird?

  • Entrepreneurs and advertisers eager to reach niche audiences
  • Cultural critics looking to understand our zany zeitgeist 
  • Weirdos, oddballs, and misfits everywhere



Margaret MacMillan
How Conflict Shaped Us
4.1 (198 ratings)

What's War about?

War (2020) is a philosophical inquiry into the nature of human conflict. It considers war from different angles, examining what causes it, how we think about it, and how it affects us. By making an effort to understand war, we become better prepared to avoid it.

Who should read War?

  • Students of international and military history 
  • People interested in cultural and philosophical differences
  • Anyone fascinated or affected by human conflict

The World Until Yesterday

The World Until Yesterday

Jared Diamond
What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies
3.9 (55 ratings)

What's The World Until Yesterday about?

The World Until Yesterday explores the lessons modern humans can learn from the primitive hunter-gatherer societies that roamed the earth before centralized governments emerged.

Who should read The World Until Yesterday?

  • Anyone interested in what life was like tens of thousands of years ago
  • Anyone who wants to know lessons simple hunter-gatherer groups can teach us in modern society

“You Just Need to Lose Weight”

“You Just Need to Lose Weight”

Aubrey Gordon
And 19 Other Myths About Fat People
2.8 (20 ratings)

What's “You Just Need to Lose Weight” about?

“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.

Who should read “You Just Need to Lose Weight”?

  • Anyone who wants to learn about the myths surrounding fatness
  • People interested in confronting anti-fat bias and discrimination
  • Supporters of fat activism

China In Ten Words

China In Ten Words

Yu Hua
The ten key concepts underlying China’s transformation
4.0 (89 ratings)

What's China In Ten Words about?

China in Ten Words (2012) explores the way modern China talks about itself and probes what that tells us about its past, present and likely future. Honing in on ten common concepts, author Yu Huan tells the story of a nation that has seemingly changed beyond recognition, yet in many ways remains closer to its revolutionary origins than one might believe.

Who should read China In Ten Words?

  • Students of the history of Communist China
  • Linguists curious about how language shapes cultural concepts
  • Those who are fascinated by the modern “Chinese Miracle”

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele Gelfand
How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World
4.1 (16 ratings)

What's Rule Makers, Rule Breakers about?

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers (2018) explores the idea that cultural diversity in our thoughts and behavior derives from how loosely or tightly we stick to social norms. Diving into topics such as why Germans set their clocks so accurately or why the DaimlerChrysler merger was doomed to fail, it pulls from decades of research to shed light on the roots of cultural diversity and their implications for the modern world.

Who should read Rule Makers, Rule Breakers?

  • Cultural enthusiasts and world travelers
  • Business leaders
  • Anyone perplexed by the division in the United States

The Human Swarm

The Human Swarm

Mark W. Moffett
How Our Societies Arise, Thrive, and Fall
4.4 (70 ratings)

What's The Human Swarm about?

The Human Swarm (2019) is a groundbreaking exploration of human society, from its origins to the huge civilizations found on the planet today. Drawing on psychology, anthropology and biology, it shows how humans have managed to create and maintain societies of a size and complexity unrivaled in the animal kingdom.

Who should read The Human Swarm?

  • Those interested in how society works
  • Armchair psychologists who’d like to understand our relations better
  • People curious about the evolution of human behavior

Brave, Not Perfect

Brave, Not Perfect

Reshma Saujani
Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder
4.1 (132 ratings)

What's Brave, Not Perfect about?

Brave, Not Perfect (2019) opens up a new world to those women socialized from a young age to strive for perfection and please everyone around them. Perfection doesn’t always help you get ahead in the modern world – but bravery does. By embracing the power of bravery, women can emancipate themselves from the servitude of perfectionism, embrace the power of failure and achieve their dreams.

Who should read Brave, Not Perfect?

  • Women suffering under the weight of socially enforced perfectionism
  • Female entrepreneurs trying to get their business on the right track
  • Men who want to better learn how society conditions women

How You Say It

How You Say It

Katherine D. Kinzler
Why You Talk the Way You Do – and What It Says About You
4.2 (130 ratings)

What's How You Say It about?

How You Say It (2020) examines the role that speech plays in structuring society. Through research and intelligent analysis, it shows how our accents, word choices, and other linguistic quirks become part of our identity and change how we see others.

Who should read How You Say It?

  • Social scientists wanting to learn more about language
  • Big talkers curious about the hidden meaning of their accents
  • Anyone interested in unpacking their unconscious biases

A Biography of Loneliness

A Biography of Loneliness

Fay Bound Alberti
The History of an Emotion
4.1 (121 ratings)

What's A Biography of Loneliness about?

