Mind you that I only started reading in 2014, so my reference might not be as broad as you think. Also, I didn’t get to read much during my high school days and only have started back on track these past two years.
And no, I do not mean my title literally. I prefer if these books are handed out to other people who need them more.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
I placed this book on the top not because it is my latest read but it’s an all-in-one package for me.
Factfulness offers you progressive explanations on why we perceive many stereotypes and why we are wrong about them. Hans Rosling, along with his collaborators Anna and Ola, provided plausible data for their statements, and everything is easy to read. They explained the ten instincts that made us build a falsified perspective about the world. First, we tend to divide countries into two categories; us and them. Second, we consume media that provide bad news more than good ones. Third, we also see the world is getting worse; meanwhile, it’s not.
This book, including the data, will let you catch a break for a while. Personally, Factfulness got me to believe that we may have hardships and imperfections. However, we are also improving in many aspects of life. Eventually, I also apply this to my life. I may not advance every time, but surely I have grown as a person from time to time.
We may not see any significant developments because our countries are already adequate enough. But have we ever paid attention to the countries that we think are ‘going backward’? The countries that we think are ‘so poor’? This book informs you that it is not the time to divide countries into developing and developed countries. Instead, there is a new way, provided by the World Bank, to categorize countries based on four income levels.
Factfulness will get you started with a quiz at first, which most of you will fail if you are still clouded with your biased judgments, and proceed to explain each of the questions along with the rational data. You can get the book from Tokopedia, Shopee, Amazon, Book Depository, or any other bookstores.
Being humble, here, means being aware of how difficult your instincts can make it to get the facts right. It means being realistic about the extent of your knowledge. It means being happy to say “I don’t know.”
Being curious means being open to new information and actively seeking it out. It means embracing facts that don’t fit your worldview and trying to understand their implications. It means letting your mistakes trigger curiosity instead of embarrassment.
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Haenim Sunim
I purchased this book when I was not in the right mind. However, it turned out the book placed me back to where I should be, instead.
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down should be your top pick if you feel like you are tired of the world, even when you are tired of reading. Each chapter starts with an essay or Sunim’s personal story that we can relate to. Next, the book will head to short quotes to relieve our mind for a little while and relax.
Haenim Sunim stated it clearly that we should not rush while reading this book. We tend to finish something as quick as possible, but this book will bring greater impacts if we pause after finishing a chapter and try to relate to it on a deeper meaning before moving onto the next one. It also teaches you that in the fast-paced world we are living in right now, there are also times when we have to soften and be calm.
It consists of eight chapters; Rest, Mindfulness, Passion, Relationships, Love, Life, The Future, Spirituality. I like how the chapters are arranged. The first chapter prepares us to rest and be open-minded to read the rest.
Love needs to be balanced.
If you like him more than he likes you, give him time and space to catch up.
It is important to hold back your emotions when your feelings are not in balance with his.
Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century by Geoffrey R. Stone
Thank you, Dakota Johnson, for mentioning this book when Architectural Digest came to your house. I personally adore her, so I believe when she says a book is interesting.
Sex and the Constitution explores the history of sexuality and sex life from the ancient period through the Enlightenment. It demonstrates the connection between sex and religion.
Other than that, it also traces back the progress of homosexuality and its correlation with religion. The Americans were so against it that they composed strict regulations regarding the acts of homosexuality. They condemned contraception and abortion and how people started to conduct movements to fight for their rights.
Thanks to this book, now I can deliver my warmest gratitude for Margaret Sanger. If it had not been for her, women nowadays would still be oppressed by the Comstock Act, had no access to contraception, and gave birth to dozens of babies.
Franklin believed that people serve God best not when they obey dogmas and profess belief in miracles, but when they perform good works on behalf of humanity.
How to Be More Interesting by Edward de Bono
I always thought I needed beauty to be interesting. I always thought that it was the first thing that attracted people, and it made them stay. Well, beauty may first catch the attention of an eye. But it does not make people stay.
We tend to spend so much money and time on beauty, yet we forget to invest in our interesting minds. We train our bodies with workouts and a healthy diet, yet we forget to spend time to develop an interesting mind.
How to Be More Interesting consists of 74 exercises to train your way of critical thinking. After each exercise, there are de Bono’s personal and suggested answers that will get you into thinking, “why didn’t I think as broad as that?” or “why did I pretend to think so critically that I missed the basic concepts?”
Is there perhaps the danger that, if you develop your ability to be interesting, you will notice even more than before how boring other people can be? If you develop a taste for the finest French wines, do you notice the awfulness of lesser wines? I do not think the analogy holds, because in becoming more interesting you become more able to make other people interesting. It may be hard work but it can be done.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
My greatest spend in 2019.
This is the thinnest book out of this whole recommendation. Yet, the messages it delivers cannot be underestimated, and I will dearly hold onto my heart.
The Prophet is a semi-autobiographical compilation of twenty-six poetic discourses and Kahlil Gibran’s most well-known work. Almustafa, before leaving for his ship, delivered such hearty and warm messages on 26 facets of life. He got to the tiniest details, even he spoke about eating and drinking, work, giving, and clothes. The version that I bought has twelve illustrations that are recreated from the author’s original sketches.
While reading, I feel like this book is stating the obvious yet always forgotten to me. Because the topics mentioned are the ones we face in our daily lives, I feel like I already conquered all that. However, I was proven wrong as the words started infiltrating my mind.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
I took so long to finish this book because, personally, this was hard to comprehend for me. The topics discussed were nothing that I was familiar with. However, as I learned through each chapter, I got engaged more and more. Eventually, it moved me to read more non-fiction to get the same, or even better, experience like I did while reading this.
Homo Deus discusses the reality that we tend to overlook because we do not pay much attention to our surroundings. We are so caught up with our past that we do not realize that the human agenda is changing.
This book provides the data that:
a. More people die because they ate too much than the ones who ate too little;
b. Old people kill more than infectious diseases;
c. Suicide takes more lives than wars, terrorists, and criminals.
In the middle of the paragraphs, there are some facts that you might need to know but never did before. Everything you know is related to everything you do not know, inciting curiosity to dig deeper about this world and its advancements.
At the end of the book, it will get you questioning the future that you think is certain. You will start to wonder, “where do we go from here?”
Reading non-fiction may be hard at first, especially if you are used to reading fiction, and you only read non-fiction because of your assignments or any other school-related needs (you might be stressed easily because you perceive that non-fiction books are always as boring as you think). But, this type of book will get you engaged, trigger your curiosity, and expand your knowledge about the ongoing issues in the world right now. You just need to find the right one for you. You do not have to start from the thickest, but it does not mean you always have to start from the thinnest either. Choose whichever catches your attention at first.
Please note that you are never obliged to read this or that genre of book. Reading should be a pastime, not a burden.