As the saying goes, knowledge is power. One of the best ways to acquire knowledge is by reading a variety books that enlighten, inform, and engage your mind. While you may have gotten bored with the selections your local book club made, there are plenty of books you’ve yet to explore that will enhance your life. Whether it’s a novel or a book that provides information, your reading material helps you become more knowledgeable. Plan to read one or more of the selections on this list of books every human should read.
Image via Flickr by Friar’s Balsam
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli Gives Political Insight
There are so many cultural references even in contemporary times to being “Machiavellian” that it’s worth reading his book to glean a true understanding of what that means. This classic reveals many insights into political power, governance, leadership, and authoritarian regimes. Read this book and marvel at its relevance more than 500 years after it was written.
1984 by George Orwell Paints a Dystopian Future
As with “The Prince,” this popular book delivers many lessons and warnings to citizens and political leaders alike. Also, “1984″ gave rise to the adjective “Orwellian” to describe governments that intentionally mislead the public and and spy on their citizens, a topic just as relevant in modern times as it was when “1984″ was first published in 1950. If you love this genre featuring totalitarian governments (and who wouldn’t?), a good companion book is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.”
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Explores the Downside of Success
Changing gears completely, this novel tells a story set in the Jazz Age that centers on love, loss, and the fleeting beauty of youth. At once stunning in its simplicity and revealing of the complexities of the era, the book tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who seeks to woo the woman he loves. The obsessions that lead to Gatsby’s downfall present a cautionary tale about the American Dream. Savor the beauty and tragedy of this time period and story as Fitzgerald uses his stripped down prose to weave a compelling yarn.
Fisher Investments on Consumer Staples by Michael Cannivet, Andrew Teufel, Kenneth L. Fisher Educates on Consumer Products
This book is a stand-out among comprehensive investment books because it offers practical and relevant advice on how to analyze and invest in the consumer staples industry. This sector includes household goods, medications, food, beverages, and other consumables. Because these items are basic necessities that will always be in demand, they present an attractive investment opportunity. This book earns a spot on the list because it can help you dramatically improve your personal investment portfolio.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Illustrates How Far We’ve Progressed
Beloved by readers, this book takes on social justice issues, and tells the story through the eyes of a little girl named Scout. She watches as her father, Atticus Finch, tackles racial injustices, small-mindedness, and hatred in their rural community. Learn a bit of history as you read this story set in 1930′s Alabama. You’ll find yourself admiring Atticus as much as his daughter, and appreciating anew the progress the U.S. has made toward tolerance and racial equality.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon Provides Us With a Different View of Life
Get a glimpse inside the world of a teenager with autism through this novel about Christopher John Francis Boone. When his neighbor’s dog is killed, he sets out to solve the mystery using his powers of logic and reason. This story is revealing, poignant, and downright interesting as you follow Christopher on this intriguing hunt for the dog’s killer.
The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan Provides Insight to a Scientist’s Mind
Idolized by many as a defense of skepticism, this book is accessible to non-scientists who want to learn more about how scientists think. Even though it presents the scientific method and holds it up as a paragon of reason, this book is engaging and provides an entrée into Sagan’s other writings.
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien Inspires Us to Overcome Obstacles in Life
Adventure, danger, friendship, and faith are all at the heart of this epic novel. Experience the journey with Frodo Baggins as he sets out from the protection of his beloved Shire to find the Ring of Power and destroy it before the forces of evil use it to bring darkness upon Middle Earth. This is an incredible tale of good versus evil.
Which books would you include on this list of must-reads?
Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer, and tech/business columnist. When he’s not writing about the latest in technology, he’s windsurfing or walking his dog Max.