For many, Einstein’s renown as a scientist has obscured other aspects of his life and thought. The World As I See It is a collection of essays, lectures, and letters Einstein wrote in the 1920s and 30s on topics as diverse as politics, culture, education, and spirituality. These essays shed new light on one of the greatest minds the world has known by showing his deep concern and love for life and humanity.
Read on for key insights from The World as I See It.
5 Minute Read
The late NYU professor Neil Postman examines the cultural shift from the printed word to electronic media as the preferred form of communication. More than another ‘TV will rot your brain’ diatribe, Amusing Ourselves to Death delves into how we perceive and consume information, formulate thoughts and arguments, and construct beliefs based on the technology we use. This classic cautionary tale points out what we are unknowingly sacrificing on the altar of entertainment. Not for the faint of heart.
Read on for key insights from Amusing Ourselves to Death.
American liberals tend to see themselves as righteous champions of the oppressed, standing up against bullies who perpetuate inequality and injustice and all that’s bad in this world. According to syndicated columnist, Ben Shapiro, the grand irony is that liberals are the real bullies. In this book, Shapiro argues that the left, rather than actually helping victims, has successfully used victims—real and imagined—to gain moral high ground and bludgeon those with differing views into silence. In discussions about race, class, gender, the environment, and a slew of other topics, the left shuts down opposing views by vilifying the people who hold them.
Read on for key insights from Bullies.
What does Bill Gates’ story hold in common with the Beatles’? Why are so many professional hockey players born between January and March? Why do Asians tend to excel in math? In his examination of success stories, Malcolm Gladwell maintains that the way we understand the accomplishments of exceptional individuals often overlooks factors critical to their achievements. Applying a seemingly peculiar metric, Gladwell aims to debunk the popular narratives that assume success is due primarily to one’s individual talent and tenacity. The broader contexts of unique opportunities and advantages better explain the success of these remarkable individuals, or outliers.
Read on for key insights from Outliers.
Catholic professor Anthony Esolen maintains that American culture is rotting along with the rest of Western civilization and is in desperate need of revitalization. Out of the Ashes is a blunt rallying call to Christians to do everything they can to restore a love of truth, appreciation of beauty, a proper understanding of education, and a joy in play and creating beautiful things. Without the rediscovery of these fundamental ideals and practices, Esolen anticipates American society will continue to become increasingly antisocial, shallow, unstable, and prone to tyranny.
Read on for key insights from Out of the Ashes.
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.
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Seventy thousand years ago, organisms from the species Homo sapiens emerged on the scene. The study of their development and activities is called history. In his ambitious study, Yuval Noah Harari explains that human history has been propelled forward by three revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution. Humans have shown their capacity for profoundly impacting their environment, and each of the three revolutionary thresholds that we have crossed increased this capacity. Humankind ignores its powerful and often destructive tendencies at its own peril and the planet’s, but there is still reason to hope for a better tomorrow. Time will tell which path humanity will take.
Read on for key insights from Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
12 Minute Read
In Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that our twenty-first-century world would benefit greatly from a revitalization of the values of reason, science, humanism and progress. In contrast with the somber tenor of most social commentary, Enlightenment Now is a celebration of human accomplishment and the enlightenment goals for human betterment that will keep progress coming.
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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.
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7 Minute Read
This book began as a series of in-depth interviews that New York Times reporter John Leland conducted called “85 and Up.” The book’s title is just one of the numerous lessons that Leland gleaned through research and time spent with his newfound mentors.
Read on for key insights from Happiness is a Choice You Make.
The story of David and Goliath is one of an epic fight in ancient Palestine between a warrior giant and a young shepherd boy. The outcome decided the fate of their nations. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, the shepherd emerged victorious, and the tale has been handed down across the millennia as the ultimate example of the underdog beating the odds. According to journalist Malcolm Gladwell, however, this isn’t an accurate assessment of the event. In this story, as with many others in our own time, we overestimate the power of life’s giants and underestimate the strength and opportunities available to the underdogs.
