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10 Mind-Blowing Books That People Who Love Thinking Can’t Miss

10 Mind-Blowing Books That People Who Love Thinking Can’t Miss

P.J. O’Rouke once said, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.”

While I do think there is a place for cheesy romances and beach novels, a sharp mind needs the prodding of good book. If you love to read and enjoy to have your ways of thinking challenged, then you will love these 10 books. All of these books will challenge your world view and make your mental wheels turn as new worlds and ways of thought are illuminated. Plus, they will all make you look good if you die in the middle of reading it!

1. ‘Outliers: The Story of Success’ by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers

    ““Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.”

    Anything by Malcolm Gladwell is sure to educate you and change the way you think. This particular book is the third non-fiction book in a series. Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to success, and his findings will not be what you expect! You can buy it here!

    2. ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values’ by Robert M. Pirsig

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    zen

      “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”

      This hefty novel is often considered to be an American cultural icon in literature. The book chronicles a man’s 17-day motorcycle journey with his son Chris from Minnesota to California. During the trip the unnamed protagonist muses and philosophies about the concept of ‘Quality’ and wrestles with his past. This book is not about ‘zen’ in the Bhuddist sense, and it’s not about motorcycles, but it will certainly make you  think! You can buy it here!

      3. ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin

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        “The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude.”

        This nineteenth century novel focuses on protagonist Edna Potellier’s struggle with femininity, motherhood, marriage and gender roles in a conservative Southern American turn-of-the-century culture. The surprising ending and conflicting consequences of this still relevant story will make you want to share it with all of your feminist friends and see what they think. You can buy it here!

        4. ‘The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself’ by Michael A. Singer

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          “If you truly love someone, your love sees past their humanness”

          Michael A. Singer offers a step-by-step guide through the process of Gyana, or Yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Even if you aren’t fully sold on yoga or spirituality, this book will undoubtedly expose your mind to new and unique ways of viewing the universe and your identity. You can buy it here!

          5. ‘This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking’ by John Brockman

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            “Every aspect of life is an experiment that can be better understood if it is perceived in that way.”

            For people who love to think, what book is better than a book that improves your thinking! This collection of sharp, brilliant essays written by all of the world’s leader thinkers will improve your decision making skills and sharpen our cognitive tool kits. You can buy it here!

            6. ‘The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace’ by John Paul Lederach

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              “Reconciliation is understood as both a place we are trying to reach and the journey that we take up with each other.”

              John Paul Lederach is a leading voice in the international conciliation and mediation field. He has served as a consult and a direct mediator in conflicts all over the globe. In this book is explores the process of peace-building and reflects upon his experiences in the field. It is a remarkable text that will surely find application in your daily life. You can buy it here!

              7. ‘Who Speaks for Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think’ by John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed

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                “Interestingly, the more Americans report knowing about Muslim countries, the more likely they are to hold positive views of those countries.”

                In post-9/11 United States most Americans associate mainstream Islam with Islamic extremism. This book is the product of a massive six-year long study conducted by the Gallup organization. The interviewed, questioned and got to know tens of thousands of Muslims in 35 predominantly Muslim countries. This mammoth collection of data is synthesized into one fascinating book that will challenge and educate current streams of thought in the United States. You can buy it here!

                8. ‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino

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                  “Futures not achieved are only branches of the past: dead branches. ”

                  The 1972 novel, Invisible Cities, explores imagination, reality and memory through vivid and fantastical descriptions of cities through the narrator Marco Polo. The book is centered around a surreal conversation between Marco Polo and Emperor Kublai Khan where the two men discuss Khan’s desire for and struggles with his ever expanding empire. This experimental novel is as beautiful as it is complicated, and some of the descriptions will leave you reeling for days. You can buy it here!

                  9. ‘Philosophy: The Pursuit of Wisdom’ by Louis P. Pojman

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                    “In a sense, philosophy is just hard thinking about the important issues of life.”

                    Louis P. Pojman makes this introduction to philosophical thought surprisingly fun and accessible. He presents major major philosophical veins of thought in clear, lively writing that is as entertaining as it is informative. If you are looking for an easy but quality ‘Philosophy 101’ book, then this is the book for you. You can buy it here!

                    10. ‘One Thousand Beautiful Things’ A collection by Marjorie Barrows

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                      I inherited my grandmother’s copy of this book and the pages are worn thin and the spin is coming apart because I have returned to it time and time again. One Thousand Beautiful Things is a collection of poetry, prose, drama and quotation’s from all the world’s literature. It is drenched in thought provoking wisdom and breath-taking beauty. Every book shelf would be improved by the presence of this book. You can buy it here!

                      Featured photo credit: Abhi Sharma via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                      The result: no more mental stress.

                      2. Unplug

                      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                      3. Easy on the Caffeine

                      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                      The result: mental stress will be gone!

                      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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