10 audiobooks to make you smarter

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Jorge Rudy / Shuttestock.com

I read a lot of audiobooks, usually two or three a week. I have navigated through reams of questionable analysis, lackluster prose, and unsatisfying conclusions. But, every now and then I come across a book that blows my mind and I think it was worth it for that knowledge.

How I chose the books that make you smarter

This article started as a reading list for my teenager who is graduating from high school next year as a tool to continue learning after leaving the classroom behind. I chose the books for their understanding for people with a K-12 education, content that translates to real-life usefulness, and authors who are experts in their fields. I’ve read all of these books at least once in the last year, and most of them multiple times since I first opened my Audible Plus account. I’ve also ordered them in the sequence I find most effective.

A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking

The vastness of all time and space can seem like a strange place to start your reading journey. But it makes more sense than you think. A basic understanding of the cosmos puts humanity’s place in the Universe into perspective. A brief history of time it is relatively short, written by one of the most respected physicists of the 20th century, and can be read and understood by anyone with a high school education. If you finish this book and find yourself with a new love for the final frontier, you can pick up Astrophysics for people in a hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Once you’ve traveled the cosmos, it’s time to return to Earth. In Sapiens: a brief history of mankind, Hebrew University professor Yuval Harari tells the story of humanity from its birth in Africa to the present day and where it may go in the future. And he covers more than just homo sapiens. The book also covers other species of humans and why they disappeared. Harari continues his thoughts on the next steps in human evolution in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

The laws of human nature by Robert Greene

Now that you know the basics of the universe and humanity, you’re ready to learn about the people you interact with on a daily basis. The laws of human nature by Robert Greene is a comprehensive treatise on human behavior and personality traits. The book also helps you identify his personality type, how to interact with others, and even who to avoid. This book is quite long, 28 hours, but it is worth the investment of time because you will learn why people, including yourself, do what they do. But if it’s too much of a time commitment, other books dealing with similar topics are Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel and The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.

meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The next natural step of human nature is philosophy. And there are plenty of old and new writers and books to choose from. But, one of the most accessible and enduring is a collection of writings written by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Meditations is also one of the earliest known examples of what we know today as self-help books. The book’s ancient wisdom has influenced religion, politics, and sociology to this day and is considered one of the greatest books ever written.

Rationality by Steven Pinker

Learning history and philosophy is not enough to become a powerful intellectual. You also have to know how to think. And that is achieved through reason. In RationalityHarvard professor, cognitive psychologist, and linguist Steven Pinker discusses what reason and rationality are, how to process information, avoid common fallacies, and discern truth from falsehood. He may think that he is a great critical thinker, but when he reads this book, he will realize the extent of his ignorance and his thinking errors. Once you understand these things, the other Pinker books, like The blank blackboard Y The best angels of our natureIt should go on your to-read list.

Economics in one lesson by Henry Hazlitt

When we think of the economy, we tend to do so in a general way. Economic indicators like the stock market, gas prices, gross domestic product (GDP), and the unemployment rate give you a sense of how things are going, but they don’t teach you how everything works. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt lays out the basics of financial theory that anyone can understand and has influenced generations of economists since its publication in 1946. Once you have an idea of ​​how an economy works, it’s worth spending time on deepen. with books like The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and the rich society by John Kenneth Galbraith.

never split the difference by Chris Voss

Stuffing your head with all this knowledge is only good if you can put it to work in your daily life. The most common way to do this is through negotiation. That may sound strange at first, but when you realize that most of your interactions with other people are a form of negotiation. Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator who developed a system that works for just about every situation, from getting a higher salary to resolving relationship issues. never split the difference distills all of Voss’ knowledge and experience into an easy-to-understand guide that will develop your persuasive skills and help you get what you want out of life.

wolf trail by Jordan Belford

Another practical guide to interacting with people is by Jordan Belford. wolf trail. Belford is most famous for the film based on his memoir, The wolf of Wall Street, which recounts the financial crimes that made him rich and landed him in jail for two years. In Way of the Wolf, Belford explains the method of selling him straight. But while it’s a sales-focused book, it teaches you critical life skills like making a positive first impression, actively listening, controlling your body language, effectively persuading others, and becoming a positive influence in someone’s life. people.

sense of style by Steven Pinker

Writing is more than words on a page. It helps us organize our thoughts and express ourselves. sense of style it falls last on this list because, as Pinker says at the beginning of the book, the way we write is influenced by the writing of others. After reading the rest of the books above, you’ll have fantastic examples to emulate. This book guides you to improve your words, whether it’s creating a social media post, drafting an email, or even writing an article like this one. Once you’ve mastered writing, you can learn more about the basics of language in Pinker’s books. words and rules Y The language instinct.