We tend to think of loneliness, like any emotion, as something universal. But its history is surprisingly recent. In A Biography of Loneliness, cultural historian Fay Bound Alberti traces the development of the modern concept of loneliness since its origins around 1800, and addresses the question of how it has gained such prominence in contemporary society.

Who should read A Biography of Loneliness?

  • People interested in cultural history
  • Anyone interested in emotions
  • Those concerned by the prevalence of loneliness today

The Evolution of Everything

The Evolution of Everything

Matt Ridley
How New Ideas Emerge
4.3 (63 ratings)

What's The Evolution of Everything about?

The Evolution of Everything (2015) argues that the phenomenon of evolution – gradual change without goal or end – reaches far beyond genetics. Evolution happens all around us in economic markets, our language, technology and customs, and is what’s behind nearly all changes that occur in these fields.

Who should read The Evolution of Everything?

  • Liberal thinkers
  • Anyone curious about the power and beauty of evolution outside biology

Why We Can’t Sleep

Why We Can’t Sleep

Ada Calhoun
Women’s New Midlife Crisis
3.8 (50 ratings)

What's Why We Can’t Sleep about?

Why We Can’t Sleep (2020) explores the question of why American women from Generation X are experiencing a midlife crisis. These women were sold the story that nothing was stopping them from achieving their wildest dreams, when in reality they’ve faced enormous challenges to get ahead. Not only did they graduate into a disastrous job market, they also face gender and age discrimination and all too often end up having to care for young children and elderly parents simultaneously. Everything they’ve achieved has been against enormous odds. 

Who should read Why We Can’t Sleep?

  • Women born between 1965 and 1980 seeking affirmation for their exhaustion
  • People interested in how parenting has changed over generations
  • Economists interested in the human toll of stock market crashes



David Graeber
The First 5,000 Years
4.4 (57 ratings)

What's Debt about?

Many of us assume that money – or capitalism in general – is a fundamental part of human society. In Debt (2011), author David Graeber presents an anthropological examination of money that challenges common assumptions, asserting that money and the concept of debt are actually products of specific historical circumstances.

Who should read Debt?

  • Anyone interested in anthropology or history
  • Anyone interested in economics
  • Anyone interested in money as a social concept

The Future of the Professions

The Future of the Professions

Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind
How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts
3.7 (74 ratings)

What's The Future of the Professions about?

The Future of the Professions (2015) examines how modern technology and the internet have revolutionized our society. These blinks in particular address how technology has changed the way society views the work of experts, the so-called professionals. The role of such experts is evolving quickly; here you’ll discover just what the future of professions will look like.

Who should read The Future of the Professions?

  • Entrepreneurs and managers in the tech business
  • Coaches who work with C-level executives
  • Anyone interested in how technology is changing how we work



James Suzman
A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots
4.2 (79 ratings)

What's Work about?

Work (2020) is an anthropological history of the human relationship with work. From the first single-celled bacteria in the oceans billions of years ago to the unprecedented wealth inequality we experience today, Work is a sweeping history of what motivates our species. 

Who should read Work?

  • All those wondering whether they have a “bullshit job”
  • Deep-divers who love human history and how we got here
  • People who worry about how they spend their time



Niall Ferguson
The Six Killer Apps of Western Power
4.1 (103 ratings)

What's Civilization about?

There seems to be a crisis of confidence in the West. In the face of the rising power of China, and with a seeming lack of interest in its own history and civilization, many fear that the West has somehow lost it way.

Civilization aims to explain why the West grew so powerful and dominated the rest of the world. The answer lies with six killer applications, which enabled the West to overcome the rest. Yet vital questions arise: Has the West forgotten these killer apps and will this lead to its collapse?

Who should read Civilization?

  • Students of history and politics
  • Those who wonder how the West became so powerful compared to the rest of the world
  • Anyone who fears the collapse of Western civilization

In a Sunburned Country

In a Sunburned Country

Bill Bryson
Discover the delights of “down under”
4.6 (19 ratings)

What's In a Sunburned Country about?

In a Sunburned Country (2000) is Bill Bryson’s personal account of his time traveling around Australia. With stopovers in major cities, out-of-the-way mining towns and treks through the vast wilderness, it’s a travelogue packed with insights into the history, culture and wildlife of this unique nation.

Who should read In a Sunburned Country?

