13 Fascinating Books For People Who Love to Learn

By
Tue, 8 May 2018

Discovering new information can be thrilling, especially if it completely changes the way you see the world. And one of the best ways to learn is to do it the old-fashioned way: pick up a good book. Sit down for a reading session with one of the selections on this list, and you'll probably stumble upon a plethora of intriguing facts that you never knew before. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

13 Fascinating Books

Title Author Description
1. What If? Randall Monroe Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot The history of a woman who, without even knowing it, launched a medical revolution
3. Confessions of a Tax Collector Richard Yancey One man's tour of duty inside the IRS
4. The Fatal Englishman Sebastian Faulks The short lives of three Englishmen who lived and died during the 20th century
5. The Magic of Reality Richard Dawkins An exploration of mystical phenomena and the scientific principles that really explain them
6. The Infinite Resource Ramez Naam The power of ideas on a finite planet
7. Lost at Sea Jon Ronson A look at people and groups at the fringes of society
8. Information Doesn't Want to Be Free Cory Doctorow Copyright laws in the Internet age
9. God: A Human History Reza Aslan How religion and humanity have shaped each other through the years
10. Some Remarks Neal Stephenson A variety of essays written by a bestselling sci-fi author
11. The Great Derangement Amitav Ghosh The history of climate change and the politics surrounding it
12. A Universe from Nothing Lawrence M. Krauss A physicist explores the past and possible future of the universe
13. Ada Blackjack Jennifer Niven A true story of survival in the Arctic

How Books Can Open Your Mind

In Depth

Some people think that once they're done with school, they're done with learning. But you don't have to be sitting in a classroom in order to gain new knowledge. For many, the discovery of information is a lifelong endeavor. Whether you're interested in science, history, or the universe in general, you should find some interesting facts in the nonfiction works we've compiled in this list. In no particular order, here are 13 fascinating books for people who love to learn.

#1 is "What If?" by Randall Munroe. The premise for this book started as a spinoff of the author's popular webcomic, xkcd. Readers submit absurd hypothetical questions and Munroe uses complex equations and extensive research to answer them as thoroughly as possible. The book is a compilation of answers that have appeared online, as well as several that are exclusive to this publication.

Topics range from human computers to radioactive pools to machine-gun jetpacks. While the premises are ridiculous, the math and science used to explore them are sound. This juxtaposition of silliness and academia makes for an interesting read that is equal parts entertaining and educational.

Topics range from human computers to radioactive pools to machine-gun jetpacks.

#2 is "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. This New York Times Bestseller follows the story of a black woman whose cells were taken, without her consent, in 1951. Those cells have since been used to develop life-saving medical treatments and ground-breaking discoveries. The author explores the complex issues of medical ethics and looks at how a patient's race can significantly impact the treatment they receive.

#3 is "Confessions of a Tax Collector" by Richard Yancey. Speaking from his own personal experience, Yancey gives the reader an inside look at one of the most hated organizations in the United States government: the IRS. Serving as a tax collector for two years, the author learns a lot about the ins and outs of the agency, and discovers a thing or two about morality along the way.

#4 is "The Fatal Englishman" by Sebastian Faulks. The titular subjects are three men who had great potential and died tragically young. Christopher Wood was a painter who killed himself at the age of 29. World War II fighter pilot Richard Hillary wrote a powerful book about his experiences, then died in a training accident when he was 23. Jeremy Wolfenden was a spy during the Cold War who overindulged in sex and alcohol for years before dying under mysterious circumstances at age 31.

Christopher Wood was a painter who killed himself at the age of 29.

Faulks uses the stories of these men as a unique window into English society throughout the 20th century. A time when global tension and technological advances were rapidly changing the way people lived their lives.

