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5 Books That Really Will Expand Your Mind!

By John Clarke

Expand Your Mind!

No, this won’t be another edgy list of all the books everyone thinks are really “far out”, like
The Elec­tric Kool-​​aid Acid Test, Food of the Gods or The Doors of Per­cep­tion. This will be a list of incred­ible books that will force you to think about your place in the uni­verse from a totally rational per­spective, instead of relying on half-​​baked the­ories thought up by crazy bearded stoners.

I promise you that if you read all of these books on this list, not only will will feel a renewed sense of wonder at the world around you & uni­verse at large, but you’ll also come away from it with a sound under­standing of the sci­entific method and a per­fectly tuned bull­shit detector neces­sary to wade through the heaps of crap spouted by lesser mortals.

Click on any of the pic­tures to see the book on Amazon. Here goes, in no par­tic­ular order:

Antimatter

Antimatter

Author: Frank Close

With the recent release of the Angels & Demons film, this book is essen­tial reading, and weighing in at less than 150 small pages with big text, there really is no excuse. If you’ve ever wondered any­thing between “What the hell is anti­matter?” and “I wonder if I can build an anti­matter super­weapon to take over the world?”, then this is the book for you.

What it’s about: This book gives a detailed, yet under­stand­able history of particle physics and sep­ar­ates anti­matter facts from anti­matter fiction.

Why it will expand your mind: Humans have evolved to cope with things of average size, in average tem­per­at­ures for an average length of time. This book forces you to think small — not down to the size of cells, or even the simplest bio­lo­gical molecules, but to atoms them­selves and beyond. Because we’ve not evolved to deal with things on such a small scale, particle physics is almost an alien concept. Thank­fully, this book is written with clarity in mind, peppered with plenty of helpful dia­grams and examples.

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Heard about this crazy, heretical “Evol­u­tion” busi­ness? This book is chock full of solid evid­ence, impec­cable logic and bril­liant thinking that will leave you with no doubt about evolution’s roll in everything you can see around you. Forget reli­gion —  this is the book with all the answers, and the evid­ence to back them up.

What it’s about: This is the book Charles Darwin would have written if he knew what we know now. Dawkins fills us in on the details of modern evol­u­tionary theory from a gene’s-eye view of the world.

Why it will expand your mind: Evol­u­tion explains everything. Everything! If aliens exist, they too would have evolved. This process is so uni­versal, it provides a thread on which to hang every other fact we’ve ever learned, uniting them all with one common explan­a­tion. A solid under­standing also allows you to easily explain abso­lutely any­thing you might encounter.

If this is your first foray into evol­u­tionary biology, you might like to start with River Out Of Eden. Your brain won’t be torn asunder with logic and reason, but you’ll def­in­itely get a glimpse of the bigger picture. If you’ve done any biology-​​related higher edu­ca­tion, then I’ll also suggest The Extended Phen­o­type, argu­ably Dawkins’ most important work, after you’ve fin­ished The Selfish Gene.

Bad Science

Bad Science

Author: Ben Goldacre

Bad Science is your defence against a world of horse crap where everyone is trying to rip you off. Ben Gol­dacre also blogs at Bad​Science​.net and writes a column with the same name for The Guardian. You can read an entire chapter of this book here.

What it’s about: Con­fused about MMR jabs? Homoe­opathy? Crystal healing? Fish oil? Then read this book.

Why it will expand your mind: You’ll learn the sim­pli­city of the sci­entific method and why it’s so important to the world we live in. It will teach you to think for your­self and apply a healthy dose of scep­ti­cism to the next dose of health advice you might hear about from someone trying to sell you some­thing. Not par­tic­u­larly mind expanding on its own, but it has a synergy with all the other books in this list.

The God Delusion

The God Delusion

Author: Richard Dawkins

If you’ve heard of Richard Dawkins, this book is prob­ably why, having already sold over 1.5 million copies. Even if you’re reli­gious, you need to read it, because you should always hear the other side’s argu­ment — if some­thing chal­lenges your beliefs, and your pos­i­tion remains the same, then your beliefs can only be strengthened.

