7 Essential Books on Optimism by Maria Popova What the love of honey has to do with ancient wisdom, our capacity for hope, and the future of technology. Every once in a while, we all get burned out. Sometimes, charred. And while a healthy dose of cynicism and skepticism may help us get by, it’s in those times that we need nothing more than to embrace life’s promise of positivity with open arms. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, one of our must-read children’s books with philosophy for grown-ups, is among the most poetic and hopeful reflections on human existence ever penned. Here is my secret. Published in 1943, translated into 180 languages since and adapted to just about every medium, Exupéry’s famous novella is one of the best-selling books of all time. As you read this book, you will see that there is an epidemic of depression among young adults and among children in the United States today. Reviewed in full, with more images, here. Full review here. 'Live Humbly' by Mikey Burton Craving more?
7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness by Maria Popova From Plato to Buddha, or what imperfection has to do with the neuroscience of the good life. If you, like me, are fascinated by the human quest to understand the underpinnings of happiness but break out in hives at the mere mention of self-help books, you’re in luck: I’ve sifted through my personal library, a decade’s worth of obsessive reading, to surface seven essential books on the art and science of happiness, rooted in solid science, contemporary philosophy and cross-disciplinary insight. The question of what makes us happy is likely as old as human cognition itself and has occupied the minds of philosophers, prophets and scientists for millennia. Human rationality depends critically on sophisticated emotionality. Haidt takes this ambitious analysis of philosophical thought over the centuries and examines it through the prism of modern psychology research to extract a remarkably compelling blueprint for optimizing the human condition for happiness. Donating = Loving
(Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Culture in 10 Books by Maria Popova What the limits of the universe have to do with the history of jazz and the secret of happiness. Last week, I was reorganizing my library and realized that some of my favorite books are ones that introduced me to subjects I either admired but knew little about or was unaware of altogether. The kinds of reads that profoundly enrich one’s lens on the world. Long before there was The Visual Miscellaneum or Data Flow, there was Graphis diagrams: The graphic visualization of abstract data — a seminal vision for the convergence of aesthetics and information value, originally published in 1974, which codified the conventions of contemporary data visualization and information design. Images courtesy of insect54 The idea of a ragtime ballet or opera must have seemed an oxymoron to those on both sides of the great racial divide that characterized turn-of-the-century American society. Perhaps most powerful of all is the human hope and scientific vision of Hawking’s ending:
The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors “Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers — including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates — “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time– novels, story collections, plays, or poems.” Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list — so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point. In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:
Why We Love: 5 Must-Read Books on the Psychology of Love It’s often said that every song, every poem, every novel, every painting ever created is in some way “about” love. What this really means is that love is a central theme, an underlying preoccupation, in humanity’s greatest works. But what exactly is love? How does its mechanism spur such poeticism, and how does it lodge itself in our minds, hearts and souls so completely, so stubbornly, as to permeate every aspect of the human imagination? No superlative is an exaggeration of Alain de Botton‘s humble brilliance spanning everything from philosophy to architecture. Every fall into love involves [to adapt Oscar Wilde] the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. You might recall biological anthropologist Helen Fisher‘s work from this fascinating discussion of how antidepressants impact the experience of romantic love. Sample her work with this fantastic TED talk on the brain in love: For many people, love is the most important thing in their lives. Is love really blind?
7 Essential Books on Music, Emotion, and the Brain by Maria Popova What Freud has to do with auditory cheesecake, European opera and world peace. Last year, Horizon’s fascinating documentary on how music works was one of our most-liked pickings of 2010. But perhaps even more fascinating than the subject of how music works is the question of why it makes us feel the way it does. Today, we try to answer it with seven essential books that bridge music, emotion and cognition, peeling away at that tender intersection of where your brain ends and your soul begins. We love the work of neuroscientist and prolific author Oliver Sacks, whose latest book, The Mind’s Eye, was one of our favorite brain books last year. Why music makes us feel the way it does is on par with questions about the nature of divinity or the origin of love. Patel also offers this beautiful definition of what music is: Sound organized in time, intended for, or perceived as, aesthetic experience. Donating = Loving Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. Share on Tumblr
New Year's Resolution Reading List: 9 Essential Books on Reading and Writing by Maria Popova Dancing with the absurdity of life, or what symbolism has to do with the osmosis of trash and treasure. Hardly anything does one’s mental, spiritual, and creative health more good than resolving to read more and write better. Today’s reading list addresses these parallel aspirations. And since the number of books written about reading and writing likely far exceeds the reading capacity of a single human lifetime, this omnibus couldn’t be — shouldn’t be — an exhaustive list. If anyone can make grammar fun, it’s Maira Kalman — The Elements of Style Illustrated marries Kalman’s signature whimsy with Strunk and White’s indispensable style guide to create an instant classic. The original Elements of Style was published in 1919 in-house at Cornell University for teaching use and reprinted in 1959 to become cultural canon, and Kalman’s inimitable version is one of our 10 favorite masterpieces of graphic nonfiction. On the itch of writing, Lamott banters: On why we read and write:
How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List Here's my one bit of advice on the subject — summer is for reading stuff you *want* to read, not stuff you *have* to, or stuff you feel like you *need* to. I review books for my web site, and I can't say that I ever enjoy them enough to carry them to the beach, you know what I mean? That's a job. And then at times I'll get into an "I'm too unproductive" mood and suddenly feel like my free time has to be spent learning important things, so I'll go read business books and self help books and other things that I feel like I'm reading because of some specific benefit I need to achieve. But when I hit the beach it's going to be stuff like Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on my Kindle. Oh, and on a related note?
Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge | It's Time to Read! - Book reviews and news Thank you for all the comments on this page! This is a collection of books mentioned or read on Gilmore Girls! Some of them might have been films instead of the books themselves but I see no problem in reading them either! Here is the list of books (taken from THIS forum and your comments- thanks!). I have removed the travel and cooking booking. The Best Science Fiction Books (According to Reddit) Recently, someone asked Reddit for a list of the best science fiction books of all time. Being a fan of sci-fi, and wanting to expand my own reading list, I thought it would be helpful to tally the results and preserve them here for future reference. I've also included selected quotes from the comments, as well as my own notes on the books I've already read. PS: All book images in this post are copyright Amazon, and were retrieved using my Big Book Search Engine. So, without further ado, here are the Greatest Sci-Fi Books of All Time, ordered by upvote count: Dune Frank Herbert - 1965 "There's a reason it's the global top selling science fiction book of all time." - NibblyPig If you have a chance, track down the excellent full cast audiobook (unabridged!) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams - 1979 "I really love the cool combination of humor, philosophy, and sheer nuttiness of the entire series." - Scarbrow Ender's Game Orson Scott Card - 1985 Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov - 1942
» 20 Amazing and Essential Non-fiction Books to Enrich Your Library Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter. I’m an avid reader of fiction and just love a novel that transports me, that is so gripping that I can’t put it down. But I also enjoy a good non-fiction book, from self-help stuff to philosophy to biographies to just about anything that makes me think. After the warm reception of my post on novels (50 Amazing and Essential Novels to Enrich Your Library), a number of people asked for a list of non-fiction as well. Well, here it is! I was hesitant to do this as there are so many classic non-fiction texts, from the Greeks to philosophers through the ages to biographies of amazing people to first-hand accounts of surviving wars and much more. But then I decided not to be comprehensive. So this list is far, far from being authoritative or comprehensive. This list is just a few of my favorites. Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robins. Bonus update — I forgot a few that I really want to add to this list.
Good Minds Suggest—Geoff Dyer's Favorite Books About Obsessions (Author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi) February, 2012 February, 2012 English author and journalist Geoff Dyer tells Goodreads, "It is difficult to imagine how anyone could write a book about something he or she was not obsessed by." His own freewheeling obsessions are reflected in a diverse body of work. U and I by Nicholson Baker "The paradigmatic book by the paradigmatic obsessive, this is the true story of Baker's entirely justified adoration of John Updike. The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem "Whereas Baker strikes one as a serial monogamist in the realm of obsession, Lethem manages to keep a whole bunch of them going all the time. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West "Even West was baffled as to why she had been moved 'in 1936 to devote five years of my life, at great financial sacrifice and to the utter exhaustion of my mind and body, to take an inventory of a country down to its last vest-button, in a form insane from any ordinary artistic or commercial point of view.' Old Masters by Thomas Bernhard
These Are the Greatest Geek Books of All Time, Readers Say | Underwire inShare0 We revealed our ultimate reading list in "9 Essential Geek Books You Must Read Right Now" last week. Now Wired.com readers have spoken, voting for their favorites from the list and submitting many awesome literary picks of their own. The must-read books listed in the gallery above didn't make the original roundup, but received the most attention from readers in our online voting. (The rules remain the same, namely no repeat authors on the list). DuneBy Frank Herbert (1965) "It's a work that thrusts you into a far-flung, truly, strangely realized future. We revealed our ultimate reading list in "9 Essential Geek Books You Must Read Right Now" last week. Photos: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com [voting topic_id="4" css=" Tags: 9 for 9, A Brief History of Time, Books and Comics, Brave New World, cosmos, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?