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Your favourite nonfiction book everyone should read at least once in their lifetime?
Book mentions in this thread
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M PirsigA narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life. This new edition contains an interview with Pirsig and letters and documents detailing how this extraordinary book came to be. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
by Yuval Noah HarariOne hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Professor Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical—and sometimes devastating—breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics, and incorporating full-color illustrations throughout the text, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the legacy of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? Bold, wide-ranging, and provocative, Sapiens integrates history and science to challenge everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our heritage...and our future.
Nickel and Dimed
by Barbara EhrenreichOur sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity. Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors. Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.
by James ClearThe #1 New York Times bestseller. Over 1 million copies sold! Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights. Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field. Learn how to: • make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy); • overcome a lack of motivation and willpower; • design your environment to make success easier; • get back on track when you fall off course; ...and much more. Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.
The War of Art
by Steven PressfieldWhat keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself.
by Isabel WilkersonThe Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. "[Caste] should be at the top of every American's reading list."--Chicago Tribune "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
A Pattern Language
by Christopher AlexanderYou can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family; you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood; you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in the actual process of construction. After a ten-year silence, Christopher Alexander and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Structure are now publishing a major statement in the form of three books which will, in their words, "lay the basis for an entirely new approach to architecture, building and planning, which will we hope replace existing ideas and practices entirely." The three books are The Timeless Way of Building, The Oregon Experiment, and this book, A Pattern Language. At the core of these books is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical (it implies a radical transformation of the architectural profession) but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people. At the core of the books, too, is the point that in designing their environments people always rely on certain "languages," which, like the languages we speak, allow them to articulate and communicate an infinite variety of designs within a forma system which gives them coherence. This book provides a language of this kind. It will enable a person to make a design for almost any kind of building, or any part of the built environment. "Patterns," the units of this language, are answers to design problems (How high should a window sill be? How many stories should a building have? How much space in a neighborhood should be devoted to grass and trees?). More than 250 of the patterns in this pattern language are given: each consists of a problem statement, a discussion of the problem with an illustration, and a solution. As the authors say in their introduction, many of the patterns are archetypal, so deeply rooted in the nature of things that it seemly likely that they will be a part of human nature, and human action, as much in five hundred years as they are today.
The Master and His Emissary
by Iain McGilchristA new edition of the bestselling classic – published with a special introduction to mark its 10th anniversary This pioneering account sets out to understand the structure of the human brain – the place where mind meets matter. Until recently, the left hemisphere of our brain has been seen as the ‘rational’ side, the superior partner to the right. But is this distinction true? Drawing on a vast body of experimental research, Iain McGilchrist argues while our left brain makes for a wonderful servant, it is a very poor master. As he shows, it is the right side which is the more reliable and insightful. Without it, our world would be mechanistic – stripped of depth, colour and value.
The Beginning of Infinity
by David DeutschA bold and all-embracing exploration of the nature and progress of knowledge from one of today's great thinkers. Throughout history, mankind has struggled to understand life's mysteries, from the mundane to the seemingly miraculous. In this important new book, David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation, argues that explanations have a fundamental place in the universe. They have unlimited scope and power to cause change, and the quest to improve them is the basic regulating principle not only of science but of all successful human endeavor. This stream of ever improving explanations has infinite reach, according to Deutsch: we are subject only to the laws of physics, and they impose no upper boundary to what we can eventually understand, control, and achieve. In his previous book, The Fabric of Reality, Deutsch describe the four deepest strands of existing knowledge-the theories of evolution, quantum physics, knowledge, and computation-arguing jointly they reveal a unified fabric of reality. In this new book, he applies that worldview to a wide range of issues and unsolved problems, from creativity and free will to the origin and future of the human species. Filled with startling new conclusions about human choice, optimism, scientific explanation, and the evolution of culture, The Beginning of Infinity is a groundbreaking book that will become a classic of its kind.
Zero to One
by Blake MastersWHAT VALUABLE COMPANY IS NOBODY BUILDING? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them. It’s easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. ‘Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.’ ELON MUSK, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla ‘This book delivers completely new and refreshing ideas on how to create value in the world.’ MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO of Facebook ‘When a risk taker writes a book, read it. In the case of Peter Thiel, read it twice. Or, to be safe, three times. This is a classic.’ NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB, author of The Black Swan
The Ancestor's Tale
by Richard DawkinsThe renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism. Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.
Letters to a Young Poet
by Rainer Maria Rilke“The ultimate expression of intergenerational literary wisdom.” —Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker A work that has inspired generations, this new edition of Letters to a Young Poet features a fresh translation of Rilke’s ten classic letters, along with the missing letters from the young poet himself.For nearly a century, eager writers and young poets, as well as those simply looking for a purpose in life, have embraced the wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, first published in 1929. Most readers and scholars have long assumed that the letters from the young poet were forever lost to posterity. Yet, shockingly, these letters were recently uncovered in Germany, and now the acclaimed translator Damion Searls has not only cast a fresh eye on Rilke’s original letters but also those of the “young poet,” Franz Xaver Kappus, an Austrian military cadet and an aspiring poet. This timeless edition, in addition to presenting their dialogue together for the first time in English, provides a new window into the workings of Rilke’s visionary poetic and philosophical mind, allowing us to reexperience the literary genius of one of the most inspiring works of twentieth-century literature.