  • Globetrotters
  • Historians
  • Lovers of nature and wildlife

The Quick Fix

The Quick Fix

Jesse Singal
Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills
4.2 (76 ratings)

What's The Quick Fix about?

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.

Who should read The Quick Fix?

  • Psychology skeptics
  • Those interested in societal problems and human behavior
  • Anyone who has ever viewed a TED talk

The Lost Art of Scripture

The Lost Art of Scripture

Karen Armstrong
Rescuing the Sacred Texts
4.0 (67 ratings)

What's The Lost Art of Scripture about?

The Lost Art of Scripture (2019) traces five thousand years of religious tradition. It examines the common purpose and motivations of all scriptural revolutions, how literal readings of scripture birthed violent movements of fundamentalism, and how we can use scripture to address the political and intellectual concerns of today.

Who should read The Lost Art of Scripture?

  • Alternative-history buffs
  • Those who have questions about religion but are too afraid to ask
  • Anyone who loves a rollicking story



Elissa Stein and Susan Kim
The Cultural Story of Menstruation
4.4 (18 ratings)

What's Flow about?

Flow (2009) explores the historical and cultural context of menstruation. By doing so, it seeks to debunk the myths that surround periods and address the misperceptions people have of the basic bodily process of menstruation.

Who should read Flow?

  • Those interested in the history and cultural significance of menstruation
  • Women who are afraid to ask their friends and family about periods and sexual health
  • Women experiencing puberty or menopause

The Great Leveler

The Great Leveler

Walter Scheidel
Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century
3.5 (56 ratings)

What's The Great Leveler about?

The Great Leveler (2017) takes a look at the inequality faced by different societies throughout history. It highlights war, plague and other major catastrophes as a leveler of the unequal distribution of power and property, prompting the question: can equality be achieved in a non-violent manner?

Who should read The Great Leveler?

  • People interested in the history of inequality
  • Students of politics
  • Those who enjoy learning about different societies

New Dark Age

New Dark Age

James Bridle
Technology and the End of the Future
4.1 (79 ratings)

What's New Dark Age about?

New Dark Age (2018) investigates the fundamental paradox of our digital age: as new technologies allow us to gather more and more data on our world, we understand less and less of it. Examining the history, politics and geography of the complex digital network we are enmeshed in, James Bridle sheds new light on the central issues of our time, from climate change to wealth inequality to post-factual politics, and explains how we can live with purpose in an era of uncertainty.

Who should read New Dark Age?

  • Tech skeptics and tech enthusiasts
  • Critical thinkers fascinated by the geopolitics of our networked world
  • Anyone interested in the silly and profound ways technology shapes our lives



Francis Fukuyama
The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment
4.3 (85 ratings)

What's Identity about?

Today, there is an increasing tendency for groups of people to form alliances based on shared traits, like gender, religion or sexual orientation; this is known as identity politics. But while we should be proud of our identities, they can also divide us. In Identity (2019), Francis Fukuyama charts the evolution of one of modern society’s most divisive topics, explains the problems it raises, and suggests what can be done to fix this situation.

Who should read Identity?

  • Progressive citizens curious about the weakness of left-wing politics
  • History buffs puzzled over the origins of identity
  • Activists searching for a different opinion on their objectives

The Righteous Mind

The Righteous Mind

Jonathan Haidt
Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
4.5 (151 ratings)

What's The Righteous Mind about?

The Righteous Mind (2012) explores how moral decisions are made, concluding that moral judgments stem from intuitions, not logic. The author draws on his background in social psychology and 25 years of groundbreaking research to explain how morality both binds us and divides us and how religion and politics create conflicting communities of shared morality.

Who should read The Righteous Mind?

  • Anyone who wants to learn how moral decisions are made
  • Anyone interested in understanding how our moral interests both unify and divide us

How Music Works

How Music Works

David Byrne
How circumstance and creativity collide in tune
4.5 (89 ratings)

What's How Music Works about?

How Music Works sets out to explain the workings of music from ancient history up to now. Writing from an insider’s perspective, David Byrne delves into different aspects of popular music, based on current research, music history, technical knowledge and his life-long career in the new wave band Talking Heads.

Who should read How Music Works?

  • Anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of the music business
  • Anyone interested in music’s relationship to its surroundings
  • Anyone who wants to find out why music is so important to humans

Nice Racism

Nice Racism

Robin DiAngelo
How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm
3.0 (286 ratings)

What's Nice Racism about?

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.

Who should read Nice Racism?

