I love reading mysteries and thrillers with the occasional romance thrown in around Christmas (Hallmark Channel knew what it was doing). But sometimes it feels a bit like a guilty pleasure and I need to give my brain more nourishment, or alternative nourishment. Historical fiction can be fun, especially if the author explains where he deviated from fact. Steve Berry does this exceptionally well. In addition, though, I read non-fiction interspersed with my fiction. Here are some recent reads I found compelling:
Think, Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant. With research and stories, he encourages us to rethink our opinions, to ask others about theirs out of genuine interest in how they see the world, and to see disagreement not as a threat to our egos, but an opportunity to learn. Grant urges us to gravitate toward those who challenge our thought process rather than those who echo our own opinions.
Gates. I read this in part because I’ve always been a bit of a climate change denier and wanted to hear the other side. The projects underway and the ideas for future solutions are compelling, if only one side of the story.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter Diamandis. My son recommended this to give me ideas for my writing about emerging technologies I might incorporate. It’s really fascinating how technology accelerates when all the necessary building blocks become available.
No list of my non-fiction books recommendations would be complete without mentioning my all-time favorite, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It’s really just what the title says. A physician and survivor of Auschwitz, Frankl was fascinated by what drove some of his co-prisoners to survive, while others succumbed. He attributed most of it to finding meaning in life, and developed a whole area of psychology and treatment (logotherapy) around the theory. It’s an interesting read, and the second half, outside of Auschwitz, is a great reminder to find meaning every day.
I regret that as I read these books and find them fascinating and compelling, I no longer retain many of the facts. I might take notes, but then never read them. I chalk it up to my brain being full. If only I could dump the preamble to the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address from my memory to make room for more interesting information.
I’d love some recommendations for more non-fiction books!