In this brief, popular-level treatise, Yale professor of history Timothy Synder argues that, “History does not repeat, but it does instruct.” He appeals to the practice of the United States’ Founding Fathers who, in the face of threats to the political order, examined the rise and fall of ancient democracies to gain insights and establish a political system that would safeguard a free society against tyranny. Snyder invites his reader to continue the tradition of understanding history in the interest of preserving liberty. He offers twenty lessons from the twentieth century European experience, a period full of destruction and bloodshed under fascist and communist regimes. Snyder advises that it would be wise to learn from the missteps and mishaps that allowed tyranny to gain footholds in the not-so-distant past.
Read on for several key insights from On Tyranny.
5 Minute Read
The USA Memory Championship is an annual competition held in New York since the early 90s. There are several events, including name-face recall, memorizing long numerical sequences, and remembering the order of shuffled decks of cards. Joshua Foer attended the competition as a reporter one year and a competitor the next. This book details Foer’s unexpected immersion into the world of memory in the intervening year. Through extensive research, interviews on the topics, and training with “mental athletes”, he came to realize anyone can drastically improve their memory, and proved it by winning the USA Memory Championship after only a year of concerted effort.
Read on for key insights from Moonwalking with Einstein.
5 Minute Read
A recent experience with a flaky, unresponsive girl galvanized comedian and actor Aziz Ansari into taking a break from stand-up routines to explore the landscape of modern romance. He, together with a slew of sociologists, designed a series of sociological studies that took them all over the world and deep into the literature of love. The result was Modern Romance, a comprehensive look at changes in the rules and expectations of love and relationships across recent history and culture, as well as the challenges and possibilities currently at play.
Read on for key insights from Modern Romance.
The First World War brought a sense of profound unease to the modern soul. The Enlightenment’s optimism about human potential had difficulty explaining the recent displays of mass violence and lust for power. Written during a time when people were cynical about humanity and desperate for a sense of purpose, psychoanalyst and intellectual Carl Jung’s Modern Man in Search of a Soul offers reflections on what it means to be human. This collection of essays is a valuable window into the cultural currents that continue to shape our world almost a century later.
Read on for key insights from Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
7 Minute Read
C.S. Lewis described this book as a "preliminary study" on miracles. This description is fitting because he deals not with the question of whether miracles have actually happened, but with the prior question of whether they are possible. He begins by arguing against naturalism, a worldview that excludes the possibility of miraculous events. He then turns his attention to the probability of miracles, and, finally, to the nature and uniqueness of the Christian miracles. He does not try to prove Christianity. Rather, his aim is to remove impediments to clear thinking on the question of miracles that would prevent one from giving the Christian claims a fair hearing.
Read on for key insights from Miracles.
11 Minute Read
For anyone struggling to sustain the magic of love in their intimate relationships, understanding some key insights about gender differences may prove helpful. Men and women give and receive love differently and have different needs, so we need to change our approach instead of trying to change the person. Friction and resentment are born in relationships not because men and women are different, but because we have forgotten how truly different they are.
Read on for key insights from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
by John Doerr
When starting an organization or business, it is imperative to have a reliable organizing principle. When John Doerr worked at Intel in the 1970s and 80s under Andy Groves, arguably the best manager of his generation, Doerr learned a simple management strategy that has empowered wildly successful companies and individuals to become world changers. In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares that secret with the rest of us.
Read on for key insights from Measure What Matters.
9 Minute Read
In the face of unspeakable cruelty and crushing conditions in Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl learned that it is still possible to live a life with dignity and purpose. In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl reflects upon his experience and how he found hope in the most unlikely places.
Read on for key insights from Man’s Search for Meaning.
The Beatles sang, “All you need is love.” Unfortunately, five out of ten marriages end in divorce, which suggests that love alone is not enough. During decades of counseling troubled marriages, Dr. Eggerichs frequently observed a destructive pattern: When a woman doesn’t feel loved by her husband, she responds by withholding respect—and when a man doesn’t feel respected by his wife, he responds by withholding love. The result is a self-perpetuating cycle of marital craziness. Eggerichs believes that breaking this cycle is the key to solving most of the problems in the marriage relationship.
Read on for key insights from Love and Respect.
10 Minute Read
We live in what some have called the Age of Melancholia. There is a mushrooming depression epidemic that must be dealt with—but how? Psychologist Martin Seligman, famous for his research on learned helplessness, argues that a person’s explanation for moments of failure and misfortune has the power to either encourage pessimism and depression or preempt the downward spiral. Learned Optimism holds out hope that pessimism and depression are not personal traits that people are stuck with. A new set of cognitive skills can help people bounce back from misfortune and failure instead of habitually falling to pieces.
Read on for key insights from Learned Optimism.
9 Minute Read