  • White activists seeking better tools to fight racism 
  • White would-be allies who are ready to confront their internal biases
  • Black people and people of color interested in learning more about the workings of white supremacy

Age of Anger

Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra
A History of the Present
3.7 (54 ratings)

What's Age of Anger about?

Age of Anger (2017) examines the world and the upheaval it’s undergoing. These blinks look back to earlier societies and dissect the origins of our current travails. They also pay close attention to the philosophical teachings of the Enlightenment, which still influence Western thought today.

Who should read Age of Anger?

  • Anyone with questions about the societal effects of globalization
  • Students of philosophy and history
  • Anyone with unanswered questions about the current state of the world

Rational Ritual

Rational Ritual

Michael Suk-Young Chwe
Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge
3.7 (29 ratings)

What's Rational Ritual about?

Rational Ritual (2001) offers a profound, game theory-based analysis of the role that rituals, ceremonies and media events play in society. Throughout the ages, these rites have been used to create “common knowledge” that allows people to solve problems such as which ruler to obey and which products to buy. Essential reading for budding Robespierres or Steve Jobses alike.

Who should read Rational Ritual?

  • Amateur game theorists, social psychologists or sociologists
  • Anyone interested in the true societal function of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural practices

The Art of Waiting

The Art of Waiting

Belle Boggs
On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood
3.1 (20 ratings)

What's The Art of Waiting about?

The Art of Waiting (2016) details the social narratives surrounding birth, pregnancy and parenting. These blinks offer poignant personal anecdotes alongside historical examples to shift the spotlight onto the often unheard stories of adoption, in vitro fertilization and forced sterilization.

Who should read The Art of Waiting?

  • Expectant mothers
  • Couples struggling to conceive
  • Anyone considering adoption or in vitro fertilization



David Crystal
The gr8 db8
3.6 (14 ratings)

What's Txtng about?

Txtng (2008) is a bold endorsement of texting as an effective and creative – and even poetic – form of communication. These blinks offer a look at how the unique language of text messaging came to life and why critics of texting’s inventive shorthand need to calm down, stop worrying and learn to love the SMS.

Who should read Txtng?

  • Avid texters who are proud of the creative language they use
  • Emoticon lovers who want to get more creative with their smileys
  • Linguists who are confused about the language of texting



Oliver Sacks
Tales of Music and the Brain
4.3 (56 ratings)

What's Musicophilia about?

Musicophilia explores the enriching, healing and disturbing effects of music. It delves into fascinating case studies about disorders that are expressed, provoked and alleviated by music.

Who should read Musicophilia?

  • Anyone who loves listening to music
  • Anyone who wants to learn how music affects our brains
  • Anyone who wants to know how music can heal people

The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise

Alex Ross
Listening to the Twentieth Century
4.3 (43 ratings)

What's The Rest Is Noise about?

The Rest Is Noise (2011) takes you on a musical journey through the twentieth century, from the game-changing work of Richard Strauss and Igor Stravinsky to the minimalist compositions of John Cale and Philip Glass. Author Alex Ross puts modern classical music into eye-opening perspective, chronicling the revolutionary changes and how they were influenced by the tumultuous events of the 1900s.

Who should read The Rest Is Noise?

  • Music buffs and fans of classical music
  • Anyone interested in the history of the twentieth century
  • Scholars of contemporary art

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration

Weston A. Price
A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and their Effects
4.2 (46 ratings)

What's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration about?

Based on the author’s meetings with many of the world’s indigenous people, Nutrition and Physical Degradation presents a comparison of the health of those who consumed only local whole foods and those who had begun to include processed foods in their diet. The author found that the latter suffered from problems with their teeth, bodies and brains, while the former remained strong and vigorous. Having investigated the differences between processed and local whole foods, the book argues that diets made up of processed foods lack the requisite vitamins and minerals for maintaining a healthy body.

Who should read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration?

  • Vegans, vegetarians and junk food fanatics
  • Anyone who is interested in indigenous cultures around the world
  • Anyone who wants to go back to basics and get the most nutrition out of their food

The Perfect Day to Boss Up

The Perfect Day to Boss Up

Rick Ross
A Hustler's Guide to Building Your Empire
4.2 (279 ratings)

What's The Perfect Day to Boss Up about?

The Perfect Day to Boss Up (2021) is a swaggering, no-nonsense road map to becoming the CEO of your life. Drawing on hip-hop icon Rick Ross’s life, it divulges behind-the-scenes stories, advice, and mindsets that’ll guide you on your own path to success.

Who should read The Perfect Day to Boss Up?

