Top Books That Changed My Worldview
Whether you have always read books since their assignment in class or you were a late bloomer, reading books will always be one of the best hobbies that exists. Reading to comprehend and understand is not only a great skill to learn, but it also increases empathy. Books have the ability of concealing important knowledge that can become known as soon as we pick them up and spend time understanding the author’s intent and expertise.
My journey began when I had to read lengthy books in class. These books were quite heavy and boring at the time. Gradually, I became interested in the stories and the complex storylines. Reading classics from Dostoevsky to JRR Tolkien proved to be some of the greatest stories ever read. With a plethora of past and present authors and works, there is an infinite amount of great literature and non-fiction out there. Here are some books that have changed the way I perceive the world and learn everyday.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A book that demonstrates a rather different story not bound by space or time, but rather the extraordinary lengths of the galaxy. The story of a human being who goes through so much in a short amount of time. While attempting to understand everything, he accepts his fate and continues. The book has great comedy while breaking the fourth wall. A great book that demonstrates that you can take what life gives you and continue forward. What once made sense may not make sense. And what does not make sense could possibly make sense when viewed from a different perspective.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
A story written by a clinical psychiatrist that demonstrates the strength of the human mind and body. A holocaust survivor, who endures the atrocities of the Nazi occupation and concentration camps, gives us a re-telling of the horrors he and many others endured. While going through everything, he recounts that his will and faith in a better tomorrow allowed him to continue forward. Easier said than done, Dr. Frankl did not lose hope despite what he had to see, feel, and taste. He continued forward with a concrete will to survive. As the book’s title shows, the book demonstrates the importance of having a meaning in life. This book contains so much wisdom from an individual who sustained so much damage, yet continued moving forward.
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
A complex work that demonstrates the factors that played a major role in shaping history at least in the tangible explanation. History has been shaped by key events that could have resulted in complete different events if something changed. Guns, Germs, and Steel attempts to demonstrate what caused some countries to develop the technologies that would eventually lead to innovation and domination while others may have struggled to keep their independence.
Starting from the beginning of recorded records from the Fertile Crest to the advent of newer technology and the resources of each nation, allow for a comparison between different regions. This book successfully explains the reasons behind the progression of history as it favored several nations. The author goes into great detail in using researched data to confirm the way that each region’s water supplies, food resources, and geographical terrain either hindered or improved each places situation and how other nation’s fared with time. This book can be re-read multiple times as it is excellently written and researched.
Readings in the Classical Historians by Michael Grant
A detailed recollection of written pages from some of the greatest emperors and worst emperors of Rome. This book allows you to understand how each specific emperor had their own beliefs and ways of dealing with dissidents, their citizens, and the decision of being the main commander of the nation. Not all the accounts are from emperors, as some include noted historians who documented information about the emperors or events of the times. Some notable events included the Jewish revolts against the Roman occupations as well as the dictates of emperors to maintain order through determination of economic, political, or ideological beliefs.
This book allows you to see the world through the view of the historians in times of peace and times of turbulence. You can see how some emperors were fitted to rule with strength and honor while others ruled in a different way. The historians had biases and were prone to favor sides while others were more objective. A great read for those who enjoy history, Roman history specifically, and the recollections of distinct time periods.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A great book from one of the best authors in history. Ernest Hemingway had a gift of writing succinct sentences that painted the picture and elaborated enough detail. He shows how to write powerful and efficient writing without adding unnecessary words while capturing his ideas completely. The Sun Also Rises shows the story of a expatriate who leaves to Europe after he was injured in the war. The protagonist endures great heartache for a love he knows he will never fully attain. Despite this, he continues to enjoy the Spanish festivities and the company of friends and acquaintances. While going out on the town, he continually meets with his friend/unattainable love and acts like he has no feeling although seeing how every stranger takes note of his friend. A great book to understand the empathy of a character that is broken yet continues to live and have fun.