Jim Rohn once said reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary. We all know that reading improves our intelligence. Regular readers have a stronger vocabulary, a deep comprehension of all types of topics and situations and even higher levels of emotional intelligence according to science.
So, with that in mind we’ve produced a list of top books you can read to improve your intelligence. These books cover a wide range of themes and will not only entertain you but also educate you.
1. Think and Grow Rich (by Napoleon Hill)
Napoleon Hill’s book think and grow rich is one of the bestselling books of all time. It investigates the psychological power of thinking and the mindset you need for advancing your professional and personal life. This is a must read if you’re an investor or entrepreneur.
Think and grow rich is about knowing the essential aspects that make someone successful at anything. It’s less about how to get money and more about understanding the fundamental factors that make someone successful at something. It’s also about understanding what motivates the world, what causes change and what motivates ourselves.
If you want to discover how to make a difference in the world with smarter and more self-aware thoughts then read think and grow rich
2. The Four-Hour Work Week (by Timothy Ferris)
The four-hour work week shows you how to gain more time and financial independence allowing you to live a more flexible lifestyle without waiting for retirement. You may live smarter by automating a passive income and freeing yourself from useless duties.
Timothy Ferriss comes off as immensely approachable and down to earth which may explain his meteoric rise in popularity. If you want to get smarter in your daily actions this teaches you to be effective on top of being efficient.
3. The Art of War (by Sun Tzu)
The art of war is popular for a reason – it’s proven to be valid throughout history. Know when to fight and when to avoid fighting, shun the powerful and attack the weak, know how to fool your adversary and know your strengths and weaknesses.
While the Art of war by Sun Tzu is mostly about human conflict, its reach extends to all aspects of human interaction from business and marketing, to interpersonal relationships. In general, Sun Tzu’s teachings have been applied in all sectors from military principles to politics business and everyday life.
The book is required reading in many higher circles especially for a large number of top executives and managers. If you want to understand human interaction on a basic level then read the art of war
4. Thinking Fast and Slow (by Daniel Kahneman)
This is an excellent book for teaching you how to think in certain circumstances. The idea of risk according to Kahneman is a human creation. They’re there to help us navigate through hazards concerns and uncertainties as the book explains in detail.
It’s sometimes more productive to think swiftly while other times it’s best to think slowly and methodically. Kahneman examines two modes of thought system. One which is quick impulsive and emotive and system; two which is slower more deliberate and rational.
It looks at the differences between emotional and rational cognition and will actually transform the way you think.
5. A Short History of Nearly Everything (by Bill Bryson)
What do you find most intriguing about our world or universe? Is it space, other planets or other galaxies, the ocean’s depths or the strange alien-like animals that dwell there? A short history of nearly everything does justice to its title by discussing everything we’ve discovered about our globe and the universe so far. Including how they originated, how we learn to understand time space and gravity, why we’re alive and how much of our planet remains a total mystery to us.
Bill Bryson’s book is the best-selling popular science book of the 21st century and he shows us the planet in ways we’ve never seen it before. A brief history of nearly everything is a must read for everyone searching for answers on life and the cosmos. You are bound to finish this one smarter than when you started it.
6. From Good to Great (by Jim Collins)
What distinguishes a clever individual from others, from good to great answers this and much more. The book contains a helpful model that ties all of the theories together in a manner that is both meaningful and easily remembered.
You gain insight on how to build up and break through the boundaries that hold companies back by bringing together disciplined individuals utilizing disciplined thinking and taking disciplined action.
Jim Collins discovered some characteristics that all outstanding organizations have throughout his study. Hiring the right people, dismissing the wrong people, changing when necessary and developing competent leaders are the keys to success. When put into practice in your life it improves your discipline and shows you how smart scheduling and proper plan implementation can help you to win.
7. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (by Charles Duhigg)
The power of habit explains why habits are at the heart of everything we do, how to alter them and the gain or consequences of doing so in your life career and society. We all appear to build both good and poor habits throughout our life so it’s important to understand why we do what we do and how our habits might affect us.
The book proposes a simple model to help us understand how habits develop and break cue reward routine as stated in the book. The most effective strategy to change a habit is not to keep the same signal and reward but to change the routine.
8. Think Like a Freak (by Stephen D. Levitt and Steven J. Dubner)
Instead of depending on other people’s ideas or common sense think like a freak teaches you how to reject conventional wisdom, ask the appropriate questions about everything, and come up with your own scientifically confirmed solutions.
Increasing your intelligence frequently means shifting your viewpoint and adjusting the way you think and make decisions. With so many various examples in this book, it’s fun to observe how different individuals think in order to figure out how you might start thinking differently yourself.