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Not since the 1940s had a Foreign Policy piece elicited such strong reactions as Samuel Huntington’s piece titled “The Clash of Civilizations?” So furious was the pushback and frequent the misinterpretations of his thesis that Huntington turned his essay into a lengthy treatise, arguing that the strongest alliances and divides between peoples will not be between social classes, the rich and poor, or political ideologies, but between civilizations. Even decades after its publication, it is every bit as controversial and illuminating, and still considered one of the most significant essays on geopolitics.
Read on for key insights from The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.
Author and international health professor, Hans Rosling, calls Factfulness “his very last battle in [his] lifelong mission to fight devastating global ignorance.” After years of trying to convince the world that all development indicators point to vast improvements on a global scale, Rosling digs deeper to explore why people systematically have a negative view of where humanity is heading. He identifies a number of deeply human tendencies that predispose us to believe the worst. For every instinct that he names, he offers some rules of thumb for replacing this overdramatic worldview with a “factful” one.
Read on for key insights from Factfulness.
The question that the 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally poses is whether a man and a woman can be “just friends.” The question that people are asking in the wake of the stir that Caitlyn Jenner has catalyzed is whether a man can become a woman. If you’re looking to understand the transgender movement that is sweeping the United States, this book is a perfect place to start.
Read on for key insights from When Harry Became Sally.
In our more honest moments, most of us would have to acknowledge that we are overly attached to our technological devices. It turns out that what we gain in convenience, efficiency, and autonomy, we lose in freedom and deeply meaningful relationships. We would like to believe that we are the masters of our tools, but, increasingly, technologies are being designed to reverse this relationship, to make us hopelessly attached to our devices.
Read on for key insights from Irresistible.
Rules? Do we really need more? Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson says that if we hope to bring order from chaos in our lives then we definitely need the right ones. Many in our modern, scientifically advanced age are tempted to dismiss ancient stories and literature as rife with superstition and prejudice, but in 12 Rules for Life, Peterson’s approach is not dismissal but gleaning and synthesizing ancient wisdom that was hard-fought and dearly bought. Combining wisdom from the past with the latest scientific research from the present, Peterson gives some guidelines for transforming chaos into order.
Read on for key insights from 12 Rules for Life.
Most people know Freud as the father of psychology… and that’s about it. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud divulges his thoughts about life’s purpose, what drives us as humans, what shapes the evolution of culture, and why a perfect civilization is impossible to achieve.
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Culture critic and writer Matt Walsh argues that conservatives and Christians have been too passive, and that they need to start standing up to the Left’s attempts at redefining objective truth to better suit liberal ideologies and agendas. If they succeed in refashioning fundamental ideas about marriage, gender, and life, the window of opportunity for reversing cultural trends will close soon.
Read on for key insights from The Unholy Trinity.
Political science professor Robert Reich makes a case for America recentering its politics, economics, and culture on the concept of the common good. The past fifty years have been a story of win-at-all-costs politics and business strategies that is leaving the country’s social fabric threadbare. The Common Good is a both conciliatory and bracing exhortation to return to responsibility and trust-building.
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The new century has been a dizzying spectacle so far, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Harari assesses humanity’s current predicament, discussing everything from AI and social media to evolving religions and updated forms of justice and government. This book raises questions and makes suggestions about how humanity might continue to find its way forward.
Read on for key insights from 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court determined in a 5-4 decision that the right to marriage extends to same-sex couples under the Equal Rights Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This Obergefell v. Hodges ruling was not an expansion but a fundamental change to the institution of marriage. A change of this magnitude will have significant impact on laws, policies, institutions, and culture for years to come. Researcher and political analyst Ryan T. Anderson gives his take on what that impact will likely be.
Read on for key insights from Truth Overruled.
