Food for Thought: Book Recs

If you’ve been a stranger on a plane who ended up sitting next to me, you’ve gotten these recs. Especially if you’re talking about the current state of affairs, learning how to take care of yourself, religion, or what you and I eat, these are books I HIGHLY recommend and make you write down to ensure that you will read them.

I’ve read all of these books within the last two years (after I set some daily reading goals which transitioned to a goal to read 12 books in a year) while living in France then readjusting to life back in the U.S. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in the current state of affairs:

1) Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

This book does a great job of concisely talking about our history up until now while pointing out the key events, chance happenings, and decisions that brought us to where we are now. Yuval is a sharp writer and I thoroughly appreciate his use of pointed sarcasm to make his case, plus the numbers and facts he uses basically force you to start a book club with your friends just so you can get everything off your chest OR you just rant to them about what you just read whenever you see them. You choose!

2) (Following Sapiens) Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

The second book by Yuval starts by talking about where we are right now, and what will shape our futures. He lays out different paths society could take depending on things like AI, biotechnology, religion, etc. From this book I learned what issues to be paying extra careful attention to (minus climate change because that is real and we already know it’s a huge problem), and you’re given some good background info to have a foundation for understanding these topic. Lots of quality, educational food for thought. Still plan on continuing that book club with this one, or maybe warn your friends this time before you start it. 

P.S. Once you’ve finished both of these books, Yuval also just released another book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century which I just started. Still recommend reading these all in order because he builds on what he’s already discussed.

If you’re interested in spirituality, religion, and maybe meditation:

1) 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Dan Harris is an ABC news anchor so you’d probably recognize him. If you’ve seen the Minimalism documentary on Netflix, Dan talks about how he went from having a panic attack on live TV to learning about meditation which makes him “10% happier.” He’s a very candid, funny writer who its upfront and honest about his thoughts and experiences which have brought him to where he is now. Dan’s a very relatable guy with lots of funny stories, and this book actually helped me realize how unhappy I was at one point in my life. There were lots of tears and I’m thankful to have had a friend lend me this book, because it kinda set me on a path to where I am now.

2) Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

Dan and Sam Harris get mixed up all the time, don’t worry. The title of this book says exactly what this book is about. Sam does a great job of breaking all major religions down into how they are and aren’t useful for society and everyday life. He also shares a lot of stories about his own experiences with drugs, hallucinogenics, meditation, and spirituality. He’s a neuroscientist and philosopher and while this book is theoretical and educational, you’ll get a kick out of his stories.

3) Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28 Day Program by Sharon Salzberg

If you are actually interested in learning how to meditate, this is the easiest DIY guide. It starts off with the bar low so it’s not too painful to get into, and you learn about all different kinds of meditation as you read. The book also incorporates recorded guided mediations from Sharon that you can download for free online here (just scroll down and download even if you don’t have the book and want to learn!). For me I really needed a trainer or program to help me practice and get into it, and this was the best free way to do so, or you could totally find a local meditation center to get you started if you need an in-person guide.

Happy reading! Please let me know if you do read any of these books and if you want to talk about them, pick them apart, rant about them, call me beep me if you wanna reach me.

Also great friends are great book recommenders so THANKS SHELBZ for always having the best ones and loaning me your books!

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