The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership
by Jim DethmerYou'll never see leadership the same way again after reading this book. These fifteen commitments are a distillation of decades of work with CEOs and other leaders. They are radical or provocative for many. They have been game changers for us and for our clients. We trust that they will be for you too. Our experience is that unconscious leadership is not sustainable. It won't work for you, your team or your organization in the long term. Unconscious leadership can deliver short term results, but the costs of living and leading unconsciously are great. Fear drives most leaders to make choices that are at odds with healthy relationships, vitality and balance. This fear leaves a toxic residue that won't be as easily tolerated in an increasingly complex business environment. Conscious leadership offers the antidote to fear. These pages contain a comprehensive road map to guide you to shift from fear-based to trust-based leadership. Once you learn and start practicing conscious leadership you'll get results in the form of more energy, clarity, focus and healthier relationships. You'll do more and more of what you are passionate about, and less of what you do out of obligation. You'll have more fun, be happier, experience less drama and be more on purpose. Your team will get results as well. They'll be more collaborative, creative, energized and engaged. They'll solve issues faster, and once resolved the issues won't resurface. Drama and gossip will all but disappear, and the energy and resources that fueled them will be redirected towards innovation and creativity. Any one of these commitments will change your life. All of them together are revolutionary. Leaders who practice the 15 commitments: - End blame and criticism - Speak candidly, openly and honestly, in a way that invites others to do the same - Find their unique genius - Let go of taking everything-especially themselves and their problems-so seriously - Create win for all solutions - Experience a new relationship to time and money where there is always enough What do you need to bring to the table? Be curious. Sounds so simple, and yet in our experience it's a skill few have mastered. Most of us are far more interested in being right and proving it, than we are in learning, growing and shifting out of our old patterns. By default we gravitate towards the familiar. We're asking you to take a chance and explore the unfamiliar. You'll get scared and reactive. We all do. So what? Just stay curious and let us introduce you to a whole new world of leadership.
The Nature of Technology
by W. Brian Arthur“More than anything else technology creates our world. It creates our wealth, our economy, our very way of being,” says W. Brian Arthur. Yet despite technology’s irrefutable importance in our daily lives, until now its major questions have gone unanswered. Where do new technologies come from? What constitutes innovation, and how is it achieved? Does technology, like biological life, evolve? In this groundbreaking work, pioneering technology thinker and economist W. Brian Arthur answers these questions and more, setting forth a boldly original way of thinking about technology. The Nature of Technology is an elegant and powerful theory of technology’s origins and evolution. Achieving for the development of technology what Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions did for scientific progress, Arthur explains how transformative new technologies arise and how innovation really works. Drawing on a wealth of examples, from historical inventions to the high-tech wonders of today, Arthur takes us on a mind-opening journey that will change the way we think about technology and how it structures our lives. The Nature of Technology is a classic for our times.
by Nassim Nicholas TalebThe landmark five-book series--now in a beautifully designed, cloth-bound deluxe hardcover boxed set The Incerto is an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making when we don't understand the world, expressed in the form a personal essay with autobiographical sections, stories, parables, and philosophical, historical, and scientific discussions, in non-overlapping volumes that can be accessed in any order. The main thread is that while there is inordinate uncertainty about what is going on, there is great certainty as to what one should do about it. This deluxe boxed set includes: FOOLED BY RANDOMNESS THE BLACK SWAN THE BED OF PROCRUSTES ANTIFRAGILE SKIN IN THE GAME
Confessions of a Public Speaker
by Scott BerkunIn this hilarious and highly practical book, author and professional speaker Scott Berkun reveals the techniques behind what great communicators do, and shows how anyone can learn to use them well. For managers and teachers -- and anyone else who talks and expects someone to listen -- Confessions of a Public Speaker provides an insider's perspective on how to effectively present ideas to anyone. It's a unique, entertaining, and instructional romp through the embarrassments and triumphs Scott has experienced over 15 years of speaking to crowds of all sizes. With lively lessons and surprising confessions, you'll get new insights into the art of persuasion -- as well as teaching, learning, and performance -- directly from a master of the trade. Highlights include: Berkun's hard-won and simple philosophy, culled from years of lectures, teaching courses, and hours of appearances on NPR, MSNBC, and CNBC Practical advice, including how to work a tough room, the science of not boring people, how to survive the attack of the butterflies, and what to do when things go wrong The inside scoop on who earns $30,000 for a one-hour lecture and why The worst -- and funniest -- disaster stories you've ever heard (plus countermoves you can use) Filled with humorous and illuminating stories of thrilling performances and real-life disasters, Confessions of a Public Speaker is inspirational, devastatingly honest, and a blast to read.