#5 is "The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins. The author, a celebrated evolutionary biologist, has long been an advocate for appreciating the beauty of the natural world without attributing its creation to a higher power. This work shares several mythical explanations for various phenomena, then reveals the scientific truths that really govern them. Dawkins tackles a number of often-asked questions. How old is the universe? Who was the first person? Why are there so many types of animals? The answers are provided via both prose and illustrations.

#6 is "The Infinite Resource" by Ramez Naam. Running out of resources is a common fear in recent history. Fossil fuels, fresh water, and even the atmosphere seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate. But Naam thinks humans can address these problems using a resource that never runs dry: ideas. This book looks at innovation as a tool that can help humanity overcome any struggle and discusses some ways that people can, and should, come together to make a difference in the world.

But Naam thinks humans can address these problems using a resource that never runs dry: ideas.

#7 is Jon Ronson's "Lost at Sea." This one may not be a repository of scientific fact, but it is an interesting look at society and human nature. The author investigates a number of out-of-the-ordinary groups and individuals. These include a singer who believes that an alien invasion is imminent, fans of Insane Clown Posse, and assisted-suicide practitioners. Ronson writes about these people at the fringes of society with a level of compassion that allows the reader to identify with them, even if they fundamentally disagree with their choices or beliefs.

#8 is "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free" by Cory Doctorow, which takes a look at how copyright and creative success function in the digital age. The Internet has changed how fans interact with content, which has deeply affected the artists who create it. The author outlines the facts, along with his own opinions, in an engaging and easy-to-follow way that should hold the interest of anyone who is concerned about the future of the arts.

#9 is "God: A Human History" by Reza Aslan. This work looks at the long history of religion and the reasons why people in diverse cultures around the world all sought to understand the divine by giving their higher power human traits and emotions. Deities from Egypt's Anubis to America's Nanook have qualities we can relate to and identify with. But not all of these traits are as positive as compassion and justice. Many religions are centered around figures who are known to be violent and vengeful.

Deities from Egypt's Anubis to America's Nanook have qualities we can relate to and identify with.

So how did these larger-than-life figures shape humanity? And how did humanity shape them? Whether you're religious, spiritual, or a life-long atheist, you might be interested in finding out.

#10 is "Some Remarks" by Neal Stephenson. It's a collection of essays written by a bestselling author, best known for his science fiction. These short pieces cover a number of topics, including movies, politics, and Sir Isaac Newton. Most of them were previously published in newspapers or magazines, but Stephenson wrote one new essay just for this book. Science and technology enthusiasts should find this an interesting read, especially if they're fans of Stephenson's fictional works.

#11 is "The Great Derangement" by Amitav Ghosh. Climate change is one of the biggest threats of the modern age, but it's a difficult concept for people to really wrap their heads around. This is partly because of its large scale, but there are many other elements that complicate the situation, making it tough to fit into a traditional narrative.

Climate change is one of the biggest threats of the modern age, but it's a difficult concept for people to really wrap their heads around.

Ghosh approaches the subject by delving not only into the history of the climate crisis, but also the politics. This comprehensive view of the problem clearly shows the reader what the world is up against, and what humanity can do to try and fix it.

#12 is "A Universe From Nothing" by Lawrence M. Krauss. Written by a renowned physicist, the book looks at how reality as we know it came to exist. It also discusses what might have existed before the universe and what the future might bring. These deep philosophical questions are made accessible to a wider audience through the author's use of humor and his ability to clearly explain complex concepts.

#13 is "Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic" by Jennifer Niven. Similar to the author's previous work, "The Ice Master," this is a historically accurate account of life in one of the coldest places on the planet. It focuses on the titular Ada Blackjack, an Inuit woman who helped a group of British explorers venture into the Arctic when she was 25 years old. Two years later, Blackjack returned home, the only survivor of the expedition.

It focuses on the titular Ada Blackjack, an Inuit woman who helped a group of British explorers venture into the Arctic when she was 25 years old.

Niven uses first-hand accounts, including Blackjack's unpublished diaries, to paint a detailed picture of who this brave woman was, and what her life was like.