When Neil Degrasse Tyson Speaks, people listen. The world famous Astronomer/Astro Physicist has become a 21st century cultural icon who’s cool factor in pop culture is balanced meticulously with his scientific know how. I think you’ll agree that the merit of a recommendation depends entirely on the person passing the information along.
Recently Tyson was asked by a Reddit user who wanted to know what books he recommends regarding life and the world. Specifically, the question was, “Which books should be read by every intelligent person on the planet?” Shockingly, nothing by Dan Brown, or Nicholas Sparks appears on the list. However here are Tyson’s suggestions, along with his brief explanations of why he picked each one. In his own words, “If you read all of the [below] works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.” They also include links to free eBook copies, so you’ve got no excuse to procrastinate.
- The Bible (eBook) – ” as a reminder that as smart as we think we are, we dont have all the answers “
- The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”
- On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (eBook) – “to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (eBook) – “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (eBook) – “to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBook) – “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”
- The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBook) – “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”
- The Prince by Machiavelli (eBook) – “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”