There are three Great Untruths that have begun to coalesce into a cult of “safetyism” in the United States. These untruths fly in the face of ancient wisdom and modern research, and have proven harmful to the individuals and groups who have imbibed them. Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt team up to illuminate these untruths and their deleterious effects, as well as suggest some remedies.
Read on for key insights from The Coddling of the American Mind.
Mark Miodownik’s keen interest in materials science began when he was stabbed in the back on a train platform in London as teenager. He saw the weapon at the police station and was bewildered that it could gracefully slice through 5 layers of cloth and then his epidermis and dermis. Since then, he has studied everyday materials that hide in plain sight. They not only comprise the modern world in which we live, but shape the culture and values we hold dear.
Read on for key insights from Stuff Matters.
by Michio Kaku
Planet earth is overdue for another catastrophe. It may not occur for thousands or even millions of years, but there have been five mass extinction moments in earth’s history, and another is inevitable. Whether it’s man-made or natural, terrestrial or from the deep reaches of space, we must pursue alternative living situations beyond earth while there’s still time. Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku shows us where things stand with space exploration and the hurdles that humans must clear to become a multiplanetary species.
Read on for key insights from The Future of Humanity.
Readers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your ignorance! For all the Che Guevara T-shirts and “power to the people” chants, how many people know what Communism advocates? Find out what Karl Marx and his colleague Friedrich Engels actually believed in The Communist Manifesto.
Read on for key insights from The Communist Manifesto.
It’s a common claim that science alone gives us knowledge. As a result, Christian faith has become marginalized as a myth, without any factual basis. Yet, argues philosopher J.P. Moreland, this view called “scientism” is itself a philosophical assumption and not the conclusion of scientific observation. Science must utilize a great deal of philosophy before it can get underway. This pervasive view of scientism has devastating implications for morality, human dignity, knowledge, and much more. Its proponents naively dismiss orthodox Christianity, which actually gave rise to modern science and has historically been committed to evidence and reason. Moreland seeks to clarify what scientism is, how to identify and respond to scientistic assumptions, and how to show that Christian faith actually makes the best sense when it comes to science and a range of other considerations.
Read on for key insights from Scientism and Secularism.
George Orwell of 1984 fame reflects on the poor state of the English language and its corrosive effect on political life. He points out recurring problems with the popular communication style, like vagaries and cliché images, and suggests practical ways we can move English—and with it, politics—in a more constructive direction.
Read on for key insights from Politics and the English Language.
Martin Luther King, Jr. offers candid reflections on faith, culture, and politics in the United States. Coretta Scott King says that, of all her late husband’s writings, Strength to Love is the work that people most consistently describe as life-changing.
Read on for key insights from Strength to Love.
One out of every three people you meet is an introvert, and these people are overlooked in a culture that favors extroversion. Quiet points to the hidden and often-undervalued strengths that introverts possess.
Read on for key insights from Quiet.
How do you enrich your inner life in a culture that cares far more about the externals? Columnist David Brooks marks out for us the forgotten road to character and introduces us to remarkable individuals from history who have walked it.
Read on for key insights from The Road to Character.
by Lynne Murphy
What happens when an American teaches linguistics at a British university? Controversy—that’s what. “It’s ‘lift’—not ‘elevator.’” “It’s ‘mashed potato’—not ‘mashed potatoes.’” “‘Colour’ is spelled with an ‘ou’—not just an ‘o.’” “It’s ‘the government are’—not ‘the government is.’” Britons will joke that England and America are separated by a common language. Linguist Lynne Murphy endeavo(u)rs to separate fact from fiction and debunk some stubborn stereotypes and assumptions about our common language.
Read on for key insights from The Prodigal Tongue.
Why are Germans so anal about punctuality or Brazilians more likely than Arabs to be accused of showing too much skin? Cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand believes that culture best explains our divisions and conflicts.
Read on for key insights from Rule Makers, Rule Breakers.