I recently had a request for recommended books, which I am happy to share! Books are certainly the intelligent person's food for thought. I would be happy to hear of any recommendations you might have (some of these books were recommended to me by readers of this blog).
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ: I read this book more than 10 years ago and still refer to it quite often. Author, Daniel Goleman, explains why emotional and social intelligence (EQ) is a greater predictor for success than intellectual and academic intelligence. After reading this book, you will have a greater understanding of the human brain and why you think and act the way you do. Self-knowledge is the most powerful knowledge and this book is among the best in this area. It's also quite easy to read.
Man's Search for Meaning: In this epic book, which has sold more than 10 million copies in at least 24 different languages, Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist by trade, describes poignantly his experience in concentration camps during the Holocaust. He observed that those prisoners who gave up on life, who had lost all hope for a future, were inevitably the first to die. This classic book might represent the best $10 investment you've ever made.
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less: This aptly titled book, by Barry Schwartz, explains how too many choices actually reduces one's ability to prudently choose and how one may minimize the effect of choice overload. Do we really need 85 different varieties and brands of crackers in the typical grocery store?
Your Money and Your Brain: How the New Science of Neuroeconomics Can Help Make You Rich: Put simply, humans are not hard-wired to be good money managers! Jason Zweig does a fine job of pointing to neuroscience that supports this claim. Personally, I believe that self-knowledge is the key to success in all areas of life -- not just personal finance. This book is a great guide to understanding (and knowing) yourself as a human and how to prevent costly financial errors.
Walden: This classic piece of American literature is a masterfully written lesson on simplicity and contentment. The book is based upon the author (Henry David Thoreau)'s life in a one-room cabin in the woods on Walden pond and his philosophical observations of life and nature during this three-year time period. Every home library should have this book in it.
The Book of Questions: How much do you try to live now as you will one day wish you had lived? If you had all the money you needed, what would you do? Book author, Gregory Stock, PhD, asks hundreds of questions like these. Answer them honestly to yourself and you will likely be a different person (for the better) after reading them.
Stumbling on Happiness: Humans are terrible at predicting their happiness (or unhappiness); however, we continue to make plans based on these false forecasts produced by the imagination. With a combination of science, philosophy and humor, author Daniel Gilbert delivers one of the best books I've ever read on the subject of happiness. This is another "must have" for the pursuit of self-knowledge, which is arguably the true path to happiness.
The Philosophers Toolkit: A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts and Methods: For any of you who like (or think you might like) philosophy but just haven't had a good introduction to philosophical concepts (such as fallacy) or methods (such as dialectic inquiry), this book is for you.
To keep this blog post digestible, I will stop here. If more interest is shown in other book recommendations, I'll be happy to share them. Also, don't forget to let me know which books you recommend...
Nietzsche image by Shannon