by Siddhartha MukherjeePrologue: Families -- "The missing science of heredity" 1865-1935 -- "In the sum of the parts, there are only the parts" 1930-1970 -- "The dreams of geneticists" 1970-2001 -- "The proper study of mankind is man" 1970-2005 -- Through the looking glass 2001-2015 -- Post-genome 2015- ... -- Epilogue: Bheda, Abheda
Finite and Infinite Games
by James Carse“There are at least two kinds of games,” states James P. Carse as he begins this extraordinary book. “One could be called finite; the other infinite.” Finite games are the familiar contests of everyday life; they are played in order to be won, which is when they end. But infinite games are more mysterious. Their object is not winning, but ensuring the continuation of play. The rules may change, the boundaries may change, even the participants may change—as long as the game is never allowed to come to an end. What are infinite games? How do they affect the ways we play our finite games? What are we doing when we play—finitely or infinitely? And how can infinite games affect the ways in which we live our lives? Carse explores these questions with stunning elegance, teasing out of his distinctions a universe of observation and insight, noting where and why and how we play, finitely and infinitely. He surveys our world—from the finite games of the playing field and playing board to the infinite games found in culture and religion—leaving all we think we know illuminated and transformed. Along the way, Carse finds new ways of understanding everything, from how an actress portrays a role to how we engage in sex, from the nature of evil to the nature of science. Finite games, he shows, may offer wealth and status, power and glory, but infinite games offer something far more subtle and far grander. Carse has written a book rich in insight and aphorism. Already an international literary event, Finite and Infinite Games is certain to be argued about and celebrated for years to come. Reading it is the first step in learning to play the infinite game.
The Black Swan
by Nassim Nicholas TalebThe Black Swan is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, Antifragile, and The Bed of Procrustes. A black swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics: It is unpredictable; it carries a massive impact; and, after the fact, we concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random, and more predictable, than it was. The astonishing success of Google was a black swan; so was 9/11. For Nassim Nicholas Taleb, black swans underlie almost everything about our world, from the rise of religions to events in our own personal lives. Why do we not acknowledge the phenomenon of black swans until after they occur? Part of the answer, according to Taleb, is that humans are hardwired to learn specifics when they should be focused on generalities. We concentrate on things we already know and time and time again fail to take into consideration what we don’t know. We are, therefore, unable to truly estimate opportunities, too vulnerable to the impulse to simplify, narrate, and categorize, and not open enough to rewarding those who can imagine the “impossible.” For years, Taleb has studied how we fool ourselves into thinking we know more than we actually do. We restrict our thinking to the irrelevant and inconsequential, while large events continue to surprise us and shape our world. In this revelatory book, Taleb explains everything we know about what we don’t know, and this second edition features a new philosophical and empirical essay, “On Robustness and Fragility,” which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world. Elegant, startling, and universal in its applications, The Black Swan will change the way you look at the world. Taleb is a vastly entertaining writer, with wit, irreverence, and unusual stories to tell. He has a polymathic command of subjects ranging from cognitive science to business to probability theory. The Black Swan is a landmark book—itself a black swan. Praise for Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The most prophetic voice of all.”—GQ Praise for The Black Swan “[A book] that altered modern thinking.”—The Times (London) “A masterpiece.”—Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, author of The Long Tail “Idiosyncratically brilliant.”—Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times “The Black Swan changed my view of how the world works.”—Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate “[Taleb writes] in a style that owes as much to Stephen Colbert as it does to Michel de Montaigne. . . . We eagerly romp with him through the follies of confirmation bias [and] narrative fallacy.”—The Wall Street Journal “Hugely enjoyable—compelling . . . easy to dip into.”—Financial Times “Engaging . . . The Black Swan has appealing cheek and admirable ambition.”—The New York Times Book Review From the Hardcover edition.
The Defining Decade
by Meg JayOur "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood. Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, THE DEFINING DECADE weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely. THE DEFINING DECADE is a smart, compassionate and constructive book about the years we cannot afford to miss.
Escape from Freedom
by Erich FrommIf humanity cannot live with the dangers and responsibilities inherent in freedom, it will probably turn to authoritarianism. This is the central idea of Escape from Freedom, a landmark work by one of the most distinguished thinkers of our time, and a book that is as timely now as when first published in 1941. Few books have thrown such light upon the forces that shape modern society or penetrated so deeply into the causes of authoritarian systems. If the rise of democracy set some people free, at the same time it gave birth to a society in which the individual feels alienated and dehumanized. Using the insights of psychoanalysis as probing agents, Fromm's work analyzes the illness of contemporary civilization as witnessed by its willingness to submit to totalitarian rule.
Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#
by Robert C. MartinAudience: Programmers and developers Format: Hardcover, 38 Chapters Approach: Presents a series of case studies illustrating the fundamentals of Agile development and Agile design, and moves quickly from UML models to real C# code. Competition: Newkirk (MS Press), Jeffried (MSPress)