Think like a freak is often cited as one of the best books for professionals in innovation business and marketing on how to think smarter and influence others.
9. Sapiens: A brief history of Human Kind (by Yuval Noah Harari)
A narrative of humanity’s birth and development. At one point there were at least six human species. Today however, there’s just one species – Homo Sapiens. What were the advantages that had us coming out as the only surviving species?
Sapiens mixes history and science to rethink traditional narratives, link previous developments with modern challenges and study individual events in the context of bigger concepts from assessing the role developing humans have had in the global environment to chronicling the emergence of empires.
10. Smarter Faster Better (by Charles Duhigg)
Do you want to make better decisions in a shorter amount of time? Charles Duhigg focuses on eight important productivity ideas that can help you become wiser and demonstrates them with intriguing tales and figures.
In his best-selling book, you’ll discover how to find inspiration, create objectives, make choices and manage people. By concentrating on choices, motivation and the way we set goals, smarter faster better shares extensively studied tales from experts all around the globe to teach you how to perform what you’re currently doing in a better, more efficient manner.
This book is a must read for everyone wishing to boost their productivity, enhance their company personal decisions and activities.
11. Brief Answers to The Big Questions (by Stephen Hawking)
Even if science isn’t your thing this book still deserves to be on your list. Hawking analyses the rules that govern the cosmos and the destiny of humanity in brief answers to the big questions. In its pages, he addresses some of the universe’s deepest riddles.
Hawking employs his dry wit to provide the reader with a rudimentary comprehension of complicated issues as he discusses the world’s greatest concerns.
12. What If? (by Randall Monroe)
Randall Monroe answers questions you didn’t even know you needed answers for. ‘What if’ is the collection of well-researched scientifically-based responses to some of the most bizarre hypothetical inquiries you can think of; like what would happen if your cells stopped dividing all of a sudden? What if there was only one soulmate for each person?
Randall Monroe uses comedy and a lot of science to answer all of life’s unimportant problems. What if is a fun read that will make you smarter at least in your day-to-day dealings.
13. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (by Siddhartha Mukherjee)
A medical history book? Yes. But a read that will influence you to make smarter lifestyle choices. The emperor of all Maladies chronicles the genesis and evolution of our knowledge of cancer with a wonderful genuinely humanistic biography of the ailment from its earliest recorded appearances thousands of years ago through the epic efforts to treat, control, and vanquish it in the 20th century.
Culminating in a radical new understanding of its core, we discover the interesting easy to understand science behind what causes sickness and what can be done to prevent and even cure it.
Mukherjee tells the story of centuries of discoveries, losses, successes, and deaths from the perspective of his forefathers and his contemporaries in the field.
14. Quiet (by Susan Kane)
Understand your personality and work smarter, Quiet analyses the gradual emergence of the extrovert ideal for success during the 20th century while also demonstrating the undervalued potential of introverts and suggesting innovative methods for the two forces to work together.
Kane’s book which is well researched and thought provoking not only demonstrates the strength of introverts but also covers the challenges they face and how to overcome them. This will change the way you perceive others whether you’re introverted or extroverted.
15. Remember (by Lisa Genova)
Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist and she discusses why we remember certain things and forget others. Remember is an incredibly comprehensive and easy to understand book about intelligence with Genova doing an excellent job of describing memory as well as relating its importance to real world ramifications.
She also explains why forgetting is a natural part of life and why it isn’t anything to be afraid of. The book discusses the differences between ordinary forgetfulness and forgetting induced by disorders such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s overall the book teaches readers life-changing truths that may help them to use remembering and forgetting to their advantage rather than having it work against them.
16. Stamped From The Beginning (by Ibram X. Rendi)
Ibram X. Rendi has published the best book on the history of racism in America which will inspire you to think differently about American history. Rendi explains how racist beliefs and discriminatory acts have pervaded American history from its creation. From the puritans and founding fathers through the civil rights struggle of the sixties and the modern-day activism.
This isn’t a good versus evil story but instead lets you peer into how the most powerful country of our time grew from a colony to what it is now and you might be wondering how this makes you smarter.
While understanding, the system will help you to make better decisions overall. Dr Seuss famously wrote, ‘the more that you read the more things you will know; the more that you learn the more places you’ll go’. Over the past several decades our understanding of what makes a person intelligent has considerably evolved from generating insights into emotional intelligence to expanding our grasp of neuroplasticity and what’s one of the most effective strategies to become smarter? Thought-provoking books.
They’ve always existed and they’ll surely be many more to come. Every year thousands of books are written on how to perceive the world in new ways, understand oneself better and grow to become wiser. They unlock more of our potential and help us to become better and more accomplished people.