  • Dreamers seeking straight-talking inspiration, insight, and intel on achieving success
  • Fans of the song “Hustlin’” who’re curious how the Boss’s hustle plays out in real life 
  • Go-getters seeking an alternative to cookie-cutter self-improvement manuals



Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen
Born in the USA
4.1 (305 ratings)

What's Renegades about?

Renegades (2021) documents eight intimate and enlightening conversations between two living legends: the musician Bruce Springsteen and the former US president Barack Obama. These two friends delve into some of the issues that have defined both of their careers, including American identity, fatherhood, class and racial divides, wrestling with the past, and maintaining hope for the future.

Who should read Renegades?

  • American citizens concerned about the country’s future
  • Fans of “the Boss” and the forty-fourth president
  • Music buffs



Edward Slingerland
How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization
4.5 (557 ratings)

What's Drunk about?

Drunk (2021) is a scientific and historical inquiry into the evolutionary reasons why humans started getting drunk. Drunk examines how inebriation helped our ancestors evolve into creative, communal, cultural beings, and considers whether or not alcohol is an appropriate tool for the modern age.

In the audio version of these blinks, you'll hear "Also Sprach Zarathustra," composed by Richard Strauss, made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license by Kevin MacLeod. Thanks, Kevin! 

Who should read Drunk?

  • Anyone who drinks
  • People curious about human behavior
  • Anyone interested in evolution

Smile or Die

Smile or Die

Barbara Ehrenreich
How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World
3.7 (75 ratings)

What's Smile or Die about?

Smile or Die (2009) explores the impact of positive thinking on mainstream American culture. These blinks show how Americans have convinced themselves that they alone are in control of their happiness, buying into a mass delusion which in the end only does them harm.

Who should read Smile or Die?

  • Anyone curious about the roots of American optimism
  • Professionals who question positive attitudes promoted at the workplace
  • People annoyed when told to “be more positive”

The Great Escape

The Great Escape

Angus Deaton
Health, Wealth and the Origin of Inequality
3.8 (25 ratings)

What's The Great Escape about?

The Great Escape (2013) clearly explains that humanity is doing better than ever before. But not everyone has benefited from the technological and political developments that have made our prosperity possible. By examining both historical and modern inequality, this book offers solid advice on how to close the gap.

Who should read The Great Escape?

  • Anyone interested in global inequality
  • Anyone interested in economics and health

China’s Super Consumers

China’s Super Consumers

Savio Chan and Michael Zakkour
What 1 Billion Customers Want and How to Sell it to Them
4.5 (33 ratings)

What's China’s Super Consumers about?

China’s Super Consumers (2014) is the definitive handbook for foreign companies who want to sell their products on the Chinese market. These blinks walk you through the opportunities and challenges in this vast and varied country and share valuable information about how to succeed in its unique business context.

Who should read China’s Super Consumers?

  • People keen to understand the world’s largest emerging market
  • Entrepreneurs who want to do business in China
  • Anyone interested in Chinese culture

Southern Theory

Southern Theory

Raewyn Connell
The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science
3.9 (31 ratings)

What's Southern Theory about?

In Southern Theory (2007), sociologist Raewyn Connell investigates the emergence of the social sciences in the context of Western imperialism. She explains how sociological knowledge and theory was and is primarily produced from the perspective of the colonizers, and not the colonized.

Who should read Southern Theory?

  • Sociology and humanities students
  • Anyone interested in globalization and postcolonialism
  • People interested in international politics

The Architecture of Happiness

The Architecture of Happiness

Alain de Botton
Explore the hidden links between buildings and our well being
3.9 (58 ratings)

What's The Architecture of Happiness about?

The Architecture of Happiness (2006) is about how humans relate to architecture and design. These blinks demystify the power of architecture by explaining why different people prefer specific buildings, how design speaks to us and how we can use architecture to bring out our best.

Who should read The Architecture of Happiness?

  • People with an interest in architecture and design
  • Anyone looking for a novel perspective on human happiness

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Amy Chua
Raise your children, the South East Asian way
3.9 (59 ratings)

What's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother about?

Amy Chua was born in the United States to strict Chinese immigrant parents who pushed her to work hard and succeed instead of coddling and encouraging her. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) is about her experience of raising her third-generation kids according to her parents’ old-school beliefs. Chua offers not only an insightful and often controversial take on parenting, but also a memoir of a very stern yet loving tiger mother.

Who should read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother?

  • People who work with children – and their parents
  • Parents who are curious about non-Western child-raising methods
  • Anybody interested in an unusual family memoir

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