What it’s about: While it’s not pos­sible to unequi­voc­ally prove that God doesn’t exist, this book presents several cast iron argu­ments why all reli­gions are (prob­ably) wrong, the logical fal­la­cies at the heart of faith itself, and the evils per­pet­rated in the name of reli­gion every day.

Why it will expand your mind: As hard as it to imagine, the life of an atheist is not one of misery and point­less­ness. The outlook on life presented in this book will encourage you to enjoy your life as much as pos­sible, look after others and realise exactly where you fit into the uni­verse. Com­bined with the other books in this list, there is no room left for unsup­ported spec­u­la­tion — there are rational answers out there to be mar­velled at.

A Brief History Of Time

A Brief History of Time

Author: Steven Hawking

Prob­ably the most famous popular science book of all time, A Brief History Of Time has sold over 10 million copies. Funnily enough though, hardly anyone has actu­ally read it!

What it’s about: While the first book in this list dealt with the min­is­cule, this book deals with the massive. From the Big Bang to black holes, and everything in between, this book covers the hot topics in cos­mo­logy with as much clarity as could be expected. While a little mind-​​boggling at times, per­severing is totally worth it.

Why it will expand your mind: For the same reason as Anti­matter — this book deals with things we haven’t evolved to comprehend.

***

If reading is not your thing, there are plenty of doc­u­ment­aries online about all the topics these worthy tomes cover. Perhaps I’ll make a list of those too one day.

6 Responses to 5 Books That Really Will Expand Your Mind!

  1. PoisonedV says:

    I expected dmt the spirit molecule, leary books, maybe some other stuff, by the title! But this is just as good. love all of them.

  2. geeza says:

    you say evol­u­tion explains EVERYTHING!!! such a massive leap of faith(pun intended) how i envy your abso­lute certainty,really open mind u got there!! hahahahaha nice one;)

  3. Synchronium says:

    Geeza: I’m not sure if you’re with me or against me. For­tu­nately, there’s a dif­fer­ence between a belief in some­thing and faith. You can believe in some­thing because of the moun­tains of evid­ence in its favour, whereas faith implies belief without evidence.

    In my mind, the evid­ence for evol­u­tion is good enough to explain everything.

  4. Evelyn says:

    I’m of a very young age and am looking to expand my mind a bit. I hope that these books will achieve my goal. But reading about evol­u­tion, science and space, it doesn’t have to change your reli­gion. I’m a very reli­gious girl, but it is nice to read about HOW sci­entist think things will turn out. It’s just a nice change, is all.

  5. BIRDS says:

    Evelyn, the reason those sub­jects go hand– in hand, is because a huge part of every reli­gion is explaining how the uni­verse works. Reli­gion is leftover from the infancy of our intel­li­gence, and our lack of science. Now that Modern science is in effect, we can under­stand, with tan­gible, phys­ical evid­ence, how things work, without the assump­tion that we should remain ignorant and simply accept any God’s word as infal­lible, because he/​it/​omnipresent force.. says so. By the explan­a­tions of the Uni­verse as told by the old test­a­ment, this is what the world looks like. http://​www​.boing​boing​.net/​2​0​0​9​/​1​1​/​1​0​/​h​e​b​r​.​jpg

    And that– we know is wrong.
    God lied?
    Or Humans made it up. You decide.

  6. Martin says:

    I know this thread has long since been dead — can’t help adding my two cents nev­er­the­less …
    @BIRDS: Reli­gion is NOT just “leftover from the infancy of our intel­li­gence, and our lack of science”; Reli­gion is meant to be a remainder of the fact that the most important thing in life is LOVE (which is God :-) ), some­thing that science com­pletely forgets about.
    Oh alright, most churches have for­gotten that as well, but at least it’s in the holy books …

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